36th Edition of Filmfest Dresden Starting Today

More Than 500 Film Guests and Media Professionals Expected at Festival // Open Air Programme Beginning // Regional Day on Festival Wednesday

This evening at 19.00, the 36th edition of Filmfest Dresden is being launching in the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema. From 16 April to Sunday, 21 April, 370 short films from 62 countries are being shown in 183 screenings at 17 Dresden venues. The film programme is being accompanied by the events in the etc. - events.trainings.connections festival section. In addition to this year’s thematic focus on “Dreaming Utopia – It’s Going to Be Beautiful!”, on a content level other themes such as artificial intelligence, the search for identity and diversity are addressed throughout the complete programme. A total of 60 Competition films are contesting the 16 prizes and awards endowed with prizemoney amounting to €72,000 and due to be handed over to the lucky winners at the awards ceremony on Saturday, 20 April at 20.00 in the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema. The ever-popular Short Film Open Air programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Filmfest Dresden this year and it is also starting this evening at 19.00 on Schlossplatz square. Overall, more than 500 film guests and media professionals are expected to attend the festival. Tickets can be purchased in the festival venues, as well as online.

The 36 Filmfest Dresden is commencing in the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema with welcoming addresses from Franziska Brech, Head of the Culture and Tourism Section in the Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism, and Annekatrin Klepsch, Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Culture and Tourism in the City of Dresden, as well as the Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz.

It has become a tradition at Filmfest Dresden’s opening gala to present some cinematic delights as a foretaste of the forthcoming festival. Among others, the works being screened at the event include the animation NOTHING TO EXPECT from Franz Impler (Central German Competition), THE POSTHUMAN HOSPITAL by Junha Kim (International Competition 4) and WomXn, The Nightmare of You Know Who from Adrien Gystère Peskine and Eden Tinto Collins (Focus 2: Afro Visions of the Future(s), Memories and Liberation). The event is being presented by Jenni Zylka.

We’re really pleased to finally be able to present our programme to the audiences and we’re looking forward to moving festival experiences, as well as inspiring exchanges with our film guests from near and far,” as Sylke Gottlebe says. “And with two anniversaries being celebrated this time – 10 years of the Short Film Open Air programme and the Golden Horseman Sound Design – as well as our festival party on Saturday night, there’s certainly plenty of reasons to have fun this year. May we express our heartfelt thanks to both our longstanding as well as our new partners, supporters and sponsors, whose trust and amazing commitment have made this 36th festival edition possible. In particular, we would like to thank our main supporter, the Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism, as well as the City of Dresden, Creative Europe MEDIA, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the FFA film funding body, the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony and the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MBM) funding body.”

Co-Festival Director Anne Gaschütz adds: “While we’re really looking forward to this year’s festival, of course we’re aware of what’s happening in the world right now, and we also intend to provide space for discussions and exchanges at the festival. We’ve always seen ourselves as a platform for film art, but equally so as a forum for political discourses and intercultural exchanges. For instance, among other areas this year we’re exploring the question of which role we as a film festival have to assume in a controversial discourse that affects all of society. And with our highly diverse programme, we are inviting all of our visitors to engage in constructive exchanges and reflect on this.”

>> Overview of all the partners, supporters and sponsors: https://www.filmfest-dresden.de/de/festival/partner-innen

Guests at the 36 Filmfest Dresden

As always, our festival visitors can look forward to numerous film guests attending the festival: From the International Competition, among others, the Swedish director Malin Ingrid Johansson is coming to Dresden and presenting her film MADDEN (International Competition 1). Assaf Gruber, who was represented at Filmfest Dresden in 2023 with Rude Witness, is returning with his new work NEVER COME BACK (International Competition 2).

In the National Competition 4, Narges Kalhor is presenting her film SENSITIVE CONTENT. For her debut film SHAHID, the director and video artist received the Caligari Award from an independent jury at this year’s Berlinale. A further prize-winner (Max Ophüls Award for Best Medium Length Film and Audience Award) consists of the Austrian production LAND OF MOUNTAINS (National Competition 1) from Olga Kosanović, who is presenting her film personally. Mariola Brillowska, who was already awarded at Filmfest Dresden in 1993, is returning this year with her work BLUSENFAX (National Competition 4).

Not only are the directing duo Paula Milena Weise and Finn Ole Weigt represented in the National Competition (GEZIELT MITTELALTERLICHE ÜBERLEGUNGEN, programme 3) but also in the Central German Competition (URLAUBSVERSUCHE). Moreover, almost all of the filmmakers screening works in the Central German Competition are attending the festival, including Sonja Rohleder (SOMNI) or Jonas Erler (THE BOY WITH THE PEARL EARRING).

For the youth film programme, the producer and performer Rolly Dib is expected in Dresden to present the work AL DEEK THE ROOSTER (Libanon, director: Chadi Younes). Questions about the film PORTRAIT (director: Grace Louey) will be answered by its co-screenwriter Nina Street and the producer Phil Ross.

