Strong films from Africa and Asia: The Oberhausen competitions

68th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 30 April – 9 May 2022


Strong films from Africa and Asia: The Oberhausen competitions

From the Ruhr to Myanmar: 163 works from 67 countries in seven competitions


The on-site competitions of the 68th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen are complete. In the International Competition, there’s a markedly strong presence of films from Africa and Asia; the German Competition reflects the enormous variety of German short film production. In the five on-site competitions (international, German, children’s and youth films, music videos), the festival will present 119 films from 52 countries on the big screen. 44 works from more countries are presented online only in two competitions (international and German). A total of 163 short films from 67 countries will be presented in competition at Oberhausen this year, including 79 world premieres.


The International Competition: A strong periphery


49 works from 40 countries were selected for the International Competition, the oldest and biggest of the festival. There is a strong presence of African and Asian films this year; with productions from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and the Sudan there are more African productions in this competition than ever. Asia contributes works not only from well-known production countries like China, India, Japan or South Korea, but also from Myanmar or Vietnam. In addition, European productions dominate this competition, including one film from Russia and Ukraine each.


Numerous films address political issues in a variety of forms, from a documentary review of the suppression of protests in Thailand (Seeing in the Dark, Taiki Sakpisit, Thailand) to a hand-sewn animation evoking the dictatorship in Brazil (Cadê Heleny?, Searching Heleny?, Elena Vital, Spain/Brazil). The Colombian filmmaker Nadia Granados on the other hand delivers an in-your-face re-enactment of an interview with a hitman in Monologo de un Sicario (Monologue of a Hitman).


The selection also includes a Russian and a Ukrainian contribution. The Russian film Bobok by Aexandra Karelina and Yvan Yaukshev is based on a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky, while the Ukranian experimental film The Wind Probably by Yuri Yefanov asks how we experience reality on an apocalyptic world about to be absorbed by “The Black Hole”.


“The selection committee wants to create and sustain chances for cross border dialogue in the spirit of the founding motto of our festival, ‘Way to the Neighbour’. It is in this spirit that we have included a film from Russia and a film from Ukraine in our selection. We have also selected numerous films from countries rarely represented at film festivals,” says Hilke Doering, head of the International Competition.


German Competition: Extreme Variety


15 films were selected for the German Competition, half of them made by female filmmakers. 13 of them will be screened as world premieres. This competition reflects an enormous variety of themes and forms. The subject of work, for example, is taken up in different ways: In the documentary work Las Flores, Miguel Goya and Tina Wilke follow a group of young migrants who look for work during the lockdown. In Gute Arbeit, gute Nacht (Good Work, Good Night), Michael Wagenschütz plays and re-plays a phone call between an artist and the employment agency in which she tries to explain her work in different settings. And Nikita Diakur in backflip uses a mixture of live film and computer animations to show how he programs an avatar to perform a backflip.


A number of former Oberhausen prize winners return to the competition, such as Carsten Aschmann (Principal Prize of the International Jury 2009), Alexandra Gulea (Prize of the German Competition 2018), Bjørn Melhus (most recently Prize of the German Competition 2020), Simon€ Jaikiriuma Paetau (MuVi Award 2019) or Susann Maria Hempel (Prize of the German Competition 2014).


“We have rarely seen such a variety of forms and subjects in the German Competition. And we have seen great artistic quality in the submissions, too, which made the selection quite difficult this year,” says Carsten Spicher, head of the German Competition.


The NRW Competition: Focus on NRW


Nine films compete in this year’s NRW Competition, four of them made by women, eight of them screened as world premieres. Unusual this year is that North Rhine-Westphalia is not just the production country, but the subject and location of many works. Films portray subcultures in Oberhausen (Cruiser, Felix Bartke and Nils Ramme), examine the history and potential future of a former McDonald’s branch in the city of Herne (Nothing in this World Can Take the Place of Persistance, Silke Schönfeld) or document the lives of Romani in Dortmund (On this Side of the Tracks / De partea asta a șinelor, Zauri Matikashvili). The Ruhr River as a whole provides the subject and resonating body of the multimedia work Aquateque (Einar Fehrholz, Daria Jelonek and Perry-James Sugden).


More competitions: Children’s and Youth Films, MuVi Award, Online Competitions


35 films from 25 countries were selected for the children’s and youth film competition. Eleven music videos will be screened in the MuVi Award competition, 44 works are presented in the online competitions. The Children’s and Youth Film Competition and the MuVi Award will be announced separately.


A full list of all competition films can be found here.


High-resolution stills of competition films are available for download here.



The programmes of the 68th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

In addition to the competition, Oberhausen is presenting a number of thematic and curated programmes on the screen this year. These include the big Theme programme Synchronize. Pan-African Networks, six Profiles dedicated to outstanding international filmmakers: Morgan Fisher (USA), Sohrab Hura (India), Rainer Komers (Germany), Shalimar Preuss (France), Sylvia Schedelbauer (Germany/Japan) and Eszter Szabó (Hungary), and numerous other programmes.


Oberhausen, 17 March 2022


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