AN INTERVIEW WITH MANUEL ABRAMOVICH ABOUT ‚BLUE BOY‘

The Argentine director Manuel Abramovich won the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) for ‚Blue Boy‘.

The filmmaker and cinematographer was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987. He studied camera at the Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica in Buenos Aires and is an alumnus of the 2012 Berlinale Talents. His short film La Reina (The Queen) screened at over 150 festivals worldwide winning 50 awards and his debut feature film, Solar, premiered at the Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente in Buenos Aires; in 2017, Soldado (Soldier) screened in Generation at the Berlinale. He is a fellow of the current DAAD artist-in-residence programme in Berlin.

ManuelAbramovich
Manuel Abramovich

Young men from all over the world have been meeting at the Blue Boy Bar in Berlin for forty years. According to their website, this is where the city’s lonely hearts, business people and tourists go. One after another, several young men take a seat at the bar, look into the camera and listen to themselves. A contract has been settled, the terms are read aloud. It allows the filmmaker to use the interviews as he sees fit. The men are paid for it. The men tell the filmmaker about their job, they are sex workers. As we observe them, a multitude of questions arise. Their eyes are like a mirror of our society.

BlueBoy_Still_3
© ‚Blue Boy‘ by Manuel Abramovich

What is your ambition in the film?

I wanted to make a series of portraits of sex workers applying the same rules of the sex trade. To place emphasis on the performativity of such dynamics and to create an experiment in which the roles of everyone involved (protagonists, audience, myself) were interchangeable. What would it be like for these young men to take distance from the character they play? How would they react to their own stories?

What do you like about the short form?

Short films are like games. I just like to invent the rules and, for a few minutes, invite the audience to play along.

What are your future plans?

I just started the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD fellowship, where I’m elaborating Blue Boy’s second phase, probably a feature. I’m also working on two new projects in Mexico. The first is related to pornography, I’m interested in people who turn their own sexuality into a show. The other is a collaboration with the gay cowboy community to create something they’ve always wanted to watch: a telenovela about their own love stories.

24 films from 17 countries have competed for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH FLORIAN FISCHER AND JOHANNES KRELL ABOUT ‚UMBRA‘

The German filmmakers Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film for ‚Umbra‘. Congratulations!

Born in Tübingen, Germany in 1981, Florian Fischer studied communication design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and then attended the Arno Fischer masterclass at the Ostkreuzschule for Photography in Berlin. Between 2011 and 2016 he was a member of the artistic staff at the Hochschule Harz. In 2017 he completed a masters in pictorial science at the Danube University Krems. He participated in Berlinale Talents in 2018.

Portrait-FlorianFischer
Florian Fischer

Born in Halle (Saale) in the former GDR in 1982, Johannes Krell studied audiovisual media and camera at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. Since 2008, he has worked as a freelance cinematographer, editor and sound designer. In 2018, he completed his postgraduate studies in media arts at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.

Portrait-JohannesKrell
Johannes Krell

Umbra: dark core of a sunspot, central shadow during a solar or lunar eclipse. ‘Umbrais dedicated to the ordinary and rare phenomena that occur in nature. These phenomena evoke familiar images such as shadows or reflections on the surface of water’, explain Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell. Formally and aesthetically complete, beautiful and consistent, Umbra has an irresistible arc of tension, a celebrated, not always definable and therefore all the more fascinating pull. The film can be read as an apocalyptic science fiction horror abstraction, as Kubrick Noir, so to speak. (Kubrick once mocked the fact that experimental film would never work on the big screen, and later shot the arguably most epic of all experimental films). Umbracan also be perceived as a meditation on space and its exploration. Or is it a fantasy about aliens travelling to our planet? The images we know of the moon’s surface are similarly abstract. To surrender oneself to Umbra and the emotions and associations it triggers means to begin a journey into space, and to grant space to the ephemeral.

UMBRA_STILL_3
‚Umbra‘ by Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell

What is your ambition in the film?

In our film UMBRA we question film as an image-producing procedure in generell and link it to always existing optical phenomenons – like shadows or reflections on a water surface. The camera obscura can be considered as a complex visual apparatus that relates to the human eye. We wondered if there’s a natural equivalent to this phenomenon. Inspired by the writings of Aristoteles we discovered a natural event – a solar eclipse – that reveals the principals of the camera obscura without the use of any apparatus.

