DOK Leipzig 2012 set the tone with a compelling statement on climate change by opening with a documentary from Bangladesh, Kamar Ahmad Simon’s Are You Listening! It’s a harbinger of what the festival aimed to unveil this year: strong political content with a distinct artistic vision and creative storytelling that doesn’t want to be confined to any strict interpretation of the genre.
So where does documentary start and finish? Why do we need to know what’s staged and how do we trust that the filmmaker is telling us the truth? Does it even matter?
Grit Lemke, Head of DOK Leipzig’s Documentary Program, says to DOX: “This is about art, not about journalism, it’s about images, and people care about these images,” She continues: “As an audience member, I would only care about good and bad films regardless of the genre. Yet, as documentary film programmers, we have to decide what a documentary is. Is the story based on true events? What is the documentary material presented in the film? Are there at least some photos or a diary, for example? If the film has a made-up text, if anything is scripted, that’s where I draw the line.”