CPH:DOX 2023 Preview: Docs Break Conventions, Go Behind World Events

Contributor; Slovakia (@martykudlac)
CPH:DOX 2023 Preview: Docs Break Conventions, Go Behind World Events

The world's leading documentary film festival focused on new, hybrid, and convention-breaking filmmaking, CPH:DOX will celebrate its 20th edition from March 15-26, 2023. The milestone will be feted with 200 new films, 100 world premieres, 61 competition titles, and an intriguing line-up of guests, including Joan Baez, Nathan Fielder, Wim Wenders, Susan Matthews, José Gonzales, Jeremy Deller, and Rutger Bregman, among others.

“We’re going to have a blast when we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year," says Niklas Engstrøm, the festival's artistic director. "When we founded CPH:DOX twenty years ago, we never imagined that two decades later we would be celebrating our birthday as one of the world’s leading documentary festivals. It calls for celebration, and we’re doing so with a firework of a programme with more filmmakers, more world premieres, more events, and, not least, more parties than ever before.” 


The main international competition, DOX:AWARD, will world premiere Christoffer Guldbrandsen’s long-awaited film, A Storm Foretold, about Donald Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone. The film is a chilling report from the rotten core of power, ahead of the riot on Capitol Hill. With unique access, the Danish director has created a film from the very center of power in the final months of the Trump administration leading to the January 6 coup attempt.

Other titles in the main international competition include Swedish filmmaker Erik Gandini´s look at the state of work in the 21st century, Afterwork, through a dark, existentialist lens; Jialing Zhang´s portrait of the Chinese surveillance state, Total Trust, tackling technology, (self-)censorship and abuse of power; and a human comedy unfolding in an aesthetically uncompromising and unmistakably Nordic saga in 24 chapters, Vintersaga, by Carl Olsson who is behind the Anderssonian and Seidlian documentary about the funeral industry, Meanwhile on Earth.


More boundary-pushing titles have been picked for the competition section New:Vision, with a satirical and self-critical adaptation of Guy Debord´s theoretical masterpiece The Society of the Spectacle. Artists Roxy Farhat and Göran Hugo Olsson bring Debord's ideas into the 21st century and give “a modern counterpoint by satirical interventions in a visual work that is not afraid to criticize neither itself nor the cult around Debord and situationism”.

Documentaries of the journalistic ilk are rounded up in the F:ACT Award competition section, with current and thought-provoking topics. Greta Stocklassa will world premiere her interview-portrait of Swedish top diplomat Hans Blix, who was tasked with finding out whether the weapons of mass destruction were or were not present in Iraq before the country's invasion in 2003. The protagonist Blix takes stock of the invasion of Iraq and the state of the world today in Blix Not Bombs.

The section will offer Kate Stonehill's revelation of a top-secret British surveillance programme in Phantom Parrot, which will bring down the dominoes in a dark and analytical film about technology, rights, and structural racism. And the directing team of Tonje Hessen Schei and Michael Rowley will reveal a hard-hitting docu-thriller about an influential movement of Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. who are fighting for the end of the world in Praying for Armageddon.



Bruises (Ginan Seidl & Daniel Ulacia, Germany/Mexico, World Premiere)

Drifting Woods (Pia Rönicke, Denmark, World Premiere)

The Society of the Spectacle (Roxy Farhat & Göran Hugo Olsson, Sweden, World Premiere)

Burial of this Order (Jane Jin Kaisen, Denmark/Germany, World Premiere)

Into The Violet Belly (Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Vietnam/Germany, European Premiere)

The Secret Garden (Nour Ouayda, Lebanon, World Premiere)

Fat to Ashes (Pauline Curnier Jardin, France, World Premiere)

Insert Song (Kamil Dossar, Denmark, World Premiere)

Pacific Club (Valentin Noujaïm, France, World Premiere)

Nothing Runs Like a Deere (Max Göran, Sweden, World Premiere)

New Centuries are Rare (Coyote, Sweden/Denmark, World Premiere)

An Excavation (Maeve Brennan, UK, International Premiere)

An Asian Ghost Story (Bo Wang, Hong Kong/Netherlands, World Premiere)

The Departing Images (Ana Edwards, Chile/France, World Premiere)

Levitate (Iván Argote, Italy/Spain/France, World Premiere)

A Piece of Work (Deniz Eroglu, Denmark/Turkey, World Premiere)


20 Days in Mariupol (Mstyslav Chernov, Ukraine, European Premiere)

Baghdad on Fire (Karrar Al-Azzawi, Iraq/Norway, World Premiere)

Beyond Utopia (Madeleine Gavin, USA, International Premiere)

Blix Not Bombs (Greta Stocklassa, Sweden/The Czech Republic/Germany, World Premiere)

Breaking Social (Fredrik Gertten, Sweden, World Premiere)

Deep Rising (Matthieu Rytz, USA, European Premiere)

Phantom Parrot (Kate Stonehill, UK, World Premiere)

Praying for Armageddon (Tonje Hessen Schei, Norway, World Premiere)

Seven Winters in Tehran (Steffi Niederzoll, Germany/France, International Premiere)

The Hostage Takers  (Puk Damsgaard/Søren Klovborg, Denmark, World Premiere)

Victim/Suspect (Nancy Schwartzman, USA, International Premiere)


Fighters (Jon Haukeland, Norway, International Premiere)

Heartist (Marianna Mørkøre, Beinta á Torkilsheyggi, Faroe Islands, World Premiere)

Hypermoon (Mia Engberg, Sweden, International Premiere)

Just Before Death (Anne  Regitze Wivel, Denmark, World Premiere)

Labor (Tove Pils, Sweden, International Premiere)

Lynx Man (Juha Suonpää, Finland, World Premiere)

Mrs Hansen & the Bad Companions (Jella Bethmann, Denmark, World Premiere)

A Silent Story (Anders Skovbjerg Jepsen, Denmark/Sweden, World Premiere)

Soviet Bus Stops (Kristoffer Hegnsvad, Canada/Denmark, World Premiere)

The Gamer (Petri Luukkainen/Jesse Jokinen, Finland, World Premiere)

Voice (Ane Hjort Guttu, Norway, World Premiere)


Megaheartz (Emily Norling, Sweden/Norway, World Premiere)

Queendom (Agniia Galdanova, USA, International Premiere)

Silent Sun of Russia (Sybilla Tuxen, Denmark, World Premiere)

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Anna Hints, Estonia, European Premiere)

The Flag (Joseph Paris, France, World Premiere)

The Group Crit (Sille Storihle, Norway, International Premiere)

The Last Year of Darkness (Benjamin Mullinkosson, China/USA, World Premiere)

The Mountains (Christian Einshøj, Denmark/Norway, World Premiere)

The Tuba Thieves (Alison O’Daniel, USA, International Premiere)

Twice Colonized (Lin Alluna, Denmark/Greenland/Canada, European Premiere)

The 20th edition of CPH:DOX takes place March 15-26 and the full programme, in person and online, is available here.

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