32 Filmfest Dresden: Competition Films Finalised

Themes: Climate crisis, consumption and capitalism critiques, gender issues // prizemoney in excess of €67,000

With a total of 70 films, including 14 world and German premieres, the competition programmes for the 32 Filmfest Dresden (21 to 26 April 2020) have now been finalised. The selection committees chose the productions from more than 2,900 submissions to the National and International Competitions to compete head to head for the much coveted "Golden Horsemen" trophies and special awards. With prizemoney totalling more than €67,000, Filmfest Dresden is counted among the highest endowed short film festivals in Europe. In addition to the competitions, which represent the centrepiece in the programme, the festival is also holding an extensive range of special programmes that focus on an array of subjects and countries, in addition to retrospectives, youth and children’s films. The complete programme for the 32 Filmfest Dresden will be announced after the press conference on 24 March.

"What strikes me about the competition entries this year is the multi-layered and at times highly personal perspectives the filmmakers take on viewing current events and affairs across the world," Festival Director Sylke Gottlebe explains. "On a thematic level, the films in both the National and the International Competitions are concerned with subjects such as the climate crisis, critiques of consumption and capitalism, gender equality and the #MeToo debate."

Statistics: Powerful Animation Works and quasi Gender Equality in Directing

Just under half of the films chosen for the National and International Competitions consist of animation works. Availing of a wide spectrum of creative means – from photo montage to clay animation through to classic cartoon genres – the filmmakers explore the borders between reality, fictionality and the experimental. In her latest production URAL in the National Competition, Alla Churikova makes impressive use of her sand animation technique to tell the story of atomic tests in the Soviet Union. By contrast in the International Competition, the animation artist Theodore Ushev has created his piece PHYSICS OF SORROW completely by means of an antique painting technique called encaustic, in which the paint pigments are bonded with wax. Likewise, the selection in the International Competition has benefitted from a strong production year of South Korean animation films, with the three works MOVEMENTS from Jeong Dahee, SAN from WOO Jin and MASCOT from KIM Do-hyung invited to attend the festival.

This year, gender equality in the field of directing is broadly balanced in both competition sections: While 42 percent of the films in the International Competition were (co)-directed by women, the films in the National Competition were made to an equal extent by women and men.

Among the 33 films in the National Competition, the percentage of independent productions (16) has continued to increase and is now at about the same level with the productions coming from film schools (17).

In the six film programmes in the International Competition, 37 films from 29 countries depict and illustrate the latest occurrences in short film. In terms of the entries selected, the top runner in the festival with six (co)-productions is France, followed by the USA (5) and South Korea, in addition to films from Chile, China, Vietnam and the Congo.

Themes: Social Criticism, Climate Crisis and Gender Issues

On a thematic level, many of the filmmakers represented in the competitions confront the latest events and occurrences across the world, as well as urgent environmental and socio-political issues. Lyskov Mykyta reflects on the muddled political situation in the Ukraine in his colourfully crazy animation DEEP LOVE (International Competition). While in the National Competition, THE RAFT from Sylvian Cruiziat explores how the art scene deals with the refugee crisis, and the female artist collective Neozoon uses its film FRAGMANTS to analyse a phenomenon of our capitalist society in a clever, entertaining and critically self-reflective manner: Unboxing. 

The climate crisis represents a further theme that the filmmakers address: In his animation THE BEAUTY (National Competition), Pascal Schelbli has created a highly accurate commentary on plastic rubbish polluting the oceans. Taking a music video style, the Congolese-Belgian artist Baloji condemns being constantly available via social media in ZOMBIES (International Competition) and then ends his film with a subtle allusion to the climate crisis.

A range of films focus on issues of identity, the human body and gender, such as the experimental animation films EADEM CUTIS: THE SAME SKIN from Nina Hopf or RUSHES from Clara von Arnim in the National Competition.

Old Faces back at Filmfest Dresden

As is the case each year, many filmmakers are returning to Filmfest Dresden with their latest productions: Theodore Ushev (PHYSICS OF SORROW in the International Competition) who lives in Canada has already been a loyal visitor to the festival in previous years: In 2013 he was a member of the international jury, in addition to regularly screening his works at the festival (such as in 2014 with GLORIA VICTORIA). Likewise, Sasha Svirsky has been repeatedly in the festival programme and is competing this year with his latest animation MY GALACTIC TWIN GALACTION (Russia, 2020). ROUTE 3 is the newest film from Thanasis Neofotistos, whose work PATISION AVENUE was screened in last year’s International Competition.

Likewise, in the National Competition, the audiences can look forward to seeing some familiar faces:

Alla Churikova (URAL), mentioned above, already guested at the 2018 festival with a showcase, in addition to holding an animation workshop with a live sand performance for primary school-goers. Borbála Nagy was represented in 2018 with MINDEN RENDBEN (nomination for the German Short Film Award) and is presenting the fiction film LAND OF GLORY this year. In 2017, Michael Fetter Nathansky received the German Short Film Award and the Audience Award at Filmfest Dresden for GABI. This year, he is bringing his new film 5 WAYS TO CRY along to the festival.

Film list International Competition

Film list National Competition

Filmstills International and National Competition

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