The award winners of the 38th DOK.fest München


We are pleased to present the award winning films of the 38th DOK.fest München and congratulate all the winners!

In the three competition series Main Competition, DOK.deutsch Competition and DOK.horizonte Competition – Cinema of Urgency, the films at the 38th International Documentary Film Festival Munich compete for the VIKTOR the award statue donated by the sponsoring association of DOK.fest München. In addition, twelve other top-class awards will be presented. A total of 64,200 euros in prize money will be awarded.

VIKTOR Main Competition

Regie: Lukasz Konopa & Emil Langballe

Dominic Ongwen was kidnapped at the age of nine by Uganda’s Lord's Resistance Army and trained as a child soldier. Later, as a commander, he committed unspeakable atrocities. Now he faces charges at the International Court of Justice. Is he entirely responsible for his actions? A psychological study of society and, at the same time, a film about the legal question of criminal responsibility. Eva Weinmann

Jury statement: "In their carefully constructed film, Emil Langballe and Lukasz Konopa create a more complex space with each new scene in which we, as viewers, ask ourselves question after question about international law in a post-colonial framework, about the challenges of doing justice while threatening to reopen old wounds and about guilt, forgiveness and reconciliation."

ADIEU SAUVAGE by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento received a special mention.

Jury: Susanne Burg (Editor at Deutschlandfunk Kultur), Mohamed Saïd Ouma (Filmmaker and executive director of Documentary Afric) and Jasmina Vignjevic (Festival manager for Syndicado)

Sponsored by Bayerischer Rundfunk, endowed with 10,000 euros. Nominated were films that show a broad spectrum of content and form and are distinguished by their high artistic quality.

VIKTOR DOK.deutsch Wettbewerb

Regie: Katja Baumgarten

Greta, a little girl, is stillborn. Four years later, her midwife is on trial for manslaughter. The charge is unusually severe. The court works meticulously. Perceptions and interpretations arise in the reconstruction of Greta’s birth, because social issues are also discussed at the same time as the case. A documentary narrative spanning ten years. Ina Borrmann

From the jury statement: "From an unpretentious and feminist standpoint, she tells the story of a progressive midwife and doctor whose life becomes a nightmare as a result of the trial. We become witnesses to a tendentious and unprecedented verdict that not only destroys an entire existence but also advances long-standing efforts to limit the work of independent midwives. With GRETAS GEBURT the filmmaker succeeds in making an essential contribution to this highly sensitive topic and impressively demonstrates the social relevance of documentary film work."

RUÄCH – EINE REISE INS JENISCHE EUROPA von Andreas Müller und Simon Guy Fässler received a special mention.

Jury: Niccolò Castelli (Director and artistic director of the Solothurn Film Festival and Director of the Ticino Film Commission), Neda Lukić (Festivals and Education Manager at Taskovski Films) and Johannes Rosenberger (Documentary film producer)

Endowed with 7,500 euros. The nominated films deal with people and topics from the German-speaking world. Sponsored by Sky.

VIKTOR DOK.horizonte Competition – Cinema of Urgency

Regie: Cyrielle Raingou

School, donkey riding, homework, romping around in bed before sleeping. That is what a carefree childhood in northern Cameroon could look like. But instead brothers Ibrahim and Mohammed spend their time talking about what their dead mother looked like and Falta has lost her father in a terror attack. School is guarded by heavily armed soldiers. The threat of Boko Haram is omnipresent. Barbara Off

From the jury statement: "The scars left by armed conflicts on individuals are multifaceted, with some being imperceptible at first glance. But how do these wounds manifest themselves? What forms of expression and language do they assume? And how do children, in particular, cope with experiences so traumatic they defy comprehension? Cyrielle Raingou's debut work captures the devastating impact of the military conflict with Islamist Boko Haram in her home country of Cameroon, imbuing the inexpressible with cinematic expression. Raingou's young protagonists offer insight into the experience of growing up in a world that is rife with danger, yet still characterised by trust, tenderness, and community."

ETILAAT ROZ by Abbas Rezaie, this year's opening film of DOK.fest Munich, received a special mention.

JuryAnca Păunescu (Film programmer), Güliz Saglam (Filmmaker and activist) and Chris Schinke (Journalist and author)

Sponsored by the Petra Kelly Foundation, endowed with 5,000 euros. The nominees were films that focus on countries with unstable structures.

