Christoph Terhechte

Source: Photo by Susann Jehnichen

Festival director Christoph Terhechte

DOK Leipzig is to launch an international competition section for animated films for this year’s event, which takes place October 8-15, as part of a revamp of the festival’s competition structure.

The new competition section, encompassing international feature-length and short animations, will run alongside DOK Leipzig’s international competition for documentary film.

In addition, the festival’s two German competitions are now being replaced by one competition dedicated to German documentaries.

Animation filmmakers from Germany will compete with their international colleagues in the international animated film competition, which awards two Golden Doves for the best feature-length and short animated film.

“We had originally planned to introduce this separate competition for animated films in 2020, but then the pandemic put a stop to this because it was impossible to travel and scout for films at this time,” DOK Leipzig festival director Christoph Terhechte said.

“The idea of my predecessor [Leena Pasanen] to mix animation and documentary was a good one, but there were too few animated feature films in the competitions and often there wasn’t a single one,” he noted.

“We need to build a better platform for animation and gain the confidence and trust of the animation community, and that is only possible if we give them more than we did in the past.”

Terhechte explained that, while animated documentaries could also have a place in the new international competition, his overarching goal would be “to look for artistic animated films that have their own style, vision and approach to the art.”

Earlier dates

This year’s edition of DOK Leipzig will be held a fortnight earlier than its traditional dates, beginning on Sunday October 8, just a day after Filmfest Hamburg closes its doors.

“The reason is that, three years ago, we completely overlapped with Doc Lisboa and Ji.hlava. That’s something that we wanted to avoid, and we also didn’t want to clash with Mipcom,” Terhechte said.

DOK Leipzig will run from October 8-15, with Mipcom following from October 16-19, Doc Lisboa from October 19-29 , and Ji.hlava from October 24-29.