Golden Key

The Golden Key will award an outstanding documentary work of a young director. The City of Kassel supports the prize for the 21st time. The Golden Key is awarded in two categories: for the best documentary short film, up to 66 minutes, and the best documentary feature film, of more than 66 minutes. Each prize is endowed with 2.500€. Nominated are works whose directors were not older than 35 years by the time the work was completed. In justified cases the selection committee of the festival decides about exceptions regarding this regulation. The selection committees have selected 23 works out of the festival program to be nominated for the Golden Key. Including films from Egypt, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Colombia, Croatia, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Quatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Ukraine, USA and the United Kingdom. Since 2017 the Golden Key is listed as an officially accepted competition of the German National Film Board (FFA). Films produced in Germany with a running time up to 30 minutes are able to collect 5 Points for reference film funding with a nomination. 

Jury 2023

Marion Döring studied French and Portuguese at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz before she started her professional career as a trainee and later editor at the daily newspapers Fuldaer Zeitung and Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine. Between 1985 and 1988 she has worked as a press attaché for the "750 Years Anniversary Berlin 1987" and "Berlin - European Capital of Culture 1988". She has been connected to the European Film Academy since its foundation in 1988 - first as PR manager of the European Film Awards, later as project manager for the Academy’s activities and publications and, from 1996 until the end of 2020, as the Academy’s director and producer of the European Film Awards. Since January 2021 she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Wim Wenders Foundation.

Malte Hagener is Professor in Media and Film Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg. He studied media, literature and philosophy in Hamburg, Norwich and Amsterdam where he received his PhD with a dissertation on the European film avant-garde (Moving Forward, Looking Back. The European Avant-garde and the Invention of Film Culture, 1919-1939, Amsterdam University Press 2007).

Photo: Kerstin Hehmann

Julia Scheck, born 1984 in Kazakhstan, is festival director of Filmfest Osnabrück - Festival of Independent Film. After completing her Master's degree in Göttingen, she began to get involved in the Osnabrücker Filmforum e. V. in 2014. Since 2017, she has been a member of the board of the Film and Media Office in Lower Saxony. She is also active in the association of film festivals in Germany.

Photo: Julia Scheck

Dr. Sven Schoeller is Mayor of the City of Kassel since July 2023. With a doctorate in law, he previously worked as a specialist lawyer for criminal law and copyright and media law in Kassel. He was born in Göttingen in 1973 and grew up in northern Hesse. The canon of his cultural interests is broad: from art exhibitions to cinema via a long-standing opera premiere subscription to regular theater visits. As a member of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, he was a member of the Kassel City Council from 2021 to May 2023.

Marusya Syroechkovskaya is a Moscow-born award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. Her first feature-length film, How to Save a Dead Friend, was screened at over 60 film festivals and received over 20 awards, including Golden Key Award for Best Feature Film at Kasseler Dokfest 2022. The film was selected in a shortlist as the best documentary by European Film Awards 2022.

Award Winners

2023 Feature Film: Asmae El Moudir: The Mother of All Lies

2023 Short Film: Franzis Kabisch: getty abortions

2022 Feature Film: Marusya Syroechkovskaya: How to Save a Dead Friend

2022 Short Film: Evgenia Arbugaeva, Maxim Arbugaev: Haulout

2021 Feature Film: Stefan Pavlovic: Looking for Horses

2021 Short Film: Guang Liu: 当海里长出森林 (When the Sea Sends Forth a Forest)

2020 Feature Film: Radu Ciorniciuc: Acasa  – My Home

2020 Shortfilm: Francesca Bertin: L`Artificio

2019 Feature Film: Jialing Zhang und Nanfu Wang: One Child Nation

2019 Shortfilm: Markus Fiedler, Nanna Katrine Hansen, Thomas Elsted and Stanley Edwards: Cast Away Souls

2018 Feature Film: Jasmin Preiß: Sweet Meadow

2018 Shortfilm: Agnes Lisa Wegner: No Fucking Ice Cream

2017 Ziad Kalthoum: Taste of Cement

2016 Ognjen Glavonic: Dubina Dva

2015 Mea de Jong: If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy

2014 Leslie Tai: The Private Life of Fenfen

2013 Gabriel Serra: La parka

2012 Antoine Bourges: East Hastings Pharmacy

2011 Carmen Losmann: Work Hard - Play Hard

2010 Viera Cákanyová: Alda

2009 Thomas A. Østbye: Human

2008 Mario Hirasaka: Die Ryozanpaku

2007 Jess Feast: Cowboys & Communists

2006 Sarah Vanagt: Begin Began Begun

2005 Susanne Jaeger: Vater und Feind

2004 Alexandra Gulea: Die Daumendreher (GOD PLAYS SAX; THE DEVIL VIOLIN)

2003 Sandra Jakisch: 08/15 – Leben am Rand von Köln

2002 Klaus Stern: Andreas Baader- Der Staatsfeind