Short film is still the prime source of innovation for the art of film - the experimental field in which future cinematic vocabularies first crystallize. Today its diversity of forms, themes and approaches across the globe is greater than ever - video or film, short fiction film or essay, installation, graduation film or artist's video, animation, documentary, and all imaginable hybrids thereof.
The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has been part of this highly charged field for over 60 years now, as a catalyst and a showcase for contemporary developments, a forum for what are often heated discussions, a discoverer of new trends and talent, and not least as one of the most important short film institutions anywhere in the world. Some 7,000 films submitted on average per year, around 500 films shown in the festival programmes and over 1,100 accredited industry professionals are proof enough.
In the course of more than five decades, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has become one of the world's most respected film events - a place where filmmakers and artists ranging from Roman Polanski to Cate Shortland, from George Lucas to Pipilotti Rist have presented their first films. Oberhausen has managed to instigate various political and aesthetical developments, for instance through the Oberhausen Manifesto, perhaps the most important group document in the history of German film. Careful programming and a pioneering choice of subjects has helped the Festival to build up its exclusive position in an increasingly unpredictable market.
Due to the Corona pandemic in 2020, the Festival organised its 66th edition completely online for the first time. With over 2,500 festival passes sold and users in nearly 100 countries, the new format proved far more successful than expected.
"Historically, Oberhausen is the most important short film festival in the world." Alexander Horwath
"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
"I'll never forget how Charles Petit, Karl Bartos and I wrote our award statements, pounding the computer keys with six hands in the middle of the night. There were a few gems among the award winners." Pipilotti Rist
"The short film over the course of the 20th century has evolved in so many different directions that it's really hard to think of it as a unified medium anymore. That's why I love the Oberhausen Festival - it celebrates the kind of radical evolution that short film has gone through in the blink of an eye. (...) 54 years is a long time in the film world! It's amazing to me that Oberhausen has been able to chart its course in the turbulent waters of our information age with such dedication to the new spirit of film that it shows each year. Kudos!!" Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid