Just as important as the competitions and, since the 1990s, a central and successful part of Oberhausen’s profile is the Theme, a comprehensive programme on annually changing issues.
About the Theme programme
Just as important as the competitions and, since the 1990s, a central and successful part of Oberhausen’s profile is the Theme, a comprehensive programme on annually changing issues. Here, the Festival reflects the enormous variety of the short form, whether avant-garde, advertising or scientific film, whether expanded cinema or linear installation excerpt, within thematic contexts, creating a forum for cinematic and social discussions that, starting with the short film, extend far beyond film-related issues and engage in an overarching dialogue on image production in the arts, new technologies and sciences.
Recent Theme programmes
Topics covered in recent years include: "Solidarity as Disruption" (2021), "Leaving the Cinema – Knokke, Hamburg, Oberhausen (1967–1971)" (2018), "Social media before the Internet" (2017), "El Pueblo - Searching for Contemporary Latin America" (2016), "The Third Image – 3D Cinema as )Experiment" (2015); "Memories Can't Wait - Film without Film"(2014), "Flatness: Cinema After The Internet" (2013), "Provoking reality: Mavericks, MouveMents, Manifestos" (2012), "Shooting Animals. A Brief History of Animal Film" (2011), "From the Deep: The Great Experiment 1898-1918" (2010), "Unreal Asia" (2009), "Bordercrossers and Troublemakers", "Whose History" (2008), "Kinomuseum" and "Don't turn around! Children, Childhood, Cinema" (2007), "Solidarity As Disruption – Epilogue" (2022), "Synchronize. Pan-African Film Networks" (2022)
The Oberhausen Profiles are traditionally dedicated to the works of outstanding filmmakers, some of whom have dealt with short films for decades. The programmes are always presented personally by the artists or filmmakers*.
Sandor Aguilar (2017), Eija-Lisa Ahtila (2000), Victor Alimpiev/Olga Stolpovskaya (2006), Wojciech Bakowski (2014), Craig Baldwin (2000), Baloji (2021), Melika Bass (2021), Guy Ben-Ner (2007), Majoleine Boonstra (2007), Louise Botkay (2018), Linda Christanell (2012), Raquel Chalfi (2016), Jem Cohen (2001), Josef Dabernig (2016), Kiri Dalena (2019), Amit Dutta (2010), Nicolás Echevarría (2009), Heinz Emigholz (2001), Factory of Found Clothes (2009), Helga Fanderl (2013), Jeanne Faust (2016), Morgan Fisher (2022), Herbert Fritsch (2009), Susannah Gent (2020), Karpo Godina/Želimir Žilnik (2002), Marina Grižnić/Aina Šmid (2003), Bert Haanstra (1998), Anne Haugsgjerd (2016), Stefan Hayn (2005), James Herbert (1999), Sohrab Hura (2022), Yamada Isao (2004), Ito Takashi (2015), Ken Jacobs (1996), Jim Jennings (1998), William E. Jones (2011), Larry Jordan (2001), Aryan Kaganof (2014), Kanai Katsu (2007), Patrice Kirchhofer (2008), Ken Kobland (2007), Rainer Komers (2022), Eva Könnemann (2018), Andrew Kötting (2008), Petar Krelja, Krsto Papić and Zoran Tadic (2013), Grzegorz Królikiewicz (2011), Mark Lewis (2005), Salomé Lamas (2018), Marie Lukáčová (2021), Dušan Makavejev (2003), Mara Mattuschka (2014), John Maybury (2002), Philbert Aimé Mbabazi Sharangabo (2020), Bjørn Melhus (2017), Deimantas Narkevicius (2014), Erkka Nissinen (2015), Matsumotu Toshio (2009), Münchner Gruppe: Klaus Lemke/Rudolf Thome/Max Zihlmann (2003), Gunvor Nelson (2010), Robert Nelson (2006), Vera Neubauer (2012), Ho Tzu Nyen (2013), No Wave (2010), Jayne Parker (2004), Kayako Oki (2019), Miranda Pennell (2006), Ilppo Pohjola (2012), Shalimar Preuss (2022), Luther Price (2013), Laure Prouvost (2013), William Raban (2015), Jennifer Reeder (2015), Lis Rhodes (2008), Jósef Robakowski (2005), Roee Rosen (2012), Roter Hahn 1907 (2011), Larissa Sansour (2017), Sarajevo Documentary School (2009), Boris Schafgans (2006), Sylvia Schedelbauer (2022), Maya Schweizer (2020), John Smith (2002), Alexander Sokurov (2019), Eva Stefani (2019), Barbara Sternberg (2017), Sun Xun (2016), Eszter Szabó (2022), Jaan Toomik (2017), Salla Tykkä (2021), Robert Van Ackeren (2001), Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor (2018), Vipin Vijay (2015), Laura Waddington (2005), Orson Welles (2000), Joyce Wieland (2002), Charles Wilp (2001), John Wood & Paul Harrison (1999), Fred Worden (2010), Nina Yuen (2017) and Akram Zaatari (2008).
