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Highlights from Hamburg Short Film Festival

Summer, sun and festival fun! The Short Film City team are back from Hamburg International Short Film Festival where we were engrossed by its fantastic programme. The films were provocative, absurd, inquisitive, challenging, experimental, melancholic, funny, and sometimes all of the above. Even though we cannot make any promises for what will be included in our line-up this year, here are some real short film gems that we thought you should hear about.

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90 Degrees North (90 Grad Nord)
Dir. Detsky Graffam, Germany 2015, 21 mins

Desperate cries for help from the depths of a forest. A lonely traffic island on what seems to be a deserted street. And blood, feeding the red signs of the traffic lights. This short film from the German competition kept us at the edge of our seats – and made us unusually alert to apparently inanimate objects on our way through Hamburg.

Director’s website

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The Baby (La Bambina)
Dir. Ali Asgari, Iran / Italy 2014, 15 mins

The Baby is the third film in a trilogy that focuses on the everyday limitations imposed on women living in Iran. The film depicts a young woman desperately trying to find someone to take care of her secret baby while her parents are visiting. Director Ali Asgari is another LIFF alumni, his short film More Than Two Hours screened in the Louis Le Prince International Competition in 2013.

Trailer
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Bear (Bär)
Dir. Pascal Flörks, Germany 2014, 8 mins

In this poignant documentary Pascal Flörks revisits the key moments in his grandfather’s unusual life. The film is made up of old photographs but instead of seeing his grandfather, we are shown a big brown bear in curious circumstances – sitting at the dining table, parachuting to war and in a hospital bed.

Director’s website

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Brass Heaven
Dir. Simon Ellis, UK 2015, 3 mins

Little did Simon Ellis know that when he boarded the plane to last year’s festival, he would be surrounded by a drunk and lairy group of men on a stag weekend. By secretly filming their outrageous conversations, this became the perfect subject for a hilarious short film.

Director’s website

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Brouillard – Passage #14
Dir. Alexandre Larose, Canada 2014, 10 mins

The award for best film in the International Competition went to Brouillard – Passage #14. Alexandre Larose repeatedly walks along the same path recording the footage over one another onto the same 35mm film. The result is an immersive and beautifully colourful film.

Trailer

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Excursion (Excursie)
Dir. Adrian Sitaru, Romania 2014, 19 mins

Last year Adrian Sitaru was awarded best film in LIFF28’s Louis Le Prince International Short Film Competition. He returns on good form with Excursion, another dark comedy about family relationships, and possibly aliens too. 

Director’s website

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Furlough (Heimaturlaub)
Dir. Dorit Kiesewetter, Carsten Knoop, Germany 2015, 3 mins

Hamburg’s Three-Minute Quickie Competition’s topic: “Based on a True Story” inspired short shorts of all genres. This documentary found a curious subject in a visit to one of the filmmakers’ grandparents. A diverting glimpse of the wonderfully inventive and slightly anarchic lives of two people who deal with petty annoyances their own way.

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Lord & Lidl
Dir. Oscar Hudson, UK 2014, 3 mins

A man has the difficult task of deciding what meal to cook for God after he unexpectedly shows up at his door. A short and snappy dark comedy that stood out in the 3 minute quickie competition.

Director’s website 

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Milky Way Is Our Galaxy
Dir. Olli Ilpo Salonen, Finland 2014, 5 mins

Proving that great films don’t need to be full of special effects, well-known stars and of epic length, Milky Way Is Our Galaxy is a brilliantly understated contestant in Hamburg’s No Budget Competition. It’s “hero” just wants to nip to the shops but quickly becomes part of a wider plan.

Director’s website

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Sry Bsy
Dir. Verena Westphal, Germany 2014, 4 min

This darkly funny 2D animation depicts the pressures of keeping up with the challenges of modern life. The character in “Sry Bsy” cannot keep up with the piles of work amounting on her desk and she begins to make absurd and gruesome decisions to help herself speed up.

Director’s website

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Symbolic Threats
Dir. Mischa Leinkauf, Lutz Henke, Matthias Wermke, Germany 2014, 15 mins

Winner of the Audience Award and the German Competition, Symbolic Threats is a thought provoking and comical look at American society’s paranoia. In 2014 the filmmakers climbed up the Brooklyn Bridge in the dead of night and replaced the two American flags with white ones. They provoked outrage, with news coverage, police and the public left pondering whether it was an act of terrorism, a statement about freedom or a work of art. We laughed out loud at this film; little did we know the filmmaker was sat next to us.

Directors’ website

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Yúyú
Dir. Marc Johnson, France / Spain 2014, 15 mins

A documentary that is both entrancing and horrifying. A beekeeper performs a traditional Chinese rite of spring to recover environmental balance. For 15 minutes we watch in awe as hundreds of bees amass on this fearless man’s body, until they cover him completely.

Director’s website

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