Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen


Throughout its long history, Oberhausen has gained a great reputation as a cultural mediator and a place where pertinent social issues are debated. Communication and discourse are part of the historic substance of the festival. More than with many similar festivals, education and social relevance play a role in how we define ourselves. Political, social and cultural conflicts which affect societies today find their expression in the short film, too. Short films are often stronger reflections of social conflict than feature-length productions.

The PODIUM is a horizontal series of five distinct two-hour-events which take place every morning at 10 a.m.during the festival. These are discussions or presentations of aesthetic issues (e.g. connected to the respective festival THEME), technological questions, problems of media education, cultural-political issues or economic questions. The individual events are organised in co-operation with various partners.


The events in 2006 had the following subjects:


5 May: Cultural climate 2006 - Are cultural practitioners, promotional grants and audiences going their separate ways? Is current cultural policy meeting the expectations of the public? Which strategies help come to terms with audiences' changing reception and consumption behaviour?


6 May: Early bird exercises... Short film and media education

What role does, and can, short film play in media education? Concepts and options for integrating short film into school curricula, educational TV programming, Internet and DVD.


7 May: Artists as agents of vision - on the subject of wars, political and territorial conflicts

A look at artist's producing, re-writing and sometimes appropriating existing documents. What is authenticity? Why and how do artists reflect on existing documents? How to draw the line between document and artwork?


8 May: Moving images for sale

Artists, distributors and gallery owners are now spoilt for choice: exclusivity or blanket exposure?

Copyright as added value or as exploitation obstacle? DVD distribution as the panacea for film- and video art?


9 May: Internet television - A future for short formats?

Does the future lie in the convergence of Internet and television? What role will "on-demand" options play in future? Does so-called Internet TV represent a serious exploitation option for short formats?

Are cultural practitioners, promotional grants and audiences going their separate ways?

According to researchers in the cultural field, the public's appreciation of high culture is quite pronounced. This appreciation, however, apparently prompts only a very small portion of the population to actively take advantage of cultural offerings. The educated middle-class citizen of the 20th century is giving way to the 21st-century consumer of events and media, who still values the significance of high culture, but personally prefers the culture of events, with its open-air events, museum nights, pop concerts and the cinema, and otherwise increasingly enjoys culture in the privacy of his own home. Culture via TV, Internet, DVD and canned music.


Cultural practitioners, cultural and education policy-makers, funding institutions and scientists are racking their brains to come up with the right strategies to reach the cultural consumers of today and tomorrow. But the debate on a cultural leitmotif that would provide orientation for funding requirements, promotion concepts and cultural producers usually ends as soon as it comes to defining what culture actually consists of.


At the same time, the demand for redistribution of funds is voiced with striking regularity. By what gauge should the value of cultural production be measured? According to visitor numbers, the mandate for cultural education policies, a cost/benefit analysis or programme quality?


Bastions of high culture such as the opera and concert halls loudly voice complaints about the cutbacks expected of them, and yet they remain the most highly subsidised realm with the most drastically declining visitor numbers. In contrast, interest in modern art on the part of the younger generation is growing disproportionately, and this surely cannot be attributed merely to successful educational policy. Museums and exhibition spaces discovered strategic marketing early on, introducing their own education programmes for young people, visitor-friendly opening hours, co-operative projects, museum nights and exhibition portfolios that appeal to as wide a target group as possible and allow for target-group-specific marketing. The only way to go? Or mere toadying to the masses and a concession to superficiality?


And what about film? Between blockbuster and art house cinema, between strengthening the economy and fulfilling cultural duties, it struggles to find an audience. Going to the cinema is one of the most important leisure-time cultural activities, and culture researchers speak of a new trend toward more demanding visual experiences. But are these to be found at the cinema? Even art house theatres offer programmes that skirt the edges of the conventional mainstream, and only the biggest box-office hits run longer than three weeks. But what happens if people no longer yearn for adventure, if the consumption of more demanding films shifts more and more to the private sphere, and the cinema as social venue begins to disappear? What is the attitude of the cinema operators and which role could film festivals play in preserving the cinema as a place of confrontation and experiment?


