37th International
Short Film Festival
Berlin 2021

Online program presented by Sooner.de from November 17th to December 14th

17.11.21 – 23.11.21

German Competition 1: Hier hast du einen Kopf, jetzt kannst du sehen.

People lose themselves in daydreams and parallel worlds to escape the melancholy and strains of everyday life. In our search for diversion or peace, the boundaries to reality become blurred. Temporary sanctuaries emerge, but it is hardly possible to attain satisfactory fulfilment of individual needs in this manner. Personal and social alienation cause us to question how to cope with our own lives, how to slow down. Sometimes, a poem is enough to get our minds moving in fresh directions. There's just one thing: How exactly are we supposed to deal with our new thoughts?

Films: Theorie und Praxis, Letters from Silivri, König, Oh Sh*t!, Hurenkind & Schusterjunge, Trübes Wasser, Donkeys, Dieser Film heißt aus rechtlichen Gründen Breaking Bert

German Competition 2: Hier hast du Hände, jetzt kannst du tun.

Stigmatisation, prejudice and habit make it difficult to offer resistance in an established social system. We have to function and subordinate ourselves to social expectations and norms. This results in a lopsided perception of reality that leaves us no room to develop in a truly open-minded way as individuals. And, while, for some, life's routines may generate a sense of stability, others struggle with inner and outer demons to re-establish their own agency, or to finally lay claim to it in the first place.

Films: Leib, Obervogelgesang, Schichteln, Mona & Parviz, Duc Nguyen, Ding

German Competition 3: Hier hast du Beine, jetzt kannst du laufen.

Confrontations with loneliness and the end of the world generate melancholy and resignation. Inner emptiness and isolation from the surrounding world make subjects unhappy. Old habits and behavioural patterns have to be reconsidered and ultimately cast aside, in order to enable new perspectives on life. The fear of failure is considerable in this connection and demands courage. That is why the films of this programme are characterised by falling down and the necessity of getting back up again and again and moving on. To tell stories of success, we have to believe in utopias and set out in their direction.

Films: Walking while Falling, Bambirak, Benztown, Bleiches Glimmen, Der übers Meer kam, Doom Cruise, Salidas

Green Film Competition: Wasteland Adventure

We have to take responsibility for the future. Faced with enormous mountains of trash, cruel factory farming, overproduction, exploding consumption of natural resources and a failure to sustainably recycle them, it has become painfully obvious that we must finally venture from our chosen path. The trickiest thing here is how these issues often remain invisible, as when garbage is shipped off to far-away lands, for instance, or other countries' resources are exploited for the benefit of those who already enjoy an extremely high standard of living. We, as individuals, but especially the cities, countries and transnational organisations that drive this dynamic, have the power to make decisions and act to uncover structural injustices, to change them, and thus alter the state of the planet.

Films: Only a Child, Kofi and Lartey, Mondo Domino, View, Love is just a Death away, Machine Age, Migrants, Solar Noise, Orgiastic Hyper-Plastic

European Short Film Audience Award 01

For the third year running, the most recent winners of audience awards from 10 partner festivals – Clermont-Ferrand (France), Encounters (Great Britain), Go Short (Netherlands), Curtas Vila do Conde (Portugal), Interfilm Berlin (Germany), Alcine (Spain), Short Waves (Poland), BSFF (Belgium), Tampere (Finnland) and Wiz-Art (Ukraine) – are competing with one another for top honours in the European Short Film Audience Award section. Featured in two programming blocks, they will be vying for the favour of viewers across the continent.

Films: Fließende Grenze, Kansanradio, O nosso reino, Mother's

European Short Film Audience Award 02

For the third year running, the most recent winners of audience awards from 10 partner festivals – Clermont-Ferrand (France), Encounters (Great Britain), Go Short (Netherlands), Curtas Vila do Conde (Portugal), Interfilm Berlin (Germany), Alcine (Spain), Short Waves (Poland), BSFF (Belgium), Tampere (Finnland) and Wiz-Art (Ukraine) – are competing with one another for top honours in the European Short Film Audience Award section. Featured in two programming blocks, they will be vying for the favour of viewers across the continent.

Films: No more wings, U nashij sinagozi, Na krancu miasta, Confinés dehors, Ferrotipos

24.11.21 – 30.11.21

International Competition 01: Stepping Into the Void

The past months of the pandemic have challenged us to cope with social isolation. Feelings of inner emptiness and confinement have increasingly led to mental instability. Still, leaning in to extreme situations can also trigger a process of self-discovery and motivate us to reach personal breakthroughs. We are forced to encounter our own selves, as painful as that may initially seem – which is, however, a prerequisite for experiencing open encounters with others.

Films: Ran, The Train Station, Absence, Alive, Crab, How to be at home, Les derniers hommes

International Competition 02: Lifting the Veil

What happens when we look behind the facade of personal experiences or trauma? Past events and the memories attached to them influence our thoughts and actions in the here and now. Thus, it is all the more important that we process painful experiences. An opportunity for us to revise our own perceptions and judgements materialises – for adopting new perspectives, and expanding them, means facing one's personal fears.

Films: See me, Branka, Annah la Javanaise, Ieva, Le bain, BusLine35A, Ja-Folkid

International Competition 03: Mapping New Roads

A new start is often the result of a longer learning process. New paths are often associated with real-life journeys. A reset can be an attempt to escape a current life situation, but perhaps also to suppress something or to consciously evolve. In the process, new truths are discovered, a hitherto hidden personality awakens, individuals get to know themselves and the other. Encounters with other people set us in motion. If we let them, they can motivate us to take further steps and start fresh.

Films: A brief history of us, History of Civilazation, People in motion, Run, Ta presneta ocetova kamera, Laatste Rit, Daga

International Competition 04: Exposing your Demons

What sort of self-determination can we manage to claim for ourselves in a system characterised by heteronomy? Dependencies on superior powers and forces shape social structures, at times manifesting unconsciously. Exploitation of these powers and the conscious application of same for the purpose of personal gain leave the oppressed by the wayside. The latter are faced with their own demons as well as the forces of external compulsion. Recognising this heteronomy opens up a space for us to dare to test new limits – in the spirit of self-assertion.

Films: Tales from the Multiverse, Nähdään tunnin kuluttua, Bestia, Rudé boty, Demonstration, Metallo, Wall #4

International Competition 05: Finding your Feet

When new opportunities present themselves in the midst of chaos, seize them! It's all about persisting and surviving in a world without mercy. Rocky times challenge us to turn reality on its head. Usually, there is more than one way to see things. Adopting different perspectives, resisting and breaking free of compulsions, creates a possibility to reflect on our own status and get back on our feet.

Films: Massacre in Teheran, Guard of Honour, Good thanks, you?, Phlegm, Steakhouse, Unliveable, Homebird

International Competition 06: Riding the Whirlwind

Riding a whirlwind of challenges means using these forces to help us become active agents of change. A change of paradigm or maybe even a systemic change can be brought about by an accumulation of anomalies in the existing system. When they multiply, it can result in a transformation of current values and views. As long as we are dissatisfied with the existing system, we should attempt to uncover and alter anomalies.

Films: Titan, Affairs of the art, Don vs Lightning, Sukar, Have a nice dog!, Popcorngutten

International Competition 07: Embracing your Instinct

One's own convictions are not always righteous. The evolution of one's instincts can, however, reinforce this. If we follow them, we can cut our own path through life and shape our existence. Which life lines make for suitable rescue ropes? Which ones will leave us plummeting to the depths? We encounter courage through individual acts of liberation in diverse everyday worlds.

Films: Üks imeline mees, Slow, Beseder, Maalbeek, Al-Sit , Mauvaise herbes, Poke

International Competition 08: Tracing Home Turf

An individual's lived reality is influenced by the pressures of society, pressures that work their way into our personal surroundings from the outside. Our own dismay and instability are as much a product of the structures of the dominant system as they are of our own selves. The systemic control that permeates even the private sphere appears invisible, but our own everyday realities are often more controlled in this way than we would like to admit to ourselves. It is time to reconsider and reflect on old patterns, in order to leave them behind.

Films: The fire next time, Feet and hearts, The hangman at home, Kollegen, Pracka, Tilapia, Pile

Documentary Competition 01: Framing Realities

The way stories are told in short documentary cinema has changed radically in recent years. Blending and blurring categories and genres has become a driving force for the development of cinematic language, as experimentation transcends the prefab nature of form and content by providing new impulses. With this trend, and simultaneous efforts to confront and rectify the underrepresentation of specific groups and subjects in cinema, the stories related have also undergone transformation – an evolution in thought has taken place, we are privy to more intimate views of individual lives, often revealing discrimination and inhumanity.

