Cineuropa Shorts Top 5 European Shorts 2015 Part 1 - The Festivals

Read the introduction to the Cineuropa Top 5 European Shorts of 2015 HERE and Part 2 HERE

(Reminder: participants were allowed to choose 5 films from Europe and 1 from outside of Europe)

PHILIP ILSON (Artistic Director, London Short Film Festival / Short Film Advisor, BFI London Film Festival, UK)

Over (Dir. Jörn Threlfall, UK)
Every now and then a film cones along and breaks all the rules, and this is one such film. Drawing from what I would call the genre of experimental cinema or artists film, in that it is created as a series of long static takes across its 15 minute running time, it becomes immediately accessible as a mystery from it's opening shot. Add in to the mix the reverse story mechanism of Christopher Nolan's 'Memento', and you have a unique piece of filmmaking that shocks and surprises.

Samuel 613 (Dir. Billy Lumby, UK)
This film has energy in spades, led by a manic central performance by Theo Barklem-Biggs as a young Jewish lad who wants to cast off his heritage and steep himself in on-line dating, rap music and bacon! Fast editing, multiple formats, disjointed story all adds to the confusion and unease that the central character is experiencing, with a mental magic realism ending to top it all off.

Manoman (Dir. Simon Cartwright, UK)
Mental doesn't even begin to describe this puppet film. Puppets don't immediate acquaint with groundbreaking filmmaking pushing boundaries, but in this manic tale of primal scream therapy laced with violence and suicide, it's the puppets that are the most normal thing here.

Tuesday [Sali] (Dir. Ziya Demirel, Turkey)
I see this as filmmaking with ease, where a touch and a look speaks volumes. Very little happens in this day in the life tale of a teenage girl riding the bus to school to play basketball. But subtleties can become amplified as her day progresses.

Mother(s) [Maman(s)] (Dir. Maïmouna Doucouré, France)
This is masterful story telling with strong performances, in a tale polygamy as a father returns home from Senegal with a second wife and young baby. Told through the eyes of his young daughter, as she watched her world fall apart around her, this has a scope reminiscent of watching a feature film.

CLARA DOUCET (Programmer of Mecal Festival International of Short Film and Animation of Barcelona, Spain)

Before the bomb (Dir. Tannaz Hazemi, USA)

Teeth (Dir. Daniel Gray and Tom Brown, UK)

Listen (Dir. Rungano Nyoni, Hamy Ramezan, Finland)

Kung Fury (Dir. David Sandberg, Sweden)

Edmond (Dir. Nina Gantz, UK)

Lukas & The Aspies (Dir. Anders Gustafsso, Danmark)

MASSIMILIANO NARDULLI  (Artistic Director TIMISHORT, Romania / Programmer Arcipelago – Festival Internazione di Cortometraggi e Nuove Immagini, Italy)

The Time Of A Young Man About To Kill [Kronikë E Një Burri Që Është Gati Të Vrasë] (Dir. Neritan Zinxhiria, Italy/Albania)
After the excelent Hamomili in 2012, Neritan comes back with a new strong short film that confims all his talent and push him between the most interesting young directors from the Balkans.

Crack (Dir. Peter King, UK)
Peter King managed to create a very funny comedy with fights,street deals and territorial warfare. He's definitely the King of the conkers!

Figure (Dir. Katarzyna Gondek, Poland/Belgium)
A very emblematic short film about a gigantic contradiction of the recent mondial history. A great short film a very talented young director from Poland.

The Bear (Dir. Nathan Willcocks, France)
The Beat is a simple and poetic short film. I felt really touched and inspired by the way Nathan Willcocks shared all the love and affection for his characters.

Occupied [Occupat] (Dir. Octav Chelaru, Romania)
This film confirms that Romania is still a country of very talented young directors and that it's maybe time to start searching all around the country new interesting filmmakers. Octav Chelaru from Iasi is one of them, with Ocupat he confirmed his quality as director.

Mynarski Death Plummet [Mynarski Chute Mortelle] (Dir. Matthew Rankin, Canada)
This is an incredible mix of creativity, madness and storytelling. Matthew Rankin's short makes you love even more the cinema. That's enough I guess!

