NewsCultureEcumenical Jury Awards at the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Ecumenical Jury Awards at the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

May 10, 2021 (SIGNIS Europe). In 2021, three juries have been appointed by SIGNIS and INTERFILM for the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. 

International Online Competition 

In 2021, the Oberhausen Short Film Festival has included online-only competitions in its programme for the first time. The Ecumenical Online Jury awards its Prize to the film Minnen (Memories) by Kristin Johannessen (Sweden 2020) How do you remember how you used to be in the past? Minnen is an authentic documentary where we look back on the filmmaker’s mental illness after she soberly traces her life. Animated sequences display what was in her mind at this particular time of her life. With original footage of her youth added to a recent interview of her own parents, Kristin Johannessen shows, through accurate memories, the difficulties of being different, of raising a child you can’t always understand but never want to leave behind. Minnen talks about the hope of recovery that must be kept when facing sickness. 

In addition, the jury awards a Commendation to the film Kalsubai by Yudhajit Basu (India 2020). Kalsubai explores the history of the goddess Kalsu and her meaning for the women of Bari. The film relies on strong visual and acoustic images that neither explain nor falsify scenically. The almost photographic compositions and their expressive simplicity make the film accessible to everyone and invite you to reflect on your own cultural influences and to question them. 

The jury awards a second Commendation to the film Cântec de leagăn (Cradle) by Paul Mureșan (Romania 2020). Unfortunately, even today, many families are hiding dark secrets. The animated short film Cradle properly investigates the innermost depths of a family devastated by domestic violence and alcoholism. In such a climate of terror, we see life still existing with a mother taking care of her newborn, trying to protect him and his big brother from bullying. The animation technique reports perfectly on the different states of mind of the characters and raises our awareness of the difficulties every family could struggle with at one time and must overcome. Particularly effective is how the song “Cantec de leagan” – a traditional Romanian lullaby performed by Maria Tanase – is grafted onto the animation. 

The members of the online jury were Blandine Brunel (France), President, Silvan Maximilian Hohl (Switzerland), Michele Lipari (Italy), and Phil Rieger (Germany). 

International Competition 

The Ecumenical Jury awards its Prize in the International Competition to the film Zoom sur le cirque (Zoom on Circus) by Dominique Margot (Switzerland 2020). 

A clown is grimacing into the webcam from his living room; an aerialist is trying to stay in shape on her balcony; a circus director is suffering from the cold in his caravan because he cannot afford the heating costs: Zoom on Circus brings together the social, political and aesthetical aspects of the current Corona pandemic in an accurate yet heart-wrenching way: the human desire or even the human necessity to laugh even in times of a crisis; the hardship of artists and people engaged in the cultural sector who are threatened by losing their means of existence; the art of improvisation that the circus as well as Zoom require equally and therefore the technical and social possibility of decreasing the distance by means of humour. Congratulations, Dominique Mayer, for this authentic and entertaining short film! 

In addition, the jury awards a Commendation to the film Home by Ngima Gelu Sherpa (Nepal 2020). Home is a film about a Son who returns to his family home in Nepal to say farewell to his dying dad. The Son films these last days, the passing and the death of his father, which appear just as simple and natural in the everyday life of this poor farmer family as the tiny things that usually happen to them. Even though all this is sad, this is the order of life. While the film is very modest, it narrates in a distanced but very personal and emotional way. Similar to the way the mother, who escapes to religious rituals, experiences mourning internally and in silence and similar to the Son, who, after leaving his Home and his lonely mother behind again, will later reminisce alone on the beach of the ocean on another continent. Even though all this is sad, this is the order of life. 

Due to the pandemic, the members of the Ecumenical Jury also had to view the films on the internet and meet online. They were Linda Dombrovszky (Hungary), Gundi Doppelhammer (Germany), President, Anna Grebe (Germany), and Christian Gürtler (Germany). 

Children’s and Youth Cinema 

From the program 14+, the Ecumenical Jury for the Children’s and Youth Film Competition awards the film Nova by Luca Meisters (Netherlands 2020). About looking for and finding love and the difficulty of dealing with it. 14-year-old Nova takes on responsibility for her little sister and goes in this process on a journey to discover her feelings. Nova is a film that was perfectly staged and wonderfully photographed. The script works without pathos and heavy content and yet does not remain on the surface — a coherent and profound film at the same time. 

From the program 8+, the Prize goes to the film Dalía by Brúsi Ólason (Iceland 2020). The atmosphere of uncertainty determines a young boy’s weekend visit to his father. Here, at this remote farm in Iceland’s sparse and impressing landscape begins a rough path of mutual approximation for both. The injury of the horse Dalía triggers a decisive change in the relationship of father and son. The film treats the topic of taking farewell from different perspectives in a quiet and impressive way. 

Members of the Jury for the Children’s and Youth Cinema were Gundi Doppelhammer (Germany) and Silvan Maximilian Hohl (Switzerland). 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles