37th International
Short Film Festival
Berlin 2021

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 program, 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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