DOKU.ARTS explores the connections between the history of cinema and television and art. It shows contemporary cinematic portrayals and documents about artists and art, which succeed in getting close to the life and work of artists. The festival screens, promotes and discusses documentaries from all art fields: music, literature, theatre, dance, cinema, architecture, painting, sculpture, visual art and media art. DOKU.ARTS presents films and videos with intrinsic artistic value.

Films and art

The history of documentaries on art is almost as long as that of cinema itself. Early on, filmmakers were fascinated by the opportunity to document the process of art coming to life. Artists’ portraits are an essential part of the careers of some of our finest filmmakers, such as Agnès Varda, Johan van der Keuken, Albert Maysles, D. A. Pennebaker, Chris Marker, Martin Scorsese, Manoel de Oliveira, Claire Denis and Wim Wenders, to name but a few. Young filmmakers often make their first feature-length documentary about an artist. Sometimes these films are especially long in the making, resulting in profound studies of the life and work of an artist.
Unique in Europe

DOKU.ARTS is unique in Europe. It specifically concentrates on films that are either ignored or given limited attention at the major international documentary film festivals, and on cultural productions that are gradually disappearing from public broadcasting and foreign networks. New, creative documentaries about art and artists will be shown, including portraits of artists, cinematic essays, inventive compilations and tributes. DOKU.ARTS also includes the presentation of highlights from the Filmmuseum’s unique collection of historic and contemporary films. DOKU.ARTS’ co-operating partner, the Dutch Cultural Media Fund, will present a seminar for professionals.


Most of the films selected for the festival will be screened for the first time in the Netherlands. DOKU.ARTS wants to remain a small festival, presenting between 20 and 30 films. There are no competitions or awards, but the festival invites all the directors to attend the screening of their films in Amsterdam. The in-depth film talks, moderated by Dutch art and film critics, are at the heart of the festival.
Festival history

DOKU.ARTS was founded in 2006 at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 2008 the new director of the Filmmuseum, Sandra den Hamer, formerly director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, invited the festival to move to Amsterdam.