For the first time ever, CPH:DOX held its spring edition in March in its new magnificent festival centre at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, welcoming a number of attendants that beats the record of 2015 and a 20% increase in the number of international industry guests.

Since CPH:DOX’s inauguration in 2003, the festival has not only thought outside the boundaries of what a documentary (festival) is and must be, but has also beaten its own audience record every year.

And 2017 is no exception. As many as 97.500 spectators took part in the festival’s first spring edition, a considerable rise from the 91.400 attendees in 2015. Like in the previous editions, a small part of this number is covered by online streaming, which this year reached 8.925 with the films made available online for 48 hours in collaboration with Politiken immediately following the festival’s final day.

After only 14 years, CPH:DOX has grown to become one of the biggest and most important documentary film festivals in the world. With the new festival centre at the Charlottenborg Palace, which has received high praise from international journalists and gests as well as CPH:DOX regulars, the festival has propelled itself into a whole new league.

The festival director Tine Fischer comments:

“Of course it is a gamble to change the dates of a major international cultural event such as CPH:DOX, which had a firm and established place in November. However, the new location and the change to spring have shown to be an inequivalent success. The audience has welcomed the many new initiatives at this year’s festival, and as we so hoped, the international industry flourished to an even greater extent than ever before. The feedback we received from the international industry guests is overwhelming. With all this background, I dare conclude that it was the right decision to move away from autumn, a crowded time for festivals, and to embrace a new spring season, where CPH:DOX now stands as the first and most important of documentaries.”

Where does art go when the world is breaking?

CPH:DOX 2017 was a response to the question of where does art go when the world as we know is breaking before our eyes. A response in the form of a programme with over 200 films, including 75 world premieres, an ambitious new talk programme, audiovisual concerts, interactive exhibitions, a VR and a designer sofa cinemas, a new children’s programme, populism in focus, an innovative science theme, a curated programme by Anohni and a brand new versatile festival centre.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg was definitely one of the highlights at this year’s festival. The Art Centre was rebuilt in cooperation with CPH:DOX’s main sponsor, Normann Copenhagen and included and interactive and VR exhibition, an art installation titled ‘Welcome Too Late’ curated by Toke Lykkeberg – all accessible for free during the festival’s eleven days. In addition, in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen, CPH:DOX presented Copenhagen’s first sofa cinema called Social Cinema, Everyday’s workshop and talk-room the Blue Room, a five-day conference organised with Documentary Campus (including Oscar-winner Ezra Edelman), the new pop-up restaurant by Frederik Bille Brahe Apollo Bar and a series of very well-attended parties, concerts and alternative events. These included a pink camper midnight happening, a triangle mass, a VR ambulance from Gaza and a Christiania parade.

Films about Syria win top competitions and audience prize

Among CPH:DOX’s international competitions, three films on Syria took spectacular victory in major competitions. The DOX:AWARD winner was the partly Danish-produced film ‘The Last Men in Aleppo’, which is also the most seen film at the festival,  while the strong portrait ‘Radio Kobanï’ won the prize for the best journalistic film F:ACT Award. Finally, ‘City of Ghosts’, the exposé of the movement ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ by the Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, won the Politiken Audience Award and is also among the tenth most watched films at the festival this year.
The list of the most watched films also includes three Danish films: ‘The John Dalli Mystery’ by Jeppe Rønde sweeps into sixth place, ‘…when you look away’ by Phie Ambo follows in seventh place and finally ‘The Unforgiven’ by Lars Feldballe was the ninth most-seen film during the festival. The audience has also been very enthusiastic about CPH:DOX’s new children programme – the French children’s film ‘Swagger’ took the third place, only surpassed by the Faroese drama ‘The Island & The Whales’.

CPH:DOX – an international industry event

CPH:DOX 2017 was not only a massive popular success. During its fourteen years of existence, it evolved from being a local film festival to one of the largest and most innovative documentary festivals in the world. In particular, the financing platform CPH:FORUM has helped CPH:DOX capture a significant part of the international trade market. In 2017, no less than 1.784 international and national industry delegates, of which more than 300 journalists, attended the festival, which as increase of over 20% from the 1.499 industry guests who visited the festival in 2015.

The strategic date change of CPH:DOX has also given opportunities to bring major international activities to Copenhagen for the first time. In cooperation with film festival giants Berlinale and IRFF, CPH:DOX launched the project Propellor, aimed at rethinking the film industry and create new business models especially for film distribution.

2017 was also the year when the Britdoc Foundation held the live presentation of their Good Pitch event in cooperation and under CPH:DOX, which is also a forward lever for the festival’s further work in cultivating a fertile landscape of foundations and organisations in Denmark and the Nordic region with a dedicated interest in documentary filmmaking’s potential for change. Finally, we chose the international organisation Documentary Campus to cooperate with CPH:DOX on the 5-day-long industry event CPH:CONFERENCE held during the festival, which included speakers such as the Oscar-winning director Ezra Edelman.

See you March 15-25 2018!


Top 10 of the most seen films at CPH:DOX 2017

  1. Last Men In Aleppo
  2. The Islands & The Whales
  3. Swagger
  4. Voyage of Time
  5. DRIB
  6. The John Dalli Mystery
  7. …when you look away
  8. Citizen Jane
  9. The Unforgiven
  10. City of Ghosts


Attendance number at CPH:DOX

  • 2017: 97.500
  • 2015: 91.400
  • 2014: 83.900  
  • 2013: 70.100
  • 2012: 51.800
  • 2011: 47.300
  • 2010: 45.400
  • 2009: 37.738
  • 2008: 33.093
  • 2007: 25.867
  • 2006: 24.100
  • 2005: 20.178
  • 2004: 16.500
  • 2003: 11.706