The Complete Programme of the 35th Filmfest Dresden: Departing Happyland and Landing in the Short Film World!

371 Short Films // Juries Filled // Tribute to Yann Gonzalez // Paul and Menno de Nooijer Anniversary Programme

At today’s press conference in the Filmtheater Schauburg festival cinema for this year’s Filmfest Dresden (18 to 23 April), Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz together with members of the Selection Committees announced the complete programme for the 35th edition, which can also now be viewed online. A total of 371 short films from 66 countries are being presented in the competitions and special programmes over 188 screenings. In addition to the competition sections, during the festival week, numerous events in the special programmes with an array of country-based and thematic highlights are being held under the motto of Antiracism: Exit Happyland. As usual, the film programmes are being augmented with 30 events in the etc. -events.trainings.connections. festival section, intended for media professionals and interested members of the public. The works in the three competition sections (National, International and Central German Competitions) are vying for 16 “Golden Horsemen” and special prizes, with the prizemoney totalling €72,000 (2022: €71,000), following a further increase this year. The Golden Horsemen trophies as the festival’s official awards are also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Tickets to the festival can now be purchased at various pre-sale outlets, as well as online.

“Our festival edition this year again has a thrilling and wide-ranging programme with something for all tastes and age groups in it,” explains Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz. “We’re looking forward to lively exchanges with the filmmakers, and we can finally celebrate our festival party again, not to mention several anniversary events as well. We’re also really excited about the new screening venue for the open-air programme on the historic Schlossplatz square, as well as the response to the programmes focusing on our antiracism theme.”

Focus “Antiracism: Exit Happyland!”

Concluding the trilogy on the overall subject of diversity, the focus this year is on antiracism. The title EXIT HAPPYLAND is inspired by the book “Exit Racism”, released in 2017 and from the author and antiracism trainer Tupoka Ogette. The “Happyland” term she coins there describes the extremely comforting situation of a majority of humankind who are either not, or only partly aware of the racist system in which they live. Making this situation visible and ultimately stepping beyond “Happyland” is a concern of Tupoka Ogette, as well as it also being this year’s focal programme, which was however compiled without the involvement of the author.

In addition to the four special programmes arranged by guest curators, many of the other programme aspects are shining a light on the thematic focus: In the Discussion: Exit Happyland, dominant narratives and stereotypical images in the film industry are being broached, as well as alternatives revealed.

The DRESDENpostkolonial initiative is inviting all those interested on a City Tour: Dresden Postcolonial (1.5 to 2 hours) intended as a critical analysis of and confrontation with the   traces of colonialism found in Dresden’s cityscape.

This year’s festival trailer, which was created by the Canadian animation artist Alisi Telengut, provides a utopian perspective on the antiracism thematic focus. Telengut has already been represented numerous times at Filmfest Dresden, such as with her films LA GROGNE or THE FOURFOLD.  

Watch the trailer here.

Programme Highlights: Tribute to Yann Gonzalez, Cinema Digestif, Paul and Menno de Nooijer Anniversary Programme, Sandwich Talks, Short Film Lotto & Party

This year’s tribute is dedicated to the French director Yann Gonzalez. In two programmes under the title of BEFORE THE DAWN HEALS US, a selection of his short films are being presented, as well as his multi-prizewinning queer horror feature film KNIFE+HEART.

The three programmes in the ever-popular “Cinema Digestif” late-night special hold the promise of new discoveries, such as the films from Nigerian New Cinema – known as Nollywood – or the audience favourite SERIOUSLY? WTF!, which is celebrating its fifth round this year.

A further anniversary is being highlighted in the Animated 2 programme: The Dutch father-son directing duo Paul and Menno de Nooijer have created a unique body of artwork over 50 years consisting of installations and performances, as well as playfully intuitive films. With this anniversary programme, Filmfest Dresden is expressing its gratitude for the 20 years of friendly cooperative collaborations with them.

In the new programme SHORT FILM LOTTO – OR: ON THE ART OF SELECTING SHORT FILMS FOR THE BIG SCREEN, the viewers are being given the opportunity to slip into the skin of the selection committee and decide at random on the sequence of the films being screened for a whole evening.

The traditional Sandwich Talks, running from Wednesday to Friday, are again being held this year in the Filmgalerie Phase IV venue, with filmmakers from the competitions being invited to come and speak about their artistic and thematic approaches. Each Sandwich Talk is dedicated to differing focal areas and tackles various thematic or stylistic trends in this year’s competitions.

After the awards ceremony on Saturday evening the festival guests can look forward to the long-awaited return of the festival party: The NO TEA NO SHADE – FESTIVAL DRAG PARTY in the Groovestation promises to be an eleganza-extravaganza with dancing and drag shows.

