The center piece of the Kassel Dokfest is the film program, divided into three sections:


The exhibition Monitoring shows contemporary media installations and other time-based media works by up-and-coming as well as well-known artists

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The DokfestLounge is not only the location for audiovisual performances by international artists, VJs and DJs but also the nocturnal meeting point for our guests after 10.30 pm.

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The Workshop symposium interfiction offers lectures, presentations and workshop-sessions concerning a yearly changing topic, which takes a closer look at the political, social and artistic aspects of the medium internet.

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The educational side program is aimed at school students from the 8th till the 13th grade as well as teachers. The project consists of special film programs as well as workshops about film analysis and criticism under the guidance of media educators.

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The artist talks, lectures and screenings of the DokfestForum raise questions about the interfaces between film and art.

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With the Hessian University Film Day, the presentation of a European Film College and hands-on workshops and lectures, the Kassel Dokfest offers possibilities for further education, information on education opportunities and access to professional networks for (Hessian) up-and-coming filmmakers.

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Short Film

204 short and mid-length documentary and experimental films will be presented this year at the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival.

The six members of the selection committee had the task of capturing the themes and trends in contemporary film production from around  2,000 films submitted. The result is a program ranging from observational documentaries to abstract animations, personal essays to queer political music videos to artistic-activist field tests. From films sighting places to family portraits, an incredible diversity of filmic examination of reality.


Filmmaking is a constant renegotiation of visibility, which produces the new and replaces and overlaps with the old. The way in which we speak of the world and create images for this purpose is highly dependent of the generation we are part of, the times and the societal circumstances we live in; this means that history is written in the present. The view upon the past is always negotiable. It remains something that can't be fixated and rather ambivalent. The task of filmmaking – dealing with history and memory – is a challenge but it is possible, as the short films of this year's Kassel Dokfest prove. We have learned from history that there is such a thing as wrong interpretation and polarization, which incite hate, feed and create fears. These year's short films deal with this process of interpretation and encourage a debate about how we can create a narrative, which does not polarize, does not discriminate, does not label people, which takes down physical and psychological barriers and is not part of nation state discourses.

In the program REHEARSAL IN PROGRESS! the repetition and reevaluation of a moment works as a tool for a subversive appropriation of history and memory, in which the films oscillate between staged and documentary performances. This year's art program HANDLED WITH CARE tells a tale about censorship in art, precarious work in the cultural sector and rebellious art. The films show the contemplation on neo-liberal market logic on the one hand and how some artistic works can be marketed quite well, despite of their rebellious origins on the other. THE WAR OUTSIDE brings together films, which offer us insights to war-ridden areas, which have escaped our focus, either because the public media does not cover them or because war has become a part of daily life in these areas. A usual point camera view can challenge getting used to a normality of war or environmental catastrophe (CONTAMINATED). A midnight program sheds an eerie light on the current state of the USA (AMERICAN GOTHIC). In IN THE SYSTEM, there is a special focus on autobiographical approaches. Also, in our dreams, we philosophize about our views on the world (CAUGHT IN THE DREAM MACHINE). Which responsibility do filmmakers have towards the protagonists? In the program REGARDING RESISTANCE empowerment strategies of People of Color are made visible.
INTERNATL SECURITY analyzes the current inner-German political mood as well as disparities of information, power and force. Scientific utopias, fictitious ideas for the future and the construction of imaginary models describe the programs THE FABRIC OF THE FUTURE and LABORATORIUM. Thinking in images, cinematic thinking means to take a position as a person in the visual field. But what happens, if machines produce our experience of the world (MACHINE VISIONS)?
Who owns the public space and where does the private begin (HOME STORIES)? Two programs discuss how political upheaval (TO THE FUTURE TURNED WE STAY) and relations of power (URBAN REGIMES) inscribe themselves into the architecture and structure of public spaces. LEISURE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and WAITING FOR THE PUNCH are dedicated to the world of spectacle, consumption and entertainment. The films of SUNSET BOULEVARD tell a tale of romanticism and kitsch in a consumer society and those of FOREVER&EVER deal with the highs and lows of human relations.

Thinking in images is a learning process as well as an interpretation of one's own life – it's in a
sense autobiographical. In the program ALL ABOUT MY FATHER this relationship is tested in various ways. Keeping in mind that we have many biographies, identities, perspectives and slip into different roles (TOTEM AND TABOO). And last but not least, the legendary program SHORT&SWEET, which shall not be missed, as well as the MATINEE (THEY CALL IT REALITY), which is an integral part of the festival.

