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ROUTE 3 by Thanasis Neofotistos
ROUTE 3 by Thanasis Neofotistos

70 short films will compete at the 32nd Filmfest Dresden international short film festival ( April 21 to 26, 2020) for the much coveted “Golden Horsemen” trophies and special awards. With prize money totaling more than €67,000, Filmfest Dresden is counted among the highest endowed short film festivals in Europe. The complete program will be announced after the press conference on March 24 .

This year, gender equality in the field of directing is broadly balanced in both competition sections: While 42 percent of the films in the International Competition were (co)-directed by women, the films in the National Competition were made to an equal extent by women and men.

“What strikes me about the competition entries this year is the multi-layered and at times highly personal perspectives the filmmakers take on viewing current events and affairs across the world,” Festival Director Sylke Gottlebe explains. “On a thematic level, the films in both the National and the International Competitions are concerned with subjects such as the climate crisis, critiques of consumption and capitalism, gender equality and the #MeToo debate.”

Just under half of the films consist of animation works – from photo montage to clay animation through to classic cartoon genres – the filmmakers explore the borders between reality, fiction and the experimental. In her latest production URAL in the National Competition, Alla Churikova makes impressive use of her sand animation technique to tell the story of atomic tests in the Soviet Union. By contrast in the International Competition, the animation artist Theodore Ushev has created his piece PHYSICS OF SORROW completely by means of an antique painting technique called encaustic, in which the paint pigments are bonded with wax. Likewise, the selection in the International Competition has benefited from a strong production year of South Korean animation films, with the three works MOVEMENTS from Jeong Dahee, SAN from WOO Jin and MASCOT from KIM Do-hyung invited to attend the festival.

On a thematic level, many of the filmmakers represented in the competitions confront the latest events and occurrences across the world, as well as urgent environmental and socio-political issues. Lyskov Mykyta reflects on the muddled political situation in the Ukraine in his colourfully crazy animation DEEP LOVE (International Competition). While in the National Competition, THE RAFT from Sylvian Cruiziat explores how the art scene deals with the refugee crisis, and the female artist collective Neozoon uses its film FRAGMANTS to analyse a phenomenon of our capitalist society in a clever, entertaining and critically self-reflective manner: Unboxing.

The climate crisis represents a further theme that the filmmakers address: In his animation THE BEAUTY (National Competition), Pascal Schelbli has created a highly accurate commentary on plastic rubbish polluting the oceans. Taking a music video style, the Congolese-Belgian artist Baloji condemns being constantly available via social media in ZOMBIES (International Competition) and then ends his film with a subtle allusion to the climate crisis.

A range of films focus on issues of identity, the human body and gender, such as the experimental animation films EADEM CUTIS: THE SAME SKIN from Nina Hopf or RUSHES from Clara von Arnim in the National Competition.

As is the case each year, many filmmakers are returning to Filmfest Dresden with their latest productions: Theodore Ushev (PHYSICS OF SORROW in the International Competition) who lives in Canada has already been a loyal visitor to the festival in previous years: In 2013 he was a member of the international jury, in addition to regularly screening his works at the festival (such as in 2014 with GLORIA VICTORIA). Likewise, Sasha Svirsky has been repeatedly in the festival programme and is competing this year with his latest animation MY GALACTIC TWIN GALACTION (Russia, 2020). ROUTE 3 is the newest film from Thanasis Neofotistos, whose work PATISION AVENUE was screened in last year’s International Competition.

Likewise, in the National Competition, the audiences can look forward to seeing some familiar faces: Alla Churikova (URAL), mentioned above, already guested at the 2018 festival with a showcase, in addition to holding an animation workshop with a live sand performance for primary school-goers. Borbála Nagy was represented in 2018 with MINDEN RENDBEN (nomination for the German Short Film Award) and is presenting the fiction film LAND OF GLORY this year. In 2017, Michael Fetter Nathansky received the German Short Film Award and the Audience Award at Filmfest Dresden for GABI. This year, he is bringing his new film 5 WAYS TO CRY along to the festival.

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