Likewise for the special programmes, numerous guests intend to come: Not only are the Austrian media guerillas collective Total Refusal presenting one of the focus programmes (Programme 1: We Might As Well Enjoy It), as well as their work KINDERFILM in the International Competition 3 in Dresden, they are also giving a gaming live lecture (Sat 19.00, GEH8). The director and curator Ronny Trocker is providing insights into the short film landscape in South Tyrol in the programme “Discourse Europe 1: Films Contrasting the Idyll”. The directors Ian Lagarde (Vent Solaire) and Maxime Genois (Aujourd’hui c’est dimanche, demain on meurt), who are both represented in the “Focus Québec: Inner States/Spiritual Journeys” programme, are coming to Dresden. In Focus 4, Isabelle Stever (GRAND JETÉ) is presenting her work REQUIEM FÜR ETWAS, DAS SEHR KLEIN IST (Germany, 1997).

For the screening of IKarus – She Kill the Laugh (GDR, 1989) as part of the “Retrospective: Dropouts, Dreamers, Lovers”, the director Michael Knof and the actor Ray van Zeschau, as well as the editor Gudrun Steinbrück-Plenert are expected to attend. At the opening of the “Dreamer” exhibition in Galerie Raskolnikow (17 April, 19.00), the artist Erich Wolfgang Hartzsch, a pioneer of East German avantgarde, will be in attendance together with the contemporary artist Juliane Vowinckel, where they will speak about their works. The event is being presented by the curator and film academic Dr. Claus Löser. The Archive of the Avantgarde – Egidio Marzona in cooperation with Galerie Raskolnikow is inviting all those interested to attend a matinee on Sunday, 21 April in the Schauburg festival cinema and presenting Gerhard Richter’s DREAMS THAT MONEY CAN BUY (1947). An introduction is being provided by the curator Przemysław Strożek for the opening of the exhibition “Archive of the Avantgarde: Archive of Dreams. A Surrealistic Impulse” (opening on 5 May in Blockhaus).

Regional Day on Festival Wednesday

On the festival Wednesday (17.04.), various programmes are dedicated to local filmmaking. At 16.00, the Saxon Film Association together with ŁUŽYCAFILM, the Sorbian-German film network, and the Foundation for the Sorbian People are inviting all those interested to Clubkino in Lingnerschloss for the Wiźeś.VISIBLE.Widźomne – Serbski (krotko)film. THE soRBIAN (SHORT)film. Serbski (krótko)film event, consisting of a film programme followed by a discussion and reception. The intention with the programme is to enhance the focus on Sorbian film within the film industry and contribute to emphasising the support urgently required in the current Sorbian film production area.

Following this at 19.00 (in Clubkino, Lingnerschloss) the Regional FoCus: AS THOUGH IT WERE YESTERDAY – FilmS FROM THE 1990S programme is dedicated to the artistic oeuvre of the Dresden-based filmmakers Tilo Schiemenz and Bernd Kilian. The eleven works being screened, including short films and excerpts from longer ones, reveal filmic insights into the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, at which contemporary witnesses from that time together with those who came after can take a nostalgic and enthralled, cheerful and perturbed look.

Anniversary: 10 Years of Short Film Open Air on Schlossplatz

The tenth anniversary of our ever-popular and free-of-charge Short Film Open Air programme – which traditionally runs parallel to Filmfest Dresden – is being held for the second time on Schlossplatz square. In the middle of this imposing ensemble of buildings, from 16 to 21 April, the viewers are invited to enjoy a wide-ranging selection of international short film gems in a total of 21 short film programmes. Each day starting at the top of the hour (Tuesday from 19.00, Wednesday to Sunday from 14.00) various programmes are being screened on the high-resolution and daylight-capable LED screen, including a series on the thematic focus of “Dreaming Utopia” (Open Air Shorts 08, Wednesday 19.00 & Saturday 18.00), as well as on the topic of (Up)Heavals (Open Air Shorts 14, Thursday 20.00 & Saturday 21.00) or with regional shorts (Open Air Shorts 06, Wednesday 17.00 & Sunday 19.00). Young film fans and those adults who have remained so can look forward to the four Family Shorts programmes screening daily at 16.00 from Wednesday, as well as additionally at 15.00 from Thursday to Sunday.

The 2024 Short Film Open Air programme is the result of further commitment provided by the festival’s main sponsor, the Film Nights on the Banks of the Elbe, as well as by the State Capital City of Dresden, the technology partner schickschön GmbH & Co. KG and the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) state broadcaster.

A selection of the prizewinning films and the audience favourites from the 36th festival edition is being screened on 7 July at 21.30 (admittance from 20.00) during the 29th Dresden Short Film Nights at the Film Nights on the Banks of the Elbe events.

With the Ice-Cream Compass Through the Festival

Yet again at the 36 Filmfest Dresden, the Ice-Cream Compass is giving decision-making support for undecided visitors: In cooperation with the Paupau ice-cream manufacturers, six types of ice-creams are providing some direction when it comes to selecting suitable film programmes – ranging from “Sweet & Adventurous” (Kids programme, Open Air Family Shorts) to “Fruity & Entertaining” (Cinema Digestif, Retrospective, Performance Total Refusal) through to “Experimental Pleasures” (Tribute NEOZOON & Masterclass, Experiments, Animated 2). In addition to the six types of ice-creams, a popcorn ice-cream flavour has also been created exclusively for Filmfest Dresden. All of the ice-cream flavours can be enjoyed during the festival week in the Schauburg festival cinema (as long as stocks last).

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