In the past weeks, European fans of documentary film have had a pretty packed schedule. Two documentary festivals; DOK Leipzig and Jihlava IDFF; followed in close succession. Both of these festivals belong among the key partners of Doc Alliance and their activities are regularly reflected on the Dafilms portal. While the programming of the Jihlava festival also deals with films on the borderline between documentary and fiction film, the Leipzig festival includes the Animadoc competition section of animated documentaries. From October 31 to November 6, seven of the films presented in this section are available for free streaming.
Animated film has its specifics and limitations. The difference from traditional documentary film is obvious. While a documentarist aims his camera at the world around him, the maker of an animated film must create the world he wants to depict in the first place. What about the “documentary” qualities of such a project? The fact that “animated documentary” is no contradiction has been proved by the feature-length film Waltz with Bashir. Nominated for the Academy Award, the film tells about the trauma of Israeli soldiers who became bitter witnesses of massacres of civilians during the first Lebanon War. Successful with the audiences and critically acclaimed, Waltz with Bashir has shown the crucial advantage of animated documentary film; the possibility to depict a world that doesn’t exist anymore; to revive the dead and give shape to things long lost in the abyss of time.
The past, the passing of time and the reconstruction of memories represent the basic thematic link of the “Leipzig Selection” as well. Most frequently, the filmmakers look back to their childhood, bringing their parents or grandparents back to life (the fragile My Mother´s Coat and the playfully poetic Vovo) or revealing the dark moments of their life stories; ones they still have to come to terms with, like in Waltz with Bashir. In this respect, the expressive film1989 (When I Was 5 Years Old) gives a tough and impressive experience. While the past and the intimate sphere of man predominate in the selection, the film One Voice, One Vote shows that animated film does not have to stay on the level of fragile (self)portraits but can reflect on the general themes in the society as powerfully as traditional documentary film.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.