New Award as of 2022: Documentary Film Award of Goethe-Institut


The Documentary Film Award of Goethe-Institut honours an outstanding German documentary film of the current year. From 2022 there will be an innovation: the prize will then be awarded alternately in Munich, Leipzig, Duisburg and Kassel. On 30 October 2021 it was awarded to REPUBLIC OF SILENCE by Diana El Jeiroudi at DOK Leipzig as part of this new procedure, and on 14 May 2022 at DOK.fest München to LIEBE, D-MARK UND TOD by Cem Kaya.

The Goethe-Institut is an ambassador for German film worldwide. 158 Goethe-Instituts in 98 countries show the latest developments in German cinematic art. Due to its special film aesthetic and its versatility, German documentary film has always been a permanent fixture in the Goethe-Institut's repertoire. Documentary films tell real stories, portray personalities, ask questions about social upheavals and deal intensively with social and societal issues.

The documentary film of the Goethe-Institut is endowed with 2,000 euros. In addition, the Goethe-Institut acquires the non-commercial worldwide screening rights of the film. In addition to primarily cinematic criteria, the film should have a reference to Germany in connection with an intercultural or global perspective. From 2022 onwards, the Documentary Film Award will be presented in rotation at four different documentary film festivals. The new procedure started in May 2022 at DOK.fest München and will now take place in the turn of the year at the DOK Leipzig festival, the Duisburg Film Week and the Kassel Dokfest.


Laureate film 2021: REPUBLIC OF SILENCE

In autumn 2021, the Documentary Film Award of Goethe-Institut was given to the film REPUBLIC OF SILENCE (Syrian Arab Republic/Germany/France/Italy/Qatar 2021, 181 min.) by Diana El Jeiroudi at the Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film.

With a radically personal view, the director assembles different fragments from her life into an intimate cinematic diary. In doing so, she allows us an insight into Syria's conflict-ridden history of the last 40 years that overwrites the stereotypical images conveyed by the media and thus allows an alternative approach. She uncompromisingly exposes the audience to their injuries and traumas, but also to the violence of war. In a virtuoso montage, she weaves together the diverse possibilities offered by the medium of film. A plea to the world public to be aware and not to remain silent in the face of war and dictatorship.

Jury 2021

The 2021 jury consisted of film experts from the Goethe-Institut: Marina May, Maren Willkomm (both head office of the Goethe-Institut in Munich) and Julian Volz (Goethe-Institut Belgium).


Laureate film 2022: LIEBE, D-MARK UND TOD

In May 2022, the Documentary Film Award of Goethe-Institut took place for the second time and the award at DOK.fest München went to LIEBE, D-MARK UND TOD by Cem Kaya (Germany 2022, 96 min.).

A precisely researched, lively and eye-opening tour de force through more than half a century of German-Turkish history: The Turkish guest workers brought their music with them to Germany. "Why were we separated? The cruel train to a foreign country tore you away from me...". Left alone, discriminated against and exploited in a country that was supposed to be their hope and future. The situation of the guest workers was precarious. Listening to their own music was a distraction and comfort, but it also always had a political dimension. Revolt and protest were important contents. A great musical wealth emerged completely under the radar of the German public, a culture with its own stars, labels and cassette shops, which has now reached the second and third generations. A hidden treasure!

Jury 2022

The 2022 jury included Ameer Masoud (cultural mediator, architect and artist), Diana El Jeiroudi (documentary film director and winner of the Documentary Film Award of Goethe-Institut 2021) and Eva Lautenschlager (consultant in the field of film television radio of Goethe-Institut). Read more


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Renate Heilmeier
Advisor Department Film
Goethe-Institut Zentrale

Viola Noll
Dep. Press Officer / Head Office

DOK.fest München

Nele Ayleen Stoß