Young Audience

Since 1978, exceptional short films for children and youth have had a firm place in Oberhausen. In addition to the International Children's and Youth Film Competition, for whose jury only children and young people are eligible, curated programmes are shown and workshops and seminars are offered both for young audiences and for multipliers.

Children's and Youth Cinema 2021

The Children's and Youth Cinema of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen goes online! The programme is as colourful and up to date as ever: from 5 to 10 May we will show 40 short films from 24 countries, taking you to Indian salt deserts, to South Korea and the suburbs of Geneva, to dreamy places at the North Pole and on sleepwalks - we are also on Instagram and in Minecraft worlds. We are showing six world premieres, ten international premieres and 16 German premieres.

Tickets for the online festival hub are available here. The whole programme is also available as a school screening and for kindergartens.

Children's film competition from 3 years and up

A journey for the little ones with five playfully animated films from Belgium, France, Japan, Romania and Russia. A fish with legs that jumps against the current and bears with hiccups meet fantastic northern lights and will leave us fascinated.

L'ours qui avala une mouche (The bear who swallowed a fly)
Pascale Hecquet - Belgium/France 2020 - 7'24''
A bear is sleeping peacefully in the woods when he accidentally swallows a fly. He can’t stand it buzzing around in his belly. On the advice of a squirrel, he swallows a frog... who croaks inside him. Then a grass snake, whose wriggling tickles him. Then a heron, whose beak prickles him. What lengths will he go to to stop this torture?

Kokoni ite (Stay with me)
Rika Mayumi - Japan 2020 - 1'53''
This is the story of when my dog and I were here. I was just daydreaming.

Kiki la plume (Kiki the Feather)
Julie Rembauville/Nicolas Bianco-Levrin - France 2020 - 5'47''
Kiki the canary only knows his cage and the old lady who feeds him. He dreams of flying with the free birds from outside. When at last the door of the cage stays open, he escapes and discovers the big outside world where it’s necessary to know how to fly. Finally, being a free bird, it’s scary.

A Fish on a Ladder
Ioana Pasarin - Romania 2020 - 2'33''
A fish with legs climbs a ladder.

Alyaska (Alaska)
Oxana Kuvaldina - Russia 2020 - 7'06''
This is a story about a young husky dog – the spirit of the Alaskan Peninsula. He casts the Northern lights instead of a shadow and looks for a friend.

Children's film competition from 6 years and up

Wolf cubs, snails, grasshoppers and sea monsters - fantastic encounters await you. The programme for ages six and up is all about missing, searching and finding. Five animations and one fiction film take us to a big German city, to France, Japan, Sweden, South Korea and Taiwan.

My Mother's Hair
Zeynep Sila Demircioğlu - Germany 2020 - 3'39''
A mother migrates to Germany without her children to work as a guest worker. The family reunification takes some years. The smallest daughter of that family, Özgür, shares her story of growing up without a mother. Özgür’s biographical story is brought to the audience through animated natural representations.

In Search of Chok Chok 
Dayoon Kim - South Korea 2020 - 20'00''
Yeon-woo has a hard time making friends after changing to a new school. On a rainy day, she finds a snail on her way home. From then on, she thinks the snail is her only friend and names it Chok Chok. One day Yeon-woo’s only friend, the snail, disappears. While searching for it, she meets Dajeong.

Furendo (Friend)
Gan Wang - Japan 2020 - 2'57''
At the forest river, a fox meets a bucket and they become friends. As it rains, the fox wears the bucket on his head. What will happen next?

Lupin (Wolf)
Hélène Ducrocq - France 2020 - 11'11''
A young wolf ventures out of his burrow for the first time, while his mother is busy hunting. Lost and frightened, he finds a shelter in a garden. Jeanne, Gaston and Louis, the hunter's children, find him and decide to bring him back to his home.

The Frolic 
Yi-Han Jhao - China 2020 - 4'34''
The kids frolic with the insects on the grass.

Iso ylimäärä (The Great Overflow)
Magnus Fredriksson - Sweden 2021 - 14'27''
After a great flood, Pää floats down the river on the roof of his house. Soon he is joined by Nif, and together they travel downstream and out into the ocean. Along the way they meet many peculiar creatures and befriend some of them. They also bear witness to the effects of pollution.

Children's film competition from 8 years and up

Five short films for children from the age of eight take us to Belgium, India, Iceland, France and Switzerland. We hike through salt deserts with two girls and accompany a child as it steps out of the shadows. A wannabe astronaut brings tempo to the screen.

