Awards

67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen – Awards 2021

These are the winners of the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen which took place online from May 1st – May 10th, 2021.

With a diverse and beautiful programme the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen continues to offer filmgoers one of the best experiences. And this year was no exception, despite the transition to an online edition, the festival was able to showcase some beautiful productions. As for Asian shorts this year there were 24 films presented and 5 of them were able to get awards. Three Asian films, Transparent, I am by Yuri Muraoka (Japan), 8’28’’ by Su Zhong (China), and Kalsubai by Yudhajit Basu (India) were awarded three main awards. I would like to thank the organizers of the festival for giving me a press pass for the festival, in the next days I will update my opinions on some shorts I was able to watch.

Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen

Transparent, I am by Yuri Muraoka – Japan | 2020 – 12 minutes

In the year 2020, when the world was forced to ‘change’, I wanted to confirm what changed and what did not change in me. The white mask I wore became the screen projecting my past. My family is sometimes hurt, but support me as I suffer from schizophrenia. We live today while looking for the answer to ‘Who are we?’

Statement of the Jury:
We see the sea, pictures of the sky taken in backlight, and hear the narrator tells us about a failed suicide attempt. What follows is a personal story about life, its difficulties and its beauty. A story that is told by pulling out all the cinematic registers, using different animation techniques, found footage and still images. By doing this she creates a nonlinear narrative making space for the viewers and their interpretations and imagination. The filmmaker dives into her own history, both in terms of imagery as well as storyline. It feels like a moment of reflection, a visual artists’ statement in which she turns inward. The film celebrates life and celebrates film, the result is stunning and – like life – incredibly rich.

Principal Prize

8’28’’ by Su Zhong – China | 2021 – 9 minutes

It’s a one-shot film about violence and blood in a turbulent world, named after the film’s duration. But 8’28” is should hardly be interpreted as a mirror of the pandemic era, since the film’s sound creation and final edit all took place before the catastrophe arrived. As usual, I have done all the work on the film myself.

Statement of the Jury:
A continuous shot with no end or beginning and that seemingly catches us in a random moment. It shows us, in 8 minutes and 28 seconds, how violence is interconnected with machines, technology, and labour. With humour, which is always close to despair, the filmmaker mixes both Western and Eastern mythologies and depicts them as future leaders of a humanless world, with only industrialised mechanical movement. Making a film like this, coming out of the guts, directly onto the screen after a very long and patient digital work is a huge accomplishment. Thank you, Su Zhong, for reminding us that even before the pandemic we could already make a film about a world full of violence and despair.

Special Mentions of the Jury of the International Competition

More Woman, More Cry by Anne Haugsgjerd – Norway | 2021 – 24 minutes

Anne Haugsgjerd (77), a renowned Norwegian director, reflects in a poetic, provocative and emotional way about entering the last chapter of her life. A naked story about aging, gravity and smoking weed.

Statement of the Jury:
More Woman, More Cry by Anne Haugsgjerd is a stunning film that captures the beauty and fragility of life. With vivid clarity, great imagination, and sly humour, Haugsgjerd provides thought-provoking reflections on family, art, ageing, and the fluidity of time in a humorous and poetic way. Without embarrassment, but full of doubts, the film shows an emancipated filmmaker contemplating her life and asking the question: What next?

Sensory Overload by Ganza Moise – Rwanda | 2020 – 7 minutes

Seated in a bus after a long day, a mother drifts away in her existential thoughts. Blurring time, space and form, Sensory Overload is an audio-visual piece that explores how imagination can be an escape from the realities around us.

Statement of the Jury:
At the other end of this spectrum, the jury sees Sensory Overload, a poetic film by Ganza Moise, that takes a poem by Natacha Muzira as its guide. A seemingly featherweight film with an existential underlayer, in which time, form and space run into each other, in a search for a way out of reality, not through destruction, but through the poetry of life.

Prize of the Jury of the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia

The Earth of No Return by Patrick Mendes – Portugal | 2020 – 20 minutes

What if this world is another planet’s hell? This world would be the Earth of no return.