In addition to the conceptual aspects of UMBRA our formal ambition in all our films is to create an audiovisual experience that is very similar to wakeful or lucid dreams and thus to question the boundaries of our own perception.

What do you like about the short form?

In our work we don’t necessarily draw a line between short and feature-length film. The time range is not an index for quality or content, just a parameter of the film – any idea or concept has probably its appropriate time to develop. But often in short films there’s less people, money and institutions involved which leads to more autonomy and much more variant forms as the common genres. It’s exciting to see how old patterns dissolve and new forms evolve.

What are your future plans?

After our previous films STILL LIFE and KALTES TAL, UMBRA is the last part of our Trilogy that explore nature(s) as spaces for (self-)perception. Currently we are thinking about an appropriate conversion of the trilogy into a video installation for an art space.

24 films from 17 countries have competed for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM JURY 2019

Congratulations to the amazing winners of the Golden Bear for Best Short Film and the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) as well as the Audi Short Film Award!

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Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell are overwhelmed by winning the Golden Bear for Best Short Film yesterday Photo by Heinrich Völkel

Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film for ‚Umbra‘! 

Umbra: dark core of a sunspot, central shadow during a solar or lunar eclipse. ‘Umbrais dedicated to the ordinary and rare phenomena that occur in nature. These phenomena evoke familiar images such as shadows or reflections on the surface of water’, explain Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell. Formally and aesthetically complete, beautiful and consistent, Umbra has an irresistible arc of tension, a celebrated, not always definable and therefore all the more fascinating pull. The film can be read as an apocalyptic science fiction horror abstraction, as Kubrick Noir, so to speak. (Kubrick once mocked the fact that experimental film would never work on the big screen, and later shot the arguably most epic of all experimental films). Umbracan also be perceived as a meditation on space and its exploration. Or is it a fantasy about aliens travelling to our planet? The images we know of the moon’s surface are similarly abstract. To surrender oneself to Umbra and the emotions and associations it triggers means to begin a journey into space, and to grant space to the ephemeral.

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Manuel Abramovich receiving the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) for ‚Blue Boy‘

Manuel Abramovich won the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) for ‚Blue Boy‘!

Young men from all over the world have been meeting at the Blue Boy Bar in Berlin for forty years. According to their website, this is where the city’s lonely hearts, business people and tourists go. One after another, several young men take a seat at the bar, look into the camera and listen to themselves. A contract has been settled, the terms are read aloud. It allows the filmmaker to use the interviews as he sees fit. The men are paid for it. The men tell the filmmaker about their job, they are sex workers. As we observe them, a multitude of questions arise. Their eyes are like a mirror of our society.

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The Audi Short Film Award for ‚Rise‘ by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca

Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca won the Audi Short Film Award for ‚Rise‘!

Young, gifted and black! In an act of self-empowerment, a group of young Black people, mainly first and second generation immigrants from the Caribbean, have occupied the public space of the Toronto underground to perform their agitprop concept of edutainment – poets, rappers, singers and musicians. This vital, experimental documentary perceives rhythm, text and dance as forms of creative work that collectively reflect and comment about their identities. Diverse voices come together in a cultural dialogue that includes both traditional and contemporary elements of Black music. The structure and script of the film is based on the edutainment concept created by hip hop artist KRS-One. Also involved are members of the group R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere), who organize a weekly poetry slam in suburban community institutions in Toronto.

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The Filmmakers of Berlinale Shorts 2019

Photos by Heinrich Völkel

AN INTERVIEW WITH RAINER KOHLBERGER ABOUT ‚IT HAS TO BE LIVED ONCE AND DREAMED TWICE‘

Let us introduce you to the Austrian director Rainer Kohlberger, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Linz, Austria in 1982, he works as a freelance video artist and media designer in Berlin, developing algorithm-based images for installations, experimental films and live visualisations. His deliberately reductionist visual imagery moves between a playful discourse with concrete forms and noise aesthetics. His short film keep that dream burning screened in the 2017 Berlinale Shorts.