Download Program Schedule

Golden Hercules – Film program from Northern Hesse

One of the declared aims of the Kassel Dokfest is to present regional works next to the works of international filmmakers and artists – on equal terms. The festival program includes 50 fictional, animation or documentary films of filmmakers from Northern Hesse. The commitment to the region – approximately 20 per cent of all presented works are from Northern Hesse – is very important for the Kassel Dokfest. The last years have shown that local talent and regional works are by all means able to compete and that the festival can serve as a steppingstone to national and international recognition. Proof positive of this is Christian Wittmosers film “Emily Must Wait“ which won the Golden Hercules last year and by now has been shown in numerous national and international festivals.

Feature Film

The documentary feature film traditionally constitutes the center piece of the Kassel Dokfest. 54 films will be presented during this year's festival in the cinemas “Gloria” and “Filmladen”. This section shows documentary films with a total running time of more than 65 minutes; one focus lies on film productions from German-speaking regions.

The final program in 2017 has been selected from more than 500 feature film submissions. The criteria, which influence the selection, are the political, social and cultural relevance of the topics as well as the artistic handling of this topic in the submitted work. Next to more classical forms of presentation, the Dokfest is open for the introduction of innovative formats, which show alleged boundaries of the genre, the might and the power of manipulation of images. Furthermore low or no budget productions, works by up-and-coming artists as well as new projects of well-known filmmakers at the Kassel Dokfest receive special attention during the selection process:because accompanying documentary works-in-progress continually is as important to us as offering a platform for the perspectives of bold and extraordinary projects.

A viewing committee, consisting of five people with different professional backgrounds (since 2009), is responsible for the selection of this section. Next to their interest in the political and cultural happenings of the world and their curiosity towards courageous and unconventional (life) stories, this group of four is unified in a cinematic obsession for documentary film in all its topical and aesthetic forms as well as their pleasure in passionate discussion about the best documentary films for the Kassel film festival.  

Every year the committee members take part in several national and international film festivals and other meetings of the film industry. Here the aim is to get an overview of the newest productions and foster contacts with filmmakers, before the main viewing process of the yearly submissions starts in the late summer months. 

Obviously, the selection is only able to show a part of the increasing abundance of documentary work every year, trying to none-the-less cover a broad spectrum of topics and forms and reaching an equally broad audience during the festival days.


Documentary films have looked at us with many different faces. They are equally at home in the world of art but can also be used for scientific purposes. Or even as a remedy for dealing with the past.

Films, which deal with strokes of fate, family dramas and secrets of the past, can also act as a motivational factor for filmmakers to face their own story via film. In the student production DEAR ME, Luise Makarov writes a letter to herself, the one she never received from her ex-boyfriend. Experienced filmmakers such as Thomas Frickel don’t shy away from the confrontation with painful experiences of loss or processing it through the burning lens of filmmaking in WUNDER DER WIRKLICHKEIT. A family secret – which transgresses the boundaries of birth and overflows into the next generation, like the “pink elephant” in the room that nobody wishes to talk about – is the trigger for WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND.

Apple and Volcano – In Search of What Remains is a production, which raises the question of how to deal with the awareness that life is finite.

Another focus for this year's selection lies on films, which create a bigger context than merely showing a singular fate and therefore display the immanent correlations of society. The films range from the question of “What is a human life worth?”, which is answered by the restitution specialist and attorney Ken Feinberg in the film PLAYING GOD to a marginal phenomenon, which has been gaining popularity in Scandinavia: In HOBBYHORSE REVOLUTION, we encounter young people training hard with their hobbyhorses, gathering at large tournaments or simply “going for a ride”. A Dublin based bed shop sends its employee to stand at an intersection for promotional purposes, wrapped up in a mattress. If this will be enough to save the shop from bankruptcy and personal life is shown in MATTRESS MEN. “If there is no money there, I'll just become a soldier, then my mom will be happy”, a young Argentinian man confesses in the film SOLDADO. And how can political participation be encouraged during a film festival? For example, by putting the portrait of AFD politician Jörg Meuthen (MEUTHENS PARTY) or the political concerts of Feine Sahne Fischfilet (WILDES HERZ) up for discussion.

The Team of the feature film section is looking forward to watching and discussing this year's films together with you.