Statement of the Jury:
In an indeterminate time, women wash clothes by the river, a stone ear becomes porous. Out of the blue, a motionless body falls headfirst into the riverbed. The screams of the working undead pierce the mysterious silence. This work positions ’’film as ritual” in the style of magical realism. The blazing fire forges new eyes that let us see the beauty of an analogue mystery of tears, earth, light and shadow. The unsettling absence of dialogue sharpens our senses to the highest alertness, only to sweep us out of earthly hell with ’’heavy metal”. You are invited to join the order of cinema.

Special Mentions of the Jury of the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia

Divided by Law by Katie Davies, Emma Agusita – UK | 2021 – 26 minutes

Captured just before and during the coronavirus outbreak and in the lead-up to Brexit, Divided by Law bears witness to binational families and couples trying to cope with the UK’s hostile immigration environment. From multiple locations across the world, we hear personal accounts of how the interviewees navigate their way through the UK family immigration regulations, encountering prolonged periods of separation from their partners and families with distressing consequences.

Statement of the Jury:
“I miss you.” Analogue black-and-white images show chats of anonymous lovers which are supposed to serve as testimonies of a valid partnership for the British government. ’’Hostile Environment Policy’’ is the name of the UK Home Office’s attempt to make immigration into Great Britain as unbearable as humanly possible. This film lets us experience the impact of these drastic measures on binational families and relationships in personal accounts, combined in an unpretentious montage with 16mm film, Google Street View and found footage.

The International Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize)

{if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves by Lucy Davis
Singapore, Finland | 2021 – 28 minutes

Statement of the Jury:
The film offers an artistic and investigative exploration resulting in a fascinating perceptive experience. While creating a cinematic atmosphere, it reflects on urban and eco-social transformations from human and more-than-human relationships. In this way, {if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves allows us to think of cinema as an aesthetic tool that questions, resists, and reimagines the relationships between culture and climate change.

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Zoom on Circus by Dominique Margot – Switzerland | 2020 – 14 minutes

Via Zoom (or Skype), circus artists from all over the world share their art and their daily life during the COVID-19 crisis.

Statement of the Jury:
A clown is grimacing into the webcam from his living room; an aerialist is trying to stay in shape on her balcony; a circus director is suffering from the cold in his caravan because he cannot afford the heating costs: Zoom sur le cirque brings together the social, political and aesthetical aspects of the current Corona pandemic in an accurate yet heart-wrenching way: the human desire or even the human need to laugh even in times of crisis; the hardship suffered by artists and people engaged in the cultural sector who are threatened by losing their means of existence; the art of improvisation that the circus as well as Zoom require equally and therefore the technical and social possibility of decreasing the distance by means of humour.

Special Mention of the Ecumenical Jury

Home by Ngima Gelu Sherpa – Nepal | 2020 – 20 minutes

A young Nepali man, preparing to launch a film-making career in Europe, is suddenly summoned home to the Everest region. His father, a livestock farmer like most Sherpas before they became known for mountaineering, is ailing. In this intimate portrait, the film-maker explores his relationship to home and his parents, and the world of tradition and ritual he thought he had left behind.

Statement of the Jury:
nga’i nang is a film about a son who returns to his family home in Nepal to say farewell to his dying dad. The son films these last days, the passing and the death of his father which appear just as simple and natural in the everyday life of this poor farmer family as the tiny things that usually happen to them. Even though all this is sad, this is the order of life. While the film is very modest, it tells its story in a distanced but very personal and emotional way. Similar to the way the mother, who escapes to religious rituals, experiences mourning internally and in silence and similar to the son, who, after leaving his Home and his lonely mother behind again, will later reminisce alone on the beach of the ocean on another continent. Even though all this is sad, this is the order of life.