MOLLY COWDEROY (Film Programmer, Leeds International Film Festival, UK)

Excursion [Excursie] (Dir. Adrian Sitaru, Romania)

Symbolic Threats (Dirs. Mischa Leinkauf, Matthias Wermke & Lutz Henke, Germany)

Everything Will Be Okay [Alles Wird Gut] (Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Germany/ Austria)

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)

Small Talk (Dirs. Even Hafnor & Lisa Brooke Hansen, Norway)

Drama (Dir. Guan Tian, USA)

NELE LUISE FRITZSCHE (Head of the International Script Pitch / Programmer at the International Short Film Festival interfilm Berlin, Germany)

As Long As Shotguns Remain [Tant Qu'il Nous Reste des fusils à pompe] (Dirs. Jonathan Vinel & Caroline Poggi, France)
A film with powerful imagery and wonderfully composed frames. It’s a work of opposing aesthetics: lightness or darkness, choreographies in groups or solo performance and loudness or silence. An impressive proof of the strength of narratives and films in the short format.

If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy (Dir. Mea De Jong, Netherlands)
A striking portrait of an encounter between different generations. A personal journey through a specific period of the life of a mother, De Jong's film tackles essential issues such as the relationship between a mother and daughter, emancipation, responsibilities and expectations within our society.

Symphony No. 42 (Dir. Réka Bucsi, Hungary)
Precise animated scenes with imaginative, sarcastic, and surprising motives. A sharp analysis of contemporary social issues combined with a great feeling for rhythm, dynamics and timing.

Non-Eucliedean Geometry [Neeuklidine geometrija] (Dirs. Solveiga Masteikaite & Skirmanta Jakaite, Lithuania)
A highly artistic and poetic short animated and experimental fable on lost love. Contains a very detailed hand-drawn style as well as a unique sound design. A wonderful example of captivating animation from Lithuania.

Off Ground (Dir. Boudewijn Koole, Netherlands)
A great work approaching the boundaries between parents and children through movement, space, sound and composition. A precisely choreographed dance film with convincing choreography, camera work and performers.

ENRICO VANNUCCI (Short Film Advisor, Venice Film Festival, Italy)

Symbolic Treats (Dirs. Misha Leinkauf, Lutz Henke & Matthias Wermke, Germany)

Sali [Tuesday] (Dir. Ziya Demirel, Turkey/France)

Dear Director (Dir. Marcus Lindeen, Sweden)

Belladonna (Dir. Dubravka Turić, Croatia)

Champ des Possibles (Dir. Cristina Picchi, Canada/Sweden/Italy)

Waves '98 (Dir. Ely Dagher, Lebanon/Qatar)

MIGUEL DIAS (Director Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival, Portugal)

End Of Summer (Dir. Jóhann Jóhannsson, Denmark/Iceland)
Shot on grainy black and white super 8 film, End of Summer is a captivating and hypnotic debut by Johann Johannsson, best known for being composer of film scores (Sicario, The Theory of Everything). It captures the Antarctic summer in static shots of great beauty, in an austere approach and without narration, portraying the natural world in the opposite style of travel and nature TV channels. Its mesmerizing beauty takes us on a trip to the origins of cinema and of our planet, like memories of an already lost world.

Exquisite corpus  (Dir. Peter Tcherkassky, Austria)
A masterpiece of contemporary experimental cinema by celluloid master manipulator Peter Tcherkassky, Exquisite corpus takes its title from the surrealists, but it can also be seen as a cubist collage, composed by fragments of diverse erotic and pornographic films, in an authentic orgy of moving images inspired by the early days of avant-garde cinema. Once again, Tcherkassky tries to expand the limits of the medium by the meticulous manipulation of old film reels in the darkroom. Tcherkassky’s source of inspiration usually comes from genre films. This time, the choice appears absolutely right: there’s no better subject than sex films for a collage where the images seem to copulate with each other.

Our Lady Of Hormones [Notre Dame des hormones] (Dir. Bertrand Mandico, France)
Another UFO (Unidentified Filmic Object) by Betrand Mandico, with its distinctive baroque aesthetic, sophisticated and handcrafted at once. Mandico cultivates the contrasts, where kitsch and grotesque – not far away from bad taste and eschatology - is punctuated by a sense of humour that makes it bearable. The exuberant visual imagination inspired by surrealism takes us to a lively and strange nature that turns herself in protagonist: peculiar and extravagant, degenerate and libidinous. Maybe not for everyone, but for those who appreciate Bertrand Mandico’s filmography, the vision of this film will be an enjoyable and appealing experience.

Vita brevis (Dir. Thierry Knauff, Belgium)
This film was inspired by jazz musician Jimmy Giuffre's statement, 'I’m not afraid to play something simple'. Despite its apparent simplicity, "Vita brevis" is a powerful poem about the fragility of life and the battle for survival in nature. Belgian director Thierry Knauff creates a breathtaking film just by observing and capturing the beauty of the brief cycle of life of thousands of insects emerging across a river while a little girl watches this ceremonial of life and death, offering the viewer an experience of observation and duration rarely seen on today’s cinema.

You Want A Story? [Vous voulez une histoire?] (Dir. Antonin Peretjatko, France)
‘Vous voulez une histoire?’ is an incitement to evasion and fiction presented as a kind of travel diary, where once again Antonin Peretjatko (‘La fille du 14 juillet’) enjoys himself and amuses the audience with an assumed pastiche calling cinephile quotes (the nouvelle vague), postcards or home movies in a humorous collage where the taste for provocation is notorious. Peretjako achieves a lighthearted thin line between the intellectual and the grotesque, between the cinematic essay and the comedy.

Brouillard – passage #14  (Dir. Alexandre Larose, Canada)
Mind-blowing and beautiful impressionist work on 35mm, Brouillard – passage #14 takes us on a brief walk, by showing different layers along the same trail, recorded again and again onto the same roll of film. This superimposing of the itinerary gives this ride a hallucinatory and dreamy quality, being as well a poetic and plastic exploration on the representation of time and space in visual arts. At the same time, it’s also a reflection on film and its material and chemical properties.

SZYMON STEMPLEWSKI (Festival Director, Short Waves Festival, Poland)

Edmond (Dir. Nina Gantz, UK)

Moon Blink (Dir. Rainer Kohlberger, Austria/Germany)

Object [Obiekt] (Dir. Paulina Skibinska, Poland)

Symbolic Threats (Dir. Mischa Leinkauf, Lutz Henke, Matthias Wermke, Germany)

Zeus (Dir. Pavel G. Vesnakov, Bulgaria/Germany)

The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (Dir. The Propeller Group, Vietnam)

LYDIA BEILBY (Short Film Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland)

Chromatic Aberration (Dir. Aura Satz. UK)
Satz' mesmeric piece darts amid time and chronology in order to revel in the alchemical magic of the advent of early colour image making. A simply dazzling re-appropriation of archival material drawn from the Eastman Kodak archive.

I Am A Spy (Dir. Sarah Wood, UK)
Wood's film essay impresses with its nimble meditation upon watchfulness, observation, and memory, astutely interweaving these patchwork elements to interrogate the contemporary interconnectedness of self and surveillance.

Live to Live [Vivir Para Vivir] (Dir. Laida Lertxundi. Spain/ USA)
Drawing a fascinating parallel between the tactility of the 16mm film material and the body, Lertxundi evokes an electrifying synesthetic experience of corporeal processes, from heartbeat to orgasm.

Immortality, Home and Elsewhere (Dir. Sasha Litvintseva, UK)
A masterful, origami- like unfolding of the mutating shape of self- identity emerging through a dialogue with environment, mass cultural interventions, and our own mortality and vulnerability.

The Figures Carved Into Knife By The Sap of Banana Tree [As Figuras gravadas Na Faca Com A Selva Das Bananeiras] (Dir. Joana Pimenta. Portugal/ USA)
A fascinating fabricated archive of memory presented in the form of postcards exchanged between Madeira and Mozambique. Mysterious images drift across the frame, akin to the fragments of memory and longing encased in the lines of the long sent correspondence.

Field Notes (Dir. Vashti Harrison. USA/Trinidad and Tobago)
Harrison weaves into being a magical and tactile oral and visual travelogue, drawing forth the superstition and spirits embedded within the cultural identity of Trinidad and Tobago.