FFF Talent Award Documentary Film

Regie: Melanie Liebheit & Gereon Wetzel

Agnes' years as a young chef in Europe's Michelin-starred restaurants are instructive: she convinces the head chefs with her ability, but the pressure is enormous. Can Agnes stand her ground in this male-dominated world? Her self-declared goal is to be the boss in her own restaurant. The directors get right up close to the action in extremely cramped spaces and grant us an insight into new approaches in high-end cuisine. Maren Willkomm

From the jury statement: "In a direct cinema style, always remaining close to the protagonists, the co-director Melanie Liebheit takes the audience behind the scenes of 'Haute Cuisine', with an exciting, entertaining narrative approach and clear dramaturgy. Little by Little, different working cultures are revealed and Agnes asks herself how she would like to work in the future: what kind of working environment is important to her? Which is right? And how can you combine family and career? Agnes represents a generation of young women who no longer take a back seat in male domains."

JuryMartin Blankemeyer (Board of Directors of Münchner Filmwerkstatt e.V.), Hannes Kaltenhauser (Cameraman, filmmaker and producer) and Elina Kewitz (Managing Director of New Docs)

Sponsored by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, endowed with 5,000 euros, awarded cross-series for Bavarian up-and-coming directors.

megaherz Student Award

Director: Jonathan Brunner

A no-go zone has been set up on the EU's external border with Belarus, where neither refugees nor aid workers are allowed to stay. It's a cat-and-mouse game with the authorities. It's just a matter of giving some stranded people a sleeping bag, some food or a few bottles of water. It's winter, the zone dark and merciless... And then there are the batteries. Jan Sebening

From the jury statement: "Through text messages, still tableaux and a camera that is in the right places at the right time, the film allows us to sense and feel how terrible the circumstances on the border between Belarus and Poland must be. Here, Europe’s external border becomes the setting for the dissolution of the very values that Europe is meant to represent. Without losing touch with its subject matter, the film portrays the work of the two activists Kornelia and Karolina. In its sensitive devotion to the protagonists, the film does not leave us alone but becomes a manifesto for humanity and justice."

Jury: Melissa Byrne (Students' Producer, Author), Johann Schilling (Student Director Documentary) and Denis Pavlovic (Student Director Documentary, Producer)

Sponsored by the film production company megaherz, endowed with 3,000 euros, for the winning film in the Student Award series.

DOK.edit Award presented by Adobe

Editing: Sylvie Gadmer & Mila Turajlić
Director: Mila Turajlić

Cameraman Stevan Labudović followed Yugoslavia’s President Tito on his transcontinental search for new allies during the cold war. Decades later, the director discovers the film footage created back then in a Belgrade film archive and turns it into a fascinating and touching account of an almost forgotten mission and a time full of hope for a better world. Monika Haas

From the jury statement: "NON-ALIGNED: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS is art of montage at its best. Sylvie Gadmer, the editor, intertwines the different levels of the film with an unpretentious elegance, a fact which makes the complexity and multi-layeredness of this cinematic cosmos seem light. In combination with the archive material the editing succeeds in making Stevan Labudović's visits to the historical locations of that time come alive, so that it seems as if one had been actually there. And last but not least, it is the director's voice that gives the film an additional depth with her personal thoughts and this leaves a long after-effect."

Jury: Peter König (Film editor), Sven Kulik (Film editor) and Barbara Toennieshen (Film editor)

The award was developed in cooperation with Adobe, who are also the sponsors of the 5,000 euros award. Its aim is to shed light on the post-production of documentary films and to honour the work of editors. Films with outstanding editing work are nominated. The prize is awarded across all series.

German Documentary Film Music Award

Composition: David Langhard
Director and author: Pawel Siczek

He wants “to prevent Europe from sacrificing Belarus to Russia.” This is how Andrei Sannikov describes his mission. He stepped down from his position as Vice Foreign Minister in 1996 in protest against Lukaschenko’s policies and directly challenged him as a presidential candidate in 2010. Sannikov was subsequently arrested, tortured and sentenced. Today he lives in exile in Poland. His fight for a free Belarus continues. Silvia Bauer

From the jury statement: "The German-Swiss documentary THIS KIND OF HOPE by Pawel Siczek is an important and exciting instructive film about the largely unknown political developments in Belarus over the last three decades, told through the story of the dissident Andrei Sannikov. The composer David Langhard’s consistent soundtrack complements the film narrative on many levels. Original song and genre music elements are superseded by dramatic motifs and pauses and breathing spaces are repeatedly created. In this way, the tension is continually maintained for the audience. For the brave decision to provide this important contemporary history film with music that is individual and strong in character, the 11th German Documentary Film Music Award at DOK.fest Munich 2023 goes to David Langhard."

