Leipzig's Festival for Documentary and Animation Film (October 16-21)is to host the first ever international showcase of documentaries from Syria.

Since Syrian filmmakers have to battle with restrictions and censorship, many of the films being screened in this regional focus from past and present works will also be world premieres.

Meanwhile, retrospectives are being staged for the Chinese ethnographical documentary from 1956-2001 and for four decades of the Leipzig festival with screenings of films by Flaherty, Resnais, Bunuel and Ivens through to Leiser, Fassbinder and Wildenhahn; and tributes in the animation sidebar are being dedicated to the "Grand Dame" of German animation Lotte Reininger on the 20th anniversary of her death, to Sieglinde Hamacher of the former DEFA Studio for Animation Films, and to veteran director Kurt Weiler who recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

In addition to its competitive sections for documentaries and animation films, the festival will also play host to official delegations of filmmakers from Canada and Finland wanting to meet their German counterparts to discuss projects.