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Extensions by Yvonne Osei
Extensions by Yvonne Osei (Cinema Digestif 1: Beyond Nollywood – When Sand Enter Garri)

Filmfest Dresden announced the complete program for the 35th edition taking place April 18 to 23, 2023. A total of 371 short films from 66 countries are being presented in the competitions and special programs over 188 screenings. In addition to the competition sections, during the festival week, numerous events in the special program with an array of country-based and thematic highlights are being held under the motto of Antiracism: Exit Happyland.

“Our festival edition this year again has a thrilling and wide-ranging program with something for all tastes and age groups in it,” explains Festival Directors Sylke Gottlebe and Anne Gaschütz. “We’re looking forward to lively exchanges with the filmmakers, and we can finally celebrate our festival party again, not to mention several anniversary events as well. We’re also really excited about the new screening venue for the open-air program on the historic Schlossplatz square, as well as the response to the programs focusing on our antiracism theme.”

Concluding the trilogy on the overall subject of diversity, the focus this year is on antiracism. The title Exit Happyland is inspired by the book “Exit Racism”, released in 2017 and from the author and antiracism trainer Tupoka Ogette.

In addition to the four special programs arranged by guest curators, many of the other program aspects are shining a light on the thematic focus: In the Discussion: Exit Happyland, dominant narratives and stereotypical images in the film industry are being broached, as well as alternatives revealed.

The Dresden postkolonial initiative is inviting all those interested on a City Tour: Dresden Postcolonial (1.5 to 2 hours) intended as a critical analysis of and confrontation with the traces of colonialism found in Dresden’s cityscape.

This year’s festival trailer, which was created by the Canadian animation artist Alisi Telengut, provides a utopian perspective on the antiracism thematic focus. Telengut has already been represented numerous times at Filmfest Dresden, such as with her films La Grogne or The Fourfold.

This year’s tribute is dedicated to the French director Yann Gonzalez. In two programs under the title of Before The Dawn Heals Us, a selection of his short films are being presented, as well as his multi-prize winning queer horror feature film Knife+Heart.

The three programs in the ever-popular “Cinema Digestif” late-night special hold the promise of new discoveries, such as the films from Nigerian New Cinema – known as Nollywood – or the audience favorite Seriously? WTF!, which is celebrating its fifth round this year.

A further anniversary is being highlighted in the Animated 2 program: The Dutch father-son directing duo Paul and Menno de Nooijer have created a unique body of artwork over 50 years consisting of installations and performances, as well as playfully intuitive films. With this anniversary program, Filmfest Dresden is expressing its gratitude for the 20 years of friendly cooperative collaborations with them.

In the new program Short Film Lotto – Or: On The Art Of Selecting Short Films For The Big Screen, the viewers are being given the opportunity to slip into the skin of the selection committee and decide at random on the sequence of the films being screened for a whole evening.

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