ZONTA Prize for a female filmmaker in the International or German Competition

OCTAVIA’S VISIONS by Zara Zandieh – Germany | 2021 – 18 minutes

Octavia’s Visions is inspired by the Parables of the African-American futurist author Octavia E. Butler, who died in 2006. Using poetic visual language, the film interweaves Butler’s worlds with contemporary issues of environmental degradation, far-right extremism and social liberation and expresses a queer utopian imaginary of transforming old structures into something new..

Statement of the Jury:
In the beginning was the work of a great futurist writer, which the filmmaker translates into a many-layered, poetic and pioneering film experience that resonates for a long time.

Grand Online Prize of the City of Oberhausen

Kalsubai by Yudhajit Basu – India | 2020 – 20 minutes

This is an ethnographic film exploring the legend of the Mahadeo Koli goddess Kalsu, whose story and identity remain impregnated in the consciousness of the women of the tribe even today. The film tells the story of the goddess while drawing visual contrasts between primordial and contemporary images.

Statement of the Jury:
For creating a dialog between past and present through its lyrical ethnography; and for exploring with a gentle distance a remarkable mythology empowering non-traditional ways for women to live.

Principal Online Prize

Light Trap by Pablo Marín – Argentina | 2021 – 9 minutes

‘Fire insubstantial, sacred and enclosed, earthly fragment to the light exposed.’ (Paul Valéry, The Graveyard by the Sea)

Statement of the Jury:
For giving us a breath of fresh air and allowing us to rediscover nature; and for showing its light and its wonders through the photochemical materiality of celluloid, continuing to explore the possibilities of analogue methods.

e-flux Prize

A Very Long Exposure Time by Chloé Galibert-Laine – France | 2020 – 7 minutes

This film is a meditation on the respective temporalities of different image technologies. An investigation of the explicit and unspoken ideologies encapsulated in technology, the film unfolds as a web of apparently unrelated stories, progressively revealing patterns of technologically-determined political erasure.

Statement of the Jury:
For its astute and poetic exploration of time, recording technologies, and erasure of workers and Indigenous identity from a perspective both personal and critical; and for uniting these expressive themes through compact and modest means.

Prize of the Online Jury of the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia

A Very Long Exposure Time by Chloé Galibert-Laine – France | 2020 – 7 minutes

Statement of the Jury:
It is only logical that the film awarded by us renounces sound, since it is an exploration of the conditions of visibility. Un très long temps d´exposition discovers, layers and combines images and narratives from global and personal history. Chloé Galibert-Laîné’s both analytical and personal composition of chains of visual motifs reveals the political and ideological dimensions of technological imaging methods and questions media visibility as the ultimate legitimization and proof of existence.

Special Mention of the Online Jury of the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia

The ____ World by Peixuan Ouyang – USA | 2020 – 18 minutes

A personal essay about connection and disconnection, in and through different realities.

Statement of the Jury:
The unlimited availability of the world, just a click away – and yet the shabby papier mâché models of famous monuments in a small amusement park ignite quite original ideas of freedom and the future. Our Special Mention goes to a film which shows us the ephemeral stuff that dreams are made of, and those strangenesses that even global digital communication can’t abolish.

Prize of the Ecumenical Online Jury

Memories by Kristin Johannessen – Sweden | 2020 – 14 minutes

Memories is a personal documentary where we get to follow the film-maker as she looks back on her mental illness. In conversations, looking at old photos and animation, memories of loneliness, fear and odd thoughts are woven together.

Statement of the Jury:
How do you remember how you used to be in the past? Minnen is an authentic documentary where we look back on the filmmaker’s mental illness as she soberly traces her life. Animated sequences display what was in her mind at that particular time of her life. With original footage of her youth added to a recent interview with her own parents, Kristin Johannessen shows, through accurate memories, the difficulties of being different, of raising a child you can’t always understand but never want to leave behind. Minnen talks about the hope of recovery that must be held on to when facing sickness.