ASTRA ZOLDNERE (Programme Director, Riga International Film Fetival 2ANNAS, Latvia)

Listen [Kuuntele] (Dirs. Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni, Denmark / Finland)

Planet ∑ (Dir. Momoko Seto, France)

House Of Unconsciousness [Alateadvuse Maja] (Dir. Priit Tender,Estonia)

Picnic [Piknik] (Dir. Jure Pavlović, Croatia)

Champ Des Possibles (Dir. Cristina Picchi, Italy/ Canada)

Blue Thunder [Bleu Tonnerre] (Dirs. Jean-Marc E. Roy & Philippe David Gagné, Canada)

KATIE METCALFE (Shorts Programmer, Sundance Film Festival, USA)

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)
A fresh cultural commentary expressing a strong perspective on the commodification of identity, self-branding and the way we communicate online. It's stylistically and thematically a distinct departure from his previous short The Curse, showing Fyzal's versatility as a director.

Storm Hits Jacket (Dir. Paul Cabon, France)
Full of colourful eye-popping animation Paul Cabon emits energy, originality and successfully creates a completely nonsensical world that's great fun to watch.

Belladonna (Dir: Dubravka Turic, Croatia)
Subtle yet powerful film about perception - in particular reflecting how cruelly appearance prevails over substance. It's beautifully made and keeps you utterly engaged without really leaving the room.

Over (Dir: Jorn Threlfall, UK)
Composed of several static long shots, the story is told in reverse chronology, the slow pace justifying itself with a seriously impactful ending. What first appears to be a crime story reveals a profound and deeply unexpected reality that resonates and lingers long after watching.

Maman(s) (Dir: Maïmouna Doucouré, France)
The film fearlessly confronts the taboo subject of polygamy through the eyes of a little girl (defiantly played by Sokhna Diallo), exploring familial dysfunction without prejudice. The result is a moving, thought-provoking and complex story which is ultimately all about love.

Smilf (Dir: Frankie Shaw, USA)
An unapologetically upfront (and daringly funny) short that asks questions about the reality of life as a new single mother. Lo-fi and quick, yet full of ease and natural charm.

KIRSTEN RUBER (Director, Go Short International Short Film Festival, The Netherlands)

Shipwreck (Dir. Morgan Knibbe,  The Netherlands)

Yes We Love (Dir. Hallvar Witz, Norway)

Aissa (Dir. Clement Trehin-Laianne, France)

Symphony No. 42 (Dir. Réka Bucsi,  Hungary)

Washingtonia (Dir. Konstantina Kotzamani, Greece)

SVEN SCHWARZ (Managing Director at Hamburg International Short Film Festival and Member of A Wall is a Screen, Germany)

Symbolic Threats (Dirs. Mischa Leinkauf, Matthias Wermke & Lutz Henke, Germany)
Some folks might argue that this film only got so much praise because of the fantastic arts stunt depicted in it, but I think it also works on its own as "just" the film. Symbolic Threats is a brilliant statement about the world we live in today, especially about the US point of view to it. The film is at the same time hilarious, amazing, scary and poetic with the very long shot of the white flags flying over the Brooklyn Bridge at its conclusion.

Moonblink (Dir. Rainer Kohlberger, Austria)
Words cannot really explain the experience of watching Moonblink on the big screen. The sheer visual power of this amazing experimental film basically sucks the audience into the screen and starts an amazing cinema of the mind. What parts of the film are actually on the screen and which ones just start to transform into images in your head is quite hard to work out. Really worth watching!

Onni (Dir. Sanna Liljander, Finland)
This bone-dry depiction of the everyday struggle of a young mother is filmed in a really beautiful minimal and realistic way and is hilarious at the same time. I am tempted to say that it is even more enjoyable to watch if you have small children at home yourself....

The Meadow (Dir. Jela Hasler, Switzerland)
This beautiful unagitated documentary gives the audience a glimpse into a world where something feels strange. Even though this film is very calm and almost static it got really stuck in my head and is one of the gems I am hoping to see at a lot of festivals in 2016

L.O.C.H - In the Hole (Dir. Willehad Eilers, Germany/Netherlands)
And of course a Top 5 list wouldn't be complete without a true No Budget gem from the (in an absolute positive way) trashier side of short film. Sometimes a few words and very few changing shots can just say everything necessary. Please get me out of the Hole - No!