Paanchika (Five Pebbles)
Ankit Kothari - India 2020 - 14'07''
Little Miri sets off across a desert of salt pyramids. She is followed by an outcast, as they are forbidden to play together. What follows is a tale of friendship, where the bounds of society unravel one pebble at a time. Even today, India judges with a lens of casteism. Paanchika portrays how friendship survives all these social norms.

Latitude du Printemps (A Tiny Tale)
Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Maŷlis Mosny, Zijing Ye - France 2020 - 7'25''
A dog is abandoned at the side of the road. Attached to a street light, he remains alone until the day he meets a young astronaut wannabe and a professional cyclist who keeps trying to beat her highest score.

Elong E’nabe (A Bright Future) 
Niels Devlieghere - Belgium 2020 - 13'41''
A short documentary about six-year-old Angela, a black girl with Senegalese roots who was born in Belgium. Angela lives a carefree life, unaware of the complex socio-political situation her family ended up in. The film paints a picture of what it is like to grow up as a child with black skin in Flanders, every so often accompanied by racism and the question of belonging.

Un caillou dans la chaussure (A Stone in the Shoe)
Eric Montchaud - France 2020 - 11'28''
A pupil turns up to his new class for the first time. This pupil, however, is different to the others: he’s a frog in a class of rabbits.

Brúsi Ólason - Iceland 2020 - 16'11''
A young boy of divorced parents spends a weekend at his dad’s farm. Not knowing how to connect, the father goes about his day working and treating the boy like any other farmhand. When they come across a seriously wounded horse, they find a way to connect as they go through the process of putting the horse out of its misery.

Children’s film competition from 10 years and up

What makes real friends? And what makes great siblings? In the programme for children aged ten and up, a drone causes a conflict, a motocross race causes longing and a shower taken together causes very different reactions. Six short films from France, Iran, Colombia and Sweden.

Dix ans (Ten Years)
Clélia Schaeffer - France 2020 - 15'00''
During Léo’s birthday party, a toy disappears. Children look for a culprit.

Niebla (Mist) 
Leonardo Romero Zarza - Colombia 2020 - 10'26''
Nicolas is a kid who has moved to the suburbs near to an ancient cloud forest with his parents. The place gains meaning for him when he starts to have mysterious encounters with native animals. He will discover a forest full of life and understand the importance of the balance between humans and nature.

Shower Boys
Christian Zetterberg - Sweden 2020 - 9'11''
After a heated training match with the team, twelve-year-olds Viggo and Noel go home to challenge each other’s limits and masculinity. A sudden stop to an innocent game questions what a male friendship is allowed to be.

Ton francais est parfait (Your French Is Perfect)
Julie Daravan Chea - France 2020 - 4'05''
Ten-year-old Aline and her mother, Chanda, live together in a French suburb. Aline discovers that a parent-teacher meeting is being planned.

Moein Rooholamini - Iran 2020 - 5'00''
In a special situation, Khaled comments on a football match for his brother. Suddenly he is confronted with certain events.

Corentin Lemetayer Le Brize - France 2020 - 22'19''
Eleven-year-old Jade has only one idea in mind: to return to the Grand Prix des Kaolins, the motocross championship organized each summer by her father within the quarry he leads. But for this little girl apart, riding on a motorcycle again can be tricky. Except that Jade is stubborn.

Youth film competition from 12 years and up

The 12+ programme is about dead fathers, dead mothers, dead babies and dead matter. Doesn't sound very uplifting? But it is. All this is told in the context of kept promises, great friends, first kisses and a lot of self-confidence. Six films from China, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden.

La Chamade (Blackbirds)
Emma Séméria - France 2020 - 09'26''
It’s almost time to go back to school, and Camélia, 15, has a peculiar favour to ask of Salah, her childhood best friend: she would like to practice French kissing before the end of the summer.

He An (Step Into the River)
Weijia Ma - France/China 2020 - 14'43''
Lu and Wei are two young girls living in a village nestled on the banks of a river. As the one-child policy has led some families to drown baby girls, they both have a special relationship with this river, which looks like a cradle of tragic stories.

Es geht um Müll (About Trash)
Lisa Meier - Germany 2020 - 03'53''
About Trash is a personal insight into thoughts and emotions on the topic of trash. Today we’re living in a world where trash is everywhere, but we still don’t seem to care. So our trash has no other choice than to scream for attention.

