Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

Press review

It was one of the most enjoyable festival years in a long time, replete with a unique playful spirit and that marvellous encounter of different generations one experiences only here. Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau, 7 May 2014

 

A rebellious festival which keeps posing challenges for its hipster audience, who come increasingly from the art scene rather than from a cinephile background. Klaus Lemke, the last rocker of German cinema [...], put it in a nutshell: "Fuck you, Oberhausen. And good luck." Hans Schifferle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15 May 2014

 

There's a generous diversity of aesthetic, formalistic, and intellectual positions emerging in the many short films presented in Oberhausen. In-between, the festival appears unostentatious, fast-paced, sympathetic, uncomplicated. Dennis Vetter, negativ-film.de, 12 May 2014

 

The fact that Oberhausen’s long life has been marked by controversy, fierce independence and principled non-commerciality only adds to its reputation. John Beagles, Sight & Sound, Great Britain, August 2014

 

The International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen taught us to wonder again. Between Lemke and Ruttmann, Oberhausen, even in its 60th year, proves to be the youngest, freshest, most alert German film festival – its strength as well as weaknesses a reflection of the history of the Federal Republic and a seismograph of our age. Rüdiger Suchsland, artechock.de, 8 May 2014

 

So it is in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Oberhausen that one sees the abutment, overlap, merging, and divergence of a very general art form –motion pictures– which to many means "cinema" and to some implies "video art." A rare place, it seems, as only in often accidental instances do those who ascribe to the above determinist perspectives and definitions of the art actually meet in the same place. Daniel Kasman, mubi.com, 9 May 2014

 

Although the city itself is hardly the center of the artistic world, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, now celebrating its 60th year, is a veritable feast for the eyes, ears and intellect. Tara Judah, fandor.com, 7 May 2014

 

A festival with an identity and a strong curatorial voice. Though many people work at putting together the various programs, the overall vision has coherence and conviction. Oberhausen understands that conversation is wider than the space that holds it. The festival is malleable and it bends to meet the needs of cinema, never forcing it into a box. Tara Judah, Senses of Cinema, Australia, June 2014

 

Oberhausen has done a tremendous job in carving out a significant niche in the festival world with their in-depth curatorial sidebars. While continuing to focus on their core – short films across genres – [Oberhausen] have managed to elude or allay the trappings of the catch-all approach of large festivals by dedicating space and profile to a more comprehensive study of film art. Andréa Picard, Cinema-Scope, Canada, No. 54, Summer 2014

 

[T]he flicker of light in a dark room is only half the story: the audiences emerged from the cinemas talking, and this itself is a small victory, renewed each year in Oberhausen. Adam Pugh, Art Monthly, Great Britain, June 2014

 

This is how cinema ought to be. Exceptional and surprising. This year, Oberhausen showed that inspiration, imagination and illusion can become a post-cinematic film experience, in which the limits and categories of visual language may be renewed and developed further. Jennifer Borrmann, kino-zeit.de, 12 May 2014

 

Next to the Berlinale's International Forum, the Oberhausen Festival is the most important German festival for film as an art form. Instead of celebrating itself, cinema voluntarily takes itself to the limits here. Daniel Kothenschulte, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 3 May 2014

 

While other A festivals must face charges of not giving female directors enough chances, this does not concern Oberhausen in the slightest. [...] If women get a chance in Oberhausen, they use it, too. Five of the nine big prizes went to female directors. Georg Immich, Film & TV Kameramann, June 2014

 

What distinguishes the Short Film Festival is the fact that it takes place more or less removed from all markets, which traditionally allows the films to experiment a lot with subject matter and technique. This Festival even presents works rejected by the selection committee in the "Open Screening". But it is also due to the short film as such, a game between fragmentation and concentration, that this is where, in the best examples, the exploration of the format is driven forward. Christoph Meueler, Junge Welt, 9 May 2014

 

