Documentary films tell real stories, deal with a wide range of topics and social realities and provide an occasion for dialogue and constructive debate worldwide. To honour this importance, the Goethe-Institut awards a Documentary Film Prize once a year and sends the winning film around the world.
The Goethe-Institut has honoured outstanding film work with the Documentary Film Prize annually since 2003. It has been awarded since 2022 on a rotating basis at important German documentary film festivals, the DOK.fest Munich, the DOK Leipzig Festival, the Duisburg Film Week and the Kassel Dokfest. With the prize, the Goethe-Institut recognises a feature-length German documentary film from the official selection.
A FILM GOES AROUND THE WORLD
The Documentary Film Prize includes prize money of 2,000 euros. The Goethe-Institut also acquires the film’s worldwide non-commercial screening rights so that it can be shown at all institutes and cinematic partner institutions. In addition, the Goethe-Institut provides subtitles in eight languages, making the film accessible to audiences around the world. In addition to primarily cinematic criteria, the film should have a reference to Germany in conjunction with an intercultural or global perspective so that it can be used worldwide and contribute to socio-political discourses in the host countries.
The jury consists of the previous year’s winner – if they are not entered in the current competition – and two film experts from the Goethe-Institut. In addition to aesthetic aspects, the decisive factor for the selection is that the film can be used in all regions of the world and can contribute to the socio-political discourses in the numerous host countries of the Goethe-Institut.
DOCUMENTARY FILM PROMOTION BY THE GOETHE-INSTITUT
The Goethe-Institut is an ambassador for German film worldwide. 159 Goethe-Instituts in 98 countries show the latest developments in German cinematic art. Due to their special film aesthetic and their versatility, German documentaries have always been permanent fixtures in the Goethe-Institut’s repertoire. Their artistic quality is now appreciated far beyond Germany’s borders. Especially in times when they are increasingly struggling for attention, the promotion of documentary films is an urgent task for the Goethe-Institut: Currently, more than half of all films at the Goethe-Institut are documentaries.
PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM PRIZE
2022: LOVE, DEUTSCHMARKS AND DEATH (Cem Kaya)
2021: REPUBLIC OF SILENCE (Diana El Jeiroudi)
2020: THE GUARDIAN (Martina Priessner)
2019: IN THE NAME OF SCHEHERAZADE OR THE FIRST BEER GARDEN IN TEHRAN (Narges Kalhor)
2018: EXIT (Karen Winther)
2017: WILDES HERZ (Charly Hübner, Sebastian Schultz)
2016: TO BE A TEACHER (Jakob Schmidt)
2015: OVERGAMES (Lutz Dammbeck)
2014: CONCRETE LOVE: THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE BÖHM FAMILY (Maurizius Staerkle-Drux)
2013: LAND IN SICHT (Judith Keil and Antje Kruska)
2012: FORGET ME NOT (David Sieveking)
2011: PEAK (Hannes Lang)
2010: HOW TO MAKE A BOOK WITH STEIDL (Gereon Wetze and Jörg Adolph)
2009: SHANGHAI FICTION (Julia Albrecht and Busso von Müller)
2008: ZULETZT BEFREIT MICH DOCH DER TOD (Beate Middeke)
2007: THE HALFMOON FILES (Philip Scheffner)
2006: DIE UNZERBRECHLICHEN (Dominik Wessely)
2005: MEIN BRUDER - WE’LL MEET AGAIN (Thomas Heise)
2004: WOLFF VON AMERONGEN: DID HE COMMIT BANKRUPTCY OFFENCES? (Gerhard Friedl)
2003: FÜR DEN SCHWUNG SIND SIE ZUSTÄNDIG (Margarete Fuchs)