Brouillard Passage # 14 (Dir. Alexandre Larose, 2014, Canada)
A film that reminds every festival producer why we should make sure that the 35mm projectors in the cinemas we use should never be thrown out. A really beautiful use of analogue equipment and plain fascinating to watch.

PER FIKSE (Director - Minimalen Short Film Festival, Norway)

It Can Pass Through The Wall [Trece si prin perete] (Dir. Radu Jude, Romania)

Totem (Dir. Marte Vold, Norway)

Refugee 532 [Flykting 532] (Dir. Goran Kapetanović,  Sweden)

Kacey Mottet Klein, The Birth of an Actor [Kacey Mottet Klein, naissance d´un acteur] (Dir. Ursula Meier, Switzerland)

E.T.E.R.N.I.T. (Dir. Giovanni Aloi, France / Italy)

Hacked Circuit (Dir. Deborah Stratman,  USA)

CHRISTOFFER OLOFSSON (Programme Director, Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Sweden)

Seven times a day we bemoan our lot and at night we get up to avoid dreaming [Sieben Mal am Tag beklagen wir unser Los und nachts stehen wir auf, um nicht zu träumen] (Dir. Susann Maria Hempel, Germany)
From the first time I saw it in January until the the latest in December, no film got under my skin quite like this one. By now, Susann Maria Hempel's singular commitment of vision is in my blood and in my dreams. Film of the year.

Uncanny Valley (Dir. Paul Wenninger, Austria)
Wenninger' s latest wonder is of one those rarities,combining dazzling technique with intelligent and provocative concepts, actually ending up with real emotional resonance.

Your Heart At Random [Ton Coeur Au Hasard] (Dir. Aude Lea Rapin, France)
In only her second short, Aude Lea Rapin, has managed to refine a distinctively personal voice, while displaying a refreshing disregard for narrative short film conventions.

Shipwreck (Dir. Morgan Knibbe,  The Netherlands)
Exploring both compassion and exploitation, Morgan Kribbe's stunner is an hauntingly beautiful and intensely moving dance on the edge.

What I Forgot To Say (Dir. Patrick Buhr, Germany)
If for no other reason than completely discrediting my theory of a whispering voice over not being a valid choice unless you're making a horror film. Also this year's funniest film.

Scrapbook (Dir. Mike Hoolboom, Canada)

Both sophisticated and direct, Hoolboom's reciprocal dialogue between past and present and between the camera and the people around it, manages to be profoundly personal as well as deeply inclusive.

ANNA VEILANDE KUSTIKOVA (Programme Director / Curator Short Riga, Latvia)

Object [Obiekt] (Dir. Paulina Skibinska, Poland)

Chorus [Coro dos Amantes], (Dir. Tiago Guedes, Portugal)

Among us [Onder ons] (Dir. Guido Hendrikx, Netherlands)

The Satanic Thicket TWO [Das Satanishe Dichickt ZWEI] (Dir. Hans Willy, Germany)

To Light (Dir. Nora Sarak, Estonia)

JOHN CANCIANI (Artistic Director, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland)

Symbolic Threats (Dirs. Mischa Leinkauf, Matthias Wermke & Lutz Henke, Germany)
This film is very simple but the raised question opens up a big discourse of our modern society and media of post-9/11.There are many layers in this film. It's a documentation of an art project which could be explained within a minute but the artist build up a narration which makes it exciting and gives us time to understand the intelligence of this action and it's complexity. It's entertaining, it's funny but it treats a serious topic. The project is original and it shows that it's not the task of art to deliver answers to our society but it should raise interesting and critical questions.

9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo (Dirs. Thomas Vroege & Floor van der Meulen, Syria / Netherlands)
This film shows us that short film is a perfect medium to react on a political situation by having short production time and being free of any kind of external restrictions...short film has a tradition in political and engaged cinema and will also have in future. This film is authentic and brings us in another reality. The pictures are far away from what mass media shows us in daily tv. It's not about being spectacular but to understand a little how it feels being stuck in such a situation.

O som da casa (Dir. Maxime Kathari, Switzerland)
Maxime has created such an intimate film, simple and full of empathy for it's protagonists. There play is outstanding and there are some magic moments (like the one with the teeth issue) which makes this fiction adorable and shows that also 2015 a chamber play can be attractive. There are a few interesting Swiss shorts this year and I just had to include one, so I chose O som da casa, since I believe we will cross our paths more than once in the 2016 festival circuit.

