Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

The 2019 Competitions

New film languages, unexpected connections


The 65th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is showing a total of 140 films from 44 countries in its five competitions. With 7,616 works from 127 countries, the number of submissions rose again in 2019. The films came not only from countries with strong production infrastructures; short films were also submitted from countries such as Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, Samoa and Bangladesh. Oberhausen reflects more clearly than ever that digital networks, easier access to professional means of production and comparatively little commercial pressure make short film an almost universal means of cinematic expression. Festival director Lars Henrik Gass comments: "From a formal point of view, short films are taking ever greater liberties compared to feature-length films. Here film language is constantly being reinvented." The selected works compete for prizes worth a total of almost 42,000 euros.


In the International Competition, the largest and oldest of the festival, Oberhausen presents 53 works from 35 countries. Almost half of the works are by female filmmakers, 33 films will be shown as world premieres or international premieres. "In international short film, boundaries are being pushed, as this year shows very clearly: directors choose very individual forms for their stories, often incorporating influences from the theatre, dance, music or art," says Hilke Doering, head of the International Competition. "Clear trends can hardly be identified, but each of the works, whether political documentation or essay, animation or feature film, offers the opportunity to discover something new.”


In the German Competition, Oberhausen is showing 24 films: "What struck us was that for the first time the submissions included a series of highly interesting short film series. We decided to present two of them as full-length series out of competition under the title ‘German Competition Extended'," says Carsten Spicher, head of the German Competition. "In German short film, too - this year 60% of the contributions come from female filmmakers – we see a great formal differentiation at a high level of quality. Despite the different approaches, however, we can see that German short films, whether experiment or feature, are concerned with what is happening in our country. Migration, gender, political themes - the films take up themes in a very personal way, analysing, illuminating marginal aspects and details, revealing unexpected connections."


For the NRW Competition, in which productions from North Rhine-Westphalia compete, 12 works were selected. Half of the works here are university productions, the other half independent productions. "A positive development for NRW as a production venue: filmmakers who used to emigrate to Berlin after completing their studies often prefer to stay in NRW today; former fellow students set up their own production companies here to produce their works collectively. Works such as O Catador sem Cabeca or RIAFN in this year’s competition reflect this development," says Carsten Spicher, head of the NRW competition.


The 21st MuVi Award for the best German music video presents 11 videos. In the 42nd Children's and Youth Film Competition, Oberhausen presents 42 films from 25 countries, arranged by age groups.


A list of all competition entries is available online here.



About the 65th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

In total, the Festival shows well over 500 films in 122 programmes. An extensive focus is dedicated to trailers. Under the title "The Language of Attraction: Trailers between Advertising and the Avant-garde", Oberhausen illuminates an often neglected short film genre. In six film programmes, the Festival presents the rarely shown early work of the great Russian auteur filmmaker Alexander Sokurov, other Profiles are dedicated to the Greek artist Eva Stefani as well as Kiri Dalena (Philippines) and Kayako Oki (Japan). Series such as Archives, Conditional Cinema, re-selected or Labs as well as numerous individual programmes, for example of European short films, complete the festival programme.


Festival programme online: from early April


Accreditation deadline: 15 April 2019

Accreditation here.


High resolution stills from selected competition films are available for download here.


Oberhausen, 15 March 2019


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