The needs of the cultural audience, the concepts proposed by cultural practitioners, and Germany's cultural funding strategies with a side glance at Europe and the strategies in neighbouring countries are the themes of the podium "Cultural climate 2006: cultural production, subsidies and the audience on different paths?" This is not conceived as a balancing act, but rather with the intention to kindle a widely diversified discussion on the current cultural climate and the competition for funds, to propose effective concepts, and to devote special attention to film and cinema as a major component in the cultural spectrum.



Adrienne Goehler, curator of the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin

Dr. Susanne Keuchel, deputy director of the Zentrum für Kulturforschung, Bonn

Thomas Krüger, president of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn

Dr. Elisabeth Schweeger, director of the Schauspielhaus Frankfurt

Dr. Lars Henrik Gass, director of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen




Prof. Dr. Hansjürgen Rosenbauer, author, moderator and filmmaker, Berlin

Short film and media education

What role does, and can, short film play in media education? Concepts and options for integrating short film into school curricula, educational TV programming, Internet and DVD.



Oddbjørn Egeland, ICT-Coordinator for the project, Kristiansand (NOR)

Carolien Euser/Nathalie Faber, cut-n-paste, for the project "groote kunst voor kleine mensen", Amsterdam

Tommi Laitio, Media Programme Officer European Cultural Foundation, for the project "The One Minutes Junior", Amsterdam

Nina Rippel, lecturer at the Universität Lüneburg, for the project "Die Kurzfilmschule", Hamburg

Tilman Scheel, managing director reelport GmbH, for the project "schoolport", Cologne



Tessa Biermann, media education commissioner for the North Rhine-Westphalian universities, Cologne


6 May 2006, from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

On the subject of wars, political and territorial conflicts

The panel looks at writers/artists producing and re-producing documents in the contexts of war, political, and territorial conflicts. This is a panel where contributors will present works in photography, film and video to discuss the potentially subversive role of documents coming from situations of conflicts, and comment on the forces shaping such forms of representation.

Beyond simply challenging the believability or evidence value of documents in general, artists and writers here will discuss how can one build or intervene on existing documents, and what can one learn from knowing about their origins, particularly about the links that tie politics to aesthetics, and how this affects our way of reading and/or constructing images.



Fareed Armaly, artist, will present a study of Tawfiq Saleh's classic The Dupes (1972) which was based on a story by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani to address notions of representation and identity situated at the intersection between art and the industry of film production.

Catherine David, curator, Documenta X, will analyse how the many war images from Iraq circulating mainly online might possibly constitute the beginnings of an archive which gives a very different insight into the war than the one reflected (or hidden) by the mainstream media; very different, too, from the 1991 war (following the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein) which stayed as the "war without images".

Lonnie Van Brummelen, artist, will talk about her experience in making her silent film triptych Grossraum which explores the composition of the landscape along the current margins of Europe, where photography is not allowed without official permission.

Stephen Wright, art writer, will introduce and discuss the photographic work of Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi (Iran) which presents a chronicle of the first days of the Islamic Revolution in 1977. Wright looks at the possibility of making images outside the image market and outside surrounding ideologies.



Akram Zaatari , artist


7 May 2006, from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Moving images for sale

In the past years the presentation of film- and video art and its reception by a broader audience has dramatically changed. Hardly any exhibition is imaginable without video- and media art, experimental short film and additional film programs - over the years film and video art have become firmly established in the canon of visual arts.


Parallel to the growing presence of moving images in museums and exhibitions, video art has developed into an increasingly important segment of the art market. Artists, gallery owners, art fairs, collectors and archives are dealing intensively with questions of the suitable commercial exploitation and positioning of moving images in a classical art context. These questions are accompanied by issues of copyright, reproduction, exclusivity and archiving matters - all against the background of the necessary technical conditions.

