VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2023:

The Nominees



The process of making a documentary film is particularly difficult to plan and often involves great uncertainty. Yet time and again producers demonstrate great courage and show special creativity and commitment in project development and film financing. With the presentation of the VFF Documentary Film Production Award at DOK.fest München, we honour the passionate commitment and the role of producers in the development of current cinema documentary projects.

The award is sponsored 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.


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The Nominees

Germany 2023, Julian Vogel, 82 min.
Producers: Ümit Uludağ, Martin Roelly, Erik Winker (CORSO Film- und Fernsehproduktion)

In July 2016, nine young people were killed in a racist-motivated attack at the Olympia Shopping Centre in Munich. The film gives the surviving relatives a voice. In an instant, their lives came apart at the seams. Now they are campaigning for the state to classify the shooting not as a killing spree but a right-wing extremist attack. A compassionate, deeply moving chronicle.


Winning film:


Germany 2023, Pia Lenz, 87 min.
Producers: Carsten Rau, Hauke Wendler (PIER 53 Filmproduktion)

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.


Germany 2023, Katja Baumgarten, 96 min.
Producer: Katja Baumgarten (viktoria11.de Dokumentarfilm)

Greta, a little girl, is born lifeless. Four years later, her midwife is on trial for manslaughter. The charge is unusually harsh. The court works meticulously. Ideas and interpretations emerge in the reconstruction of Greta's birth, because social issues are also negotiated at the same time as the case. A documentary narrative of ten years.


Germany 2022, Andreas Wolff, 78 min.
Producers: Andreas Wolff (Andreas Wolff Film)

“Every day can change everything, involves risks and chances, good luck and bad luck.” Top snowboarder Silvia Mittermüller stops being selected for competitions by her sport’s governing body and develops severe depression. She trains hard to get back on form and goes public with her story. A film about courage, dependence, authority and willpower in elite sport.


Germany 2022, Joya Thome, 84 min.
Producers: Katharina Bergfeld, Martin Heisler (FLARE FILM GmbH)

Whitney Bjerken from the USA is a world-famous YouTuber and gifted singer-songwriter, the quiet but sensitive Yara from Germany one of her biggest fans. Connected by the glittering world of social media and their passion for gymnastics, they begin to find out who they are. A coming-of-age film about success and loneliness, friendship and first love, queer coming out and the courage to find one's own voice.


Germany 2023, Charly Wai Feldman, 90 min.
Producers: Antje Boehmert, Anna von Dziembowska (DOCDAYS Productions GmbH)

Sara and Yusra Mardini come from a family of top athletes in Syria. When their inflatable boat's engine failed during their refuge in 2015, they jumped into the water and kept the boat on course until Lesbos. Later, Yusra swims in the Olympic Games, while Sara returns to Lesbos to help refugees. In 2018, she is arrested for this. After three months, she is released on bail and is still waiting for her trial – she is facing 20 years in prison.


Germany/France/UK/Ukraine 2023, David Belton, 81 min.
Producers: Regina Boucheri, Gunnar Dedio (LOOKS Filmproduktionen GmbH)

For one year, the film team travelled through Ukraine and other European countries and asked Ukrainian women to tell their stories – in a wooden video box: undisguised, without an interviewer, without a time limit. A dense narrative about refugees who struggle with having left their country, about women who have stayed and learned to live with the threat, about Ukrainian women who have decided to fight on the front lines.


Germany/Netherlands 2023, Jialing Zhang, 97 min.
Producers: Michael Grotenhoff, Knut Jäger, Saskia Kress, Thomas Tielsch, Jialing Zhang (Filmtank GmbH)

China is in the process of establishing a Big Data-based dictatorship. This long-term documentary provides exclusive insights into the lives of activists living under extreme surveillance and shows ordinary citizens whose daily behaviour is assessed on an experimental scale of points. A highly emotional documentary about a system in which everyone watches everyone else.


Jury VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2023

We are pleased to introduce the jury that will select the winner of the VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2023.


The film at the festival

The award winner FÜR IMMER and some of the other nominated films will be screened at the 38th DOK.fest München from 3 to 21 May 2023:

3 to 14 May 2023 at the Munich venues
8 to 21 May 2023 @home

The VFF Documentary Film Production Award will be presented at a festive award ceremony with film screening on Thursday, 4 May 2023, at 6.00 pm at Deutsches Theater.