Films: Lines of exile, Son of Sodom, All those sensations in my belly , 400 pairs of boots, $75,000, Y'a pas d'heure pour les femmes

Documentary Competition 02: Mementos of Late Capitalism

Economists still can't seem to let go of the fairy tale of the "trickle down effect", even though it has become painfully obvious over the past 20 years that the only things dripping quietly from on high and pooling at our feet are poverty and lack of perspective. The free play of market forces and the power wielded by oligarchs, dictators and a select group of transnational corporations generate absurd wealth on the one hand and massive disenfranchisement on the other. Alas, the desire for freedom and structural change is slowly – drop by drop – generating its own energy to fuel resistance.

Films: Yugo, Hanging on, Bessé-sur-Braye, The floating world, Oro Rojo, Leto 2331

01.12.21 – 07.12.21

Special Program: Body Talk

Dance is transformation. 37,000 year ago, humans danced dressed as animals, to summon success in the hunt. And it wasn't until the founders of Rome danced with the god Mars that the latter morphed into the infamous god of war. In the Middle Ages, things got more profane, it's true, as gleemen and troubadours entertained audiences with dances on their travels, though here too dance pointed to an otherworld. In the 1920s, dance became ecstatic and carried a heavy sexual connotation, a tendency later extended with rock 'n roll and the fever of a long Saturday night. Dance is a rite of passage, cultural identity and an expression of humans' relationship to their surroundings and their own embeddedness in the world.

Films: Clinamen, The Circadian Cycle, Proteste!, Solo, Rudé boty, In Media ResIn Media Res, Kota, Salidas, Pointe Black, Tremble

Special Program: Queer Fever

Artist Betina Kuntzsch rediscovers the monument in her “Kunst am Bau” project THINKING FROM APEDESTAL. In ten essayist short films she merges her own memories and stories with those of friendsand schoolmates, residents and users. Together with material found in many archives, they form akind of kaleidoscope and develop as cinematic perspectives of the Thälmann memorial.

Films: Premier Amour, Everyman, Dans la Nature, Nattåget, Felix, Avsked, Stiletto: A Pink Family Tragedy

Special Program: Reality Bites

Since its inception, the short film itself eludes clear categorisation. Minds are even divided as to whether it is a genre, type or category. For some years now, the boundaries have been further blurred, as short film has self-confidently capitalised on developments in new media, playfully combining documentary tropes, fiction, animation and experimental cinema. Among other things, this evolution can be interpreted as a reaction to the shifting concept of reality brought on by digitalisation. The films situated in this liminal zone challenge our perception, by revealing other perspectives through the ruptures they create.

Films: View, Little Berlin, Clean with me, Pineland/Hollywood, The Ballet of Service, Play Schengen

Special Program: Genre Now! Slashing the Patriarchy

Genre cinema is characterised by norms and expectations. In the cinema of the drastic, rules are consistently broken and (genre) boundaries crossed. The horror film's essence is its effect: fear, suspense, disgust (and all that at night, to make matters worse!) ... an existential threat, bodily fluids of all types. The monster in horror cinema is the reification of our worst fears, but also of our deepest desires. The beast of patriarchal structures has terrorised our society for far too long. Its presence still testifies to a rampant one-sided perspective on the differences between the sexes. What could be more drastic and necessary than smashing the patriarchy monster with the means of horror cinema? In this provocative programme, slasher feminists sharpen their knives for the kill!

Films: Trouble, Lilas Adie, Steakhouse, Dana, Family Jewels, The Moogai, Auntie Empire

Special Program: Mensch Maschine

Telling stories is a deeply human trait. No other lifeform has ever shown a tendency towards creating such narratives. Alas, with the creation of artificial intelligence, we are faced with a singularity of historical significance. Potentially, storytelling will no longer be a purely human phenomenon just a few years from now. Never before have our definitions and notions of creativity, meaning and control been put to such a test. At the same time, we must ask ourselves who exactly is constructing these AI's and what sort of information are they feeding them.

Films: Recoding Art, L'année du robot, Frames, VO, M.A.R.Y., My paws are soft, my bones are heavy

Special Program: Spotlight: Myanmar

On 1 February 2021, the military seized power in a coup – politicians from the democratic parties were put under house arrest or imprisoned outright. Across the country, a majority of the population in the multi-ethnic state pushed back against the military's actions. Since then, over 1000 individuals have been brutally murdered by the military, while over 6000 have been imprisoned, many of whom have been subjected to torture. In the scope of a special programme, we are attempting, on the one hand, to sort out and process what has happened. On the other hand, some of the films here are intended to provide specific insight into the complexity of political, cultural and rural life in this hotly contested, resource-rich nation.