Kohlberger1
© Rainer Kohlberger

‘In the sixth great mass mortality of the earth, humankind became extinct. Their technology had recently progressed so far as to deconstruct the algorithms of evolution and allow artificial life to develop on Earth. New life awakens, learns to see and tries to understand. It discovers the film history of humankind and through reflection thereof, begins to gain an awareness of itself and to believe in their gods. The artificial character goes to the cinema so to speak, where we collectively see images produced with machine learning and other image analysis algorithms used against the grain. The belief that we and our world cannot be solely reduced to matter, that there is in fact another form, is deeply inscribed in our own program and defines our thinking. Does nature calculate on the basis of the stuff that makes up our universe, or is the universe the result of calculations? Is the existence of numbers independent of one’s own consciousness, or are they fictional? Are mathematical objects and their concepts created in the same way in which we tell stories? It has to be lived once and dreamed twice,’ comments Rainer Kohlberger

dreamtwice-2
© ‚It has to be lived once and dreamed twice‘ by Rainer Kohlberger

What is your ambition in the film?

I’ve been interested in the blurriness of the border where mind is confronted to its surroundings since a long time. While my generated work so far deals a lot with the perceptual aspects of this inquiry, here I started from the simple question what artificial life is and what do we mean when we talk about ›Intelligence‹. That resulted in a far-reaching endeavour where I realised quickly that very basic questions about millennia old philosophical topoi like the body/mind problem and the relationship between technology and religion emerge. My ambition was to tell this 40,000 years of human history from an alien perspective in a poetic way.

What do you like about the short form?

I’m one of the film makers who usually work entirely on their own to create their microcosms. For me that also means creating films is close to the compositional process of music, therefore the length of a short film can kind of be related to the one of what would be a song or a track maybe. ›It has to be lived once and dreamed twice‹ is my longest film so far, that is not purely abstract as the ones before, but where for the first time in addition to the images and sounds I also included language. For that I collaborated with Annika Henderson for the voice and with Peter Kutin for the sound track.

What are your future plans?

I am constantly pushing out new bits and pieces in all the fields I’m involved in — new music, new video installation and a new film coming up!

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SHEN JIE ABOUT ‚SPLASH‘

Let us introduce you to the Chinese director Shen Jie, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Shanghai, China in 1989, he graduated from the Shanghai Institute of Technology in 2012. His short films have screened at film festivals around the world including in Venice, Sakhalin, Tampere, Annecy and Zagreb. He lives and works in Shanghai.

© Shen Jie

The camera falls into the water. A man without arms stands at the edge of the pool and fishes the diving goggles out of his trousers with his foot. Like an animal, he bites the hand of a woman standing next to him. A package is opened. A jump in the water, followed by a splash! It is the exploding of a bomb, marking the transition of life to death. With a precise montage of a few sound elements, animated images and framing, Shen Jie tells of borderlines and possibilities. Who holds whom and when? The linear narrative is suspended. Urgency and restlessness are inherent features of the film. The images are inspired by the work of British painter David Hockney whose famous work, ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)’ was auctioned in November 2018 – at a price that has never before been paid for the work of a living artist.
Shen Jie belongs to a young generation of independent animation filmmakers in China who are gaining international acclaim.

What is your ambition in the film?

I’d like to try a more abstract way to narrate a little story.

What do you like about the short form?

I think short form works well for some extreme expressions. Less running time actually gives me more room to experiment. I would, of course, like to try a longer form, if I have a suitable idea for it.

What are your future plans?

I’m making a new short film. And I recently started to write poems and some little stories. Currently no any more detailed future plan.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEMA GARCÍA IBARRA AND ION DE SOSA ABOUT ‚LEYENDA DORADA‘

Let us introduce you to the Spanish directors Chema García Ibarra and Ion de Sosa, who are participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

The writer and director Chema García Ibarra was born in Elche, Spain in 1980. He studied advertising and public relations at the Universidad de Alicante and, alongside music videos and commercials, also made short films. His ‘domestic science-fiction’ films have screened at festivals worldwide, including at the Berlinale, Sundance, San Sebastián, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and Ann Arbor. He teaches ‘anti-filmmaking’ at the Escuela de Cinematografía y del Audiovisual de la Comunidad de Madrid.

