dokumentART is a European film festival whose tradition spans over 20 years. For the last seven years, its organisational formula has also been international – the entire festival is run by two directors (from Poland and Germany), the selection of contest films is carried out by a Polish-German committee, and the organisers are the Polish OFFicyna and the German Latücht Film & Medien. Each Autumn, the festival is ran simultaneously in Poland and Germany. dokumentART gives around ten awards, including two equivalent grand prizes.
The European Film Festival for Documentaries dokumentART first and foremost determines what the European documentary currently is. The main competition is the festival's core – it presents films based on registering and commenting reality. The films reflect the European point of view as they are produced by people (authors, producers) who live in Europe. The films themselves, however, are made all around the world. The formal array is huge, limited only by the filmmakers' imagination. That is why the program includes classic productions, animations, reconstructions, mixed-media productions. Thanks to this, dokumentART allows us to follow the processes that register changes in the reality around us; changes that operate between tradition and avant-garde, touching and going beyond the genre's borders. This way, each year we receive an up-to-date definition of “documentary.”
The content of the films is equally important to the form. Registering and commenting reality in different parts of the globe, documentary films shown in the festival become a review of topics that are most important in today's world. Furthermore, what is strategically important is the fact that the event is organised by partners from two countries, co-operating above borders – Szczecin's OFFicyna Association and the Latücht Film & Medien Association from Neubrandenburg. The entire festival is held on both sides of the border, in both cities, and in numerous smaller municipalities. Content-wise, therefore, it is a festival of border issues and being trans-frontier. Borders are understood here in both the physical and the figurative sense – national, social, formal, artistic – as well as the crossing or overcoming of borders. This is especially visible in such regular program highlights as “Common Borders,” where special attention is given to this idea through the presented films and discussions with guests not just from the world of cinema.
The festival, apart from presenting numerous documentaries, also shows retrospectives of prominent filmmakers, who played important roles in both documentary and feature cinema (Leni Riefenstahl, Werner Herzog, Michelangelo Antonioni), as well as profiles and work of prominent Polish documentary filmmakers (Krzysztof Kieślowski, Paweł Łoziński, Bogdan Dziworski) – these presentations allow for getting familiar with the tradition and genre classics, and for establishing a reference point for the films presented during the festival (especially the most innovative ones).
Other programme highlights show possible directions of cinema evolution (e.g. video art, films made by non-cinematic means – telefonART). Through presenting feature films (based on real events), dokumentART also investigates the relationship between feature film and documentary cinema
The festival's profile undergoes modifications whenever the world around us changes, while essentially remaining a determinant of what European documentary is today.