DOK Leipzig 2016

59th International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
31.10.2016 to 06.11.2016

The Interreligious Jury Leipzig 2016 with Festival Director Leena Pasanen (middle; © MDR/Antje Hoffmann)

For the first time an Interreligious Jury at DOK Leipzig has awarded a prize. It went to the German-Swiss co-production "Cahier africain" by Heidi Specogna. The film also won a Silver Dove as Best film regarding democracy and human rights which was awarded for the first time as well. The Golden Dove in the International Competition for long films was awarded to "Austerlitz" by Sergei Loznitsa. The director in his filmic essay presents his observations on visitors in concentration camps, namely Dachau and Sachsenhausen.

"My Life as a Courgette" was the opening film of the 59th International Leipzig Festivals for Documentary and Animated Film which started on October 31. For the first time an Interreligious Jury takes part in the festival. It replaces the Ecumenical Jury which existed since 1990. Festival director Leena Pasanen gave the impetus for this step. "In our polarized world and in a society that is increasingly trying to rule out non-Christian religions, we want to givea sign of cohesion and open-mindedness by opening the Ecumenical Jury," she said, thanking SIGNIS and INTERFILM, the organizers of the Ecumenical Jury, for their willingness to implement her desire together with the Festival. This year, the jury consists of a Muslim and a Jewish members, as well as two Christian film experts.

The International Competition for long films comprises 12 entries from which the Interreligious Jury chooses its winner. Its director obtains a prize money which has been raised to 2500 € this year. The donors are the Interreligious Round Table Leipzig and the VCH Hotels Germany GmbH - in the "Verband Christlicher Hoteliers e.V" including the Hotel Michaelis in Leipzig. Altogether the festival screens more than 300 films.

Link: Festival website

Award of the Interreligious Jury

Directed by:

„Cahier Africain” by Heidi Specogna on the ongoing atrocities between different religious and ethnic groups in the Central African Republic centers around the lives of Arlette, a young wounded Christian girl and the Muslim woman Amzine with her daughter born after brutal rape. Amidst the desperate situation Amzine manages to find a fragile safety as refugee in Chad. There the rift between mother and daughter starts to heal.

The Interrreligious Jury congratulates the filmmaker on her sensitive approach to her protagonists, her poetic filming and for leaving us with a shimmer of hope through the images of the women rebuilding their lives.

More about the festival

The WACC-SIGNIS Human Rights Award 2016 has gone to the documentary film Cahier africain directed by Heidi Specogna.