Born in Donostia, Spain in 1981, Ion de Sosa studied at the Escuela de Cinematografía y del Audiovisual de la Comunidad de Madrid and is a cinematographer, producer and director, primarily of 16mm films. He currently lives in Barcelona but spent the last ten years in Berlin. His films have screened at festivals including Locarno, Toronto and Hong Kong. His feature film Sueñan los androides (Androids Dream) screened in the 2015 Forum. He would love to direct a Batman sequel.

© Chema García Ibarra and Ion de Sosa

The swimming pool has played an important role throughout film history – most often as a romping ground for the sophisticated and hedonistic Dolce Vita. But it can be so much more, even sinister, as in Sunset Boulevard. In Leyenda dorada a rather unglamorous swimming pool of diminished charm forms the focal point of the story. A lazy summer’s day in the Spanish village of Montánchez, and people of all ages enjoy themselves at the outdoor pool. It is an almost utopian depiction of community, under the lofty, watchful gaze of Our Lady of Consolation. While conflicts, aggression, rivalries and animosities have a siesta, the villagers take a well-deserved break. Formally, the film draws on the tradition of New Objectivity. But unlike Robert Siodmak’s Menschen am Sonntag (1930) and its lido sequence, this is a wee summer fairy tale.

Still 2
© Leyenda dorada by Chema García Ibarra and Ion de Sosa

What is your ambition in the film?

An ex-voto is a religious offering to a divinity, like a Saint or the Virgin, as a thanksgiving for a miraculous gift. For example, an unexpected cure to an illness or a fortuitous accident surviving. This art form is popular and sacred at the same time. This is so attractive for us.

We wanted to put in cinema this expression form that usually is made as a painting or sculpture.

 What do you like about the short form?

In short form, the film decides his length.

What are your future plans?

We want to focus in Chema’s first feature film, called “Sacred spirit”. Ion will be the D.O.P. and producer along with our partner Leire Apellaniz. If everything goes as we want, the shooting will be in the beginning of 2020.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH MARTÍN REJTMAN ABOUT ‚SHAKTI‘

Let us introduce you to the Argentinean director Martín Rejtman, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961, he studied film at the Escuela Panamericana de Arte and then at New York University. After several short and mid-length films, he made his feature debut in 1992 with Rapado (Cropped Head). He is also a writer and he wrote the screenplay for this film based on a story in his short story collection of the same name. The film screened at Locarno, as have some of his other works, including his 2006 documentary Copacabana. Recent years have seen several retrospectives of his work, including in the USA, Spain, Portugal and South Korea.

Rejtman Martin
© Martín Rejtman

Federico, is in his mid-twenties and lives alone in Buenos Aires. The day his grandmother dies, he decides to part with his girlfriend Magda. He fears hurting her. But when the time comes, she beats him to it. She is laid-back, feisty and not even close to feeling hurt. He is however, especially when he learns that she already has someone new. But then he finds the potato knishes in the freezer that his recently departed grandmother gave him and everything changes. Rejtman’s stage is the microcosm of the Argentine society, which he deciphers in carefully composed images with a sparsely told story and a directing approach in defiance of retro realism. Rejtman belongs to the new wave of Argentine film that first gained recognition in Europe in the mid-1990s. According to Dr. Rocío Gordon of the University of Virginia, the key aspect of his work is that the director and author does not tell linear stories in a run-of-the-mill way, but rather refers to an aesthetic of apathy. Within this apathy, comedy gains the greatest of scopes – a unique position in Argentina until now.

Still 3
©Shakti by Martín Rejtman

What is your ambition in the film?

I’m a writer, as well as a filmmaker. In literature I write only short stories, I never wrote a novel. When I started writing literature I did it because it didn’t make sense to write scripts for short films that I would never be able to make. It’s not realistic to plan to make twelve short films in a year, for example, but it makes sense to write twelve short stories and publish them in a collection.

Lately my short stories have become very long (no less than 100 pages). And making feature length films usually takes much longer than one would wish. This is why I decided to go back to the short form in film, thinking that it would be an easy and smooth operation. Of course, it was not.

What do you like about the short form?

 Its apparent lack of ambition. It can also be a healthy antidote against today’s endless chapters, seasons, etc.

Shakti - behind the scenes
Behind the scenes, filming ‚Shakti‘ © Martín Rejtman

SHAKTI in so many ways, seems to be so achieved- so lived. You know the situations by heart- at least it seems so. Is it an autobiographical movie? Where do you find inspiration- for your writing, filmmaking? 

