The Opening Speech of Festival Director Daniel Sponsel

10 years festival management DOK.fest München.

Today the 10th festival begins under my direction. What has happened in these ten years? I could now talk in detail about the cinema crisis or about the 1317 festival films from that time or about my grey hair. What I find interesting is what I wrote in my greeting to my first festival in 2010 - I quote: "The proof that Michael Moore's film SICKO had significantly led to a change in the American health care system, we have to remain guilty at this point for reasons of space". You remember: OBAMA CARE and an African-American president who won the Nobel Peace Prize. That all seems very, very, very long ago.

António Guterres and the stress test.

A line from my current greeting in our programme magazine has been quoted many times: "The world is currently going through a stress test", as António Guterres, our UN Secretary General, stated in his New Year's message. I find the fact that we have board members, supervisory board members and CEOs everywhere remarkable. After all, the global company UN can be run by a secretary. What I find reassuring about this New Year's message is the thought that we are currently not living in reality, but only in a simulation - I am worried with the knowledge that the Chernobyl gau was triggered by a stress test.


Greta Thunberg and the Gretchen Question.

Now there is Greta Thunberg, our good conscience. In her youthful naivety she expresses all that we only dare to think secretly from time to time. Our future is no longer as open as it could be, and we ourselves are the cause. In the latest UN report on species protection, 150 experts from 50 countries evaluated numerous studies over three years: The facts speak for themselves, 3/4 of the land area is exhausted and 1/3 of the oceans are overfished, the extinction of species has never been so high and it is very unlikely that the climate targets set will be achieved. Climate and species protection are not only environmental issues, but also responsible for development, political stability and social aspects such as refugee flows.

Despite the diesel scandal and the discussion about the CO2 tax, the automotive industry does not yet seem to have noticed this. Here we see a current advertisement. A highly motorised vehicle, with a combustion engine, driving off the beaten track, probably through a nature reserve - is this what the future of mobility looks like?

A recent survey shows that 3/4 of Germans demand that the government do more to protect the climate, while an even more recent study shows that 2/3 of Germans are against the CO2 tax. When playing chess you would call that a stalemate, in colloquial language: Wash me, but don't get wet - what do we do now?

In a recent radio advertisement in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a child asks his father: "You, Dad, what about climate protection? The world is so big and we are so small. What can a tiny person do?" I don't know if you'll find the answer in the SZ, at least it's quite simple and Greta constantly formulates it: We all have to change our lives.

In eight films, our DOK.focus humaNature series examines the not entirely unpolluted relationship between man and nature - or should it be called the other way round, the relationship between nature and man? Who actually has a relationship with whom here and who would like to part if it were possible?

ANASTASIA or the gender question.

Our Bundeswehr, on the other hand, has recognized the signs of the times. Although it is traditionally and generally a more male-dominated form of organization. Here we see Anastasia Biefang, a commander of the German Air Force. Anastasia Biefang was previously a man. Now it is not only possible for this extraordinary woman to have a career in the Bundeswehr, but the director Thomas Ladenburger was also allowed to accompany her on her way from man to woman, especially at her workplace with the Bundeswehr. This really exciting film sketches a very precise picture of where we currently stand in gender issues. The film will premiere on Friday in the studio and not only Thomas Ladenburger, but also Anastasia Biefang will be there - absolutely watch it.

PUSH or the basic right to housing.

Another change of topic: This likeable gentleman is successful in real estate in Toronto. It is a picture from the film PUSH by Fredrik Gertten. Not only here in Munich, but also in other cities on this world the business flourishes around the dwelling. As far as I know, there is the documented human right to adequate housing, which is anchored in Article 11 (Paragraph 1) of the UN Social Pact. This Covenant is not a non-binding declaration of intent: It guarantees all people rights which no state may endanger or for the observance of which a state is responsible. Despite intensive research, I have nowhere found a documented right to profit maximization through the business with real estate. The film PUSH accompanies UN Commissioner Leilani Farha in her work around the globe. No wonder, she has a lot to do. The film can be seen here on Friday at the Deutsches Theater. Leilani Farha and Fredrik Gertten will be guests.



I'll come back to the relationship between nature and us humans. Our opening film THE WHALE AND THE RAVEN by Mirjam Leuze testifies to the fact that there is something that is not so easy to put into words. And there are people who stand up for it and you will get to know them here on the screen tonight.

Thank you very much for your attention - I wish you all an emission-free trip to the west coast of Canada. And go to the cinema in the coming days, get to know the world, come to the 34th DOK.fest München.