Special Mention of the Ecumenical Online Jury

Kalsubai by Yudhajit Basu – India | 2020 – 20 minutes

Statement of the Jury:
Kalsubai explores the history of the goddess Kalsu and her meaning for the women of Bari. The film relies on strong visual and acoustic images that neither explain nor falsify. The almost photographic compositions and their expressive simplicity make the film accessible to everyone and invite you to reflect on your own cultural influences and to question them.

Cradle by Paul Muresan – Romania | 2020 – 4 minutes

People tend to hurt each other, leaving long-lasting wounds, and this is no different amongst families.

Statement of the Jury:
Unfortunately, even today, many families are hiding dark secrets. The animated short film Cântec de leagăn investigates the innermost depths of a family devastated by domestic violence and alcoholism. In such a climate of terror, we see life still existing with a mother taking care of her new-born, trying to protect him and his big brother from being bullied. The animation technique reflects the different states of mind of the characters perfectly and raise our awareness of the difficulties every family could struggle with at one time and must overcome. Particularly effective is the way in which the song ’’Cântec de leagăn” – a traditional Romanian lullaby performed by Maria Tanase – Is grafted onto the animation.

Prize of the German Competition

Proll! by Adrian Figueroa – Germany | 2021 – 30 minutes

Cornelia, Juri and Murat belong to the ‘working poor’. But at first glance, they seem connected by nothing more than their low wages. Everyone fights for themselves. Whether as clickworker, delivery driver or in the bankrupt cardboard factory, they all drift together through a jumbled stairway on their way out. But where to?

Statement of the Jury:
A film about the ones at the bottom. The low-paid, the stressed, the overlooked. The outstanding camera follows them closely, often intimately; we feel the pressure, see the sweat and the fear. And yet the protagonists remain at a distance from the viewer. The film does not manufacture sentimental commonalities where there are none. A film about the loneliness of our time.

3sat Emerging Talent Prize

Comrade Tito, I Inherit by Olga Kosanovic – Australia, Germany | 2021 – 27 minutes

A hillside, an orchard, a house. Idyllic scenes in southern Serbia. Three generations under the roof of a house that is being prepared to be passed on. Each person has their own legacy, which must, however, be borne by everyone together. A cinematic look at what remains.

Statement of the Jury:
A summer in the countryside, the interplay of daily chores in the house and garden and casual reflections about how best to stage the idyll. In front of and behind the camera, the filmmaker looks for answers to how we should deal with our political and material heritage. But neither the conversations with her family nor memories re-discovered on the Internet, nightly tales or the unanswered letters to her über-father help. A local inspection and an analysis of the present day.

Special Mention of the Jury of the German Competition

Shine and Frustration by Shira Orion – Germany | 2020 – 4 minutes

‘We said that the two of us wanted to take a trip to Kyrgyzstan. That was not the whole truth …’ Three film trailers as a genre of their own.

Statement of the Jury:
Excessive demands, letting go, experiencing everything at once and having to learn everything anew time and again; a relentless juxtaposition, no discernible patterns – life with its open ends as a cinematic principle.

Prize of the German Online Competition

(Steve) Temple by Tanita Olbrich – Germany, USA | 2020 – 6 minutes

The Ruhr area as a fictive landscape. This landscape, as is usual in landscape painting, is an ideal one – here, an anarchic space in which people live spontaneously and cooperatively, free of hierarchies.

Statement of the Jury:
Come along on a tour through a mysterious world, located somewhere between the 1980s and a utopian idea, between industrial chimneys and Jurassic Parks. Playful, honest and sensual, the director invites you into her admirably personal cosmos full of music and freedom.

Special Mention of the Jury of the German Online Competition

Raised from the Ground by Melissa Dullius, Gustavo Jahn – Brazil, Germany | 2020 – 11 minutes

Then he wakes up thinking he’s woken up from a dream and thinks he’s fallen asleep … He wakes up late and realises that it’s already dark and feels very sleepy.

Statement of the Jury:
In a situation where we are all forced to become flâneurs, the beauty of this somnambulistic stroll, shot on analogue material, is comforting beyond time and constraints.