Noite sem Distancia (Dir. Lois Patino, Portugal)
I saw this film in Locarno and I just loved it. I love the atmosphere and the aesthetics. There is something very mystical about it but in the same time it does demistify and derromanticises(gibts nicht, glaub) smuggling. Unfortunately it didn't make it into competition in Winterthur. I'm also choosing this film because I have seen many interesting films from Portugal this year so I think Portugal Cinema has to be represented in such a poll.

«[…]Craving for Narrative» lässt sich einfach nicht gut übersetzen (Dir. Max Grau, Germany)
This film was one of the surprising ones this year. I still remember when I saw it the first time on my computer and just had to rewatch it again. It really sticks in your mind. It's quirky, fresh, contemporary and has so many points one can relate to. It's conceptual but still not overacademic.

The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (Dir. The Propeller Group, Vietnam)
This film is something between live action, performance and documentary but then also feels like a gigantic music clip. It shows us rituals followed by a sound track, leaving the audience in limbo if the rituals exist or if they're fiction. The film is poetic, it's visually outstanding and somewhere in transcendence of life and death.

FERNANDO VASQEUZ (Programmer FEST New Directors / Critic Nisimasa, Portugal)

Everything will be okay [Alles wird gut] (Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Austria)

Get Ripped (Dir. Leonardo Van Dijl, Belgium)

Hipopotamy (Dir. Piotr Dumala, Poland)

I would like to be enraptured, muzzled, and on my back tattooed (Dir. Andy Malafaia, Brazil)

Perdition Country (Dir, Raphael Crombez, Belgium)

DANIEL EBNER (Artistic Director, VIS Vienna Independent Shorts, Austria)

Everything will be okay [Alles wird gut] /The Jacket [Die Jacke] (both Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Austria)
Patrick had an impressive year with two very strong films, both intense, suspenseful and emotionally challenging

Object [Obiekt] (Dir. Paulina Skibinska, Poland)
A documentary like a visual poem, beautifully shot, well-orchestrated, at the same time mysterious and fascinating

Unhappy Happy (Peter Millard , UK)
Rapidly animated colour fields and fantstic work with sound and music - (again) a witty and brilliant piece of art

Black (Anouk De Clercq, 2015, Belgium)
A film about film, dark, silent, full of thoughts - with the past in mind and at the same time always considering the future

Symbolic Threats (Dirs. Mischa Leinkauf, Lutz Henke & Matthias Wermke, Germany)
A contemporary document and an amazing act of artistic activism, at the same time courageous, reckless and poetic

World of Tomorrow (Dir. Don Hertzfeldt, 2015, USA)

LARS HENRIK GASS (Festival Director, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany)

Integration (Dir. Oleksij Radyinski, Ukraine)

Zlaté Piesky Rocket Launch (Dir. Josef Dabernig, Austria)

Renunciation (Dir. Ieva Epnere, Latvia)

Unfinished Film (Dir. Evgeny Granilshchikov, Russia)

The Last Mango Before the Monsoon (Dir. Payal Kapadia, India)

MAARTEN ALEXANDER (Festival Director Leuven Short Film Festival, Belgium)

Object [Obiekt] (Dir. Paulina Skibinska, Poland)
An absolutely mindblowing short documentary, cinema in its purest form.

Kung Fury (Dir. David Sandberg, Sweden)
Proven point: crowdfunding can lead to great short films. A nostalgic trip back in time, entertainment pur sang!

Planet Σ (Dir. Momoko Seto, France)
A beautiful, yet disturbing piece of art. Where the tiniest become enormous.

Voltaire (Dir. Jan Snoeckx, Belgium)
Amazing piece of Belgian animation, one of the / my favourites of the past 21th edition of Leuven Short Film Fest!

Maman(s) (Dir. Maïmouna Doucouré,  France)
Great story, great acting, great film! Promising director & rising star with great potential!


