63rd International Short Film Days

11.05.2017 to 16.05.2017

The Ecumenical Jury in front of the festival cinema "Lichtburg" (© Kurzfilmtage/Daniel Gasenzer)

The 63rd International Short Film Days screend altogether 499 films from 58 countries, 148 of which were running in one of the five competition sections (International Competitition, German Competition, NRW Competition, MuVi Award for the best German music video, and Competition for Children and Youth Films). The Ecumenical Jury chose its award winner from the 56 films of the International Competition and recommended a film of the Children and Youth Film Competition.

The jury awarded its Prize to "Seeds" from Kenya, an experimental film by Philippa Ndisi-Hermann, and gave a Commendation to the British competition entry "the Separate System" by Katie Davies. The jury's recommendation for acquiring the non-commercial screening rights by the church film distribution companies Katholisches Filmwerk (kfw) and Matthias-Film was attributed to the Norwegian film "Gos leat don?" by Egil Pedersen. The International Jury awarded the Grand Prix of the City of Oberhausen to the Chinese film "Qiu" (Late Summer) by Cui Yi, and the Main Prize of the Jury to "500.00 Pee" (500.000 Years) by Chai Sirs from Thailand. The international film critics jury (Fipresci) awarded also a Chinese production, "Zheng pian zhi wai" (Off Takes), by Hao Jingban.  

"Both thematically and aesthetically, the Festival reflects the enormous range of the short format, in which there is still greater freedom of expression than is the case with the often more strictly standardised genre of full-length films, and which continues to be an important source of renewal for the cinematic language", the festival stated in a press release on this year's programme. Hilke Doering, head of the International Competition, emphasised that "this year many works, especially non-European films, address the consequences of geopolitics and identity politics.”

In addition to the competition sections the festival featured numerous topical programmes and showcases dedicated to individual filmmakers, one of them featuring the German artist Bjørn Melhus who also gave two lectures. The programme "Socail media before the internet", curated by media theorist Tilman Baumgärtel who teaches in Mainz focused on " the various and in some cases little-known forms of alternative media work prior to the advent of the worldwide digital web" in the time from 1960 to 1990.

Link: Festival website


Directed by:

Water gives and receives, surrounds and releases, reflecting life and love, memory and the future – the primal principle. The turtle carries its eggs from the sea to the land and withdraws back into the sea. The eggs are there together and yet each is alone. “Each egg a globe, each globe a world, each world a universe.” We live together, says the father. We live in each other, says the mother. This wonderful work talks about the small things that are the seed and primary force of the whole, about the love of father and mother. This artistic treasure is poetic, gentle and metaphorical, a poem of words about child and mother, a poem of images about the sea, land and sand. Its dialogues of voices with each other and words with images are outstanding; the photos make the audience pause and feel the stillness of the primary principle, the film sequences surround their own movement in the school of fish and the closeness of the family. This world is so much more than matter, love is so much more than the number of days shared with each other. Creation is the unity of life.

Directed by:

Doing one’s duty, running errands, the system of military service, everyday and office life and family must be managed. Soldiers take responsibility for others; when their relationships fail, however, they are left alone: the detained former soldiers are sentenced and locked away. They know for what but not why. Because their punishment therefore stands for society’s flight into perplexity, the latter severs all ties with the people in question. This film gives a voice to these soldiers, talks about its impressive subject in rough recordings and harmonious, precisely filmed images. The hand-written notes that serve as breaks condense the detainees’ misery, work with the visual level to make their appeals of rage and loss directly to us, the community.

That meaning has become empty becomes emblematic at the end of this powerful and relevant work. Liverpool FC, their club, emerges as the great unifier of this community – but its familiar hymn, “You’ll never walk alone” which is thus implied reinforces the ambiguity of the former soldiers’ situation. Their lives are embedded in a close and separate system of society. The space of guilt widens, addressing issues of violence and society and what constitutes humanity by motive and identity.


Wettbewerb für Kinder- und Jugendfilm
Where are you?
Directed by:

"Gos leat don?" hits reality without big words, by combining images and music instead and operating between short film and music video. Its captivating sound design does not anticipate anything, but interacts, drives ahead, or follows another time the images and the story to go beyond reality. Aesthetics and "punch" of this short film music video ask questions beyond the generation limits and therefore stand out in the youth film competition as well as in the international. It calls for being radical enough to create better root foundations: from what is preserved in ancient cultures such as the Sami from which the film originates, and from what is beyond the limited options of our self  - in order to reach spirituality on the other side of the aesthetic-mystical.