Profiles in retrospect
Here you can find the profiles from the last year.
Introduced in 2006, this series of discussions has quickly established as a place to engage with film. Here, scholars, curators, artists and authors discuss current aesthetic, technological, cultural-political and economic issues relating to short film. The steadily growing audience is invited to participate. Among those who have been in Oberhausen so far are: Catherine David, Chris Dercon, Diedrich Diederichsen, Adrienne Goehler, Alexander Horwath, Oskar Negt, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Martha Rosler and Akram Zaatari.
Podium topics of the last years
Western Canons and Local Legacies. Do Our Oceans Meet?
Larger Than Screens. The Many African Cinemas You Only Think You Know
Collecting and archiving analogue film today
20th anniversary of AG Kurzfilm: film education and short film
Between marketing and art: the cinema of coming attractions
Video-on-Demand: new opportunities for filmmakers and festivals?
Rebooting the celluloid agenda?
Are film festivals the place for 360° and Virtual Reality?
Collaboration among film festivals - the new key to success
Leaving the cinema and its consequences
After youtube - music video after the internet
Exhibition and the cinema
More information in our Looking back
In 2006 the Festival expanded its market by screenings from the catalogues of selected international distributors of experimental and artistic short films. The success was overwhelming: from the very first day, the halls were fully occupied and the audience showed great interest.
In 2006 Oberhausen introduced this section, thus closing a gap: An international platform for screenings, encounters and expert discussions, specifically tailored to distributors of avant-garde and experimental films, did not exist at the time. The section very quickly developed into the world's largest showcase for art film distributors and is today a permanent fixture in the appointment calendar of professionals interested in short film. Representatives of all distributors are in Oberhausen. This makes this programme series not only a showcase for current international artistic moving images, but also a lively platform for maintaining contacts and exchanging ideas.
Since 2013 the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has been focusing on an often neglected subject: archiving and restoration of experimental films. International archives are invited to present their collections and their work. From the very beginning, this section has met with great interest and has quickly established itself as one of the most popular parts of the festival, both among the audience and the professionals.
Archives invited to date
Academy Film Archive, Los Angeles (2015); ACC Film and Video Archive, Gwangju (2018); BFI National Archive, London (2015); Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles (2016); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2016); Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg und Centre national de l'audiovisuel, Luxemburg (2018); Cinémathèque Française, Paris (2013); Cinemateca Portugesa, Lissabon (2017); Cyland Video Archive, St. Petersburg (2020); Eye Film, Amsterdam (2014); Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona (2018); Filmoteka Muzeum, Warschau (2014); Fundacja Arton, Warschau (2020); Gosfilmofond, Moskau (2017); Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge (2014); Home Movies - Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia, Bologna (2017); Israel Film Archive, Jerusalem (2019); Österreichisches Filmmuseum, Wien (2015); Národní filmový archiv, Prag (2019); National Film Center, Tokyo (2015); Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (2013); Slovak Film Institute, Bratislava (2018); Slovenska Kinoteka, Ljubljana (2013), Swedish Film Institute, Stockholm (2017); The Temenos Archive, Zürich (2014); Videokunstarkivet, Oslo (2016); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester (2021); Collectif Jeune Cinema, Paris (2021); Lumiton, Buenos Aires (2022); Cinenova, London (2022); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2022).
