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The 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary Celebrates Opening

 The 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film was officially opened on Monday. The Saxon State Minister of the Arts, Sabine von Schorlemer, and Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung welcomed 750 guests from around the world to the sold-out CineStar theater. Festival director Claas Danielsen delivered the opening address, in which he laid out urgent media policy goals.

 

Arts Minister Schorlemer praised the festival as a meeting place. “As a special art form that is constantly reinvented through technological innovation and changing media consumption patterns, documentary and animated film needs forums for creative exchange. DOK Leipzig is such a place.”

 

Mayor Burkhard Jung: “DOK Leipzig has long been a hallmark of Leipzig and has become a cultural event and a cultural pillar whose reach extends beyond our city and region.”

 

In his opening remarks, festival director Claas Danielsen enthusiastically championed filmmakers and criticized current production and working conditions. “In many areas of the film industry, there is an imbalance of power that has the potential to push entire groups within the profession to the edge of economic survival,” Danielsen said. Films often develop under exploitative conditions for writers and in conjunction with an enormous financial and personal risk for producers. The festival director criticized broadcasters, but also spoke in hopeful terms: “I envision a partnership-based approach that finally establishes a fair playing field for the work of creatives in all genres. We need filmmakers and writers who can make a living from their work.” Danielsen also appealed to politicians: “We need real copyright protection for creative professionals – and politicians who will do all they can to protect their achievements.”

 

At the opening festivities, the Danish film THE WILL by Christian Sonderby Jepsen was given the 2012 Doc Alliance Award. The prize is worth 5,000 euros and is handed out alternately at the six European film festivals that have formed the Doc Alliance.

 

The evening came to a close with the world premiere of the documentary film ARE YOU LISTENING!. In addition to its director, Kamar Ahmad Simon, some 200 other filmmakers will be attending DOK Leipzig. The number of accreditations this year totals about 1,400, making it clear that the film festival has established itself as an international industry gathering.

 

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