Ourse (Little Bear)
Nicolas Birkenstock - France 2020 - 27'23''
Ourse is a sleepwalker, and she tends to run away at night. Her mother is trying to cure her. But Ourse doesn’t want to be cured, determined to understand where her sleep is taking her. Does she want to escape the course of her own life?

Meng Hoer (My Hair)
Max Jacoby - Luxembourg 2021 - 03'00''
‘There was a time when I wanted straight hair, because then I would be "normal".’ Thirteen-year-old Olivia talks about her hair and what it’s like growing up in Luxembourg as a mixed-race kid.

Elveleie (Riverbed)
Sylvelin Maakestad - Sweden/Norway 2020 - 14’40''
Two young sisters go to great lengths to fulfil their mother’s dying wish. Pursued by the grown-ups who want the conventional funeral procedures to start, the kids embark on a last journey with their mother to fathom the process of her death.

Youth film competition from 14 years and up

Is Utopia to be found in Virtual Space? A group of queer youngsters build safe spaces and greenhouses on Minecraft. A Romanian boy escapes into his fantasy and Dolápò has to defy the omnipresent racism. There's a lot about finding yourself in the 14+ programme - in six films from Australia, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and the USA.

Candy Can
Anton Octavian - Romania 2020 - 09'15''
A vulnerable boy works very hard to escape from a stark reality. He surrounds himself with a world of toys and games, but as the truth starts to emerge, his refuge might turn out to be a trap.

Dọlápọ̀ Is Fine
Ethosheia Hylton - UK 2020 - 15'00''
Soon to leave her British boarding school and enter the working world, a young Black woman faces pressure to change her name and natural hairstyle.

Before We Collide
Gregor Petrikovic/Guy Gooch - UK 2021 - 1'13''
The film consists of over 800 photographs shot during the pandemic, and their intricate layering fragments our perception of time. Through a haunting encounter between two human beings, the film explores ideas of uncertainty, mutual support and awareness of earthly transience. In the moment of shared stillness, we face our reality.

Trona Pinnacles
Mathilde Parquet - France 2020 - 13'20''
Nineteen-year-old Gabrielle finds herself stuck near Death Valley between two parents who no longer speak to each other. The three of them, feeling trapped, try to escape the tension in a huge landscape that feels unchangeable. The situation seems impossible until an unexpected event occurs to unravel everything...

Luca Meisters - Netherlands 2020 - 10'39''
When fifteen-year-old Nova brings her little sister Ivy to soccer practice with her mother, Ivy’s new trainer Nadia tells them that Ivy cannot train anymore until her membership fee has been paid. The situation turns into a conflict. When Nadia puts a comforting hand on Nova’s shoulder, Nova gets overwhelmed by a feeling she has never had before.

Tracing Utopia
Catarina de Sousa/Nick Tyson - Australia/Portugal/USA 2021 - 26'08''
Tracing Utopia is an odyssey into the dreams of a group of queer teens in New York City as they envision a better world. This short documentary imagines a form of queer community transcending time, through glimpses of a utopia made manifest in the streets, in community spaces, and online. A collaborative manifesto weaves these pasts and futures together, calling for the change that queer youth strive for today.

Youth film competition from 16 years and up

The 16+ programme includes six short films from France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Spain and the Czech Republic. Physicality plays a major role, for example when young people are disgusted by food, wear prostheses as jewellery and dance partners or experience shared history and memory in a very sensual way through film.

Material Bodies
Dorothy Allen-Pickard - UK 2020 - 04'22''
Through interweaving dance and dialogue, Material Bodies is a sensual and cinematic look at the relationship between amputees and their limbs. This visceral and colourful short film explores how a prosthetic leg can be more like a piece of jewellery, a dance companion or a part of you.

Forastera (Foreigner)
Lucía Aleñar Iglesias - Spain 2020 - 19'51''
Spending her summer in Mallorca, Antonia comes to recognize the latent similarities between herself and her dead grandmother and discovers a power over her mourning grandfather. She can’t resist playing dress-up, but it becomes unclear who is inhabiting whom.

Vevnitř (Inside)
Viktorie Štěpánová - Czech Republic 2020 - 05'40''
How does it feel not to understand your own body and its needs? To perceive everything but food as blurry and meaningless? The animated documentary shows a day in life of a person suffering a mental illness called anorexia nervosa. It is an intimate insight into the mind of an anorexic, who must somehow interact with raw reality.