Films: Burma Spring 21, The Banyan Tree, Burn Boys, Thaa Shin Pyu, Sugar & Spice, Hope Called Tomorrow

Special Program: China: New Talents

It’s been four years since INTERFILM has collaborated with Shanghai-based director and producer Sido Yao Lv in the program China New Talent, which aims to capture the essence of Chinese young filmmakers’ scene. The past two years have witnessed a tremendous change over the globe. Relationships have been redefined and ways of communications been reshaped. This year, China New Talent received an assortment of new short films from 14 universities and 9 cities all over China. These films reflect how people cope with reality and seek solidarity in the trying times of lockdown, isolation and depression.

Films: Deleted Line, Heat Death, Anxiety Disorder, Away, gezijian, Then she went on stage, Butterfly, The Stage of Golden Beach, The Thorn Birds

Focus on Hungary: Hardship of Solitude

The short film block "Hardship of Solitude" examines contemporary issues in Hungary. In particular the phenomenon of isolation plays a central role here. Lonely figures struggle with diverse conflicts: A 36-year-old woman pursues her wish to have a child in a fertility clinic, a boy attempts to cope with a lovesick heart, a queer cleaning lady falls in love and a fox commits suicide. Others turn to humour to deal with their problems: here, for instance, we learn why the seats in a Budapest train station are arranged so far apart from one another.

Films: Why are all the seats so far apart in this light rail station, A nyalintás nesze, Szép Alak, Take me please, Szezon utàn, Symphony no. 42

Focus on Hungary: Event of Dire Portent

Hungary features frequently in European news – a sign that the fear of a wider anti-democratic turn has become well-founded in many countries. The short film block "Event of Dire Portent" presents works that examine a system's shadow side: toxic masculinity among students, refugees found dead in the back of a lorry, the desperation of the Roma population – with additional looks at recent Hungarian history and the Hungarian diaspora.

Films: Dune, Gólyatábor, A kivégzés, Dark Chamber, A legvidámabb barakk, Horror filozófiája, Anja

Focus on Hungary: Spectrum of Resistance

The filmmakers featured in the short film block "Spectrum of Resistance" aren't afraid to probe society's painful subjects: they reveal the sicknesses of a nation and profile attempts to change the system. Abuse, ignorance, corrupt conditions – they are all covered – and perhaps the individual can really only respond with a deafening scream, as the protagonist in "Balcony" indeed does. The other path to recovery is that of humour: here, for instance, we experience among other things what the last days of an empire might look like in a fictional future.

Films: Anyák napja, Balkon, Szünet, Vulkánsziget, A birodalom utolsó nappja, Payday

08.12.21 – 14.12.21

KUKI 01: Competition program for kids 4+

Sometimes we feel so secure in the company of our friends and family that it allows us to dream big, experience adventures in nature and even under the kitchen table. We believe in ourselves, get to know new things, share our breakfast and look forward to the first snow!

Themes: Friendship, Sharing, Community, Solidarity, Neighborhood, Fun, Dreams, Family, Adventure, Animals, Nature, Music, Seasons, Work, Food, Imagination, Traveling

Films: The Breakfast, How Shammies Travelled, Big Dream of Rice, Bémol, Battery Daddy, Patrouille and the parachute seeds, The extraordinary story of Bruna, Winter Sleep

KUKI 02: Competition program for kids 6+

What do vegetables actually get up to when left alone in the garden and what exactly is democracy? Let's leave our nests and go and find out. Along the way, we find friends on the high seas, learn catchy tunes and stick together. While there are times when we have to say goodbye, we can console ourselves with some cleverly earned ice cream.

Themes: Adventure, friendship, pollution, vegetables, traditions, religion, family, sadness, ice cream, music, democracy, community, animals

Subjects: Ethics, Music, Biology, German, Civic Education, Cultural Education, Life Skills, Religion

Films: Kiki the feather, Vegetable Wars, The great overflow, Kindernachrichten "Neukölln News" - Wie funktioniert Demokratie, Lupin, Emsahar, Triple Scoopm, Antoine der Stadtschwan

KUKI 03: Competition program for kids 8+

Wir sind mutig, laut und können viel mehr, als man uns zutraut! Fiese Aliens, besorgte Eltern und gemeine Lehrer*innen können uns nichts anhaben! Wir tanzen im Mondlicht und staunen über bezaubernde Musik, lüften Geheimnisse und finden Wege, uns die Welt so zu machen, wie sie uns gefällt.