Filmfest Dresden Aims for Young Audiences

Again this year for young viewers of 5 years and older, the 35th Filmfest Dresden is presenting the latest international short films for children and youth, bringing impressive stories from across the globe into the cinemas of Dresden. Following the screenings, the audiences have an opportunity to quiz the filmmakers about the films they see. Yet again, the selection was compiled by the FILMFEST DRESDEN Young Curators – a group of young film enthusiasts from Dresden and its surroundings. In addition, the festival’s longstanding cooperative partner Fantasia Dresden animation school is holding the “Miss Paper Discovers the World” workshop with the animation filmmakers Francie Liebschner and Mandy Müller (Balance Film GmbH), as well as presenting the “Seeing the World in  Animation” kids special showcase premiering the results of the workshop.

Juries of the 35th Filmfest Dresden

In the National, International and Central German Competitions of the 35th Filmfest Dresden, eight independent juries are awarding 14 of the 16 prizes in total – endowed with prizemoney of €72,000:

Invited to join the Internationale Jury are: The Czech-Vietnamese director Diana Cam Van Nguyen (2022 Golden Horseman for LOVE, DAD), the new media artist, composer and filmmaker Faiyaz Jafri, who was born in the Netherlands and is giving a masterclass at the festival (Sa, 16.00, Schauburg), as well as Niels Putman, who comes from Belgium and is the editor-in-chief of and Talking Shorts, which he cofounded.

The decisions on awarding the prizes in the National Competition as well as also for the first time in the Central German Competition are being taken by: The author, director and producer Alina Cyranek, the animation artist Robert Seidel and the author, actress, performer and director Mateja Meded.

The Golden Horseman Sound Design will be awarded by: The film, television and theatre composer Chiara Strickland (2021 Golden Horseman Sound Design for JUST A GUY from Shoko Hara), the author, director and story development professor (Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf) Dennis Todorovic and Johannes Gerstengarbe, musician and music producer, as well as the owner of the Ballroom Studios, which is already sponsoring the film sound design award for the ninth time together with Harmody (Tech & Life Solutions GmbH) for the first time.

The jury members for the 6th LUCA – GenderDiversity Film Award include: Ulla Heinrich, culture mediator, culture manager and managing director of Missy Magazine, the author speaker and freelance film critic Şeyda Kurt, as well as the Brazilian filmmaker, producer a programmer Paulo Menezes.

For the third time, a jury is awarding the “fully political – Short Film Award for Democratic Culture” film prize, which is being sponsored for the first time by the Saxon State Ministry of Justice and for Democracy, Europe and Gender Equality (SMJusDEG).The jury includes: The antiracism trainer and activist, performer, author and director Anna Gaberscik (USA/AT), Abhishek Nilamber (India/Berlin), a researcher and curator with SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, and a creative consultant with Backyard Civilization, Kochi, India, and the director Pavel Mozhar (Golden Horseman National Competition and 2022 “fully political” – Short Film Award for HANDBOOK).

The decision to award the third Dresden Short Film Award of the German Film Critics Association will be taken by: The film critic and curator Tim Abele (, etc.), the journalist Anne Küper (Filmdienst, etc.), as well as the curator and founder, among others, of and, Bilal Zouheir.

Furthermore, in the International and National Competitions, the two Youth Juries, each consisting of three members, will again select their favourites.

As always, together with the juries, the audiences at Filmfest Dresden will again have an opportunity to decide on their favourites in the International and National Competitions. The Audience Award in the Central German Competition is being repurposed as a jury prize this year and being awarded by the National Competition jury for the first time.

New Award Sponsors

For the first time this year, the Saxon State Ministry of Justice and for Democracy, Europe and Gender Equality (SMJusDEG) is awarding the “fully political – Short Film Award for Democratic Culture” during Filmfest Dresden. In this way, the democracy ministry is continuing the prize, endowed with €3,000, which the Saxon State Centre for Political Education (SLpB) developed and first awarded three years ago. Several players from the political education and culture field have been involved in the viewing and evaluation of the short films.

“Through this evolution, so-to-speak, in the “fully political” film award, we are according consideration to current developments that reveal in numerous places: Politics makes waves, is life, is daily routine,” Democracy Minister Katja Meier explains. “For which reason, political education and an emotional understanding of democratic culture in numerous – even entertaining – formats are required now more than ever. And short films with their capabilities to react quickly, vividly and topically to developments reflect this. With the ‘fully political – Short Film Award for Democratic Culture’ we are supporting filmmakers and securing the space they require for this.”

There are also further changes related to the prizes and awards: In the Central German Competition, the Audience Award has been rededicated as a jury award. The new award sponsor, the Saxony Film Association, has also increased the prizemoney to €3,000.

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

The Golden Horseman Sound Design, valued at €3,000, is again being sponsored this year by the Ballroom Studios together with Harmody (Tech & Life Solutions GmbH) for the first time.

At the Awards Ceremony on Saturday 22 April, a total of 10 Golden Horsemen and six special prizes endowed with €72,000 will be awarded.

An overview of all the prizes and awards at Filmfest Dresden is provided here.

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