By Julia Mazal // Nov. 10, 2022
Interfilm 38 International Short Film Festival kicks off this year on the 15th of November and will feature an array of films spanning multiple genres, themes and artistic approaches, such as the Green Film Competition for best environmental film or ‘eject_XXV’ which promises to unleash “hormones that are only released during birth and death.” As a format, short film presents unique advantages by allowing directors to enter the world of cinema thanks to its low-budget. The time constraint pushes directors to find inventive ways to communicate their message. This makes it one of the most experimental and creative forms of filmmaking, which Interfilm, Berlin’s largest and oldest short film festival, has been supporting and celebrating since its inception in 1981.
With more than 400 short films selected, the particularity of this festival lies in its incredibly diverse program. For example, one of the most extensive categories, the International Competition, is divided into eight different programs with a total of 53 different short films. The titles of each program, such as ‘When you realize you are not alone,’ ‘gaining freedom in this world,’ and ‘see me for who I am’ relate to an overarching theme of human positionality and how it is embedded in different systems in society and the world. The chosen films address issues of belonging, liberation and how we might navigate the challenges of the 21st century. Included in this section is the Iranian film, ‘Split ends,’ (2021) by director Alireza Kazemipour, which shows a confrontation between a woman with a shaved head and a long-haired man at the Tehran Morality Police station.
Perhaps the most obscure category, yet a long-time favorite of the festival, is the ‘Eject Audience Competition.’ It traditionally features the most experimental, obscure films of the festival, and is, according to the Interfilm website, “beyond description, every word represents an injustice to the program.” This boundary-bashing category features anything from live action, to animation and music video.
The German Competition is composed of three programs, ‘Hamsterrad,’ ‘Zwickmühle,’ and ‘Teufelskreis,’ all of which allude to dilemmas, difficult situations and the hopeless situation of spinning one’s wheels. The curators were looking for films that, in their own words, “risk something, that are uncomfortable in the best sense, the ones that polarise.” A highlight is Carlo Oppermann’s humorous yet insightful commentary on Berlin’s urban aesthetic in his 2021 film ‘The Art of Authenticity.’
For the fourth year running, the festival includes the European Short Film Audience Award, combining the audience favorites of 10 European short film festivals into one program. A film to look out for would be ‘My uncle Tudor’ (2020) by director Olga Lucovnicova, winner of multiple awards and presented at the 2021 edition of the Berlinale. The film tells a very personal narrative; through close-ups of old black-and-white photos, shots of a summerhouse filled with memories of a seemingly carefree childhood, the director gradually confronts her uncle Tudor about her trauma for which he is to blame. Another result of festival collaboration is the ‘Ghost of Europe’ theme, a project between the Brussels short film festival, Friss Hús Budapest and Interfilm Berlin, celebrating 30 years of city partnerships. The project aims to highlight the similarities in the discourses surrounding the urban realities of Brussels, Berlin and Budapest. More broadly, the project takes a closer look into the liberal façade of the EU, focusing on current struggles against injustice.
Last but not least, this year’s focus category highlights the Philippines, a nation at the forefront of Southeast Asian cinema but often excluded from western discourse. Interfilm will highlight the talent coming out of the Philippines through three different programs with films that address current socio-political and post-colonial concerns, such as gender and sexual discrimination, the pandemic and power relations between different levels of society.
38th International Short Film Festival Berlin
Nov. 15–20, 2022