Article by Faye Campbell // Oct. 30, 2019
The 35th edition of the International Short Film Festival will open in Berlin from November 5th to 10th of this year. Around 450 engaging and critical films from around the globe are selected for the festival and will be competing in thematic programmes that include international, German, animation, documentary and children’s films; ultimately celebrating the short as a media form that presents concise stories with radical and innovative techniques. US-American author, journalist and satirist Eric T. Hansen will be the moderator for the opening evening.
The ‘Focus-On’ section creates portraits of areas and populations. The spotlight this year is on Spain, with filmmakers from around the country presenting films that range from the ordinary to the absurd, with programs like: ‘Spanish Treasures’ and ‘Life is Strange.’ Also shown in this section are films that examine the revision of everyday life in Venezuela, while the country stands on the brink of a civil war and films by and about Roma and Sinti people, a testament to resilience despite centuries of oppression, including ‘Scris/Nescris’ (2016), in which a new grandfather experiences passport difficulties that threaten to separate him from his daughter.
In the ‘International’ section, which forms the traditional core of the festival, is organised into ten programs, with acclaimed shorts from the International stage for the last two years. This year, the ‘International’ section will dedicate three programs specifically to films that address human rights, including the incendiary animated short from 2018, ‘The Ostrich Politic’ by Mohamad Houhou, in which a new study and national call to ostriches to raise their heads from their receptacles of choice creates Orwellian chaos and political upheaval.
‘Special Programs’ arranges a multitude of diverse shorts into 16 dynamic and engaging programs, ranging from discussions of the relationship of the human and robot, to queer identity and new Chinese filmmaking talent to music videos, including a new video for musical artist Aphex Twin. In addition, there is a special competition to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, looking to the past, the present and the future to address the complex realities between everyday life and state power.
Addressing contemporary concerns, while we are globally recognizing our position in an ecological crisis, the ‘Green Film’ competition this year is comprised of two programs, ‘Man & Beast’ and ‘Urban Nature.’ The films collectively and deftly respond to our current environmental collapse, including ‘Basura/Garrbish’ (2018) by Roberth Fuentes, where a man clad in garbage dances uninhibitedly on a trash heap and ‘Judas Collar’ (2019), where a wild camel is outfitted with a tracking collar, designed to hunt herds of animals.
Throughout the festival, additional programming supplements the film viewings, with events such as ‘Sound and Vision,’ which will juxtapose live stage performances by musicians based in Berlin with visuals from international artists. In its annual tradition, interfilm will also present ‘Short & Silent – Silent Movies at Midnight for Free,’ wherein contemporary silent films are given a live-score provided by a theatre organ at Babylon.
Winning films will be shown on November 10th at 8pm at Rollberg Kino, 9pm at ACUD Kino and 9:30pm at Babylon.