Nattåget (The Night Train)
Jerry Carlsson - Sweden 2020 - 14'30''
Oskar is on the night train, heading home after an interview in Stockholm. With a long night ahead of him, he makes eye contact with Ahmad. For the first time, he meets the gaze of someone who feels the same desire as he does.

Jeanne L'Homer - France 2020 - 05'52''
During this pandemic, performers have had to reinvent themselves to adapt to our new virtual existences. How can we create immersive pieces for an audience of avatars on the internet? I was asked to create a piece to be performed live on Instagram. I decided to exploit the platform in itself. This work is part of a journey of analysing the way we as human beings interact with the virtual world, and how feelings of immersion can be recreated by hijacking or following its codes.

À l’ancienne (Oldschool)
Yasmine Bahechar - Switzerland 2020 - 19'47''
Somewhere in Geneva, a friendship between a group of girls has been forged between the Rhône and the Arve, right where the two rivers meet and mix homogeneously. A departure can turn things upside down. There are those who leave and those who stay. Those who leave, leave behind memories. Those who see people leaving, keep the memories.

ECFA Short Film Award Nominees 12+

We are pleased to present the films nominated for the ECFA Short Film Award 2021. Eight films from seven countries provide a great overview of what European short film currently has to offer for young audiences.

MuVi 14+

Fifteen international music videos show the whole range of the genre. With humour and a dose of craziness, the works tell of life between digital and real worlds in strange times. Whether deepfake, collage, Insta-home video, sitcom, 3D animation, found footage, narrative video or performance: it's about friendship, dreams, stereotypes, hidden passions and curious occurrences. Sometimes we are lost, but never alone. Also available as a school screening!

Workshops and film education

In addition to the short film programme, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen offers workshops every year for educators as well as for young film enthusiasts and school classes. Current offers can be found here.

Shortscreen – Film education online

"Off to the online seminar!" is the motto this year for the young audience of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. You will get to know exciting perspectives on current topics and look intensively at details in the cinematic realisation. The online seminar is designed to last about 90 minutes. Bookable from 1 to 10 May or by arrangement. An offer in cooperation with the filmothek der jugend NRW.

One topic - two films: Hair, hairstyles, beauty - that can keep you pretty busy. What is beauty anyway, are there standards and who sets them? What expectations can one bow to? What limits do you have to find for yourself? In DOLÁPÒ IS FINE and MY HAIR you get to know two young black women who have to take a special look at these questions.

Registration and information via kiju(at) or +49 208 825 3053.

Short film inclusive: subtitles and workshops for all

It has become a tradition: Now in its fifth year, all programmes of the Youth Film Competition are equipped with German subtitles for the hearing impaired. The screenings in the 12+, 14+ and 16+ programmes are also accompanied by sign language interpreters. This is made possible by Aktion Mensch - we are happy about this and say thank you!

Workshop: Talking Pictures - Short Film Worlds for Children and Youth
An online workshop that provides space for intensive and playful engagement with an exceptionally beautiful short film from this year's competition programme. Tailored to an inclusive setting and with appropriate methods, the participating pupils will be given access to the short film as a special form. From class 4, max. 20 pupils, about 90 minutes, bookable from 5 to 10 May.

Registration and information via kiju(at) or +49 208 825 3053.


Short films are more suitable for educational work than almost any other genre. They offer starting points for the most diverse topics, for political education as well as for language teaching and not least for film analysis and the development of media competence. This is why Oberhausen has been organising annual conferences for educators in cooperation with various partner insitutions for more than 25 years. Through cooperation with institutions such as Matthias-Film and Katholisches Filmwerk, our Festival is also involved in the distribution of children's short films. There are also screenings especially for school classes.

Continuing education for religious education

Organised in cooperation with the secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference: Church and Society of the Protestant Church in the Rhineland and Westphalia, this workshop is aimed at religion teachers in particular. Outstanding contributions from the current Children's and Youth Film Competition are viewed together, analysed and discussed with regard to their use in religious education. Every year, Matthias Film and the Katholisches Filmwerk purchase films for educational work under the title "Edition Kurzfilmtage".

Dates 2021
Saturday, 8 May 2021, from 10 a.m. to approx. 12 p.m., online
flexible online screening from 5 to 7 May

Participation is free of charge. Information and registration via kiju(at) or +49 208 825 3053.