The Festival doesn't show its 60 years: a multiplex with atmosphere, perfect projections, experimental film art, music videos, narrative formats, DJ profiles at the Festival Bar, discussions, Poetry Clip Competition, Open Air, children's and youth films, awards. The International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen is celebrating its anniversary and sends its rays across the world of film. Achim Lettmann, Westfälischer Anzeiger, 3 May 2014

 

The Festival constitutes priceless advertising for the city. All over the world, Oberhausen is associated with it. [...] No advertising campaign, however expensive, would be even remotely as successful as this Festival, which fills the city with international visitors every year. Gudrun Mattern, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 3 May 2014

 

At the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, tradition is based on an inquisitive joy of experimentation. It is the constant attempt to question viewing habits, the collective cinema experience and aesthetic and cultural-political processes mired in tradition. Jennifer Borrmann, ray-magazin.at, Austria, May 2014

 

"Film without Film" was the subject of an occasionally sensational Theme programme, which evoked the artists' conquest of the screen by the "Expanded Cinema" of the 1960s. And spread its ideals among young artists with amazing ease. Daniel Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau, 7 May 2014

 

The boldest thematic programme in Lars Henrik Gass's 17 years as festival director.Reinhard Kleber, Filmecho/Filmwoche, 16 May 2014

 

Once more the Oberhausen Festival took a bold look behind the images – challenging traditional cinema. Film-Dienst, No. 12, June 2014

 

This year’s Theme […] focused on the cinema as a place, as a social, political and collective space, which means film was its content, but not its subject. Ann-Katrin Günzel, Kunstforum No. 227, June/July 2014

 

The issue of the cinema space is addressed all the more intelligently because it is not made explicit but hidden behind the outward enjoyment of testing limits, taking film away from the cinema to find out what's left. Frédéric Jaeger, critic.de, 7 May 2014

 

[…] Celluloid was banned from the projection rooms long ago to make way for digital projection. Cinema today is already a cinema without film. The more recent works in the "Film without Film" series constituted a hidden critique of the illusion machine of an often soulless digital cinema. Hans Schifferle, epd film, June 2014

 

A fascinating programme of "impossible films", which in an era of visual excess gave the audience delightful moments in which they were allowed to just stay still, wonder or play along. Gabrielle Schultz, Die Welt, 7 May 2014

 

That would be the truly interactive task: digging through this jumble, in which much, though not everything, finds a place; which puts half-hour films next to two-minute works, Colombian puppets next to animated Aboriginal tales [...] Oberhausen, magnificent jumble. Elena Meilicke, der Freitag, 7 May 2014

 

With too much to choose from (my only real complaint), this year's star attraction for me was the profile on Mara Mattuschka. Showcasing seventeen of her works spread over three sessions split chronologically between the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Mattuschka's alter ego, Mimi Minus, exploded onto the screen as only a true star of the avant-garde can. Tara Judah, fandor.com, 7 May 2014

 

[Mattuschka's] life-affirming, wild films have often delighted Oberhausen – with her enchanting, madcap presence at the presentation of her films and on the screen itself. Hans Schifferle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15 May 2014

 

The winner of the German Competition was Susann Maria Hempel's Sieben Mal am Tag beklagen wir unser Los und nachts stehen wir auf, um nicht zu träumen (2014). The film illustrates interviews with victims of inconceivable suffering. Fantastic, incredibly nightmarish and at the same time childlike, naive. Where else, if not here, could we see such extraordinary short films? Jennifer Borrmann, kino-zeit.de, 12 May 2014

 

Oberhausen’s tradition as a festival of dialectics, championing the thorough intellectual investigation of process, aesthetics, and politics in its post-screening discussions and Podium program, was taken to a new level this year with the initiation of the Oberhausen Seminar. Aily Nash, The Brooklyn Rail, USA, 5 June 2014

 

The thus ironically reflected deterritorialization of the cinematographic space is easily traced back to the dramaturgies of the films themselves which have always transcended any spatial dividing lines; all the more if, as in the Oberhausen programmes, documentary and fictional intentions meet, as well as digital and analogue production processes. Rainer Bellenbaum, camera austria, Austria, No. 126, 2014