Way, way out in the sticks this weekend, the provincial East German town of Neubrandenburg plays host to the 23rd annual dokumentART – aka the European Film Festival for documentaries. For four days it will be overrun with documentary films and filmmakers from all over Europe and curious cinema aficionados who’ve ventured out to watch them. Showcasing films with transcending realities that push the boundaries of their genre, their emphasis is on unknown filmmakers so there’s a chance of seeing raw talent on the up and up.
The festival is unique in its rules, or rather lack of, as all films whether short or mid-length compete for the same five awards. From a whopping 600 entries, only 40 documentaries were selected – so expect some real humdingers. Two of the award blocks are dedicated solely to Eastern Europe and promise a personal insight into current affairs in the region, not least because they’ve also invited Ukrainian and Russian filmmakers to a discussion panel titled ‘Russia - Ukraine: documentary filmmakers survival tactics”.
If you’re put off by the distance, don’t be – there are regular shuttle buses running from Markthalle 9 and Hauptbahnhof. So… get out of your Berlin bubble this weekend, head two hours into the countryside, and enjoy some progressive filmmaking in the most backward of backwaters. Can’t you just feel the paradox?
dokumentART | Friday 10th – Tuesday 14th October | Neubrandenburg