No, it is not an autobiographical movie, although one of the songs that we used to sing in my high school choir was “Climbing up the Mountain, Children”; my grandmother used to cook great potato knishes which I thought were the best in the world, etcetera.

You made few movies, landmarks in argentinean cinema- did you ever feel like you could have made more, you missed something, you made different steps today if restart would be an opportunity?

I made four features, one documentary, one tv movie, and three or four short films so far. I also published  five books of short stories. And I wouldn’t change a coma or a frame of anything I did. Basically because it’s already done. I don’t think it’s wise to think about the past from the present, and a film and a book are also the product of their circumstances which are always unique. These movies and books are my work, and I think they are all part of the same world, that evolves from film to film and from book to book; but they are also documents.

What freed you up in never settling down in only one filmformat but doing what you did and being in competition now with a shortfilm? 

I went to a radio program once to talk about my work and the host, who was a philosopher, recommended me a book, Shunryu Suzuki’s “Zen mind beginner’s mind”. I liked the idea. It seems that once you make a feature then you should only make features! It’s some kind of unwritten law. People were surprised when I decided to make a short: “What for?” But a couple of years ago I taught for two years a short film screenwriting workshop. And I realized that it had been a really long time since I had made a short film myself. It was about time.

What are your future plans?

May be a new short film later this year, and a feature length, “La práctica”, to be shot in Chile, hopefully very soon.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCA TÓTH ABOUT ‚LIDÉRC ÚR‘

Let us introduce you to the Hungarian director Luca Tóth, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Hungary in 1989, she studied animation at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) in Budapest. Her graduation film, A kíváncsiság kora (The Age of Curious), won an award at Annecy in 2013; her first self-produced film, the Hungarian, Czech and Slovakian co-production Superbia, premiered in the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes where it was the sole animated film in the competition.

LucaTóth1_photo-by-Éva-Szombat
© Éva-Szombat

The nipple is the power button that gets the ‘cinema of the mind’ rolling – or is it in fact a reality? An X-ray reveals it quite clearly: a little man nestled between the rib bones. There he lies and sleeps. The male’s host goes crazy, but it doesn’t help, he falls asleep exhausted. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds a wound where his nipple used to be, and footprints on the floor. The search begins. But the little man refuses to be intimidated or annoyed or fooled. He confidently sets off to find his place in this gay universe. Who actually loves whom here? Surrealistic and absurd settings come up against a real, everyday world. Unfathomable, inexplicable, sensual, feisty, peculiar.

What is your ambition in the film

In this particular film I wanted to show a character that only knows how to love somebody but doesn’t have the tools to understand how he should be loved.

 What do you like about the short form?

I always find it degrading when people only look at the short format as a stepping stone to feature length films. A short film can fill you with questions in a matter of minutes – that would be a challange to answer for days afterwards.

What are your future plans?

After making a film I find it hard to start with a new one for a very long time. That‘ s why I’m so excited to start teaching at university for the first time soon.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH VARUN SASINDRAN ABOUT ‚OMARSKA‘

Let us introduce you to the Indian director Varun Sasindran, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Kerala, India in 1987, he studied electronics and communication engineering and worked as a software engineer for four years. In 2012, inspired by his visits to international film festivals, he quit his job and turned his attentions to film. He studied visual media at the University of Calicut in Kerala and took a master’s degree at the Sarajevo Film Academy where, thanks to a workshop led by director Alain Fleischer, he became aware of Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains in France and went on to study there.

Portrait_2
© Varun Sasindran

Bosnian War 1992. In the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies the concentration camp Omarska, which according to Serbian reports was an assembly point and investigation centre. Between May and August 1992, thousands of people were interned, tortured, raped and murdered there. Now it is a factory site of the Arcelor Mittal Company. So far, those murdered there have yet to be commemorated. The film is based on the agonizing memories of Nusreta Sivac, who served as a judge until the outbreak of the war. She was sent to the Omarska concentration camp and had to work in the kitchen. From there she could observe the atrocities and became a victim of the violence herself. Omarska tries to construct a virtual memorial using archive material, videos and statements by survivors in a 3D animation. As soon as the last witnesses have died, text and image documents will play a central role in the historical reappraisal of the events. Scientists, artists, filmmakers and writers will become interpreters of the past and will have to replace the survivors who were the historians of their own experience.

