It was founded in 1955 by the 'club of film-makers of the German Democratic Republic' (Club der Filmschaffenden der DDR) under the title “All-German Leipzig Week for Cultural and Documentary Film”, as the first independent film festival of the GDR. During the Cold War, the festival was a unique place of encounter and exchange for film-makers from East and West. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Leipzig Festival has developed into one of the most dynamic festivals for documentary and animated film, providing a high-quality programme and – since 2004 – additional industry offers.
Artistic animated film is an integral part of the festival for decades and is represented with its own, independent competition since 1995. This ‘twin-track character’ makes Leipzig unique in the festival landscape.
Traditionally, the Leipzig Festival stands for films advocating peace and human dignity. In view of its varied and exciting history, it celebrates freedom of mind and speech, as well as pointedly illustrated images. High-quality art house cinema, superbly narrated stories, a critical eye, subtle observation, tracing back history and scrutinizing the "memory of images" shape the Leipzig Festival’s character and diversity.
The DOK Festival’s film programme includes:
* International Competitions Documentary and Animated Film
* German Competition Documentary Film
* International Young Talent Documentary Competition
* Information and Special Programmes
Alongside the festival, DOK Leipzig organises a number of industry offers for film-makers, producers, commissioning editors, theatrical exhibitors, distributors, journalists and documentary newcomers. Under the title "DOK Industry" the festival provides networking opportunities for film-makers, producers and international industry professionals, financing opportunities for new film ideas, arranges co-productions and presents recently completed productions to festival programme organisers, distributors and TV buyers.