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 and funded by Förderungs- und Hilfsfonds des Deutschen Komponist:innenverbands.

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.


The prerequisite for marketplace registration is a meaningful application including a compositional concept for a documentary film project. Applications can be submitted in German and English. German projects that have been successfully accepted by the Marketplace must submit a project description in English for the international catalogue by the end of March.

Submission is free of charge.

Submission deadline: 15 January 2024 – The submission for the DOK.composition Award is now closed.

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.

Sponsor: Förderungs- und Hilfsfonds des Deutschen Komponist:innenverbands


Award winning project 2024: KUĆE NA PIJESKU / HOUSES ON SAND

Award winners:

Dario Dodig and Nedjelko Kostanić (composers)

KUĆE NA PIJESKU / HOUSES ON SAND is the story about the consequences of the devastating 2020. Petrinja earthquake and the problems that were buried there over the past 30 years under the facade of post-war Renewal. Surrounded by bleak ruins, manipulations and political games, the protagonists are struggling not to lose heart as life in their devastated hometown becomes ever harder for their families.

Given that the film explores the story from four different perspectives, the soundtrack is intended to emphasize this through several themes. Each theme of the film, shaped as a musical motif, is used to highlight a specific emotional or thematic dimension of the story: The main theme of the film, inspired by the bleak sound of trumpets, like a signal for ending of a worker's break, echoing in desolate spaces, recurs throughout the film, evoking feelings of sadness, loss, and the need for unity. (...) The entire soundtrack is inspired by the use and manipulation of mechanical, organic sound elements found in the reality the film describes, similar to the approach taken in HBO's series CHERNOBYL by composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. (...)

Jury statement

"The film presents a politically highly charged story from contrasting perspectives – which also requires a corresponding reactivity on the music side. It is no coincidence that the director and producer decided in favour of the two musicians Nedjeljko Kostanić and Dario Dodig, who have developed a convincingly realistic sound concept. Based on field recordings, they create impressive soundscapes that condense the story, which affects the protagonists in different ways."

Jury 2024

Nina Goslar, Editor
David Langhard, Musician, composer and Producer
Grete Liffers, Producer, writer and director
Thomas Meinecke, Writer, musician and DJ
Armando Merino, Conductor


Award winning project 2023: HARVEST MOON

Award winners:

Rama Ayasra, Zeina Azouqah (composer)

In the Jordanian countryside, little rain reaches Abu Tareq, an elderly shepherd who farms a land that he rents and doesn’t own, with wisdom and spirituality passed on through generations of growing grains in the region. As the best lands for agriculture lay in the middle of the expanding city, Rabee and Lama, work with families and friends to farm fields between buildings, facing urbanization and governmental policies that have led to the complete dependency on imported wheat. Before its near extinction with globalization, the two activists are on a mission to bring Jordanian wheat back to the tables. HARVEST MOON witnesses a new generation of hope, discovering and reviving authentic culture created through connection to the land.

Music plays a crucial role in the film HARVEST MOON. We aim to compose a score that is inspired from the harvest traditional songs, the surrounding environment, and local musical instruments that reflect the identity and authenticity of the region. The ties to nature and the seasons are reflected in the score that utilizes instruments made of materials found in the agrarian society of the Levant region such as the Ney and frame drums. The shepherds and farmers made their instruments from the same crops they harvested, nourishing the soul as well as the body. Rama has worked with Zeina Azouqah on her short film CADENCE OF THE VALLEY using a similar approach by combining folklore music with cinematic film score. The score was recognized and awarded at international film festivals.

Jury statement

"We find the approach convincing to combine Arabic sound systems with tempered, modern sound worlds and to use authentic instruments. The film material is appropriately arranged, especially the connection of the score with the location of the action is successful. The integration of the sounds and movements of sowing and harvesting is harmoniously realised (harvesting sounds). We are looking forward to the post-production of the music and hope to support the compositional project with the award."

Jury 2023

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


Award winning project 2022: I DON'T WANT TO BE JUST A MEMORY

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

Award winners:

Bráulio Bandeira and Kei Watanabe (composition), Sarnt Utamachote (direction), Klaus Salminen (production)

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 pitch 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 winning project 2021: MAY IT BE A GIRL

Award winners:

Akmaral Zykayeva (composition), Katerina Suvorova (direction) and Viktoriya Kalashnikova (production)

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 winning project 2020: AWALATJE – THE MIDWIVES

Award winners:

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 – THE MIDWIVES 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 winning project 2019: MAU KE MANA – OR: WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

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

Award winners German Composition Funding Award 2019:

Max Gausepohl (composition), Max Sänger (director)

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 winning project 2018: GO BACK!

Award winner German Composition Funding Award 2018:

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."