Premieres, awards, workshops: ARRI at DOK.fest

Again in 2017, ARRI attended the International Documentary Film Festival in Munich (DOK.fest München) and, among other notable involvement, awarded the ARRI AMIRA Award.

Almost 43,000 audience members, 17 locations, 157 films from 45 countries and a multitude of additional offerings. Those where the key figures at the 32nd International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, which took place from May 3 − 14, 2017. ARRI attended the DOK.fest again this year, lending it’s technological, financial, as well as content-related support.

“The documentary film is a leading art form. Through it we can learn a great deal about our world and possibly even be encouraged into action,” said festival director Daniel Sponsel during the opening ceremony about the importance of this genre. He noted: “Documentary films have never been more important and worthwhile nor more exciting and entertaining as they are today.”

31 world premieres and 68 German premieres proved the popularity of DOK.fest in the film scene. Screened for the very first time for a German audience was, among others, the documentary film DRIES, which was produced with the ARRI AMIRA camera system and will be in cinemas on June 29, 2017. “With DRIES, we wanted to shoot an honest, authentic film about the fashion designer Dries Van Noten and his work. The AMIRA, with its natural high-clarity and authentic color shading, was the camera best suited for this type of shoot,” director and producer Reiner Holzemer explained. He revealed more details: “Dries was very hands on during the color correcting process. We wanted to bring every nuance of color that can be seen in his fabrics adequately to the screen. With the AMIRA, these demands were met without any problems. In retrospect, Dries didn’t criticize or correct even a single color.”

The DRIES team around Reiner Holzemer (with microphone) at the film’s German premiere at DOK.fest München

AMIRA is also the namesake of a prize donated by ARRI: the ARRI AMIRA Award. “The work of documentary film cinematographers, people who often perform a variety of functions during production, is seldom recognized. With the ARRI AMIRA Award we want to change this,” pointed out Stephan Schenk, Managing Director ARRI Cine Technik and responsible for the Business Unit Camera Systems, during the award ceremony at the Academy for TV and Film (HFF) Munich. And furthermore: “ARRI looks back at a long tradition in the field of documentary film. With the AMIRA, we have a digital camera system in our program which is a very suitable tool for documentary filmmaking. The ergonomics have been optimized for single person usage and other critical factors documentary film makers find important like durability, reliability, and best picture quality have all been considered and superbly met.”

At the ARRI AMIRA Award ceremony (from left): Daniel Sponsel (DOK.fest München), jury member Prof. Heiner Stadler (HFF Munich), prize sponsor Stephan Schenk (ARRI) as well as jury member and host Prof. Michael Leuthner (Macromedia Munich)

Last year, cinematographer Ernesto Pardo won an award, endowed with €5,000, for his work with Tatiana Huezo´s film TEMPESTAD. This year, the cinematographer and director Kirsten Johnson (CITIZENFOUR and THE OATH amongst others) was honored for CAMERAPERSON. “We all agreed with admiration that the award should go to Kirsten Johnson,” jury member Heiner Stadler, Professor for documentary film at the HFF Munich, explained during his speech. “In her film CAMERAPERSON she enables viewers to experience how beautiful and vibrant, but at the same time how unbearably violent and ambivalent camera work for documentary films can be.” Other jury members included cinematographer Anne Misselwitz and Prof. Michael Leuthner from the Macromedia University who hosted the award ceremony. 

Kirsten Johnson accepted “this incredible honor” via video link. She shared the personal anecdote that her first contact with a ARRI camera was in 1989.

Kirsten Johnson accepted the ARRI AMIRA Award via video link.

While ARRI celebrates the work of Kirsten Johnson, a cinematographer who has worked in movies and documentary film for the past 26 years, the company also offers courses at the ARRI Academy which are geared to new professionals. As part of a cooperation with DOK.fest, festival visitors had the opportunity to attend two interactive ARRI workshops. During one seminar, Director of Photography Christian Eichenauer demonstrated the many functions of the versatile and documentary suitable ARRI camera systems AMIRA and ALEXA Mini. At the first session, the camera professional, together with the attendees, took a closer look into the inner workings of the cameras, especially their technical components. The group was invited to experience the ergonomics, durability, and usability of the ARRI cameras on their own. Image quality and workflow were the main topics of the second workshop. Here attendees had the chance to learn about the multitude of options available with the ARRI Look Library as well as the various recording formats of the AMIRA and ALEXA Mini.

During two ARRI Academy workshops, DoP Christian Eichenauer demonstrated the many functions of the AMIRA and ALEXA Mini camera systems.

DOK.fest München, one of Europe’s most important documentary film festivals, came to a close with the Viktor Award presentation. The Victor main competition prize went to Faradasht Ahmed´s refugee documentary NOWHERE TO HIDE. The Viktor in the national competition was presented to Elí Roland Sachs for BRUDER JAKOB. In the competition DOK.horizonte, Ramona S. Díaz happily accepted the Viktor for MOTHERLAND.

DOK.fest München came to a close with the Viktor Award ceremony

As in previous years, ARRI Media sponsored the production and postproduction of the three official DOK.fest trailers and additionally provided the cloud service Webgate for jury member communication.

“Together with our partners, we have lifted the awareness of documentary film in the art and culture scene to a whole new level,” said Daniel Sponsel as he summed up by thanking all the supporters.

For more information about the DOK.fest visit

Photos: DOK.fest (5), ARRI (1)