OBERHAUSEN Special Program

THURSDAY / December 12th / STUDIO CINEMA  / 6:00pm / With the support of:         



Now at its 60th edition, the International Short Film Festival OBERHAUSEN is one of the major international crossroads for short form, unique in the range of forms and genres it presents to the public, and particularly well known for its spotlight on experimentation. In the course of more than five decades, filmmakers and artists ranging from Roman Polanski to Cate Shortland, from George Lucas to Pipilotti Rist, have presented their first works in OBERHAUSEN.



The Festival organizes an International Competition, a Children’s and Youth Films and a German Competition and the MuVi Award for the best German music video as well as the NRW Competition for productions from North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition, OBERHAUSEN is known for its strong line of thematic programmes such as “From the Deep” in 2010, which presented early films from before 1918, or “Shooting Animals” in 2011, a programme about the history of the artistic and scientific animal film. The 2012 thematic programme focused on the 50th anniversary of the OBERHAUSEN Manifesto from 1962. The festival also operates a well-stocked Video Library, a non-commercial short film distribution branch and a unique archive of short films from more than 50 years of festival history.


"Short film is a great first step for a budding filmmaker. That's how I made my beginnings and OBERHAUSEN was an important step on my path to become a Director." (Roman Polanski)


"I smoked my first cigarette here. For years, I saw every single film at the Westdeutsche Kurzfilmtage, looking forward to those days in OBERHAUSEN every year. These events were important for me, for my decision to become a filmmaker." (Wim Wenders)


"There can be no doubt that the OBERHAUSEN Short Film Festival has written film history... The short film has kept itself young, and so has OBERHAUSEN. This atmosphere, this creative power are what still distinguishes short films today." (Gerhard Schröder, German Chancellor, 1998-2005)


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BUFFALO DEATH MASK (23', Canada, 2013)


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Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at Oberhausen 2013, BUFFALO DEATH MASK is a poetic diary film, “a visual, oral and tactile meditation, both campy and ecstatic, on survival, mourning, memory, love and community. A conversation between HOOLBOOM and visual artist Stephen Andrews, both long time survivors of the HIV retrovirus, floats over what seems to be a dream of Toronto and some of its ghosts. A personal voice documenting and piercing the clichéd spectrum of Living With AIDS, from carnal abjection to incandescent spirituality.” (Tom Waugh) “A striking, warm film, on how losing the ones you love is also losing part of yourself.” (Oberhausen Jury Statement)

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DAD’S STICK (5', UK, 2012)

Director: JOHN SMITH

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Focusing on three ambiguous, nearly-unrecognizable pieces of personal memorabilia that belonged to JOHN SMITH’s father, and on the events relating to their history, DAD’S STICK becomes a personal documentary that seeks to revive the past and create a portrait of their former owner. Explanatory subtitles replace the use of dialogue, and in so-doing, turn the vividly-coloured images into postcards from another time. These artefacts become time capsules, testaments of different eras of family history that explore the contradictions of memory, while hinting at the character of JOHN SMITH’S father.

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LIVING IN SPACE (12', Germany / Estonia, 2013)

Director: KATRE HAAV

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LIVING IN SPACE is a mix of documentary and animation about a man from Tallinn who suffered from schizophrenia since he was a child. The animation, used to portray different states of the psychosis, is an interpretation of the internal world of the character, and invites the viewer to connect and empathize, as does Oliver’s voiceover. With a serious and disquieting tone that dominates the overall atmosphere, the Estonian filmmaker KATRE HAAV creates a stylized documentary in which imagination and reality shape a world where it’s hard to resist being dragged into illusion, but even harder it is to get out of it. The movie tackles a difficult subject to understand or talk about, but manages to make it highly captivating and interesting. (Mihai Teodor, BIEFF 2013)

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NATION ESTATE (9', Denmark / Palestine, 2012)


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Winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Oberhausen, NATION ESTATE, a SF dystopia masquerading as utopia, offers a humorous and witty resolution of the Middle East conflict: the entire Palestinian population lives in a single, colossal skyscraper. To make its inhabitants feel like home, each city has its own floor: Jerusalem is on the third, Ramalah on the fourth etc., while the lobbies re-enact iconic landmarks, like the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity. Intercity trips previously marred by checkpoints are now just a brief elevator trip. With its glossy mixture of CGI, live actors and an arabesque electronica soundtrack, the film is a visual delight, which offers a surprising vision of a possible future for the Palestinian nation, forced to build upwards due to political and geographical constraints.

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OFF-WHITE TULIPS (24', Germany, 2013)


Winner of the Oberhausen Grand Prize, OFF-WHITE TULIPS is a video essay conceived as a fictional dialogue with James Baldwin (a socially influential American writer), that innovatively extends the limits of the autobiography genre. Found photos, postcards and newspaper clippings, documenting the writer’s prolonged visits to Istanbul, and Turkish and American pop-icons representations are mixed in this collage, through an imaginative power of association. The result is both a subtle critique on racism, transnational discourse and LGBT politics, as well as a touching proof of how people we know only thanks to the ideas they convey can influence our personal histories.

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YELLOW FEVER (7', UK, 2012)


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Awarded the Ecumenical Jury Special Mention in Oberhausen 2013, YELLOW FEVER mixes different media to bring to attention notions of race, self-image and self-worth. Trying to fit the mould imposed by western standards of beauty, African women attempt to erase their individuality by bleaching their skin and braiding artificial hair into their own. Animation and documentary blend with a battle-like choreography that envisions the struggle with one’s own reflection. Images of the great Savannah, projected on the dancers’ bodies are a reminder of the heritage interwoven in these women’s very skin, exposing the pursuit of a globalized standard of beauty as a negation of personal identity. (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2013)