Exciting Documentaries

In addition to the previously announced films THE PROJECTIONIST by Abel Ferrara and WOMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand & Anastasia Mikova, the documentary format is strongly represented this year at the 53rd Hof International Film Festival 2019 with a total of 27 national and international productions. The themes include portraits of unconventional artists or cultural institutions such as the Burgtheater in Vienna or the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch, as well as climate change and eco-farmers in northern Germany, starting a family or institutionalized children, and homeless people fighting for their dignity. They are all looking for a place in our society.

We would like to present some films from the program:

Direction: Selina Miles (AUS)
In New York in the 1970s, photographer Martha Cooper took some of the first pictures of graffiti that appeared on the city’s subway cars. Her visionary photographs contributed to the spread of graffiti around the world and had a significant impact on the hip hop movement. She became an icon of street art.

Director: Liam Firmager (AUS)
Pioneer. Inspiration. Survivor. SUZI Q tells the final, unabridged story of the Detroit City girl who, after her international breakthrough in 1973, redefined the role and image of women in rock’n’roll. With Alice Cooper, Debby Harry, and many others.

Director: Robert Kreuzer (D)
A film about the lifelong consequences of institutionalized children. About the lack of preparation for life on the outside. About a system that is broken. And about what nobody else reports about. When children reach the age of 18, they are released into a world they do not know.

Directors: Victoria Piczman & Britta Schoening (D)
A youth opera, initiated by the Argentinian-Swiss puppeteer Frida Leon, puts a group of “cartoneros” in the limelight. Facundo and Cristina, who work as urban recyclers and live in the slums of Buenos Aires, participate in the project. As puppeteers, they will be on stage for the first time at a major opera house.

Director: Nicola Alice Hens (D/F)
At the age of 99, the little white-haired woman tours the whole world like a rock star. Marthe Hoffnung Cohn is a superstar of the “WWII-witnesses”. She gives lectures that are peppered with punchlines, quick-wittedness and charm. Marthe captivates her audience with her incredible life story: Marthe Hoffnung, a French Jew from Metz, decided in 1945 to risk her life as a spy for the Allied forces in Nazi Germany and to fight for the end of the war. Then she didn’t talk about her incredible story for 60 years. The film presents, partly in animated pictures, an impressive view of her path through life.

Director: Anne Osterloh (D)
The film sketches the essence and impact, history and present day of the Berlin drama school “Ernst Busch”. It takes the school’s relocation in 2018 as an opportunity to capture the contradictions between artistic and economic interests in post-reunification Berlin and the present. With Lars Eidinger, Leander Haußmann, Nina Hoss, Claudia Michelsen, Devid Striesow, and many others.

Director: Marc Pierschel (D)
On the Butenland farm, many former farm animals live at eye level with human beings – without having to fulfill any requirements. A peaceful coexistence that seems almost utopian. With their project, Jan Gerdes and Karin Mück are designing a radical counter-model to livestock husbandry, in which the needs of the animals are the main focus, far away from any economic interests.

Director: John David Seidler (D)
In 1981, Taiwan hosted its first women’s soccer World Cup – at a time when the DFB more tolerated than encouraged women’s football, which was officially banned in Germany until 1970. Since no women’s national team existed, the German record champions SSG 09 Bergisch Gladbach were invited to Taipei. They had to pay their own travel expenses – and promptly won the title. In the following year, the first women’s national team within the DFB was founded.

Director: Hendrik Schäfer (D)
Motty and Alon, a gay couple from Tel Aviv, want to have twins with the help of their American surrogate mother Krista. For an entire year, they are accompanied on their path to paternity. They are confronted with the financial, medical, social and religious challenges that Israel presents them with. Based on their closely observed personal history, the film raises questions about parenthood, social norms and the zeitgeist of our technologically advanced world.

Director: Matthias Affolter (CH)
Homeless people dare to look in the mirror. In Anna Tschannen’s mobile hairdressing salon they encounter their own stories – shaped by life on the street. In intimate shots, the camera accompanies the protagonists through the hidden corners of the city and shows their struggle for autonomy and dignity. And while they talk about their lives in the hairdresser’s chair, their stories gradually take on a new face.