Prize of the NRW Competition

LYDIA by Christian Becker – Germany | 2021 – 21 minutes

Filmed in the late 1970s and written down in diary sketches in 1992, the film tells the story of the lives of Lydia and Wolfgang B. Full of passion and disciplined work and driven by the fear of a fatal second tumour, cine film recordings and diary texts offer a fragmentary report of a symbiotic marriage.

Statement of the Jury:
Do we succumb to the charm of the material or is it the multi-faceted story of a class, a life, or a relationship – parts of which even seem familiar? A story in which we find ourselves? In-between, the courage of the black screen. We experience a subtle cinematic sense of verbal and visual narrative. We learn about the value of fulfilling work in human life – that, too, seems familiar. Time and again, the outside invades the private sphere: documentary television images of the war in Yugoslavia and burning buildings – we almost forgot how long ago right-wing violence resurfaced in the German Republic. In the beginning we hear the pulse of life, followed by fast and hard cuts of portraits of a man and woman in 1970s aesthetics. The couple grows older and we take part in their leftist liberal bourgeois life, but also in processes of change, interspersed with red light, radiation therapy and introspections, self-questioning caused by a serious illness. A narrative film about life is distinguished here, a touchingly revealing portrait, drawn so intimately, so excitingly, as an existential story that happens at all times and that in the end leaves many questions open for us, the audience, and thus continues in our minds.

Promotional Prize of the NRW Competition

Troubled Water by Elena Wiener – Germany | 2020 – 10 minutes

What if your body is eating you up? When the fight against yourself overshadows your everyday life, your relationships and your freedoms? Troubled Water is a film about the fight against an autoimmune disease and inner demons.

Statement of the Jury:
The protagonist of this film suffers – her suffering is individual and personal. But it would also be visible to others, this suffering, and she therefore avoids the public. It forces her into quarantine (quarantine – the very mention of this word shows that the film describes current conditions and evokes very contemporary associations). In this quarantine, this isolation, her suffering spreads from the outside to the inside – and becomes terrible fear – and fear, as we all know, can literally eat you up. We, the audience, literally feel the pain. The award-winning film is – an animation. An animation in which simple lines are wrapped in a meaningful colour dramaturgy. An animation into which motivic live film snippets are mixed. An animation which, in combination with an atmospheric sound and music concept, creates psychological thrills and emotionality. An animation that is convincing both in terms of narrative and dramaturgy and in terms of formal aesthetics.

Special Mention of the Jury of the NRW Competition

Highly Perched by Oliver Gather – Germany | 2021 – 24 minutes

In the forest, hunters erect two raised hides directly opposite each other, watching over each other. Around this absurd, hunter-like installation, a kind of ethnographic observation of hunting and its fragile traditions unfolds.

Statement of the Jury:
We want to give a Special Mention to a film that operates at the intersection between research and documentation. Right at the beginning, the starting point and perspective of this observation is revealed. We then gradually experience a whole cultural cosmos in strict order: traditions, gender roles, songs. We learn of a special language, that objectifies, legitimizes and exaggerates. And we come to understand the point of view involved. This film is about nothing less than the act of killing. About the decisions of life and death when hunting – completely without need. The starting and ending point of this illuminating dense description is a sculpture: two raised hides facing each other.

Prize of the WDR Westart Audience Jury

To the Last Drop by Simon Schnellmann – Germany | 2020 – 6 minutes

An infusion stand fights for the life of a cancer patient to the beat of the dripping chemotherapy. But he struggles insistently against the treatment. If only death were not continually in attendance. Unperturbed, the stand continues with its mission, which does not end till the last drop.

Statement of the Jury:
A blackly humorous look at the bitter struggle against a deadly disease. It’s about life and death, about brokenness. It’s about weakness, strength, courage and coping with setbacks. And: it’s about hope. Black-and-white lines, no words. An urgent subject, lightly packaged. We find the way the filmmaker tells of existential things like cancer, chemotherapy and the fight for survival with wit and intensity absolutely worthy of an award.