Themen: Selbstvertrauen, Freundschaft, Musik, Tanz, Geheimnisse, Tiere, Unabhängigkeit, Vorurteile, Behinderung, Spaß, Abenteuer, Kunst

Fächer: Ethik, Heimat- und Sachkunde, Kunst, Lebenskunde, Sport

Filme: Fundamentals of Art, Sounds between the crowns, And then something changed, Out of order, Fearless Gopher, Guard your belongings

KUKI 04: Competition program for kids 10+

We are brave, loud and can do much more than many give us credit for! Mean aliens, worried parents and narrow-minded teachers don't have a chance against us! We dance in the moonlight and marvel at enchanting music, uncover secrets and find ways to make the world our own.

Themes: Self-confidence, friendship, music, dance, secrets, animals, independence, prejudice, disability, fun, adventure, art.

Subjects: Ethics, Art, Life Skills, Sports, General Studies

Films: Fundamentals of Art, Sounds between the crowns, And then something changed, Out of order, Fearless Gopher, Guard your belongings

KUKI 05: Watch the World - Documentary competition for kids 10+

Compelling experiences, true stories and natural facts told by children and animals from 7 different countries!

Themes: Nature, animals, sexuality, gender, identity, religion, sport, racism, illness, blindness, animal welfare, fun, self-confidence, art, culture, cohesion, surfing, Asperger's syndrome

Subjects: Science, Sport, Life Skills, Biology, Nature & Environment, Religion, Ethics

Films: In Nature, Girlsboysmix, My faith - A sikh is not afraid, My hair, Bertha and the wolfram, Sanctuary, Charlie Surfer

KUKI 06: Environmental program for kids 8+

What can we do for our Planet Earth and how can we counteract climate change? In a moving and motivating way, we see here how environmental pollution affects the everyday lives of many people, what issues moved children even 30 years ago and how we can do something for the environment ourselves. Let's preserve the diversity of the animal kingdom and the great beauty of nature!

Topics: Nature & environment, activism, Fridays for Future, cruise ships, tourism, landfills, music, hope, animal welfare, school, sustainability, generations.

Subjects: Biology, Politics, Civic Education, Geography, Music, Ethics

Films: Only a child, Kofi and Lartey, View, Kiko and the animals, Ecology lesson, Here and loud

TeenScreen 01: Competition program for young people 12+

Get ready for a trip that takes in animation, documentary and quirky spookiness! While confronting our fears, we shall also explore the animal kingdom, let our creativity run wild and look at the world from new, deeply empathetic perspectives.

Themes: Solidarity, fear, animals, fun, sexuality, Covid-19, lockdown, friendship, isolation, music, escape, discrimination, football, art, illness, blindness, courage, religion.

Subjects: Music, Geography, Cultural and Political Education, Art, Ethics, Biology

Filme: All of our shadows, In Nature, Cocoon, Leo, Psychophonic, Bertha and the wolfram, Tales from the multiverse, Migrants

TeenScreen 02: Competition program for young people 14+

Stepping out of our comfort zone, flirting with the unknown and daring to take quiet action - together with friends, we stand up against injustice and try not to lose sight of the beautiful little things found in everyday life.

Themes: Friendship, films, quarantine, racism, sexuality, train travel, romance, skateboarding, everyday life, activism, fun, cohesion, prejudice, diversity, isolation.

Subjects: Life Studies, Ethics, Art, Cultural and Intercultural Education, Geography

Films: Ficciones, The orange child, The three portraits of chaos, Obervogelgesang, The night train, Desert dogs

Special program for teens 16 and older: Girls* Riot!

When young women between the ages of 15-19 spend a week sharing their collective and individual experiences as females in society, mutually empowering each other and then curating a program of short films, it's not to be missed! 7 films that speak from their souls, celebrating self-determination and womanhood, while shaking up the patriarchy.

Themes: Discrimination, sexualised violence, anger, love, friendship, solidarity, self-determination, sexuality, diversity, menstruation, vulnerability, self-confidence, taboos.

Subjects: Society, Ethics, Politics, Social Sciences

Films: Dolápò in fine, Manchester Acatitla, Furor, Cocoon Love, Ferrotipos, Hit the road, egg!, Grrrl

Special program for teens 16 and older: Teenage Riot!

Amidst pop culture, online dating and parallel universes at the club, we behold empowering young women, rebellion through wild dancing and the opposite of toxic masculinity. Loud, colourful and experimental, these films illuminate and celebrate the limbo between youthfulness and adulthood.

Themes: Dance, social media, pop culture, traditions, music, friendship, solidarity, love, longing, online dating, celebration, migration, identity, patriarchy, family

School subjects: Social Sciences, Ethics, Art, Society, Music, Performing Arts

Films: Room with a view - music video, Sestre, #21xoxo, El amor armenazado, Elina, Cogregation