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)

Arbnor lost his sister in the 2016 attack at the Olympia shopping centre, Hasan and Sibel their son. For a long time, the relatives had to fight for the state to recognise the racist background of the crime. Only after the attacks in Halle in 2019 and Hanau in 2020 did they succeed. The film is part of the EINZELTÄTER trilogy, which is dedicated to people who lost relatives in the attacks in Munich, Halle and Hanau.


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

Eva is 83 and Dieter 86. In 1952 they danced together for the first time. They wrote love letters to each other and imagined a life together. They got married, built a house and had three children. They lost one daughter. At the beginning of filming, they have been a couple for 66 years. What remains of it and what still counts now? A journey from today to yesterday and back to tomorrow for all of us.


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 is no longer entered in competitions by her association and falls into a severe depression. Through hard training she achieves her usual performance again and goes public with her story. A film about courage, dependence, power and willpower in top-class 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.