Prize of the Children’s Jury of the International Children’s and Youth Film Competition

Kiki the Feather by Julie Rembauville, Nicolas Bianco-Levrin – France | 2020 – 6 minutes

Kiki the canary only knows his cage and the old lady who feeds him. He dreams of flying with the free birds from outside. When at last the door of the cage stays open, he escapes and discovers the big outside world where it’s necessary to know how to fly. Finally, being a free bird, it’s scary.

Statement of the Jury:
We thought the animation in this film was very beautiful. We also liked the music. The end was a bit sad, we thought, because the bird didn’t fly back to the woman. Still, it was a happy ending for the bird.

Promotional Prize of the Children’s Jury

In Search of Chok Chok by Dayoon Kim – South Korea | 2020 – 20 minutes

Yeon-woo has a hard time making friends after changing to a new school. On a rainy day, she finds a snail on her way home. From then on, she thinks the snail is her only friend and names it Chok Chok. One day Yeon-woo’s only friend, the snail, disappears. While searching for it, she meets Dajeong.

Statement of the Jury:
We liked the fact that this film was about friendship. The idea that the girl found a snail and became friends with it was brilliant. It was funny when the girls set out apples to make the snail return. We liked it that they set the snails free at the end so they could stay with their friends.

Special Mention of the Children’s Jury

Alaska by Oxana Kuvaldina – Russia | 2020 – 7 minutes

This is a story about a young husky dog – the spirit of the Alaskan Peninsula. He casts the Northern lights instead of a shadow and looks for a friend.

Statement of the Jury:
We liked the music in this film very much. And the polar lights that could change. We also found it nice that the Husky found a friend at the end.

Prize of the Youth Jury of the International Children’s and Youth Film Competition

Dolapo is Fine by Ethosheia Hylton – UK | 2020 – 15 minutes

Soon to leave her British boarding school and enter the working world, a young Black woman faces pressure to change her name and natural hairstyle.

Statement of the Jury:
Our winning film expressed very strongly that one doesn’t have to twist and bend and can take one’s own decisions. But it also shows clearly: This doesn’t apply to everyone under the same conditions. Racism can also be hidden in well-meant advice – the young woman in the film showed us that you don’t have to assimilate at all costs. This short film really brings that everyday situation for anyone affected by racism home to us, the audience.

Special Mention of the Youth Jury

Material Bodies by Dorothy Allen-Pickard – UK | 2020 – 5 minutes

Through interweaving dance and dialogue, Material Bodies is a sensual and cinematic look at the relationship between amputees and their limbs. This visceral and colourful short film explores how a prosthetic leg can be more like a piece of jewellery, a dance companion or a part of you.

Statement of the Jury:
We want to distinguish an extraordinary film with an important message: many things can be normal! We don’t need pity! We really liked the choreographies – they make us understand in a few minutes that a prosthesis is more than just a replacement or a deficit.

ECFA Short Film Award

Shower Boys by Christian Zetterberg – Sweden | 2021 – 10 minutes

After a heated training match with the team, twelve-year-olds Viggo and Noel go home to challenge each other’s limits and masculinity. A sudden stop to an innocent game questions what a male friendship is allowed to be.

Statement of the Jury:
The ECFA Short Film Jury decided to give their award to a film with a daring story about different aspects of masculinity. Through the nuanced script, the outstanding acting and editing the film reflects the complexity of growing up as a boy and freely exploring your emotions and desires. The main characters are being taught that they can be either “man or mouse”, but the story of the film gradually deconstructs this kind of stereotypes.

Certificates of the Ecumenical Jury

Nova by Luca Meisters – Netherlands | 2020 – 11 minutes

When fifteen-year-old Nova brings her little sister Ivy to soccer practice with her mother, Ivy’s new trainer Nadia tells them that Ivy cannot train anymore until her membership fee has been paid. The situation turns into a conflict. When Nadia puts a comforting hand on Nova’s shoulder, Nova gets overwhelmed by a feeling she has never had before.

