Zeughauskino Berlin
Oct 4-21, 2018


This year’s DOKUARTS-Symposium took place in cooperation with the European Documentary Network and discussed the historical, present and continuing formatization of media and culture as well as the interrelations between conditions of production, aesthetics and politics in the context of films on art and future prospects of the unformatted documentary film.

Date Friday, October 5th, 2 pm – 8 pm
Location Zeughauskino of the German Historical Museum, Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin
Conference Language German/English


The External Reality. Notes/Thoughts on the Relationship between Photography and Documentary Film

Bernd Stiegler, Professor of German Literature and Media History at the University of Konstanz

In his work “Theory of Film”, Siegfried Kracauer not only ontologically linked film to photography, from this theory, he also developed a decidedly ethical and political program in which he considered the un-controllable and the unformatted of these two media as their particular power.
How can this program be related to the changed situation of our present? Or has it long become obsolete?


Perspectives for documentaries beyond format

Paul Pauwels, Director European Documentary Network, Copenhagen

The documentary landscape is changing rapidly. The digital revolution is not only revolutionizing the way documentaries are produced and post-produced but it has also a huge influence on the way they are consumed and distributed. The traditional formats are still predominant, but for how much longer? Where are the margins of freedom for the unformatted documentary film beyond the traditional formats? Do they exist at all? If linear broadcasting should disappear, will it take the current formats down with it? Would that be a catastrophe or a blessing in disguise?

Format, form and power in German public television

Sabine Rollberg, Academy of Media Arts Cologne

Sabine Rollberg is professor of Artistic Television Formats at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. From 1999 to 2017, she was head of the ARTE editorial department at the WDR (West German Broadcasting). In her talk, she will give a critical outline of the history of the cultural channel ARTE where less and less programming slots and, above all, fewer resources are allocated to not-formatted documentary films. What are the reasons behind the dwindling importance of unformatted documentary films on television? And are museums and festivals the only remaining venues for such films in the future?

The private is still political!

Barbara Visser, Artist and Filmmaker, Amsterdam

Specialised in unusual essay films and documentaries about cultural and scientific phenomena, award winning Dutch visual artist Barbara Visser was artistic director of the world’s biggest documentary festival IDFA in Amsterdam in 2017. What is the significance and value of artists portraits and films on art in a documentary scene and industry, which is highly politicised? What are the future prospects of experimental author driven documentary work on TV and in cinemas?

Filmmaker’s rights - A Kubrick case study

Tony Zierra, Filmmaker, Los Angeles

In his bold documentary film Filmworker, Tony Zierra retraces the carrier path of actor and Stanley Kubrick-assistant Leon Vitali while critically examining the working methods of the famous director. As filmmaker and producer, Zierra had to deal with Warner Bros. as well as Kubrick’s family. Because of the unaffordable license fees, and in order to sustain his independence, he made good use of the right to quote. His archive material-rich film celebrated its world premiere at Cannes. Here, Zierra offers insights into the fascinating production process.


With Paul Pauwels, Sabine Rollberg, Bernd Stiegler, Barbara Visser, Tony Zierra


Crossroads and The Exploding Digital Inevitable

Ross Lipman, Filmmaker, Restorationist, Film Scholar, Los Angeles

Bruce Conner’s Crossroads, a meditative montage from original footage of the first underwater nuclear weapon testing at Bikini Atoll (1946), is showcased in a newly restored digital version, framed by a two-part “live-essay” by independent filmmaker, restorationist, and film scholar Ross Lipman. Armed with interviews and archive material, Lipman tells the astonishing story of the film’s production and places this masterpiece of unformatted cinema into its historical context.

Moderation of the symposium:
Jörg Taszman (Film critic, amongst others for Deutschlandradio Kultur, Die Welt, epd Film)