Competition Documentary Film Prize

Documentary Film Prize
Photo (detail): Goethe-Institut/Bettina Siegwart

Documentary films tell real-life stories, portray genuine characters and raise questions about social realities and changes. Once a year, the Goethe-Institut awards a Documentary Film Prize to an outstanding German film and shows it to a worldwide audience.

Since 2003, the Goethe-Institut has annually honoured an outstanding film work with its Documentary Film Award. Selection and award ceremony take place at the DOK Leipzig, one of the most important international documentary film festivals. The prize is awarded to a recent feature-length German documentary film from the German or International Competition or Competition for Young Cinema of DOK Leipzig.

This year’s Documentary Film Prize of the Goethe-Institut is awarded to "Concrete Love", a film that weaves together multiple stories about love, passion for architecture, and four generations of German history. The young director Maurizius Staerkle-Drux very successfully paints a touching portrait of 94-year old Gottfried Böhm and his family. The film combines sensitive observations, intimate interviews, and impressive cinematographic explorations of an outstanding architectural legacy in order to create a lasting impression of the buildings and the people.

A Film on World Tour

The Documentary Film Award consists of a cash prize of € 2,000. The Goethe-Institut also acquires the rights to the film so that it can be shown at all Goethe-Institut offices and film partner institutions around the world. What is more, the Goethe-Institut arranges for the subtitling in at least eight languages, making the film accessible to a worldwide audience.

The Jury

The jury chairperson is a documentary filmmaker or documentary film expert who is not taking part in a current competition at DOK Leipzig. The jury also includes film experts from the Goethe-Institut, as the film is not only rated by its aesthetic merit but also by its suitability to be shown in all regions of the world and contribute to socio-political discourses in numerous countries. In 2013 the Documentary Film Prize went to “Land in Sicht” by Judith Keil und Antje Kruska. The two directors were the chairpersons of the jury in 2014. The jury also includes the following film experts from the Goethe-Institut: Joachim Bernauer (Film, Television, Radio Division), Sharmistha Sarker (Goethe-Institut Kolkata) und Francois Venter (Goethe-Institut Johannesburg).

The Jury The Jury | Photo: DOK Leipzig 2014

Film Promotion by the Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut acts as an ambassador of German film worldwide, with over 150 Goethe-Institut offices in more than 90 countries presenting the very latest trends and developments in German film. Thanks to its particular aesthetic qualities and versatility, German documentary cinema has always had a place in the Goethe-Institut repertoire.

Its artistic quality has since brought it widespread recognition far beyond Germany’s borders. Especially in times when documentary films are increasingly battling for attention, the Goethe-Institut believes it is essential to support documentary filmmaking: Currently more than half of the films in the Goethe-Institut’s repertoire are documentaries.