The Dortmund Documentary Film Award

The Dortmund Documentary Film Award

Award-winner 2011 Helga Reidemeister

»I fully sign up to the principle of hope, a principle I myself need. In my films, I seek out those people who think and live resistively. I do it for me so that I can survive.«
– Helga Reidemeister in of 7 May 2005

The Dortmund Documentary Film Award 2011 is to go to Helga Reidemeister and thus distinguish a film-maker who has been producing documentaries single-mindedly for forty years and who is prepared to tackle controversial themes and portray reality in all its unsettling aspects. At the centre of many of her films are people who never let things get them down, even in the most difficult of circumstances. When viewing the life stories and destinies that fascinate her, Ms Reidemeister never loses focus of the social structures and political implications. In her view, the private is always political.

Helga Reidemeister, born in Halle an der Saale, studied art at Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin and film at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). Politicised by the student movement; she was active as a social worker in the new housing development in Berlin‘s »Märkisches Viertel« from 1968 to 1973. It was here that her first film was made: Der gekaufte Traum (The Bought Dream) about a workingclass family. Many award-winning films were to follow – with subject matter such as children on cancer wards in Moscow, women in prison, peace activists and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Berlin – until in 2002 she took off to Afghanistan where she made two documentaries: Texas – Kabul and Mein Herz sieht die Welt schwarz – eine Liebe in Kabul (War and Love in Kabul).

To mark the 20th anniversary of the cooperation between the Sparkasse Dortmund (Dortmund Savings Bank) and the International Women‘s Film Festival, the new Dortmund Documentary Film Award, which is endowed with 10,000 EUR as sponsored by the bank, will be conferred in Dortmund every two years.

War and Love in Kabul

Helga Reidemeister


»Right from the start, Afghanistan and the people there moved me very much. (…). The most impressive thing about them […]