Documentary about Joseph Beuys stars at Berlin Film Festival

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Director Andres Veiel speaks during a press conference for the competition film 'Beuys' at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Gregor Fischer/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — A documentary about Joseph Beuys shows previously unpublished audio and video footage of the 20th century German artist known for his signature hat, performance pieces and use of fat and felt as materials.

The film, titled "Beuys," premiered Tuesday as one of 18 films competing at the Berlin International Film Festival's Golden Bear award.

Director Andres Veiel has created a portrait of the provocative artist he calls "the hero of my youth." The documentary shows Beuys at performances, as an art professor, a social activist and an early member of the Green Party.

Beuys, who famously declared that "everyone is an artist," is presented close-up as he explains his philosophy, talks about his plane crash during world War II or plants trees for his "7,000 Oaks" project.