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.
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.
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.
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”.