Download Program Schedule

Fulldome films

On the occasion of the honorary prize awarded to Rotraut Pape in 2016, the Kassel Dokfest showed Fulldome films for the first time. Due to the great interest it attracted and as an addition to the festival profile, this year, the Kassel Dokfest will be presenting eight innovative Fulldome films, which give an insight into the new possibilities of the medium of dome films. Klaus Dufke (FH Potsdam), Rotraut Pape (HfG Offenbach) as well as Micky Remann (Bauhaus-Universität
Weimar) have compiled the program with friendly support of the FullDome Festival Jena and
will also be presenting it.

Completely submerging in an illusion is an ancient goal of humanity and art. The Dome, always a special place in the course of our cultural history, as a place of refuge and worship (caves), as an interface (church), a manifestation of power (architecture) and imagination (holodeck), as well as spirituality (firmament). After special planetariums were equipped with new projection technology, an innovative, audiovisual medium arose, taking account of this very special spatial situation in immersive experienced films: the fulldome film.

The audience is surrounded by images and sound and has to move independently to follow the stories. Liberated from the perspective of the external observer, one no longer sits in front of the
stage or screen but rather in the midst of things and from then on shifts into the center of the
world as viewer.


Friday, 17.11. 16:30 – 17:30
presented by Rotraut Pape
Saturday, 18.11. 12:30 – 13:30
presented by Micky Remann.
Saturday, 18.11. 16:30 – 17:30
presented by Klaus Dufke
Planetarium in der Orangerie

Reservations for all programs can be placed in advance by phone. Please do so, because of the limited seats at the planetarium:
DI. – SO. 10:00 –17:00 + DO. 10:00 –20:00

Tickets can be picked up15 minutes at the latest before the beginning of the program at the cassier at the Orangerie. For accredited guests there is a certain amount of free tickets - when these are sold out you can buy tickets at the regular price.

Single ticket 6,- / 4,- €
Kids till 18 years 2,- €




JALOUSIEN is a music video by the Berlin-based electronica band “AB Syndrom”. Imagine yourself
being isolated from the rest of the world and feeling completely alone. Deep bass bubble, immersive shutter action and the dream about breaking free.

Deutschland 2015 / 04:00 Min.
Regie: Aljoscha Suess


Schwimmende Einhörner
It suddenly starts poring with rain and Marlene sits on top of all that she owns in the middle of a
sleeping city. Wet, could and a little afraid, she is confronted with somebody she did not expect.

Deutschland 2011 / 05:00 Min.
Regie: Stephanie Kayß


Listen Carefully
LISTEN CAREFULLY interprets Bruce Mau‘s „Incomplete Manifesto for Growth“ as an urban road
movie. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and
complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

Deutschland 2012 / 06:00 Min.
Regie: Sebastian Hilgetag


Activate Unlock
The watchman wakes up and sees the image of a girl who got stuck in a dead end. She cannot go
on without him. The computers display a robot, a train operator and a pig. A series of carefully timed actions is necessary to activate the elevator mechanism that will let the girl continue her journey.

Deutschland 2014 / 05:00 Min.
Regie: Nicolas Gebbe


An old man can’t sleep. In between of weird dreams and old memories he awakes, confused
and haunted by something he can’t see. His cat however sees the “Nachtmahr” creeping in the
nightly shadows and is for itself out for a hunt.

Deutschland 2017 / 07:00 Min.
Regie: Elia Hüneburg


More than 100,000 chemical reactions happen in your brain every second. So what about the moment you saw the girl of your dreams, and she saw you? If we could capture those few seconds what would the data look like?

Großbritanien 2015 / 05:00 Min.
Regie: Aaron Bradbury | Luniere


Das Indianische Meisterstück
A group of Native Americans got captured by a horde of bandits. One of the natives manages to
escape and is about to return with two other friends to free his brothers. Can the chief rescue
his brothers in this dark gloomy forest? Adaptation of a story by Karl May.

Deutschland 2017 / 06:00 Min.
Regie: Raphael Schardt


“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it‘s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are…We can explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever.” Bill Hicks

Kanada 2014 / 07:26 Min.
Regie: Dominic St-Amant , Olivier Rhéaume

A Wall Is A Screen

November 17 / 9 p.m.  / meeting point: Opernplatz

Both guided city tour and outdoor short film screening, the Hamburg collective A Wall Is A Screen returns to Kassel. A Wall is a Screen creates a new context for the moving image and takes over neglected spaces, familiar buildings and commercial facades for ten minutes of lovingly curated short film before moving on to the next location. This temporary symbiosis between film and architecture creates a new perception of and in the public space.

Let's shed a different light onto the city's architecture and transform the nightly Kassel into a special one time venue.

The tour lasts about 90 minutes and will take place in any weather.

No tickets are required to take part.