60th International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen
Germany, May 1 - May 6 2014
In its 60th year, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen ran from May 1-6, 2014. From almost 5,000 submissions, the festival presented 440 films from 66 countries, with 134 films in the five competition sections. The competition sections include International, German and regional North Rhine-Westphalia, Children’s and Youth, and MuVi (music video). In addition, the festival holds a yearly theme programme, this year, entitled Memories Can’t Wait — Film without Film, profile programs of Wojciech Bakowski, Aryan Kaganof, Mara Mattuschka, and Deimantas Narkevicius, and a showcase of moving image distributors and archives from around the world.
The festival’s tradition of presenting a richly diverse selection of short films makes the task of awarding select films challenging. The Jury of the International Competition awarded La Estancia the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen. The filmmaker, Federico Adorno, issued a statement explaining his abstinence from attending the festival. His film depicts the peasants of the Campos Morombí massacre in Paraguay who, charged with the killings, do not have the freedom to move freely within their own lands. In solidarity, the filmmaker didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to exercise his freedom and privilege to travel across the world to the festival. Other notable prizes included the Principle Prize, which was awarded to the South African film Gangster Backstage by Teboho Edkins, and the ARTE Prize for a European Short Film went to Maria Kourkouta for her film Returning to Aeolus Street (Epistrofi stin odo ailolu). The FIPRESCI jury awarded the International Critics Prize to Jesse McLean for her film Just Like Us.
The six days spent in the cinemas of Oberhausen proved fruitful and inspiring. (Aily Nash)
International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen: www.kurzfilmtage.de