The Doker Documentary Film Festival: a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Helen Borodina

Where: Oktyabr Movie Theater in Novy Arbat

When: happening now, until 30th of August

Tickets and other information: the КАРО KARO.Art website

This year sees the sith international Doker documentary film festival in collaboration with, and with support from, KARO.Art.  With respect to the realities of this year, the participants and the jury from 35 countries around the world are joining via Zoom to manifest their online presence and talk to the moderators and the audience.

Invited to join the festival’s interpreters team on very short notice, I rushed through Moscow, switching metro to bus, wearing my mask, and before I knew it, found myself standing on the stage next to one of the organizers, helping the audience and the directors calling in via Zoom understand each other during the Q&A discussion. This is the first event in the year of 2020 I am working at, having preferred the safety of my home office and written tasks all these months. Needless to say, I am very happy to be out of my shell, and in the big world again (the Oktyabr theatre and the Doker festival staff taking good care to protect us all from the potential threat of Covid19).

The Doker festival, of which I wish I had learned earlier, launched on August 21, and still has five more days to go, concluding on August 30.

Therefore, I would like to encourage the RussiaKnowledge readers in Moscow to come and experience the art of non-fiction film, of motion by no means arrested, either by microbial threat, or any artistic or ideological limits.

Doker’s idea has been from the start to give its participants all the freedom in employing their creativity to share their thoughts, feelings, memories, and hopes. 

The main themes of the festival is the human being, search for oneself, questioning the necessity of rigid traditions that don’t seem to be making too much sense anymore, challenging values, prejudices and misconceptions that have long become an integral part of the social paradigm, and realizing that one has the right to dream, and work at making the dreams come true.   

Each film bravely delivers each message celebrating the uniqueness of ordinary people – who are, of course, extraordinary, if you take a closer look… A young man in China trying to find his own path in life, instead of blindly doing what his family and society expect of him; two elderly ladies spending the autumn of their lives in their native village on a hill, being its only remaining inhabitants; a 69-year old woman who rediscovers herself through finding new love after breaking from her abusive husband, and is too happy to care that others think that she shouldn’t be doing any of that at her age and in her situation; an IKEA employee whose second job is at a company that cleans out the apartments of lonely people who have passed away, destroying the same furniture that he sells; young people in Brazil trying to figure their lives out as adults… 

The special one-of-a-kind IT-themed section «Let IT Dok!» features works that explore the ways of how digital technologies affect the individual and society as a whole.

The Hong Kong-made film “The Pandemic” shot a year before Covid 19 broke out, shows how humans are capable of social distancing even when there’s no virus threat.

Some of the films focus on another very important topic of today – nature and ecology. 

There’s much more to the festival’s program, but, as a famous saying has it, “a picture is worth a thousand words”…  

The festival is also represented with the same program in Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad and Yaroslavl on the same days, so if you happen to be in one of those cities, you can check on the festival’s website for tickets and other information. 

The Nominations and The Jury 

Doker’s films compete in the following nominations: Best Film (Grand Prix), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Short Film, Audience Prize, Best Film in the Let IT Dok! IT-themed category. An international professional jury will evaluate the work of the festival participants. 

The Main Competition Jury

Hubert Sauper, filmmaker, contemporary classic of Austrian documentary filmmaking, Oscar nominee, winner of the Sundance and Berlinale festivals; 

Wojciech Staroń, Polish cameraman and director, winner of many awards from the Berlin Silver Bear for outstanding artistic achievement to the Prize for Best Film of the Week of Locarno Critics; 

Sofia Kapkova, Ruusia. Founder of the Documentary Film Center,, M.ART Foundation, and former CEO of Context Contemporary Choreography Festival. 

Diana Vishneva, Russian journalist and producer.

Jury for Short films:

Estephan Wagner (film director, Denmark), 

Elsa Kremser (producer, Austria), 

Anastasia Miroshnichenko (film director, Belarus).

And, last but not least, as the festival’s tradition has it, the Audience Award is in place as well.

The Organizers

Irina Shatalova, festival director and producer

Nastya Tarasova, program director


KARO.Art is dedicated to showing films of different genres in their original language with subtitles, bringing to the audience the much awaited new films as well as classical masterpieces, and organizing festivals and other important events in the film industry.