Complete Programme Announced: Over 370 Short Films in 183 Screenings Animate Viewers to Discuss and Dream

Retrospective: Dropouts, Dreamers, Lovers // Tribute: NEOZOON // 10 Years of Open Air // Start of Ticket Sales

For the 36th edition of Filmfest Dresden (16 to 21 April 2024), more than 370 short films from 62 countries compiled in the three Competitions and various special programmes are awaiting the audiences. In today’s press conference in the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema, Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz together with further members of their team are providing insights into the highly diverse programme, including the already announced thematic focus on “Dreaming Utopia – It’s Going to Be Beautiful!”. In addition to the film programmes, the etc. - events.trainings.connections. section with its wide-ranging special programme consisting of panel discussions, a masterclass and other events, intended for media professionals and interested members of the public, is being held during the week of the festival. A new venue, the Ostrale.Basis, has been added to the longstanding screening locations, including the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema and the Thalia Kino and Programmkino Ost cinemas. The free admission Short Film Open Air programme, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is again being screened on Schlossplatz square and is being held in 2024 thanks to the additional commitment of the main festival partner, Film Nights on the Banks of the Elbe.

The total of 60 films in the three Competitions (National, International and Central German) are vying for the 16 “Golden Horsemen” and special awards, endowed with €72,000 in prizemoney and due to be announced during the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 20 April. This evening, the eight independent juries are awarding the 14 prizes, in addition to two further audience awards. Tickets can be bought immediately from the SAXticket (Königsbrücker Str. 5) ticket agency or online. The traditional Programme Preview being held on 11 April 2024 at 20.00 in the Thalia Kino cinema is providing a foretaste of the programme.

Retrospective: Dropouts, Dreamers, Lovers

This year’s retrospective is shining a light on two exciting yet short-lived phenomena and bringing differing utopias from the East and the West together: In the West, bohemians and bon vivants knows as “dropouts” insinuated their way into the economic miracle of post-war everyday life in 1960s West Germany and even onto the FRG cinema screens. As protagonists of the so-called dropout films, these postcapitalist alternative hippies and airheads became the embodiment of a different utopian ideal of a “better life”. The films being screened include the two works SO WHAT…? (from Marquard Bohm and Helmut Herbst, 1967/68) and AFTER MANY YEARS A REUNION WITH MY BROTHER FROM BULGARIA DURING A SHORT STOPOVER IN MUNICH (1973) from Marran Gosov.

In East German GDR at that time, the socialism of the new millennium was being planned for the cinema. Science fiction films and fictional documentations were produced, intended to be enlightening, instructive and entertaining, and for a technological view to be understood especially as social projections of the future (like in a controlled utopia) – but under no circumstances as alternative lifestyles to socialism as it actually was. These future films, as entertaining curiosities, also proved to be a short intermezzo within the history of film in East Germany, as Joachim Hellwig’s LOVE 2002 from 1972 shows, for instance. The programme is being rounded off with ICARUS – SHE KILL THE LAUGH from Michael Knof (1989), created for Wolfgang Engel’s legendary Faust I and II theatre productions in Schauspielhaus Dresden theatre.


This year, Filmfest Dresden is dedicating its tribute to the NEOZOON female artists collective. They have made a name for themselves with their artful collages consisting of YouTube videos, where NEOZOON reflect upon essential aspects of humanity, such as the ambivalent relationship that the modern human has with animals, one that is torn between utopia and obsession, cruelty and love, recognition and denial of the differences between the species. The works being screened include LAKE OF FIRE, which won the Saxon Film Promotion Prize at last year’s Filmfest Dresden, as well as FRAGMANTS, which takes a clever, entertaining and reflexively critical look at a phenomenon of capitalist society: unboxing.

The tribute is providing an in-depth insight into NEOZOON’s extensive oeuvre, and it is also connected to this year’s masterclass (Sat., 20.4., 16.00, Schauburg).

Programme Highlights: “Cinema Digestif”, Late-Night Specials, Discourse Europe: Italy

The audiences can look forward to the finest of genre cinema in the ever-popular “Cinema Digestif” late night specials. Extending over three programmes, they are full of late-hour esoteric surprises, including the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, which is presenting a programme with horror films that have been made, produced or scripted by women and non-binary persons. In addition, the audiences are delving into the science fiction genre in the This Will Only Sting for a Moment programme where, among others, they will encounter dubious masculine behaviour, as well as experiments that go horribly and hilariously wrong. Moreover this year, the classic Seriously? WTF! is plunging into the exciting world of animals! Biting and snappish, that goes without saying.     