At the same time, the differentiation between video art and experimental or artistic short film is turning into a tightrope walk. At relevant art fairs, internationally renowned galleries usually present classical cinema-inspired single-channel works - there is hardly the time or the space here to deal with more elaborate installations or interactive computer art. Moreover, there seems to be a lack of deep-pocketed buyers for these kinds of works.


But where should one draw the line between film- and video art? Which positions are taken by the artists, gallery owners and distributors on this question and is there something that can be seen as a marketing strategy? It almost seems as if two markets are evolving that deal with one and the same product - only under different conditions. How can a dialogue be created and synergies used in an optimal fashion? Contrary to the art market, film and video distribution as well as their respective niche markets are by no means aiming at exclusivity, but rather at ubiquity - and this entails wide availability, entirely in line with the reproducibility of the medium.


The podium "Zum Verkauf - Moving Images for Sale" dedicates itself to the border area between film- and video art: the artist's dilemma of having to decide between exclusivity and the greatest possible exposure - all within the context of the somehow inscrutable codes and practices of gallery owners, museums, curators, distributors and collectors.


Artists, collectors, curators and gallery owners are invited to present their positions and discuss this topic with the audience.



Anita Beckers, Anita Beckers Gallery

Stuart Comer, Curator Film and Events, Tate Modern

Christopher Eamon, Curator, Kramlich Collection, New York

Bjørn Melhus, Artist and Professor at the Art Academy Kassel

Lori Zippay, Executive Director, Electronic Arts Intermix



Ian White, free lance curator and art critic


8 May 2006, from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

A future for short formats?

With lightning speed, the use of the internet and broadband technology has developed into serious competition for classic television and its broadcasting modes. IPTV-capable media centre PCs and the broadband connections they require are making mass inroads into the common household. With the introduction of the new IMac G5 in autumn 2005, Apple took another giant step in the direction of complete convergence. Films, photographs and music can now be enjoyed from the comfort of the living room sofa with an easy-to-use remote control. The line of distinction between the active internet user and the passive TV consumer is becoming increasingly blurred. The starting shot has fallen for a thoroughgoing convergence of television and internet.


This development exposes the classic TV market to a multitude of challenges. New players are pushing their way onto the market, and the telecommunications companies are not the only forces setting out to take over the role of broadcaster. These changes give rise to several questions: Which strategies will the new and old market players enlist as a reaction to the opening up and regrouping of the TV market? Who will the content providers of the future be and how will the possibilities offered by broadband internet usage and IPTV influence the development of programme formats, programme variety and usage scenarios? What importance will on-demand functions take on?


For many years now, the internet has served as an alternative presentation platform for short formats. With a format that works ideally on the internet, short film became interesting for more than one target group, and with the progress of broadband technology, the short film experienced almost a sort of renaissance. Whether as music video, short fiction film, documentary or artist video; on special film sites, on the so-called Internet TV sites or as an additional online entertainment offer from big TV stations and companies - without short film, sophisticated websites are nearly unthinkable and so the short format has begun to lead quite a lively existence on the Net.


But what will the future of short film be as the convergence of TV and internet progresses further? Is the end in sight for the genre's niche existence and will the short format end up benefiting from this development? Will the new and old market players discover short film as the ideal format for their "on-demand packages" and will extensive short film programmes be shown on a multitude of TV stations? Is there such a thing as a "new" TV consumer, who will provide audience ratings for short film beyond the average cultural audience?


In the podium "Internet TV: a future for short formats?" we will look at current developments in terms of technology, content and the programming policies of the providers and explore the opportunities and risks for the short format. Specialists from the areas of technology and the internet, programme makers from TV stations and short film experts will be invited to discuss and shed light on the subject of Internet TV from a short film perspective.



David Brocca, producer Ifilm Los Angeles

GertJan Kuipers, project manager VPRO Digitaal, Hilversum (NL)

Gerard O'Malley, interactive executive BBCi, London

Laure Prouvost and Philine von Guretzky, tank tv, London

Stefan Lechere, Strategic Publishing Manager France, Google, Inc.


Moderator and keynote speaker on IPTV:

Daniel Schmitt, Analyst Screen Digest, London


9 May 2006, from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.