Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

Oberhausen, perception workshop, wild hip hop discourse and festival of cine-philosophical questions, is, based on the short film, trying to explain cinema, art and the world in screenings, discussions, and encounters. Oberhausen also attempts to balance its political past with the latest schools of thought in art and social criticism. A beautiful but difficult balance, because at the moment politics are worn by many a cool cineaste like a fashionable and extremely vague accessory. Hans Schifferle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8 May 2008

Perhaps Europe in fifteen years will have turned into a giant museum of lost culture in which we will all function as service providers, documenta curator Ruth Noack speculated in a discussion. Somehow this disillusioned vision fits well into the environment of the festival - though its specials and retrospectives, contrary to the pervading sense of crisis, demonstrate how to illuminate film history through intelligent programming and how to generate an enthusiasm for drawing comparisons with our present age. Claudia Lenssen, die tageszeitung, 8 May 2008

Some of the best contributions struck sparks out of the friction between reality and fiction, documentary and performance ... Because the festival this year was as exciting and passionate as a rodeo. Oberhausen remains the perfect place for the sparkling variety of the short film. Kristina Tieke, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, 7 May 2008

Ever since the days of founder and director Hilmar Hoffmann, Oberhausen has always been the festival of film teachers. There has been a return from the academic discourse which dominated the festival years ago to the solid ground of a knowledgeable love of the cinema: Each screening is presented by someone who has actually selected the films. That's nothing new in Oberhausen, though it has become almost a rarity today. Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau, 8 May 2008


The return to oppositional forms [in the 'Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers' programme] is no coincidence at a time when short film is increasingly marginalized and, far away from cinemas and television, thrown back on a few festivals or enjoying the protection of the museum. This commitment to spontaneous, uncontrolled and imperfect aesthetics reminds one of better times with quite different opportunities and goes back a long way. Andreas Rossmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 May 2008

The age of scandals and protests seems to be over, too. Which is not to say that short film has become unpoliticial. The 54th edition Oberhausen short film festival offered a number of politically ambitious works. The 'Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers' and the 'Whose History?' sections in particular offered some impressive documents of their time. Gabrielle Schultz, Die Welt, 7 May 2008


[Ausfegen] was screened in Oberhausen in the ten-part programme entitled 'Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers' which told a subjective history of more than 50 years of political film. This is where subversion met information, agitprop, documentary and artistic experiments. Some of the works were made for the screen, others for the practical activist emergency. The festival reflected its own history here. Mark Stöhr,, 7 May 2008

The 'Oberhausen Manifesto', this rejection of the entertainment cinema of the 1950s, is more than 45 years old today. And festival director Lars Henrik Gass's renewed emphasis on the challenges to 'film as a festival commodity' this year underscores the fact that the 'Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers' - the special programme of the 54th festival - are still active in Oberhausen. Martina Schürmann/NRZ, Neue Ruhr Zeitung, 3 May 2008

Sometimes it [the 'Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers' programme] delivered only corny jokes or slightly too simple agitprop. But at the centre shone some well-compiled programmes in which anarchic silent film turbulences communicated meaningfully with intense observations of real street-fights and political key events or smart student interventions. Isabella Reicher, Der Standard, Austria, 7 May 2008

This acclaimed short-film festival dates back to 1954, but it took on particular relevance in 1962, when Alexander Kluge, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog and 22 others initiated what would become the New German Cinema with their polemical 'Oberhausen Manifesto'. Stuart Comer, Art Review, May 2008

These extremely rare films were screened at Oberhausen in the presence of the filmmaker, on the big screen of the Lichtburg festival cinema. You could not have wished for a more intelligent or beautiful presentation of this almost classic avant-garde oeuvre. The Kirchhofer special, among other things a return to the radical cinematic experiment, was without question one of the highlights of this year's festival. Hans Schifferle, epd film No. 6, 2008

Lis Rhodes' film 'A Cold Draft' from 1988 was the best I saw in Oberhausen this year. In any case, at the moment of being captured, while I was watching the film, I felt precisely this: This is it now, this is what I feel, what I think _ now and probably for the foreseeable future. What you see: baroque prison landscapes, a London skyline at twilight, at the mercy of the greedy deliriums of private investors, more prisons and fences. What you hear: the sounds of wind coming straight from a freezing late-capitalist hell and the voice of a woman reading a text, aggressively resigned, a story of greed and violence. Peer Schmidt, junge Welt, 6 May 2008

Responses to the market innovations were largely positive. Shane Smith of the Canadian broadcaster 'Movieola - The Short Film Channel' was quite enthusiastic about the search options on the CD-Rom. "Other festivals should do the same, I always like to take the disc back home, especially as it weighs only 80 grams." Like Smith, Dawn Sharpless of the British 'dazzleShortFilmLabel' praised the good organisation of the festival which made 'cherry picking' very easy. In addition, the atmosphere at Oberhausen was more relaxed than in the turbulent market of the French Clermont-Ferrand short film festival. Reinhard Kleber, Filmecho/Filmwoche, May 2008

None of the nominees for best music video in Oberhausen could be accused of lack of passion. Their formal variety was impressive. This gives one hope: in spite of all the swan songs, the music video lives on. For the tenth time, a selection of the best German music clips was presented at the Oberhausen short film festival. An anniversary which demonstrates the creative potential of this medium while also raising questions about its future. Matthias Schönebäumer,, 7 May 2008

Most short films are shown on the Internet. You can search for 'short films' at But of course it is nicer to see the films at the cinema - for example at the Oberhausen short film festival. Because this is such a special festival, the directors of the films screened there will come from all over the world to Oberhausen. And there the audience can ask them questions about their films. NRZ children's page 'Knuts Klartext für Kinder', special festival edition, May 2008