The Discourse series is devoted to the (cinematic) country of Italy and presenting two programmes contrasting filmic perspectives from south Italy and north Italy (South Tyrol). In the Films Contrasting the Idyll programme, the guest curator and director Ronny Trocker is providing some insights into the diversity found in the short film productions from this multilingual and contradictory border region of South Tyrol. Great masters and new voices of Italian cinema are being brought together in The Island in a Wine-Coloured Sea programme, which is focusing on south Italy and Sicily.

Special Programmes, events.trainings.connections, Audiowalk, Animation Show with Oscar© winner Thomas Stellmach, AI, Gaming Live Lecture

Yet again this year for both accredited guests and interested festival audiences, the events.trainings.connections. section is offering a wide selection of talks, as indeed receptions, a masterclass and further events.

In the audiovisual city walk (Tue-Sun), created together with the Iranian filmmaker and artist Afsun Moshiry, stories of people from Iran are being combined with Dresden locations. The event options include group city walks, as well as individual audiowalks connectable via a QR link (free-of-charge, in English).

The Oscar© winner Thomas Stellmach (1997 Academy Award for the animated film “Quest”) is presenting in his Animation Film Show (Wed, 17.4., 18:00, Schauburg) several of his prizewinning works and will be speaking about techniques and tricks, anecdotes and facts, backgrounds and future plans.

The growing influence – in terms of both the potential and danger – of artificial intelligence on the film scene and industry is the subject of the Discussion: What’s the Point of Artificial Intelligence? (Fri, 19.4., 15:00, Hole of Fame, in English).

The viewers can look forward to a unique live performance of Total Refusal: Everyday Daylight (Sat, 20.4, 19:00, GEH8 Kunst Raum Ateliers): In a Gaming live lecture, the Total Refusal media collective are guiding the audience through the metropole of Los Santos, the digital cityscape of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V videogame and discussing the concept of hyperrealism and the ways to appropriate it artistically.

 After the Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening, Filmfest Dresden is inviting everyone to the FESTIVAL DRAG PARTY in the Groovestation venue. Under the motto of Utopian Glamazons, from 22:00 guests can expect a DRAGcellente extravaganza with DJs, dancing and drag shows (from 23:00).

Programme for Young Audiences

Once more this year, the 36 Filmfest Dresden is screening in five age-appropriate programmes for children and youth from 5 and older a selection of the latest international short films, bringing captivating stories from various corners of the world to the silver screens. Following the screenings, the audiences have an opportunity to quiz the filmmakers about the films they see. All of the programmes can also be booked as group screenings.

Yet again, the selection was compiled by the Filmfest Dresden Young Curators – a group of young film enthusiasts from Dresden and its surroundings.

Complementing this, the festival’s longstanding cooperative partner Fantasia Dresden animation school is holding the “Frame by Frame, This Is How the Animated Hero Lives” workshop with the animation filmmaker Alma Weber and director Thomas Stellmach, as well as presenting the results of the workshop in the Kids Special Showcase. As a special surprise this year, the festival premiere of OVER THE MOON is being celebrated. This is the first short film short made by Filmfest Dresden’s Kurz.Film.Club.

Furthermore this year, two workshops are being held for school classes and groups to make their own shorts. Together with the animation artist Alma Weber (her film DESERT CRITTER is running in the Kids 2 Programme), the participants can bring their heroines and heroes to life. In addition, the creative possibilities offered by the zoetrope miracle drum are being explored by Oscar© winner Thomas Stellmach.

>> Programme Leaflet Kids and Youth Programme

Trailer for the 36 Filmfest Dresden

This year’s festival trailer was realised by the 3D artist, filmmaker and sound designer Nicolas Gebbe. His films LOCKDOWN DREAMSCAPE, THE SUNSET SPECIAL and URBAN DREAMSCAPE were all screened previously in the (Competition) programmes of Filmfest Dresden. Inspired by the focal topic of “Dreaming Utopia”, Nicolas Gebbe has created a digital 3D architectural world in the trailer that reveals intermediate dimensions, questions viewing habits and ultimately encourages reflection on one’s own reality.

More about Nicolas Gebbe:

>> Link to trailer:

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