Still 3 Omarska © Varun Sasindran
© Omarska by Varun Sasindran

What is your ambition in the film?

I hope the voices from Prijedor will be heard more louder especially in those places, where subject matter is not well known. Through this film, my attempt was to construct a memorial (in 3D animation) mainly guided by the memories of the survivors with the help of archive images. I believe this film will open a dialogue on how reckoning the history could play an important role in reconciliation. And I feel Berlinale will play a vital role in reinforcing this aspect.

What do you like about the short form?

I always liked the films that takes their own time to find their rhythm, and this aspect in short form is quite challenging – to get it right could be a nerve racking  experience. For me, I could never predict what would be the end result. Especially with my latest film Omarska, we decided to reject the existing structure and  narration, just two days before we had to finish our edit . With the short format, it could be just a matter of making one bad decision. And we never really know if it is really a bad decision or not. I enjoy this restless situation, which forces you in the end, to purely go with your intuition.

What are your future plans?

While realizing Omarska, I got to know about Hajra who was detained at Omarska. My urge is to know more about Hajra especially during her end times and I feel an urge to make a film on her. Also, a film about my hometown -Kannur, where political murders have been witnessed from past many years.

Also more importantly, to help the young filmmakers  and artists from my state, in realizing their dreams in whichever way I can, especially who has no academic backgrounds in arts from any privileged institutions. As I feel public funds in India, more opportunities are concentrated on those, who are qualified from elite academies. I strongly feel this eligibility criteria needs to be relooked.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH IRENE MORAY ABOUT ‚SUC DE SÍNDRIA‘

Let us introduce you to the Spanish director Irene Moray, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1992, she is a photographer and filmmaker. Moving to Berlin in 2012, she spent three years collaborating with the performance collective the–family, performing across Europe at venues including the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo and the Chisenhale Gallery in London. While in Berlin, she also made her first short film, Bad Lesbian. After four years in Germany, she returned to her hometown and made Suc de síndria (Watermelon Juice). She also works as a photographer for various agencies, producers and publications including i-D, Dream Magazine, Garage Films, Distinto Films and Erika Lust.

2. Photograph of the director - Irene Moray
© Irene Moray

On holiday in Catalonia, Pol and Bàrbara share a house with friends. The pair does what pairs do amidst the heat of summer and alongside the body of another. But something is wrong, and is instantly noticeable. She tries to regain her ability to orgasm, and he helps her. How naturally, effortlessly and adroitly the filmmaker directs this love and this work. It only takes a moment for rape to interfere with an entire lifetime. How much time, effort and dedication does it take to find your way back to your own sexuality? Pol and Bàrbara succeed because haste is suspended and the Suc de síndria, the juice of the watermelon, entices pleasure.

What is your ambition in the film?

My aim with this film is to present an alternative narrative of a woman who overcomes an experience of sexual abuse. When people talk about this reality the focus is always on the trauma instead of in the chance of healing, and I wanted to bring a new perspective on the topic, with more light and hope. Also I wanted to show a healthy relationship between the two protagonists, based on respect, compassion and trust.

What do you like about the short form?

I think it’s really difficult to make a good short film, because you have less time to make the audience engage and empathize with your story and characters. To create that connection in such a short time is pretty challenging. I guess I’m attracted to that and the creative freedom you can have in all the creative process.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently working on a feature film script. I think it’s going to take some time, because so far it has been a really intuitive and delicate process. My perfect plan would be to shoot the movie once the script is finished.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

AN INTERVIEW WITH YEN-CHAO LIN ABOUT ‚THE SPIRIT KEEPERS OF MAKUTA’AY‘

Let us introduce you to the Canadian director Yen-Chao Lin, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Taiwan in 1983, she lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Through intuitive play and experimentation, her visual artworks and films often explore different forms of divination arts and traditional tales, particularly via the angle of folk religion and oral history.

