DOK Leipzig highlights
Scores of people crowded into Hbf Osthalle on 29 Oct 2019 to watch "Meeting Gorbachev," including the director Werner Herzog himself. (Photo: Justina Smile Photography)

3 highlights not to be missed at DOK Leipzig 2019


Starting this Monday (28 Oct) and running for a whole week, the oldest documentary and animation festival in the world will take place right here in Leipzig for the 62nd time. As pointers to what might be worth seeing at this year’s DOK Leipzig, we have compiled some special recommendations. In case you can only attend a few of the myriad great screenings happening across Leipzig next week, these are hand-picked highlights that are sure to leave an impression.

DOK Leipzig 2019 highlights

The Forum

The Forum is the opening film at this year’s DOK Leipzig. It will be screened (in the original with German subtitles) in the Osthalle of Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, ahead of the opening ceremony Monday evening.

These screenings at the central station are always a remarkable occasion, attracting people from all backgrounds, with everyone sitting on the ground and steps of the grand hall.

This screening location and its completely free access stands in stark contrast to the subject matter of The Forum – the highly exclusive and elitist Davos World Economic Forum in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland.

In our increasing consciousness of the world’s inequalities, the WEF has drastically gained significance and attention in the last years. From Rutger Bregman’s viral panel disruption on tax reform to Greta Thunberg’s speech being left unattended (or outright ignored) by the titans of industry that make up the majority of the forum’s attendees, Davos is indeed a focal point of our modern times and one of the last closely guarded bastions of thoroughly elite exchange.

Now, after three years of unprecedented access to the WEF’s inner workings, film director Marcus Vetter will present at DOK Leipzig his inside look into the heretofore rather elusive event. We can hope for an unpolished and critical depiction of the uber-influential forum that shapes policies and decision-making in the uppermost echelons of this world’s most powerful institutions.

Hauptbahnhof Osthalle / 28.10.2019 / 18:30 / FREE ENTRY 
CineStar 4 / 29.10.2019 / 10:00 / 6 EUR 
More free DOK Leipzig screenings at Leipzig Hbf

Homage Brothers Quay

The Brothers Quay are an unparalleled, seminal force in the animation industry. Their avant-garde productions continually reinvent the constructs of animated films and innovate at every corner.

Not only on a technical level are their works astonishing: The Quays’ uniquely trailblazing approach to filmmaking is reflected in every aspect of their productions and enlivens their often dark and impressionistic imagery. Their influence on modern film is similarly vast, counting among their many fans directors like Terry Gilliam and Christopher Nolan.

For this Year’s DOK Leipzig Homage, the American brothers were invited to co-programme their own films within the special section “POTENTIAE MATERIALIS. HOMAGE BROTHERS QUAY.” There will be three distinct selections, each screening four of the Quays’ works. Programme 3 was in fact curated by the two filmmakers themselves, with carte blanche liberties for their picks. So you will get a completely unique experience directly by the men behind the films.

Finally, the collaboration will culminate into a special event called “Brothers Quay Night*footnotes,” where DOK Leipzig co-curator André Eckardt will have a talk with the Quays and screen some works to discuss.

From personal experience, I can say that these animation nights have been highlights of the festival for years.

The close collaboration DOK Leipzig has built with these two iconic creatives will undoubtedly result into a particularly intriguing event.



To round out my picks, I decided to go for an expressly German film and subject matter. Autobahn by Daniel Abma chronicles the beltway project around Bad Oeynhausen, an otherwise idle place with one of the most traversed and consequently congested stretches of road in Germany, the Bundesstraße 61.

Growing up in this part of the country and often having to use this connection between the A2 and the A30, I can say that the mere mention of Bad Oeynhausen has stricken fear into every motorist traveling through the northwest on a regular basis.

In Autobahn, director Abma follows various stakeholders in the project, from the mayor of the town and its local residents to the companies involved in building the new beltway that should give Bad Oeynhausen its idyllic origins back. (The prefix “Bad” refers to spa towns in Germany.)

We can expect a very personal and direct approach to filming a vast and wide-reaching infrastructural change with a uniquely German subject matter.

Tip: You can catch this film for free at the central station on Tuesday the 29th, at 19:30. In the original German with English subtitles.

Hauptbahnhof Osthalle / 29.10.2019 / 19:30 / FREE ENTRY 
CineStar 7 / 02.11.2019 / 12:30 / 6 EUR 

DOK Leipzig documentary and animation festival


Heiner Uebbing originally hails from rural Lower Saxony and is based in Leipzig. His passion for film dates back to his teenage years, when he started attending film festivals, writing and corresponding about his experiences. You can probably spot him in one of Leipzig’s OmU/OV screenings in the front rows.

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