Statement of the Jury:
About looking and finding for love and the difficulty of dealing with it. 14-year-old Nova takes on responsibility for her little sister and in this process goes on a journey to discover her feelings. Nova is a film that was perfectly staged and wonderfully photographed. The script works without pathos and heavy content and yet does not remain on the surface. A coherent and profound film at the same time.

Dalia by Brusi Olason – Iceland | 2020 – 16 minutes

A young boy of divorced parents spends a weekend at his dad’s farm. Not knowing how to connect, the father goes about his day working and treating the boy like any other farmhand. When they come across a seriously wounded horse, they find a way to connect as they go through the process of putting the horse out of its misery.

Statement of the Jury:
An atmosphere of uncertainty determines a young boy’s weekend-visit at his father. Here, at this remote farm in the sparse and impressive landscape of Iceland begins a rough path of mutual approximation for both. The injury of tthe horse Dalía triggers a decisive change of the relationship of father and son. A film that treats the topic of taking farewell from different perspectives in a quiet and impressive way.

German MuVi Award: 1st Prize

Junge Milliardäre by UWE – Music: UWE – Germany | 2020 – 5 minutes

How would it be to be the richest person in the world someday? You only need enough high-resolution photos of Elon Musk and a few good moves. The rest is done by the deepfake algorithm.

Statement of the Jury:
Junge Milliardäre by UWE is an elegant work that smashes, no holds barred, into our supposedly safe routines of perception and classification. We are shown a wobbly deepfake of Elon Mask singing seductively to himself, with ease and routine, on a kind of stage in front of a mirror; a multifaceted game with vanity, identity, longing and thus, of course, pop par excellence. In connection with the music and song, multiple cracks and shifts in the meaning of the images are generated and the question arises as to who is the author here and who is the singer. The obvious glitches, the brittleness of the deepfake make it even more beautiful: the viewer is first fascinated and then increasingly insecure. With great astuteness, in the guise of technical skill, all other filmic means shine through in this enchanting work: collage, suspense, the loving eye, wit and perhaps even a little horror. A brilliant work that’s grounded as firmly in the history of cinema and the world as it is pointing towards the future.

German MuVi Award: 2nd Prize

The Source of the Absolute Knowledge by Christine Gensheimer
Music Jaakko Eino Kalevi – Germany | 2021 – 5 minutes

The source of absolute knowledge meets the power of photoshop.

Statement of the Jury:
The Source of the Absolute Knowledge by Christine Gensheimer won us over with its playful and delicate animation style, which produced memorable images. Through metaphors from pop culture, internet culture and art history, analogue meets digital, pixels meet dabs of paint, Dalí meets emojis. Using collages of changing and merging settings, this video brilliantly combines form and content: The resource of knowledge in our computer age consists of fragmentary pieces of information that require composition by a user. Gensheimer combines image and sound with ease. In an unusually playful way she makes humans meet machines, and only the retro-aesthetics remind us that this relationship was once less light-hearted.

German MuVi Audience Award

NOAH by Mishka Kornai – Music: Christian Loffler – Germany, Canada, UK | 2020 – 4 minutes

NOAH explores the lives of three real people in three different cities: Montreal, London and Berlin. Utilizing the city’s aging phone booths as a focal point, the video explores how the tools we use to communicate shape the ways in which we connect to each other. When old tools disappear, those forms of connection die with them.

Special Mention of the MuVi Jury

Lawnmower in E Minor by Stephanie Muller, Klaus Erika Dietl – Germany | 2021 – 15 minutes

The video takes up the melancholy mood of the empty stage. The artist’s existence in lockdown becomes a boxing match. An empty income tax binder gets converted into a stage. The musicians rear up. The film could be likened to a person’s skin: What can be repelled? What will be taken in? A joyful tour de force, always embracing contradictions.

