Sport in Film at the 70th Festival

70th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 1-6 May 2024

Sport in Film

Oberhausen presents an extensive programme of historical sports films at its 70th edition


From 1 to 6 May 2024, the 70th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen will present a three-part Theme programme of historical sports films from 1926 to the 21st century. "Sport in Film" will offer a rediscovery of the Sports Film Festival, which took place in Oberhausen, in five programmes. In addition, Oberhausen will be showing a historical programme of sports films from the Ruhr region from the archives of the Kinemathek in the Ruhr region and a selection of music videos about sports under the title MuVi 14+.

Sport in Film
"Sport and film have one essential basic element in common: movement", wrote Hilmar Hoffmann in the catalogue of the first Sports Film Festival in 1968. Until 1977, this festival took place every two years in Oberhausen – In 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975 and 1977. The "International Film and Television Festival" showed and awarded prizes to international sports films of all kinds – loosely defined as "films that deal with sporting themes". The event was independent, but closely linked to the Short Film Festival; as a result, numerous award winners and other film copies were collected in the Oberhausen Archive. Now the festival is presenting a rediscovery of this event with a selection of films in five programmes, curated by Dietrich Leder.

The programmes of the Sports Film Festival comprised a broad spectrum, ranging from legendary films such as Werner Herzog's Die große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner (The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner, 1974), to largely unknown films by directors such as Jacques Doillon, Elem Klimov, Marcel Łoziński or Michael Pfleghaar, to educational films such as Neue Wege zum Wedeln (New Ways to Wedel). Oberhausen is showing a selection of around 25 films in five programmes. The majority come from the festival's archive, interspersed with some more recent works from the Festival programmes. The presentation will not be chronological but rather according to themes: "physical movement", "emancipation of women's sport", "spectators and others on the margins", "heroes in post-heroic times" and "sport as social action". Water polo, table tennis, motorbike racing and ice hockey are just as much a topic as tennis, ski jumping and athletics – and of course football in any form, be it players, football fans, referees and even superstition in football.

The programme is prepared and supplemented by several online activities, including a series of sports films too long for a festival screening on the Kurzfilmtage Channel in the run-up to the Festival. In addition, a daily journal will highlight literary and cinematic finds from the Internet. Taken together, the result is a rich and multifaceted picture of what sport and film have in common – or what separates them.

The curator:
Dietrich Leder, born in Essen in 1954, studied German and theatre studies in Cologne, author of media-critical and scientific publications (most recently with Daniela Schaaf and Jörg-Uwe Nieland "Die Erfindung des Mediensports") and from 1994 to 2021 Professor of Television Culture at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.


Sport in the Ruhr Region
“Sport in the Ruhr Region in Film Documents" takes us even further into the past: Paul Hofmann shows works from the holdings of the Kinemathek in the Ruhr region, the oldest of which date from 1926.


High-resolution stills are available for download here.


Oberhausen, April 2024

Press contact: Sabine Niewalda, Tel. +49 (0)208 825-3073,