DOK.composition Award

Sponsored by Sonoton Music, endowed with 2,500 euros


Few projects have so far focused on the collaboration between filmmakers and composers.

In order to strengthen this unique artistic alliance and promote the development of contemporary compositions, the Marketplace is presenting the DOK.composition Award, an advancement prize for documentary film and composition worth 2,500 euros. The award is sponsored by Sonoton Music.

The grants are awarded to musicians from the German-speaking region for the development of the score for a documentary film in the making. The aim is to support the development of the composition and the recording of the music for this project.

Award Donor: Sonoton Music

For more than 50 years, Sonoton Music has stood for top-class production music – both technically and musically. With over 50 international agencies, Sonoton is the world's largest independent provider of professional production music.

DOK.composition 2023

To this year's pitch

To this year's award ceremony (together with the German Documentary Film Music Award)


Submission deadline: 1 February 2023

Submission for the DOK.composition Award is now closed.

Award winners 2022: I DON'T WANT TO BE JUST A MEMORY by Bráulio Bandeira and Kei Watanabe (Composition), Sarnt Utamachote (Direction), Klaus Salminen (Production)

The last picture of a beloved person: I DON'T WANT TO BE JUST A MEMORY

The DOK.composition Award 2022 goes to Braulio Bandeira and Kei Watanabe for their musical concept for the film project I DON'T WANT TO BE JUST A MEMORY by Sarnt Utamachote.

Members of Berlin's Queer Club cultural community collectively mourn the sudden loss of their friends in 2019/20 (and the loss of urban shelters in general) by sharing some personal video clips, music, letters, and memories. As a meeting point between new and old generations, together they realize that there is no proof of their existence and all that matters is to consciously remember and appreciate the living presence of others.

Creating two tracks, the two composers will work side-by-side, following the common question: how to create a sonic safe space? With the live recording of moving queer bodies (breathing, touching, whispering), the instruments, usually associated with the process of letting go (in Srilankan/Japanese and Afroeuropean ancestry) and electronic music production, Deepneue’s polymetric track will create a sonic “club” with deconstructed rhythms of queer club music and dancers.

From the jury statement:

"With the DOK.composition Award, we honor the willingness to take risks, the reflexive approach to the limits of the experimental, and the innovative forces that such creative processes can generate. The bold performances at the pitches were sensual and poetic and left us wanting more."

Jury 2022:

Gerd Baumann (film composer, musician, head of the study programme "Composition for Film and Media" at the University of Music and Theatre Munich)
Antje Drinnenberg (filmmaker and producer)
Franziska Reck (film producer)
Christoph Schauer (film composer and musician)
Peter W. Schmitt (film composer and musician)


Award winners 2021: MAY IT BE A GIRL by Akmaral Zykayeva (composition), Katerina Suvorova (director) and Viktoriya Kalashnikova (producer)

From the jury statement:

”MAY IT BE A GIRL deals with a widespread phenomenon in Kazakhstan. The portrait film explores the self-perception of modern Central Asian women who have been given male names by their parents because they wanted a boy and not a girl as a child: One such name, for example, is Ulbolsyn - Shall it be a boy. The protagonists reflect on the meaning and consequences of their name and thus pose questions about the significance and place of women in family and society. [...] Musician and composer Akmaral Zykayeva aka Mergen will create an auteur soundtrack in close collaboration with director Katerina Suvorova and producer Viktoriya Kalashnikova. [...]"

Jury 2021:

Gerd Baumann (composer and musician)
Cristofer Frank (producer, composer, sound engineer)
Sabine Gisiger (documentary filmmaker and lecturer for documentary film ZHDK)
Alexander Kukelka (composer, lecturer Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)
Michaela Melián (artist and musician, Professor for Time-related Media HFBK, Hamburg)

Award winners 2020: AWALATJE – THE MIDWIVES by Anna-Marlene Bicking, Sarah Noa Bozenhardt and Sonja Kilbertus

The traditional midwife ENDAL, the medically trained midwife WELÄLA and the pregnant HULU embark upon a personal deliberation with womanhood. As the birth of Hulu's third child approaches, she crosses paths with both the traditional and modern system of midwifery - a profession that turns existing social structures in the village up-side-down: Women are in charge and speak their truths.

From the jury statement:

"Between director Sarah Noa Bozenhardt and composer Anna-Marlene Bicking, we perceive an intensive and grown cooperation that closely intertwines aesthetic and production processes. With the film project AWALATJE - DIE HEBAMMEN the young team approaches three women in Ethiopia, who move in the field of tension between traditional and modern obstetrics. In this microcosm, music becomes the supporting structural element through the ingenious transfer of contemporary electronic sounds, nature noises and sounds produced on traditional instruments - such as the kalimba. Directing concept, narrative dramaturgy and composition are directly intertwined, meticulous sound research on the part of the composer meets goal-oriented power and enthusiasm, which are motivated not least by an autobiographical moment of the director, who grew up in Ethiopia from the age of 12."

Jury 2020:

Dr. Meret Forster (BR-KLASSIK editor-in-chief and artistic director of the ARD music competition)
Brigitte Hofer (Producer, Managing Director maximage)
Jana Irmert (Composer, Sound Designer)
Alexander Kukelka (Composer)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schaefer (Lawyer, Former Managing Director of the FFF Bayern)


Award winners of the German Composition Funding Award 2019: MAU KE MANA – OR: WHERE ARE YOU GOING? by Max Guasepohl

Max Sänger, director of MAU KE MANA – OR: WHERE ARE YOU GOING? and Juror Alexander Kukelka

2019's German Composition Funding Award goes to Max Gausepohl for the composition project for MAU KE MANA - OR: WHERE ARE YOU GOING? directed by Max Sänger.

From the jury statement:

"Between Max Sänger and Max Gausepohl we feel a strong artistic force with which they embark on a courageous journey to Papua New Guinea. In the microcosm of the rainforest, director and composer search for the 'sound of wood' in all its facets and immerse themselves in the unbelievable space of experience of the woodcutters living there. The driving force behind this project lies in the abolition of the boundaries between the material and the immaterial, between sound design and music, between economy and myth, and finally between the documentary and the fictional. We see great potential in the interaction of direction and composition and are embarking on this promising journey."

Jury 2019:

Antonia Goldhammer (Journalist)
Alexander Kukelka (Composer, Conductor, Pianist, Author, Director, Music Supervisor)
Prof. Dr. Frizz Lauterbach (Editor, Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich)
Ulrich Reuter (Composer)
Nicole Vögele (Director)


Award winners of the German Composition Funding Award 2018: GO BACK! by Florian Erlbeck

left: Award winner German Composition Funding Award Florian Erlbeck

From the jury statement:

"The jury would like to support the project GO BACK! with the Composition Funding Award 2018 to work on an especially socio-politically relevant topic. It is about the portrait of a Bulgarian right-wing populist and his ambivalent self-image. The composer Florian Erlbeck does not want to manipulate with his composition, but rather create an open score in interaction with the filmic narrative, which should challenge the viewer to find his own position."