Jury: Henrik Ajax (Freelance composer and lecturer), Ben Bassauer (Head of acquisitions and sales at Monoduo Films), Aline Schmid (Producer at Beauvoir Films, Geneva, CH), Ralf Schulze (Festival director and music publisher), Judit Varga (Composer, film composer, pianist and lecturer)

The award is endowed with 5,000 euros. The composer of the film is being honoured. It is donated by the Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung.

DOK.fest Award of SOS-Kinderdörfer weltweit

Regisseurin: Giulia Amati

10 year-old Kristos is the youngest of 30 inhabitants on the Greek island of Arki. As the only primary school child, he is at a crossroads: Should he carry on his studies at a boarding school or become a shepherd like his brothers? His teacher campaigns for him to continue his education. The film takes on Kristos’ perspective and plunges into his inner world. A moving insight that is visually radiant. Maren Willkomm

From the jury statement: "The film KRISTOS, THE LAST CHILD follows the educational and personal development of the young Kristos (...) The classroom becomes the setting for a chamber play involving the student and his teacher, who sees great potential in Kristos. (...) With extremely poetic, unhurried images, the director Giulia Amati captures the burden of the boy who seems to carry the happiness of the entire island on his shoulders. This special, lonely childhood – which is perhaps not a real childhood without any of the peer interaction that every child needs as a mirror on the path to becoming an adult – is recounted as if it were from another time. It is only at the boarding school that Kristos will learn to live on his own – far from the security and support of his teacher, who has advocated so strongly for him to continue his education. Kristos now has to practise engaging with his peers, which is something that has been lacking from his life to date."

Jury: Prof. Michaela Braun (Member of the friends of SOS-Kinderdörfer weltweit), Marietta Gottfried (Executive Producer Sky), Thilo Kasper (Teamlead Content-Strategy), Christine Kehrer (Head of TV/Video SOS-Kinderdörfer weltweit), Michaela May (Actress), Prof. Dr. jur. Heribert Prantl (Former member of the Editorship, now Columnist and Author of SZ) and Sophie von Uslar (Producer and Director, Hager Moss Film)

The DOK.fest Award of SOS-Kinderdörfer weltweit is donated by B.O.A Videofilmkunst and endowed with 3,000 euros. It honours films across all series that make the perspective of children and young people visible and tangible in a remarkable way. The award will be presented at DOK.fest München 2023 for the tenth time.

VFF Documentary Film Production Award

© Julia Sellmann

Producers: Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler (PIER 53 Filmproduktion)

Director: Pia Lenz

Does “eternal love” exist in the 21st century? When you see Eva and Dieter, you think: yes! The two have been a couple for almost 70 years. Together they have experienced ups and downs and always maintained respect and affection for each other. Now Eva is ill, it is time to take a look back – and prepare for the next step at the same time. Beautiful, intense, sad. A true love story. Anja Klauck

From the jury statement: "Conceived as a long-term observation whose original concept envisaged that it would be pursued until the death of one of the spouses, the project was difficult to calculate in terms of its outlay and costs. The impossibility of determining a clear completion date is in opposition to the German film industry’s processes. (...) With clever interventions into costings and funding applications, the Hamburg production company succeeded in realizing a project with an open outcome and unpredictable timeframe – and without allowing those involved creatively to exhaust themselves in the process"

Jury: Thomas Frickel (Author, Director and Producer), Nicola Jones (Location Manager Schleswig-Holstein at MOIN Filmförderung) and Thomas Riedelsheimer (Freelance filmmaker, cameraman and project developer)

The award is donated by the VFF Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film und Fernsehproduzenten mbH and is endowed with 7,500 euros. The award is the first in Germany to focus on the work of documentary film producers. In 2023 it will be awarded for the sixth time at DOK.fest München.

kinokino Audience Award, sponsored by BR and 3sat

Regisseurin: Giulia Amati

10 year-old Kristos is the youngest of 30 inhabitants on the Greek island of Arki. As the only primary school child, he is at a crossroads: Should he carry on his studies at a boarding school or become a shepherd like his brothers? His teacher campaigns for him to continue his education. The film takes on Kristos’ perspective and plunges into his inner world. A moving insight that is visually radiant. Maren Willkomm

Awarded and sponsored by kinokino, the film magazine of BR and 3sat and endowed with 2,000 euros.


We would like to thank our award donors, partners and supporters:

  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor
  • Logo Sponsor