dokumentART was co-organized by the Association OFFicyna for 2006-2013
dokumentART – European Film Festival for Documentaries has become OFFicyna's dominant and most prestigious film venture, co-organised by the Association since 2006. The initiative combined two cities on each side of the Oder river: Nubrandenburg and Szczecin. It has become a sensation of the Polish-German borderland. In Poland, only Kino na Gra-nicy (Cinema at the Border) in Cieszyn can serve as a similar example. One must mention, however, that the latter is not a competition but rather a review of the most interesting film productions from the Czech-Polish-Slovak borderland. Until 2005, dokumentART's activities concentrated mainly on documentaries. Later, due to the involvement of OFFicyna, innovative forms on the border of this constantly developing genre also began to be included.
The dokumentART festival grew to be an extraordinary event for all of Poland. While documentary productions are presented in many places and enjoy increasing popularity with the general public, in the case of the Polish-German event we are dealing with looking into the art of documentary primarily as an art form. The Warsaw Planete Doc Review tries to draw us into the whirl of global topics and new trends in art and customs, Rozstaje Europy (Crossroads of Europe) or the Cracow Film Festival focus particularly on the social aspect of Central Europe, whereas dokumentART shows us that documentary film can be a platform of operation for artists who strive to broaden the genre's boundaries. Many of the artists whose works are presented during dokumentART approach the world of documentary by wandering from various areas of art or even domains not connected with any artistic discipline at all, rather with everyday life (an example could be the mobile phone film competition – telefonART).
History of dokumentART
This festival is exceptional in the landscape of film festivals because of its organisational structure and its profile. For the same reasons it is also exceptional for OFFicyna itself.
The history of this festival is longer than the history of the Association. In Neubrandenburg the tradition of a large documentary film festival reaches back to the times of GDR: since 1978 Nationale Dokumentarfilmwochen der DDR was organised here. After a year break, since 1992, the festival took the name dokumentART. With the 15th edition the German organiser, the Latücht Film & Medien Association, made an offer to the City of Szczecin, in which he proposed to broaden the festival onto the Polish side. The director of the Department of Culture recommended OFFicyna as a good and reliable partner. On the Polish side, the suggestion was seized by Małgorzata Frymus, Dana Jesswein and Bartosz Wójcik. Today, the partnership which was officially established in 2006.
Each year, dokumentART presents the newest productions, which explore the boundaries of the documentary both in the formal sense and in its essence. The contest presents films whose author or producer resides in Europe. The theme, however, does not have to be connected with this continent. From the films submitted (about 400-500 each year), the Polish-German programme commission chooses about 10% for public viewing. The festival is recognised all around the world; we receive productions not only from the European countries but also from Guatemala, Iran, Argentina, Canada, and Japan, among others.
dokumentART in the years 2006-2013 had two organizers - the Polish OFFicyna Association and the German Latücht Film & Medien Association, and also two directors of equal
rank: the Polish and the German, as well as two organisational offices: one in Szczecin and one in Neubrandenburg. The festival takes place simultaneously in two cities, on both sides of the border. The endeavour is a huge organisational, technical, and logistical challenge.
The extensive programme that accompanies the contest presentations underlines the current thematic and formal range of the documentary genre. A search for the definition of a modern documentary depends on a substantial level on the current phenomena of that genre. Therefore, for many years there have been two important parts in the programme: the "Eastern Bloc," which is a cinema forum devoted to Middle and Eastern Europe, and the "Common Borders" or the "History – Politics – Film." This way we run a particular "laboratory of European thought:" an intellectually demanding discourse through the medium of film and discussion. For this reason the institutions that are our partners are those for which public debate is important: the University of Szczecin, the Szczecin Polish Television (TVP Szczecin), the Institute of National Remembrance and the Polish Radio Szczecin.
Characteristic of OFFicyna we also explore the newest development tendencies in this field of art on the formal level. Thus, there are many presentations which point out the connections between documentary film and video art (films taking part in the contest are sometimes shown in the form of a video installation), or the current technology and its influence on everyday life (telefonART – a cell phone film contest, workshops).