LAURENCE BOYCE (Editor Cineuropa Shorts / Head of Programme Sleepwalkers / Programmer Leeds International Film Festival, UK/Estonia)

Kung Fury (Dir. David Sandberg, Sweden)
The so-called guilty pleasure of 2015. What is there to feel guilty about? It’s got a dinosaur cop called Triceracop for god’s sake. If you can’t like that you must be dead inside. A breathlessly energetic take on 80s action films it’s got some pitch perfect humour, a real love of the things that it is parodying and a some amazing technical wizardry. And it’s half an hour long, and yet it all seems to whizz by. A real vindication of the diversity of short film and the fact that there really is room for everything
Hell, I even forgot to mention David Hasslehoff

The Jacket [Die Jacke] (Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Austria)
Everything Will Be OK has quite rightly been lauded as one of the best and most powerful films of 2015. But it’s a shame that it has slightly overshadowed his previous effort The Jacket which for me is one of the best uses of the short film form of the year. It’s urgent and passionate and shows how life can turn in a moment. I wrote more about it HERE

Empire (Dir. Kristof Hoornaert, Belgium)
A real gut punch of a short, the film combines the urban dread of David Lynch with the cold formalism of Kubrick to create a piece of work that speaks of the dead heart at the centre of much of modern society. A relentless exercise in creating tension out of seemingly nothing, the conclusion is both shocking yet grimly believable.

Safe Space (Dir. Zora Rux, Germany)
I usually hate short films that are ‘people speaking in a room’ but this is a brilliantly savage satire of liberal attitudes that belies its stagey origins to create a piece of work that is dizzying and very timely

Drôle d'oiseau (Dir. Anouk Fortunier. Belgium)
A late entry for me (I saw it at Leuven Short Film Festival) but it’s a perfectly formed short which throws out many of the clichés of films which deal with mental illness. Refusing to tread old ground, the story of a manic depressive father seen through the eyes of his child is brilliantly acted and cleverly filmed. The ending is wonderfully uplifting, with a touch of the ‘Jennifer Reeder’ about it all. Hopefully this will continue to do great things in 2016.

Auntie Maam Has Never Had a Passport (Dir. Sorayos Prapapan, Thailand)
A beautifully observed hybrid of fiction and documentary as the elderly star of one of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s films must gte a passport to leave her native Thailand and visit a film festival. Beguiling and dreamlike, the film is a wonderful rumination on growing old and the state of modern Thailand.

EDVINAS PUKSTA (Programmer  Vilnius International Film Festival, Lithuania)

Belladonna (Dir. Dubravka Turić, Croatia)

Object [Obiekt] (Dir. Paulina Skibinska, Poland)

Everything will be okay [Alles wird gut] (Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Austria)

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)

Ramona (Dir. Andrei Cretulescu, Romania)

Raisa (Dir. Pavel Cuzuioc, Moldova)

MATT LLOYD (Director, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Scotland)

Peter (Dir. Jane Topping, UK)
The one that got away. I’m ashamed to admit that we failed to screen this film, made by a Glasgow filmmaker no less. I finally had the opportunity to see it at Hamburg. It’s a spectacular weaving together of archive footage, personal biography and downright lies, a philosophical meditation on visual truth, inspired by and drawing heavily on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

The Joy of Everyday Life [Onni] (Dir. Sanna Liljander, Finland)
Parenthood captured and defined in one seven minute static single shot. A study in off-screen action, a brilliantly judged and wickedly funny documentary. Has that sense of effortlessness that requires either incredible luck or total mastery of the form.

Machine (Dir. Sunit Parekh-Gaihede, Denmark)
A stop-frame animation depicting the upheaval of a town and the concurrent transformation of a family. Edited like a reoccurring nightmare, yet deftly maintaining narrative coherence, this is a miniature epic in form, scope and ambition.

Kung Fury (Dir. David Sandberg, Sweden)
I tried so hard not to include this. It’s total trash from start to finish. And yet something which can maintain this level of utterly bonkers invention, at breakneck pace, for thirty minutes, cannot be dismissed so easily. Easily the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year.

Exquisite Corpus (Dir. Peter Tscherkassky, Austria)
…because when the King enters the room, you stand up.

World of Tomorrow (Dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA)
Don Hertzfeldt’s films are packed with more ideas than most features. He is a vital ambassador for short form filmmaking - whether he likes it or not. World of Tomorrow is hilarious, moving, profound, shocking and visually gorgeous, an assault on the senses and brain. Hands down the best film of the year.

20 December 2015, by Laurence Boyce