‘This years program is very colorful, diverse and different with 300 films from 40 countries around the world,‘ begins Katrin Küchler, FILMFEST DRESDEN‘s Co-Director.
With prizes and awards worth €64,500, FILMFEST DRESDEN is not only well-known in the festival circuit, it’s also one of the most renowned short film festivals in Europe. As the exclusive submission partner for the 2014 edition, we’re intrigued to find out what FilmFestivalLife filmmakers can expect and why they shouldn’t miss out on this festival in Eastern Germany. In advance of their opening night, we had a chat with the two women who know FilmFest Dresden and short filmmaking inside-out, Festival Co-Director Katrin Küchler and Event Manager Judith Riechert.
Jana Dietze, FilmFestivalLife: What trend do you see in short films in 2014?
Katrin Küchler: I find it difficult to identify a special trend in short films. In our competition where the focus is on narrative short films, it is possible to observe that many short films are actually supposed to be a ‘short feature film’! The short shorts are quite rare. Short filmmakers are often exploiting the 30 minutes and most of the time they are longer than 15 minutes! As for the animation competition, it’s striking that the analog animation techniques such as dolls tricks, claymation or stop motion are able to compete at all with 3D animations!
When it comes to humor, it really separates the wheat from the chaff. A German comedy for example doesn‘t necessarily work in Italy or France. Usually, the films deal with topics like the contemporary social and political situation or maybe they grabble with questions of personal being. That‘s why we don‘t have so many comedies in the competition program. But I would say that the program has a good balance. You will certainly not come out of a seeing an entire program at Dresden in a depressed mood!
What do you offer for the industry this edition?
Judith Riechert: Falk Schuster, a well-known German animator, will be teaching the art of record animation in a four-day workshop! Filmmakers will learn different techniques in animating on vinyl! We hope, at the end of the workshop, that we have some pretty special results from this.
We also have arranged two master classes, one with Phil Mulloy, a British animator (who is also in the international jury) and Luc Moullet, a French filmmaker of the Nouvelle vague. Both will present their works and then engage in discussion with the attendees. It’s a type of lecture, only interactively.
With ‘Big Names, Small Talks’, we’ve organised a speed dating-esque event. Filmmakers have the opportunity to meet important people of the film industry, such as Jörg Schneider from ZDF’s Das Kleine Fernsehspiel or sales agent Sydney Neter from SND Films. It’s a great chance for filmmakers to get in contact with people they usually have no way of getting a personal meeting with.
Why should a filmmaker attend?
Katrin: First of all – Dresden is a beautiful city! Furthermore, it makes so much sense to come together with your film and get direct feedback from the audience. That’s what filmmaking is about – getting into the audience members’ heart and mind. On the other hand, it’s also great the other way around, for the audience to meet the filmmakers and engage in direct dialogue with them. Also, filmmakers shouldn‘t miss out on the warm atmosphere of the festival. The locations at the Neustadt are close together and you will have six days inside this kind of festival orbit. You’ll meet other filmmakers here and you will find new ideas to send your creativity to the next level.
Judith: Also, every filmmaker shouldn‘t miss to bring a mini portfolio or business cards when attending a festival. It’s a good reminder to get back in contact with people you’ve met somewhere at the festival. As for FILMFEST DRESDEN they should definitely don‘t forget to sleep before arriving, the festival week is very intense and all night long.
What is your Film Market about?
Judith: Our Film Market is an online library, where accredited festival guests can see all the films we have in the program, but also all the submitted short films to our festival. They have direct access to the films and the contact information. The industry visitors have the possibility to see all the films we received online via FilmFestivalLife, as only a few supplied just a DVD.
Katrin: We think the film market is a useful instrument, as it is simply not possible to see all 300 short films in one week. You can search for films in different categories and find them quickly. Also, as most of the programmers are not interested in all films, they can search individually. For a big festival like FILMFEST DRESDEN it’s a must, to prepare a market for the industry.
How do you see women in short films?
Judith: I would say there is little overbalance of men in short films, but women aren’t too badly underrepresented. In our competition there are more male directors, but women don‘t have to hide. It’s also very interesting to see a film and not look at the credits first, you’ll be surprised which films are made by women…
Katrin:… or the other way around. Sometimes you assume a film has a specific gender specification and then it was made by a man! We are happy for every successful female filmmaker, but even though we are all women at FILMFEST DRESDEN‘s office, it isn’t a criteria. There are special festivals like Tricky Women for that. By the way, the winner of our last year’s main prize of 20,000 Euro was a young woman. That makes us happy, of course…
Judith: … but we are also happy, when a man wins!
Where do you see the short film in 10 year?
Katrin: We wish that the short film will have more of a presence and that people will recognize it as its own art genre and not as just quick internet clips. The short film should be connected with quality and I look forward to a time when it is natural to show them on the big screen. It would be also fantastic to see short films more in other mediums like television. VOD is a two-edged sword, there are filmmakers on the one hand who do not want their film available online and on the other hand there are filmmakers who want to have as many people as possible seeing their film. Personally I‘m not a fan of distributing short films on the internet, as that can damage the importance of film festivals. Whether analog or digital, short films should screen on a big screen! So I would say; in ten years I see the short film in the theaters!
The 6th FILMFEST Dresden will show the best short films, April 15-20 2014, Dresden, Germany.
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