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The 2016 Healthy Workplaces Film Award is presented to the film ‘To Be a Teacher’ at DOK Leipzig

To Be a Teacher (Zwischen den Stühlen), directed by Jakob Schmidt of Germany, has won this year’s Healthy Workplaces Film Award. The award, supported by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), is presented for the best film on a subject related to work at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (DOK Leipzig). The film highlights the challenging working conditions of young teachers. 


To be A Teacher tells the emotional story of three young teachers and their first years in school, a period called “Referendariat” in Germany. Here they come to realize that their studies did not prepare them at all for what it means to work in one of the most responsible and important jobs of society. A rare insight into fabricating one of the most essential resources of modern times: education. A coming of age story of three young people whose idealism clashes with a harsh reality.


Of the winning film, the jury said: ‘A film of its time – stress personified. The characters are very well developed and appealing, the filmmaker’s cinema verité approach allowed us to be close to their human drama that touched our hearts and stimulated our minds. With a sense of humour, and a serious underlying message about the fate of young people and their futures at its heart, the Healthy Workplaces Film Award goes to: "To Be a Teacher".’


The Healthy Workplaces Film Award has been presented annually since 2009 at DOK Leipzig, one of the foremost international festivals for artistic documentary and animated film. It is supported by EU-OSHA, with the aim of encouraging talented film-makers to produce work that looks at the risks workers face and the changes that affect workplaces today. The award helps to promote safe and healthy workplaces in Europe.


The winning director receives EUR 5 000 in prize money, as well as DVD copies of his/her film produced by EU-OSHA. EU-OSHA also distributes DVDs of the winning film, subtitled in several European languages, to its national focal points. The focal points host screenings of the film followed by discussion sessions, thus increasing awareness of the issues raised and of occupational safety and health in general.


The films nominated for the 2016 Healthy Workplaces Film Award highlight a range of issues that affect workers and workplaces. Some provide personal insights into the real-life experiences of workers, from a small cardboard manufacture in France to a factory fishing boat in Iceland, whereas others reveal how economic, political and technological change can affect individual workers and entire sectors.





Notes to editor: 

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns. Set up by the European Union in 1994 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU-28 Member States and beyond.

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DOK Leipzig is the oldest documentary festival in the world. It features documentaries, animated films and interactive storytelling. The programme includes international competitions for long and short documentary and animated films, as well as other competitions and special programmes (this year, for example, there was a programme of films from Turkey). Over the years since it began in 1955, DOK Leipzig had grown into an international centre of competence for documentary and animated film. 


The shortlisted films for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award were:

  • Behind the Stone Wall (France, dir. Magali Roucault)
  • Cinema Futures (Austria, dir. Michael Palm)
  • Keep Frozen (Iceland, dir. Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir)
  • Mattress Men (Ireland, dir. Colm Quinn)
  • Some Will Forget (UK, dir. Ruth Grimberg)
  • The Graduation (France, dir. Claire Simon)
  • To Be a Teacher (Germany, dir. Jakob Schmidt)
  • Working Life (France, dir. Martin Rit, Mariette Désert)

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