Collective ventures on celluloid
Introduced in 2018, "Labs" is dedicated to the numerous artists' labs that have formed a network and go public with their own events (filmlabs.org). The section thus continues the Festival's preoccupation with alternatives to the domination of the digital. This is about the interaction between celluloid and photochemical processes, as well as collective, independent production and distribution models. The commercial exploitation of analogue film is coming to an end. What perspectives can analogue artistic film and collective working methods have in our post-cinematographic reality? Thus, a discourse on questions of production, distribution, performance as well as aesthetics will be deepened.
The project "re-selected" examines film history as the history of individual film copies and is dedicated to selected films from the archive of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.
About re-selected: film history as history of copies
Launched in 2018, the re-selected project will take three years to devote itself to selected films from the analogue stock of the Oberhausen archive at the designated "end of the analogue age" and to examine film history as the history of individual film copies.
Rather than propagating the digital "rescue" of a cinematic work as an ideal, the project is interested precisely in the peculiarities of a copy, which are usually erased during digitisation. They can provide information about a concrete development, local public spheres and contemporary historical constellations. Where and when was a film shown at all, who saw it, in which version, in which composition? Every copy is an original - and not only when it turns out to be the only remaining copy of a film.
re-selected is a joint project headed by Tobias Hering and run by the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art as part of "Archive außer sich" in cooperation with the House of World Cultures, funded within the framework of "Das Neue Alphabet" by the BKM based on a resolution of the German Bundestag.
Featuring a series of live performances divided over two programs, Celluloid Expanded presents the first large-scale overview of the rich and diverse landscape of Canadian artist run film labs and collectives to Europe, with a focus on Canadian expanded cinema, in the programmes and an artist talk.
In the Country Focus, the International Short Film Festival will present the latest short film production of a European country every year, compiled by a curator from the respective country.
Lithuania (2021) and Portugal (2020).
Since 1998, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen shows a selection of trend-setting international music videos and formally exceptional works - a showcase of current developments in the music video genre.
A programme of international music videos for kids aged 14 and older. MuVi 14+ is a rich and varied cross section of recent video clips ranging from handmade to computer-generated.
Award Winners of Other Festivals
On its first day, Oberhausen traditionally shows short films that have received awards at other festivals. A cross-section of the past festival season.
The best of the best: To mark the conclusion of the festival, the Oberhausen team will show their favourite films from the competitions once more.
Oberhausen’s Filmgeflacker art collective will be presenting films from this year’s competitions, and the filmmakers will be invited to discuss their works with the audience.
The One Minutes
In cooperation with the One Minutes Foundation, Oberhausen presents one-minute films in two series curated for the festival.
Three programmes with interesting European short films, all nominated for the European Short Film Award of the previous year.
For the first time, the 2009 Festival presented a programme made only by the short filmmakers themselves: the Open Screening. Here everyone who submitted a work for the competitions but was not selected, and whose film does not exceed a length of 15 minutes, has the chance to present their work at the festival after all.
Registration is essential for participation in the Open Screening: the limited programme places are allocated strictly on a first-come, first-served basis and are usually filled in less than a minute.
Four Perspectives: Movement
The member festivals of the Euroean Short Film Network present four programmes on the subject of movement: Oberhausen (Germany), Go Short (Netherlands), Vienna Shorts (Austria) and Short Waves (Poland).