Times are changing in a bad direction, explains Leena Pasanen, the incumbent DOK Leipzig festival director, to ModernTimes.online. She is not referring to the festival, but the current political and cultural climate.

What Pasanen means, is the way our times are headed in a populist direction, with, sadly, increased polarization and confrontation – instead of dignity and tolerance. Therefore, she encourages the filmmakers participating in this year’s festival to make disobedience into a positive – a virtue.  In her festival catalogue prologue, she calls for people to celebrate disobedience in all its forms – both for brave artists to break rules and for civilians to challenge norms. Why? Because, according to Pasanen, to prevent situations from going from bad to worse – and to create a better future.

Lest we forget which city we are in, she reminds us. Leipzig boasts long traditions for protest and civil engagement. Likewise, Pasanen herself has a long record of working for movies that matter in the documentary community. Some years ago, I remember joining her week-long story-developing workshop in Budapest. She has also past experience as commissioning editor; she was the director of the European Documentary Network, and was last year appointed head of DOK Leipzig.

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