Directors: Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet (F)
Stop motion animator, designer and director Phil Tippett has created numerous legendary characters throughout his career, from Jabba the Hutt to the monster insects in STARSHIP TROOPERS. But behind this ingenious Hollywood technician, who won an Oscar® for RETURN OF THE JEDI and JURASSIC PARK, is an obsessed artist. For this film, the two directors had exclusive and unrestricted access to the collections and archives of the Tippett studios in Berkeley. They follow Tippett’s legacy from his collaborations with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Paul Verhoeven to his more personal films such as PREHISTORIC BEAST and MAD GOD.

Director: Nick Schader (D)
The film accompanies the climate movement in the lignite-fired Hambach region for more than two years until spring 2019 and tells the story of the bitter struggle of environmental activists for climate justice and against the energy giant RWE.

Director: Luisa Bäde (D)
The 1980s in the GDR – Frank’s puppeteer group is arrested for distributing pacifist leaflets. After being sentenced to imprisonment, the defendants are offered the opportunity to go to the West through a secret buy-out of political prisoners. Frank remains. As does the question of who betrayed them?

Director: Angela Christlieb (A)
The film leads through the improvised spaces of Janka Industries, an underground cellar vault and creative microcosm of the Viennese subculture. Chris Janka and his brother Ali are passionate inventors, artists, music lovers, sound freaks and electronerds. They have turned the empty basement of a factory building they moved into in the 1980s into a place that is unique and not only in Vienna: a creative microcosm of the local subculture.

Director: Tom Fröhlich (D)
Six people reveal their own interpretation and search for the perfect black. Eike Günther is an astrophysicist – he can define the perfect black, but never find it. Marine biologist Antje Boetius explores the ocean – the black depth is her home. As a musician, Katja Krüger can make the perfect black audible. Dieter Kirchner searched for what seems like an eternity until he found the perfect black in an obsedian stone.

Director: Jean-Baptiste Filleau (D)
Blalla, Mom, Dad, Germany. The artistic hallucinations of the German painter of the 20th century: Blalla W. Hallmann. A journey that will leave its mark as you immerse yourself in the artist’s cosmos.

Director: Andonia Gischina (D)
Unconventional musician, visual artist, cook, diva, hypochondriac – Hannes Wienert is all of this and much more. For 14 months, the filmmaker accompanies her protagonist to concerts and exhibitions, to the purchase of his very first mobile phone or to the dentist. Wienert turns every place into a stage, every person into an audience, every event into an anecdote.

Directors: Wiltrud Baier & Sigrun Köhler (D)
The Fools’ Master Christoph faces a big problem: far too many and, above all, too many false fools from the surrounding areas want to take part in the famous Rottweiler carnival parade. In spite of strict rules, like the knowledge of the Swabian dialect or regulations for the precious and expensive costumes and hand-carved masks, thousands of fools come into the city and every year there are more and more. And under no circumstances should women dress up as little horses.

Directors: Julian Brimmers & Benjamin Westermann (D)
20 years after the release of their classic ‘Unter Tage’, RAG take stock. With only two LPs, the rappers Aphroe, Pahel and Galla as well as DJ and producer Mr. Wiz made their mark on the big German rap boom in the late 90s. Two decades later, the film accompanies the former band members from the deepest Ruhr area to Washington D.C., documents their first concerts after 15 years of stage abstinence and illuminates the tragic death of RAG member Galla. Companions like Jan Delay, Kool Savas, Marteria, Curse, Die Kassierer and many more have their say. The film title is a reference to the Gil Scott-Heron classic ‘We Almost Lost Detroit’.

Director: Sabine Derflinger (A)
The history and stories of women have been suppressed, not told, forgotten for centuries… Johanna Dohnal was the first feminist in a European government. The film is a monument to the icon of Austrian politics and creates a figure of identification for present and future generations. We see ourselves in her, in her struggles, her victories, her failures. A film against oblivion and for a future of equality …