Preview on the 36 Filmfest Dresden: Special Programmes Focusing on “Dreaming Utopia: It’s going to be beautiful”

Record 3,200 Submissions // Discourse Europe: Italy – Curated by Ronny Trocker // Focus Québec // Regional Focus: “As If It Were Yesterday – Films from the 1990s” // Start of Accreditations // Press Conference on 26 March 2024

From 16 to 21 April, Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz together with their team are inviting film fans to immerse themselves in exciting short film stories from across the world at what will be the 36th edition of Filmfest Dresden. This year, the festival received a record number of 3,200 film submissions from 104 countries (2023: 2,800). Right now, the selection committees are choosing the entries to compete in the International, National and Central German Competitions. Together with the competition sections, a wide array of special programmes focusing this year on the theme of utopia are awaiting the audiences. A range of prizes amounting to €72,000 are due to be awarded at the festival. The complete programme of the 36th festival edition will be announced during the Press Conference on 26 March 2024 in the Schauburg Dresden festival cinema.

Thematic Focus “Dreaming Utopia: It’s going to be beautiful

Our foretaste of the 36th festival edition includes some insights into this year’s special programmes, which are focusing on the theme of “Dreaming Utopia: It’s going to be beautiful” and exploring various forms and representations of utopia.

“On the one hand, short film especially is able to reflect critically on crisis situations, while at the same time it is capable of offering a collective projection screen for our hopes, wishes and utopias, and even articulating our desires for the future,” Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz explain. “And for this very reason, we warmly invite all our festival visitors to revel in their dreams at this year’s events.”

One of the thematic programmes is, for instance, focusing on architectural utopias, imaginary architectures and architectural visions realised, while investigating the question of how humankind would like to live in the future.

A further programme dedicated to our thematic focus is exploring how to design and create a better and fairer future. The feature here is on the phenomenon of Afrofuturism in its striving for empowerment as it creates new narratives for the past, present and future, and avails of speculative genres like science fiction to discuss the Black experience in an innovative way and overcome racist situations. The programme is being curated by the director Kantarama Gahigiri, who is researching identity, migration, empowerment and forms of representation in her current projects.

Yet another programme is thematising utopia by taking postcapitalist mind games as its focus. We are delighted that the Austrian “pseudo-Marxist” (as they describe themselves) media collective “Total Refusal” is acting as the programme’s guest curator. The collective recently won the prize in the Best Short Film category at the 36th European Film Awards. In their works, the collective subjects the popular video games medium to a social analysis that is critical of capitalism.

Home and homeland as a utopia provides the focal theme for a further programme, compiled in collaboration with the guest curators Hoda Taheri and Boris Hadžija. The director Hoda Taheri and the producer Boris Hadžija were awarded the Golden Horseman for the Best Short Film in the National Competition at last year’s FILMFEST DRESDEN for their fictional-documentary short MOTHER PRAYS ALL DAY LONG (director: Hoda Taheri).

Discourse Europe: Italy

This year’s discourse series is focusing on the (filmic) country of Italy and contrasting cinematic perspectives from South Italy and the North of Italy (South Tyrol) in two programmes. Since time immemorial, the film medium has depicted the north-south divide in the country, stimulating the social debate about this issue and contributing to holding the nation together.

We are pleased to welcome as guest curators for the programme the South Tyrol-based director and screenwriter Ronny Trocker – known among other works for THE HUMAN FACTOR (2021 Berlinale) – as well as Andrea Inzerillo, Artistic Director of the “Sicilia Queer Filmfest” and editor of the book “Atlas of Contemporary Queer Cinema. Europe 2000-2020”.

Focus Québec

The ever-popular Focus Québec is heading off on a multisensory journey this year. The programme is inspired by the music of spiritual jazz that moves beyond traditional harmonies and rhythms, while integrating spiritual, meditative and secular influences. The guest curator of this year’s Focus Québec is Tam Dan Vu. She works for the Québec-based “Travelling” film distributor as its Artistic Director and Head of Communications.

Regional Focus: Films from Post-Unification Germany

The “Securing the Audio-Visual Heritage in Saxony” (SAVE) innovative project, which is promoted by SLUB (Saxon State Library – Dresden State and University Library) and the Saxony Film Association, is revealing numerous pearls from Saxony’s audio-video heritage during FILMFEST DRESDEN in its regional focus series. Entitled “As Though It Were Yesterday – Films from the 1990s”, highlights are being screened from Dresden-based filmmakers Tilo Schiemenz and Bernd Kilian’s artistic oeuvre. Both filmmakers have already presented works at earlier film festival editions. On the one hand, the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall bestowed new creative freedoms on the Dresden-based filmmakers while, on the other hand, they provided them with a vast amount of material. Contemporary witnesses from that time together with those who came after will now have an opportunity to take a nostalgic and enthralled, cheerful and perturbed look at works from this era preserved cinematically.


Start of Accreditations

For reporting purposes, press representatives can become accredited to the 36 Filmfest Dresden with immediate effect.

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