Statement of the Jury:
A Special Mention goes to Rasenmäher in E-Moll by Stephanie Müller and Klaus Erika Dietl, because filmmaking, like making music, can be an open process where you feel your way forward, occasionally wobble a little, change course a little, sometimes boldly go forward only to watch with amusement as your own work runs away from you. Approaching a shoot with an open mind, not hedging the results, perhaps having a few versions of the preliminary result up your sleeve is an enjoyable and vibrant thing which can get quickly lost in concerns about perfection and security. This Special Mention is also explicitly meant as an encouragement to take a few steps further along this unclear, funny path.

MuVi International Award: 1st Prize

Hungry Baby by Clara Balzary – Music: Kim Gordon – USA | 2021 – 6 minutes

Hungry Baby looks at ways for women to take up emotional and physical space under the weight of the patriarchy.

Statement of the Jury:
For us, Hungry Baby is the quintessence of a music video. Director Clara Balzary did a masterful job directing this video on the raw and vibrant song by Kim Gordon. It is daring in its directorial simplicity, and how vulnerability is expressed by the excellence of the actress Coco Gordon-Moore’s dance, showing us both rage and the joy and comfort of music as a liberating force. Balzary chose to set the scene in a desolate parking lot that very much breathes the feeling of angst at the onset of Corona and its commodification of every day experience. The narrative construct of a male aggressor at the beginning unfolds into a juxtaposition of survival in which the female takes over and leaves us with a life affirming feeling at the end, as the music blasts us out of a restrictive reality.

MuVi International Award: 2nd Prize

Traitors by Kingsley Hall – UK | 2020 – 5 minutes

For Traitors, I wanted to capture the feeling of intense isolation many of us in the UK are feeling from our government and of having a voice but that voice being ignored. The industrial ruins of my neglected hometown provide the backdrop to what is essentially a performance piece of me screaming into the void.

Statement of the Jury:
Traitors by Kingsley Hall is one of the most political films in this section, convincing in its simplicity and evidence. Few means are sufficient for the production to communicate a feeling of anxiety and powerlessness to the viewers. Using the stylistic device of affirmation, Kingsley Hall takes up the (often right-wing) criticism of Brexit’s opponents, the so-called ’’snowflakes”: While in terms of content the criticism is passively-aggressively accepted, it is rejected on the level of form. Delivered as a rant, initially as direct sound and accompanied by the protagonist’s ever-darker expression, it finally culminates in a painful slow-motion scream. Kingsley Hall has found a trenchant form for a social mood. Traitors effectively expresses what plays a role not just in political discussions of Brexit but in the politicised and emotionally charged online debate culture in general: despair in the face of the seeming irresolvability of prevailing polarisations.

MuVi International Audience Award

Queer Carriers: Double and Repetition by Ana Laura Aláez – USA, Japan, Spain | 2020 – 16 minutes

The video explores the degrees of rebelliousness in a given representation of plural femaleness. A reversed music video with sound created for the images by the electronic music project Ascii.Disko. The video characters are carriers of non-binary identities in perpetual motion. Each one is like a contemporary demiurge: in search of a personal form of expression no matter how many times they fall down constructing themselves. The work was produced with the support of a 2018 Multiverse Grant for video art creation of BBVA Foundation and Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

Special Mention of the MuVi Jury

Station Three by Pooya Razi – Music: Quartet Diminished – Iran | 2021 – 3 minutes

Quartet Diminished aims to create musical moments based on its members’ individual and collective contemporary outlook on music as a general entity. This music video belongs to their third album Station Three and shows how a hegemony of systems functions. A mixture of stop-motion techniques on coloured pencils and 3D zoetrope creates a haunting atmosphere to depict the contrast between impeccability and power.

Statement of the Jury:
We as a jury wanted to honour the creative eye and personal process of independent makers taking risks over technical highlights. Our Special Mention goes to Station Three (Quartet Diminished) by Iranian director Pooya Razi. He uses stop motion technique using self-made constructions of coloured pencil structures and 3D Zoetrope trying to shed light on the functioning of systems versus the individual. We honour the way in which creativity unfolds despite collective socio-political circumstances, and the ongoing excellence of creative input by the music of Quartet Diminished.

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