35 Filmfest Dresden Announces 64 Competition Films

Competition Films from 29 Countries // Works by Radu Jude & Matthew Rankin // New Jury Award & Increased Prizemoney

Filmfest Dresden (18 to 23 April 2023) is screening a total of 64 short films from 29 countries in the three competition sections of its 35th edition. Of the 2,800 films submitted, the Selection Committees chose 30 (co-)productions for the International Competition, 26 entries for the National Competition and eight works for the Central German Competition (formerly Regional Competition). With a new jury award added to the prize list, the films are now competing for 16 "Golden Horsemen" and special prizes endowed with €72,000. In addition to the competition programmes, the festival week is showcasing an extensive range of special programmes with an array of country-based and thematic highlights adopting an antiracism focus this year. The complete programme of the 35 Filmfest Dresden will be released at the Press Conference on 28 March 2023 in the Schauburg Dresden festival cinema.


Statistics: Gender Quote in Directing, Powerful Animated Works, Indi Productions

In the three competition sections, the number of female (co-)directors amounts to approximately the same number as their male colleagues.

The 30 works in total being screened in the International Competition consist of 13 animated films – including OUR PAIN by Hayashi Shunsaku from Japan, who won a Golden Horseman for REMEMBER at the 2016 Filmfest Dresden – eleven fiction films and six hybrid pieces. The number of (co-)production countries represented here amounts to 27, including the Congo, Columbia, Taiwan, South Korea, Brazil, China, India and the Philippines. 

The National Competition also has an international flair this time: Of the 26 works being screened, six films were made as co-productions with countries such as Ecuador, Croatia and Columbia. As in previous years, the number of independent productions (16) exceeds those being screened from film schools (10). The schools being represented here include Bauhaus University Weimar, the Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, the Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg, the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB) Berlin or the Kunsthochschule Kassel art school.


Themes: Gender Diversity, Climate Change and Racism

On a contextual level, numerous works are exploring the subject of gender diversity beyond heteronormativity. In I KNEW YOU WERE MY KIND (SIMȚEAM CĂ EȘTI DE A MEA) by Vanessa Gunesch in the National Competition, two Romanian caregivers share a moment of solidarity and tenderness that challenges the structural norms of their daily lives. The Portuguese film An Avocado Pit by Zara Ary (International Competition) reveals a carefree and optimistic encounter between a trans woman and a cis man in the nightlife of Lisbon. Bodily gender reassignment despite all the odds represents the focus of the short documentary To Write From memory by Emory Chao Johnson from the USA (International Competition), which celebrated its world premiere at this year's Berlinale (Generation).

The subjects of climate change and environmental protection provide the focal point for several works: In the National Competition, Job Antoni Schellekens talks in his film MUDHOLE (ModdergaT) about more and less absurd methods for mitigating the dangers of climate change. A further pressing issue of mankind consist of rubbish, which Susann Maria Hempel focuses on in her work THE GUARDIANS OF REFUSE. A SHORT HISTORY OF RUBBISH (Die Hüter des Unrats. Eine kurze Geschichte des Abfalls).

A powerful filmic commentary on this year's focal theme of antiracism is provided by Mario Pfeifer with his film CELL 5 – A RECONSTRUCTION (Zelle 5 – Eine Rekonstruktion) about the unexplained death of the asylum seeker Oury Jallo, who burnt to death in a prison cell in Dessau in 2005. 

Regional filmmaking is being showcased in the Central German Competition. In several of the eight works being screened, music is accorded a role: In their music video MRÓČELE, the Kolektiw Klanki collective are casting their own fresh look at Sorbian culture. With CYBO, Lou Wildemann has created experimental visual worlds to the track of the same name by Poly Poly. And the soundtrack (Daydreamer) for Julius Gintaras Blum's documentary CHEMKIDS is provided by Selma Juhran, who was born in Chemnitz, performs in the film and is a voice-over artist in it. 


Works by Radu Jude and Matthew Rankin

The International Competition is also represented by some prominent names: The Romanian director and screenwriter Radu Jude has already received numerous awards for his films, such as at the Berlinale (2021 Golden Bear for Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn and 2015 Silver Bear Best Director for Aferim!). This year, Radu Jude is a member of the international jury at the Berlinale. At Filmfest Dresden, his latest short The Potemkinists (Potemkinistii) is being screened.

Not only has the Canadian director Matthew Rankin curated the Focus Québec screening programme at Filmfest Dresden this year. He is also presenting his film Municipal Relaxation Module in the International Competition. 


New: Jury Award, Award Sponsor & Increased Prizemoney

The new Jury Award in the Central German Competition constitutes more than just a replacement of the Audience Award provided to date in this regional competition. The new award sponsor, the Saxony Film Association, has also increased the prizemoney to €3,000. As a result, 16 Golden Horsemen and special prizes with prizemoney totalling €72,000 will now be awarded at the festival's Awards Ceremony on 22 April. 

The Golden Horseman Short Film in the National Competition, which is endowed with €3,000, will be awarded for the first time this year by the Film Nights on the Banks of the Elbe event, a main partner of Filmfest Dresden.

A further new prize sponsor has been added for the cross-competition "fully political" - Short Film Award for Democratic Culture: The Saxon State Ministry of Justice and for Democracy, Europe and Gender is now awarding the prize valued at €3,000.

An overview of all the Filmfest Dresden awards and prizes is provided here: https://www.filmfest-dresden.de/en/festival/awards 


Accreditations & Press Conference

Press representatives can receive their accreditations for the purpose of reporting on and from the 35 Filmfest Dresden.

Further information in this regard is available at: https://www.filmfest-dresden.de/en/professionals/accreditation 

Visual material on the competition films, as well as further press materials are available here: https://www.filmfest-dresden.de/en/press/downloads 

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