The competitions of the 70th Festival are complete

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


The competitions of the 70th Festival are complete

Dealing with a world in crisis


A total of 117 short films were selected for the five competitions of the 70th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Many of the films focus on current crises: wars, climate change, the relationship between humans and nature or refugee movements. The fading of traditional family models or the difficulties of redefining motherhood, relationships or friendships in a changing world are also the subject of numerous works. In addition to impressive documentary and fictional works, the programme also includes formal experiments with a strong artistic signature, while the use of AI in short films is continuing, particularly in music videos.


Humanity and nature

Our relationship to nature and especially to animals is examined from a wide variety of angles in numerous works. In the International Competition, Laura Cooper (UK) documents the annual round-up of wild horses in Wales in The Gathering, while in No horses on Mars, Bea de Visser (NL) films what it is like to gallop in the wild as well as being crammed into a narrow transporter from the horses' point of view. The Luxembourg production Meadows Wait, Mist Diffuses by Dzhovani Gospodinov, on the other hand, consists of images from a wildlife camera in the Hosbësch forest, while Austrian director Angelika Reitzer shows the slaughter of a pig in calm images in abstechen (sticking pigs). In the German Competition, the feature film Gezielt Mittelalterliche Überlegungen (The Bear Within) by Paula Milena Weise and Finn Ole Weigt (D) takes a more comedic approach to the subject of animals when teacher Mrs Schröder suddenly finds herself confronted with a stray bear.

Not only our relationship to animals plays a role in the competition films, but also reflections on nature: In the NRW Competition, the poetic animation The Garden of Alalá by David Jansen and Sophie Biesenbach-Jansen shows the world as an icy desert after the global catastrophe. The protagonist in the Argentinian production El mal menor (The lesser evil) by Marcos Montes de Oca in the International Competition, on the other hand, struggles in the present day with the fact that her home is being swallowed up by sand.

War and conflict

Numerous works in the competitions reflect the armed conflicts of our time, often through the mirror of the Second World War. In the German competition, French re-enactors slip into German Wehrmacht uniforms in Fariba Buchheim's A War I've Never Seen without any major reservations. In the International Competition, US director Chi Jang Yin explores the aftermath of Hiroshima in I WAS THERE, part II, using new material from the US army archives. And Avec la 4e Division Marocaine de Montagne by Austrian director Stefania Smolkina takes the Moroccan star carved into a rock face near Feldkirch by Moroccan troops that fought for France in the Second World War, as the starting point for an essay on memory.

The Gulf War, on the other hand, is reflected in the Swedish production On Hospitality – Layla al Attar and Hotel al Rasheed by Magnus Bärtås (Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen 2010 for Madame & Little Boy) and Behzad Khosravi-Noori, who approach the subject via the Hotel al Rasheed built by Saddam Hussein, the "theatre of the first television war". The German-Norwegian media artist Bjørn Melhus, on the other hand, triggers the cinema of war in our mind in the German competition with [dramatic music continues] by showing only subtitles from war films on a black screen.

Music videos strong on AI

Ten clips have been nominated for this year's MuVi Award for the best German music video. Five of them were produced with the help of AI, evidence of the genre's particular aptitude for experimentation. The clips often play with exhausting or over-exciting the possibilities of AI: Manitulation (stadtfischflex Uwe Bastiansen and the flexible orchestra) by Astrid Busch combines analogue manipulation and AI, A Quickie in the Bouncy House (Pierce Warnecke) by Pierce Warnecke and Matthew Biederman uses acoustic manipulation, Schleim des Nichtwissens (Black to Comm) by Marc Richter (over-) stimulates AI to the point of hallucination. In Markus S. Fiedler's Grunewald is burning (Die Türen), an overzealous director tries to use AI to turn a middle-aged post-punk band into a dynamic dance troupe, while in HBD (Erregung öffentlicher Erregung) Stephan Dybus layers DIY video aesthetics and how-to-paint videos in a 3D world to the point of total absurdity.


45 works were selected for the largest and oldest competition of Festival, the International Competition. 16 productions will be shown in the German Competition and 11 in the NRW Competition. 35 works will be shown in the Children's and Youth Film Competition and 10 candidates have been selected for the MuVi Award. In total, the Short Film Festival awards prizes totalling over 40,000 euros. The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, 5 May 2024, at 7.30 pm.



International Competition: 2-5 May

German Competition: 4 and 5 May

NRW Competition: 3 and 4 May

Children's and Youth Film Competition: 1-6 May

MuVi Award: 4 May


A list of all competition films is online here:


Deadline for accreditation: 25 April


High-resolution stills from the films are available for download here:


Oberhausen, 20 March 2024

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