Theme programme: Solidarity as Disruption

67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 1-10 May 2021


Theme programme: "Solidarity as Disruption"

How can the much-worn phrase “solidarity” be redefined? A film programme on the revolutionary potential of solidarity.


In 2019, curators Branka Benčić (Croatia) and Aleksandra Sekulić (Serbia) conceived a programme on the theme of "Solidarity as Disruption" for the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2020. Due to Corona, it had to be cancelled, but now the 67th Festival 2021 is catching up with a Theme that is more topical than ever. The programme asks how solidarity can be redefined as a political project through cinematic means. Based on a focus on films from the former Yugoslavia since the 1960s, the curators examine the concept and its history in a broader context, from collective film movements to the aesthetics of workers as political subjects.


Masterpieces of the "Black Wave" such as Želimir Žilnik's Nezaposleni ljudi (The Unemployed) from 1968 can be found here as well as more recent works such as Nika Autor's Obzornik 63 - Vlak senc (Newsreel 63 - The Train of Shadows) from 2017, in which she expands a mobile phone video of the famous Belgrade-Ljubljana line, where today fugitives hide between the wheels, into a stocktaking of the social and political significance of trains. The spectrum of works ranges from Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's Europa 2005-27 Octobre (2006) to Museum Songspiel 20XX (2011) by the Chto Delat collective from St Petersburg.


Making outsiders visible, film as political intervention, models of solidary filmmaking from film clubs to current participatory and collective forms: The programme shows the diverse possibilities of showing or creating solidarity through film.


“Solidarity as Disruption" will be continued at the 68th Festival in 2022 with an "Epilogue" consisting of three film programmes.


The curators

Branka Benčić is a curator and art historian, director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Croatia. She has curated exhibitions and screenings in Croatia and internationally. She served as artistic director at Apoteka Space for Contemporary Art, curated Artists Cinema series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, and Cinemaniac Think Film program at the Pula Film Festival. She curated the Croatian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017).


Aleksandra Sekulić is a philologist of general literature and theory of literature, the programme curator at the Center for Cultural Decontamination (CZKD) in Belgrade. In the 2000s, she was programme curator and film producer at the Academic Film Center in Belgrade and a member of the Low-Fi Video movement, Media Archaeology project and the Kosmoplovci collective in Belgrade.


Subject to change.


Oberhausen, 8 April 2021


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