German fest selects SA films


Three South African student films have made the cut for the international competition of the 57th Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

For the first time the festival, which runs from 5 to 10 May 2011, received several submissions from South Africa.

This was confirmed by Hilke Doering responsible for the festival’s international competition. “I am very happy that we are going to present three films from South Africa!’

Atrophy (8 minutes) by Palesa Shongwe (MultiChoice Film Talent Incubator / Big Fish); Balance (2 minutes, 30 seconds), a Colleen Alborough film; and Bridget Baker’s Steglitz House (9 minutes) make up the list. The latter two are independent productions.

Atrophy tells stories of children who cross borders in search of a better life for themselves and their families. It explores danger, vulnerability and tragedy but also highlights experiences of courage and perseverance.

Balance explores the relationship between real and imagined fears. It considers the extent to which humans can sometimes feel controlled by invisible, unnamed terrors. In mapping imaginary landscapes, the work aims to reflect upon the negotiations and manoeuvres people make within the complex, at times disconcerting, and chaotic space of South Africa.

Steglitz House is about the inside of a miniature construction of a 1930s West Berlin home in the Arikalex Museum in Steglitz, Berlin, where the story shifts between domestic psycho-drama and investigative espionage.

Doering adds: “I am very happy about the strong presence of South African works at this year’s festival which is extraordinary.

“I would like to thank all those that have had the confidence to submit their works to our festival as well as those who helped me during my stay in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It is fantastic that artists and filmmakers sent us their work.’
Doering sourced the South African films with the assistance of Johannesburg-based Congolese (DRC) filmmaker Johnny Muteba.

Oberhausen is one of the world’s largest and oldest short film festivals and was launched in 1954. It is also one of the globe’s most avant-garde films festivals with its presentations of short films of all types, from documentaries and fiction to artworks and music videos. It plays host to short films in all media from Super 8 and 16mm to 35mm and digital video, making it a prime scouting ground for new talent.

For almost six decades Oberhausen has been the focal point of the international short film scene, attracting an average of 19 000 festival guests a year with more than 1 000 accredited industry professionals from over 50 countries. Last year there was an average of 500 films screened over five days that were selected from about 6 000 entries from more than 90 countries.

Since 1999 the festival has offered the first festival music video award – the MuVi and in 1978 the first international Children’s and Youth Film Competition was launched.

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