Elephant’s Dream, a documentary feature by Kristof Bilsen, is to have its world premiere at DOK Leipzig, the International Film Festival for Documentary and Animation Film (27 October – 2 November). Joining it in competition is Sofie Benoot with Desert Haze; three of Wendy Morris’s animation shorts have also been selected. Completing the Flemish line-up this year are the animation short films Diamond, Cash Register 9 and Vol au vent.

Elephant's DreamKristof Bilsen’s new documentary film Elephant’s Dream has been confirmed for Leipzig’s Young Cinema Competition, a collection of first, second or third documentaries. Bilsen focuses on a group of public sector workers at a railway station, a post office and the only fire station in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Through the microcosm of these three state-owned institutions, Bilsen provides a poetic and compassionate insight into a country in transition.

The Young Cinema section also features Sofie Benoot’s Desert Haze. Coming in the wake of Fronterismo and Blue Meridian, in which she respectively followed the US-Mexican border and travelled along the Mississippi river, the young director now turns to the American West, which she sees as a mythical landscape characterised by the absence of water, trees and life. Through a mosaic of stories, she builds a multi-layered account of human presence in the American desert.

In addition to documentary, Leipzig presents an equally important animation line-up, which this year includes Wendy Morris’s shorts Heir to the Evangelical Revival, Orlando’s Book and Perth+6hrs. All three are part of Working Through It, a programme within the Festival’s international animation competition. Typical of Morris’s films are the hand-drawn images and the author’s tendency to tell historical, non-narrative and often autobiographical stories. Her approach has earned her international recognition, with Heir to the Evangelical Revival having been selected for top festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand and Annecy earlier this year.

Screening out of competition is Kris Mergan’s animation short Diamond, which looks for the true nature of the world outside us. Produced by Mergans Telewerk, it recently won an award at Regiofun in Poland. The Leipzig line-up also includes Anna Heuninck’s Cash Register 9 (KASK School of Arts), a stop-motion animated film about checkout operator Olga whose daily routine is suddenly disturbed by an insignificant incident. Also selected is Isabel Bouttens’s Vol au vent, a Lunanime production about the cat-and-mouse game between a boy and an old lady in a park.

Bram Crols of Associate Directors (9999, The King of Mont Ventoux) produced Elephant’s Dream; and Eric Goossens and Frederik Nicolai produced Desert Haze for Off World (Red Star Line, Rêve Kakudji). The producer of Wendy Morris’s films is Jean Delbeke of Vertigo Productions. Elephant’s Dream and Desert Haze received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz.

Published on Wednesday 22 October 2014

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