Offers for families

This year, we are delighted to offer a special online pass for all fans of our Children's and Youth Cinema: more than 60 red-hot short films from all over the world in custom-fit programmes for all age groups, are on show for 5€. Families welcome! For kids from three years up to young adults, our wonderful programme offers cause for wide eyes, plenty to talk about and, with the dozen music videos for our 14+ audience, delicacies for the ears as well. The individual programmes are each available for 48 hours. They are perfect for first and also quite unusual film experiences – whether fiction, documentary, MuVi, animation or experimental arrangement. You can get the online pass here.

Workshops on the Weekend: See, Chat, Try One’s Hand

We miss the shared experience in the cinema! What did you like, what didn't you like? What questions and ideas did come up? Let’s meet online: to talk, to get inspired and to come up with one or two ideas of our own - inspired by the images and stories we have seen. The workshops are held in German.

Figure out animation
The world of animated film is wonderful and full of surprises. But why do the characters move at all? We want to find out together, with paper and scissors. You will need: a computer, a tablet or smartphone with a camera, paper, crayons or wax crayons and scissors.
Please watch the programme for ages six and up in advance!

Ages six and up - Friday, 7 May, 4 to 5 p.m.

Short film detectives
Many films raise questions. Which ones do you ask yourselves? We'll go on a search together - for snails and drones, alternative endings and the funniest moments. You will need a computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera, paper or cardboard, crayons or wax crayons, scissors and glue.
Please watch the programme for ages ten and up in advance!

Ages 10 and up - Sunday, 9 May, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.



The declared aim of the Festival is to introduce children creatively to topics and to give them a new perspective on their world. For this reason, since its foundation in 1978, the Children’s and Youth cinema has been expanded through media-pedagogical activities, which have become increasingly important in recent years. In various projects, workshops, special programmes and in cooperation with schools in Oberhausen and the city's youth parliament, Oberhausen cultivates direct dialogue with children and young people and promotes an open and productive exchange. Please contact us!

School screenings in all age groups

The programmes of the Children’s and Youth Film Competition will be shown during the festival on weekdays in morning events especially for schools. The programmes are carefully tailored, both in terms of content and form, to seven age groups from three to sixteen years old. All programmes are presented by pupils from Oberhausen in a manner appropriate to their age. Filmmakers from all over the world are present during the screenings and answer the questions of the young audience. School classes can register for the screenings from mid-April. We are also happy to provide suggestions on how the films shown can be integrated into lessons. Please contact us!

2021: Free online screenings for schools

Turning necessity into a virtue? As much as we miss the encounters at the Lichtburg Filmpalast, the school screenings online offer many advantages: flexible to use from 5 to 10 May, free of charge, possible in distance learning or face-to-face classes. There are seven programmes, each focussing a specific age group, as they would be shown in the cinema, with recorded introductions and interviews with the filmmakers as well as accompanying materials for preparation and follow-up.

Information and registration via kiju(at) or +49 208 825 3053.

Partner school project

Since 2009, the annually changing partner schools have been actively involved in shaping the programmes of the Children's and Youth Cinema. A secondary school and a primary school from Oberhausen nominate groups of schoolchildren who gain insight into the festival through various tasks.

Two juries of five schoolkids each evaluate the films of the Children's and Youth Film Competition and award the prizes. In a joint project week, pupils from both schools develop the trailer for the Children's and Youth Cinema and produce it together with filmmakers from Oberhausen. And last but not least, after intensive preparation, a group from the secondary school act as moderators of the programmes in the Children's and Youth Film Competition. This also includes moderating the discussions with the international filmmakers present.

The partner schools of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2021 are Königschule and Gesamtschule Osterfeld. If you are interested in working with us as a partner school, please contact us.

Kindergarten programme

Short films are a wonderful way for the very youngest to get to know the cinema as a place and film as a medium. For more than ten years now, our Festival has been inviting newcomers to the cinema to take part in a film and interactive programme. Age-appropriate short films of various genres are embedded in an accompanying programme of moderation, questions, movement and games. The programme is open to kindergartens as well as private individuals with children aged 3 and older. The visit is free of charge. Please contact us!



By Einar Fehrholz and Simon Mellnich in collaboration with the children of the partner schools 2021:
Königschule: Mariam Kadiri, Elay Kaczmarek, Eylül Cucu, Samuel Mader
Gesamtschule Osterfeld: Aylin Mahmoud, Merle Pajzderski, Angelina Vullo Ze