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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Lackluster Opening Ceremonies Yet Again


Following Begrüßung (welcome) cocktails in the Zeise Kino foyer, a friend and I, and the other attendees moved into the theatre for the 29th International Kurz(Short)FilmFestival (IKFF) opening ceremonies. Trailers for IKFF (embarrassingly bad) and Mo&Friese (spanking good) were presented, then Festival directors Birgit Glombitza and Sven Schwarz, and KurzFilmAgentur (KFA) Executive Director Alexandra Gramatke spoke. Nine films were shown, interspersed with additional commentary. The evening’s only notable points were the amateurish IKFF trailer, and to which my friend kept nodding off. 

This year IKFF showed more than 300 short films from over 40 countries June 4th – 10th in various Hamburg cinemas. Mo&Friese Kinder (Children) Short Film Festival presented over 50 films from more than 20 countries June 2nd – 9th. IKFF offers panels, workshops, and lectures as well.

Mo&Friese Kinder Kurz Film Festival: for 12+ | 14+ age groups

Next Door Letters by Sasha Fülscher, Sweden | 2011, 15:00 minutes | English, animation: Pranksters Lilja and Sandra send their neighbor a “love letter” from a make-believe boy admirer. Lilja’s involvement continues, beyond the joke, and has life defining repercussions. A thoughtful, well-made film.

African Race by Julien Paolini, France | 2012, 13:00 minutes | no dialogue, fiction: An African youngster tries to realize his dream by concocting a motorcycle from junk. He then travels to, and participates in a race in the distant capital city. Especially good visuals, emotive story, and able production values.

Sámi Boddu by Ken Are Bongo, Sapmi/Norway | 2011, 6:00 minutes | Sami/Engl. subt., fiction: Two reindeer herders meet on the tundra, and share quiet company. Attractive imagery, yet a forgettable film.

Ransom by Dustin Rees, Switzerland | 2012, 1:53 minutes | English/Ger. subt., animation: A clever short about thieves, their demands, and what they do about it. Simple and well made.

International KurzFilmFestival Hamburg:

Die Ruhe Bleibt by Stefan Kriekhaus, France/Germany | 2013, 13:21 minutes | German/Engl. subt., fiction: Tommy’s first gig with a film production company is contraire to what he expects. Trying to communicate with the locals, whose language he doesn’t speak, relieves his monotony. Nice twist at the end. More efficient, creative editing could have made this a real gem.            

Crashing Skies by Penny McCann, Canada | 2012, 5:27 minutes | no dialogue, experimental: Rural landscape footage is transformed through the director’s use of hand-processed 16mm imagery. Nice to watch nature, but not ad infinitum.

Division by Johan Rijpma, Netherlands | 2012, 1:15 minutes | no dialogue, experimental: A piece of paper is divided and reassembled again and again, gradually increasing. Attention grabbing, and well made.

Titloi Telous (Out of Frame) by Yorgos Zois, Greece | 2012, 10:36 minutes | no dialogue, experimental: Since banning outdoor billboards in Greece, the majority is bare. These empty billboard frames are supposedly a message. Oh, please! Gimme Ouzo. 

Mo&Friese Kinder Kurz Film Festival: 6+ age group

Burrow-Cams by Sam Easterton, USA | 2012, 3:00 minutes | no dialogue, documentary: We see a succession of animals in their burrows—cute. But without a film introduction and end credits, no one was sure what we were being shown, or why.

IKFF should give more thought to the opening film choices. Why choose Titloi Telous when it, oddly enough, seemed similar to Die Ruhe bleibt? Why three quasi-experimental films? Did the organizers think that mixing up the program’s orAder precluded people making livelier, inspiring presentations? And what a strange film choice to end with. Leaving the cinema, I wasn’t surprised when my friend said the evening’s viewing hadn’t motivated her to get tickets.

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