20th Vienna Shorts – Asian Presence 2023

We take a look at the Asian short films that will be screened at the Vienna Shorts – International Short Film Festival which will take place from June 1 – 6, 2023 in Vienna, Austria.

In Competition

Epicenter by Hee-yoon Hahm – Korea | 2022 – 11 minutes

An earthquake interweaves unconnected worlds; objects suddenly manifest from nothingness and make a mountain grow. Hee-yoon Hahm’s masterfully hyperrealistic drawing style impressively brings these events to life, blurring the boundaries between imagination and the real world. Viewers are invited to plunge into a fascinating realm of fantasy and reality where the impossible becomes possible. (ll)


Hito by Stephen Lopez – Philippines | 2023 – 22 minutes

A floating dog, a talking fish from the test lab, and fourteen-year-old Jani smack-dab in the middle. In a dystopian world riddled with nuclear reactors and governed by military curfews, the teenager struggles through a life marked by surreal encounters and bleak realities. With plenty of color, shrillness, and noise, Stephen Lopez stages this fantastic story spawned by the political regime of the Philippines. (mm)


In The Big Yard Inside The Teenty-Weeny Pocket by Yoko Yuki – Japan | 2022 – 7 minutes

Yoko Yuki is one of the graduates of the Tokyo University of the Arts who aggressively break with a classical Japanese animation tradition and habitually ruffle some feathers. She describes her film as an experimental montage of diary-like sketches. The result is a rollicking, exuberant collection of animation sequences reminiscent of children’s drawings with a chaotic soundtrack and babble of voices. Anti-art as the recipe for success. (tr)


LDN 51.5072N 0.1276W by Wen Pey Lim – UK | 2022 – 4 minutes

The abstract black-and-white animations play with the historic architecture of London, creating an ornate pattern full of visual poetry. Piano tunes mix with clouds of mechanic and organic sounds. Buildings and roads seem like a pulsating, ever-evolving organism that unifies past and future, immersing the viewers in a fascinating audiovisual experience. (ll)


One Day in Lim Chu Kang by Michael Kam – Singapore | 2022 – 5 minutes

Excavators and trucks have occupied the premises of a Singapore cemetery. A family is standing at the grave of a deceased relative. Next to them, a worker is preparing everything for the upcoming ceremony. He fetches a plastic bag with a number and a name, a red plastic bucket, and a tarpaulin. In a capitalist society, he must make room for consumerism—even if it means disturbing the dead. (mm)


Universe of Language by Guangli Liu, Bai li – France | 2022 – 4 minutes

To paraphrase Paul Celan’s poetry, words can be disappointing. Writers create texts, but according to Umberto Eco, texts are “lazy machineries” that require the collaboration of the reader to fill in the “gaps.” Misunderstandings are the result of different life experiences. When words cannot overcome thought barriers, music may circumvent logic as an immediate vibration and guide those who search for meaning. (ll)

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