Portrait
© Yen-Chao Lin

Yen-Chao Lin travelled along the east coast of Taiwan – an area characterized by its wild nature, colonization and population exodus. The Amis is the largest of many ethnic minorities in Taiwan officially recognised as indigenous peoples. In search of different spiritual practices belonging to the indigenous people of Makuta’ay, Yen-Chao Lin places the memories of the old Amis spirit keepers on an equal footing with the practices of Daoist rituals and Presbyterian burials, allowing personal prayers to resound and collective resistance to emerge. The Spirit Keepers of Makuta’ay was shot on Super 8 film and developed by the director by hand. The effects created during the development process add an additional layer of spiritual interpretation. A miniature, an essay, an impressionistic painting.

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© The Spirit Keepers of Makuta’ay by Yen-Chao Lin

What is your ambition in the film?

I hope to bring more awareness to Indigenous issues and the consequences of colonization in Taiwan and elsewhere. Here in Canada, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has triggered a lot of decolonizing movements in the arts and in the broader society. I hope people in a privileged position can use their privilege to enact change because every little thing one does contributes to the collective change.​

What do you like about the short form?

I come from a DIY background and I’m a perfectionist. I like to be able to do things myself, or to work very closely with my collaborators.

What are your future plans?

As a Canadian artist, I live in the art eco system: production – dissemination – seek funding for new projects.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Yen-Chao Lin on The New Current, too.

AN INTERVIEW WITH TAN WEI KEONG ABOUT ‚KINGDOM‘

Let us introduce you to the Singaporean director Tan Wei Keong, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Singapore in 1984, he studied animation at the island city-state’s Nanyang Technological University. In his films he animates fantasy worlds in which he explores his gay identity through personal storytelling. He also works as a media artist and was artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and co-artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, both in California, USA.

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©Tan Wei Keong

A forest, a man, a suitcase. To walk, to hatch, to transform oneself. A discovery, discovering oneself? By combining various cinematic techniques, animation artist Tan Wei Keong creates a universe with a minimum of gestures in order to describe the complexity of a search. The repetition of gestures holds a magic of its own, and the exploration of space and ego is surprisingly reflected in the sound track and in the nakedness of the man. Freedom lies in the gaze itself.

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©Kingdom by Tan Wei Keong

What is your ambition in the film?

To match the equal amounts of hope and despair.  The search for the idea of home and belonging is a cyclical struggle, and I want to tell this story that weaves in between fiction and personal history, and form a conversation with which people could empathise.

What do you like about the short form?

That there are no checklist that must be fulfilled – it is free-form and can give sound to a voice that might otherwise be inaudible.

What are your future plans?

I am researching for an early draft of a story that has been swimming in my mind for the longest time. In addition to films, I am continuing to develop and expand an ongoing new media art project called Foundin, a public art installation relying on human interactions.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Tan Wei Keong on The New Current, too.

AN INTERVIEW WITH VICTORIA GIESEN CARVAJAL ABOUT ‚HÉCTOR‘

Let us introduce you to the Chilean director Victoria Giesen Carvajal, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Santiago de Chile in 1987, she pursued dance, drawing and music from an early age. She has a degree in image and sound design from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

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© Victoria Giesen Carvajal

A fishing cove on an island fallen out of time and space, almost like the rocky island in Michelangelo Antonionis L’Avventura (1960). Nature is not merely decoration, but an active force of events. Ships appear in the distance, but do not dock. Here is where Gabriel works with a small group of young men. They amuse themselves in an age-appropriate way, but also talk frequently of the devil and are magically drawn to a cave. Out of nowhere, an androgynous creature appears called Héctor. Gabriel instantly falls in love. The birth of a love that Gabriel tries to decipher. But the enigmatic girl disappears. The other men burn her tent and clothes at night. A visually bewitching and disturbing film poem, which remains reserved and vague, constituting its fascination and magic.

What is your ambition in the film?

This is the first short film that I premiered in my life, it is the first time that I share something of mine that has a life of its own! It will be beautiful if its images and sounds cause some new idea or feeling in others and that these readings will be also new to me. Honestly, I do not expect a specific type of discussion, I just hope there can be one.

What do you like about the short form?

It’s not something I’ve really thought about. I think that the short length has the advantage of a more easily dispensing with a strong „hook“. Maybe that’s why it’s a good space for narrative exploration.

What are your future plans?

