International Competition - General

The competition mirrors the entire range of contemporary short film productions and presents a selection of short films of all genres. Unlike many other short film festivals, we give our audiences the chance to watch narrative shorts alongside documentaries, animated films and experimental short films. It is exactly this careful mix of types and genres which makes our festival's International Competition so special. This way, an experimental world premiere from Thailand may be screened right after a Coming-Out story from Poland or the most recent winner of Locarno. This careful placement adds a kind of wonderful surplus value because it creates cross connections across continents and displays aesthetic parallels as well as flickering counter currents.

The selected films compete for the Hamburg Short Film Award (3,000 euros), which is chosen by a jury of five. The audience votes for the best short film from both the International and the German competition, and the winner receives the Audience Award (1,500 euros).



International Competition 2016 in detail

The Making of a Memory


Arrive. Stand in line. Find a seat. Sit down. Lights out. Inhale. Exhale. Eyes closed. Eyes open. Curtain rises. Picture appears. And then they come. The spectres. That’s what we paid for. For these luminous apparitions. These transparent phantoms of moving images, intermingling with our visual memory, our subconscious canon of images and our extremely conscious head cinema of references. This is the contract between audience and projection which lead to many a wild theory attack in film sciences. Short film may be the spookiest and most daring of all the kinds of film. This highly reactive matter dissects itself into layers of images and colours, enters impossible narrative synchronicities, or it cuts its own cinematic body until there is nothing left but sheer rhythm, mechanics and the edit itself. Or (and we do have examples for this in this year’s selection as well) , until there is nothing left but blazing areas or accelerated light particles and imprints of a world that had been abandoned and turned surreal long ago.


2016’s edition of the International Competition became a peculiarly wonderful year of spectres. Whole films had disappeared for a while, intermittently pulled back by artists and galleries. They rather wanted to be experienced as a sculpture in the museum and raise their market value through limitation. Fear of contact between white cube (i.e. gallery, art market) and black box (i.e. cinema, possibly with an applauding audience) are an old and an unabatedly regrettable phenomenon. And yet the incredible strength and liberation of the festival as a venue lies in this obtuse misapprehension of itself as a semi-artistic amateur pitch. After all it is exactly the short film festival that gives an event character to experimental films in and by its international reception. Like no other presentation area, it offers publicity, discourse and continent-spanning film aesthetic interconnections.


This year we are especially excited and proud about which films made it into the metaphorical pots in our heads and which went into the crop. Which spectres moved on without leaving a trace and which remained to unsettle you and us by every trick in the film book for a week. Don’t be afraid! And see for yourselves!


Text Birgit Glombitza


Film selection Thorkil Asmussen, Jan Feddersen, Birgit Glombitza, Frank Scheuffele, Hanna Schneider, Helena Wittmann