I want to do many things. I want to do classes, I want to migrate again, I want to work with children, to participate in an artistic residence. In creative terms, I have a couple of long-term projects that I want to develop during this year, one is a documentary in the south of Chile and the other is a project that in the first instance will be an audiovisual blog and then see what springs from there.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Victoria Giesen Carvajal on The New Current, too.

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH SAMIR KARAHODA ABOUT ‚NË MES‘

Let us introduce you to director Samir Karahoda from Kosovo, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition — with the first Kosovar film at Berlinale Shorts ever!

Born in Prizren, Kosovo in 1977, he began to working as a photographer in 1992. In 2003 he completed a photography degree at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, where he is currently a postgraduate student. Alongside his work as a photographer, he is also a cinematographer and lecturer and curates the short film programme at the DokuFest International Documentary Film Festival in Prizren. Në Mes (In Between) is his directorial debut.

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© Samir Karahoda

In the age of globalisation, digitalisation and over 68 million refugees worldwide, questions arise. What, where and when is homeland? What is ‘Leitkultur’ (‘defining culture’)? A leading German politician even advocated the establishment of a ‘Heimat’ (‘homeland’) ministry. Në Mes examines traditional family and patriarchal values and ideas. In rural Kosovo, fathers build identical houses for their sons. These sons live all over the place, anywhere except Kosovo. The houses embody the love, longing and hope of those who stayed at home for those who went to work abroad that they will one day return and settle here again. In practise however, they only ever come back for family celebrations and funerals. Although they feel connected to the homeland and culture of their childhood and youth, they also feel alienated. Do they even want to return? So while the houses are symbols of family equality and unity, they are also castles in the air.

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© Samir Karahoda

What is your ambition in the film?

The filmmaking style reflects my process of understanding this phenomena allowing me to try and reflect this to others through careful observational portraiture of the families as well as my inner reflections of the vision I’d been seeing for a long time — houses all in a row, all of them exactly the same, all of them sitting empty. Other topics began to emerge that further explained this curious occurrence. Film is strongly concentrated on the visual image, mainly through static images of the houses, details of construction, portraits of fathers and brothers and the geographical position of the whereabouts of houses.

What do you like about the short form?

It’s a nice step to test personal creative boundaries and in the other side it’s a form that gives the filmmaker a chance to share its story faster and cheaper to the audience!

 What are your future plans?

I’m „In between“ so still couldn’t decide what I’m going to do in the future…  Whatever I work on in the future, I will be shooting and framing it myself, it’s a nice experience.

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© Samir Karahoda

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Samir Karahoda on The New Current, too.

AN INTERVIEW WITH FLÓRA ANNA BUDA ABOUT ‚ENTROPIA‘

Let us introduce you to the Hungarian director Flóra Anna Buda, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1991, after graduating with a degree in animation Flóra Anna Buda worked as a director and illustrator in animated film. One of her chief goals is to seek out new ways to tell stories and to connect her interests in science and the interpretation of dreams with her personal experience. She is currently participating in the European Union-funded Animation Sans Frontières training programme where she is developing new projects.

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© Flóra Anna Buda

Three women, three lives in parallel worlds, until the moment a fly causes a bug in the system. The universe collapses, sex is in the air, bras are overrated and the stars twinkle! In the animated film Entropia by Flóra Anna Buda, colours explode and sensually unleash new possibilities: Thanks to the fly, all that is abstract comes to life and sexuality plays an integral role. While there are echoes of the sci-fi series Black Mirror, the colours make everything more vibrant. The doe by the river is a nod towards Hungarian animation artist Réka Bucsi, whose work has equally opened up more creative narrative strategies in animated film. Buda’s graduation film heralds a new generation of animation artists from Hungary.

What is your ambition in the film?

My ambition was to create a story where I can define myself in the most honest way as a young woman.

What do you like about the short form?

I like it because it’s a challenge. You have to express yourself in a very simple way to be able to keep it short. Because of that you must compress your message by using symbols or parallel cuts for example. The options are endless but at the end you need to define your film based on your values to make it work.

What are your future plans?

Recently I am participating on an international workshop called ASF (Animation Sans Frontiére), where I have the chance to develop a next short film. At the moment I am working on the treatment and searching for the visuals. In the future I would like to experiment with live action and VR too.

24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

Still wanna know more? There’s a Q&A with Flóra Anna Buda on The New Current, too.