Ears, Nose and Throat wins at Hamburg

The 32nd Hamburg Short Film Festival came to a close last week as it spent another year celebrating short films in all their guises. With one or two festival guests still undoubtedly nursing some hangovers – with Hamburg being as legendary for it’s all night parties as it is it’s programme – many local audiences would be pleased to know that German films did well across the board.

In the festival’s International Competition, the Jury Award of the International Competition went to Ears, Nose and Throat (Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2016 - Pictured above). During an extensive ear, nose and throat examination,The film sees Shadeena Brooks undergoing an extensive yet routine examination to her ears, nose and throat. As she does so, she relates the events she witnessed on March 9, 2010: an argument that led to the cold-blooded murder of DeCarrio Antwan Couley. The jury described the film as “… a beautifully structured and unique take on the present African American reality. Everson presents a relevant issue by portraing a woman speaking in a matter of fact way about a brutal murder, juxtaposed with a routine hospital procedure.”

The festival’s coveted Audience Award went to Eine Villa mit Pinien [The Pine Tree Villa] (Dir. Jan Koester, Germany 2016), an animated fairy tale about a uninhabited villa.  The film also won  the ARTE Short Film Award with a prize of acquisition of screening rights and broadcast as part of ARTE’s short film programme.

A German film also won the festival’s No Budget competition with The Masked Monkeys (Dirs. Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, Germany 2015). The film is described as “An immersive investigation of the Indonesian masked art and monkey training.” The jury said about the film “By using black and white 16 mm, the film starts as a knowing imitation of ethnographic films with which we are familiar, and this idea of imitation is mirrored in the „work“ that the monkey is trained to perform; an imitation of the powerful man. The narration is cleverly written and paced, confusing the roles of master and performer, calling attention to the impoverished position of not only the animal but the human trainer. The use of analogue film and authoritarian voice over resulted, for this jury, in a sublime experience. The film is open to interpretation, leaving the audience with existential questions regarding the spiritual and material world and our own attitudes towards the so-called familiar and the so-called unknown.

The NoBudget Audience Award was won by Isabella (Dirs. Duncan Cowles & Russ Hogg, Great Britain 2015)

The German Competition was won by Schicht (Dir. Alex Gerbaulet, Germany 2015) of which the jury said “Based on the biography of his own family of mine workers, Alex Gerbaulet paints an impressive picture of Western German post war history. Layer for layer, she undresses the functionalized societal standardization until the bare smug narrowed-mindedness of German front gardens becomes visible. While the father is building the model home, the mother is increasingly slipping into mental illness and the daughter choses a path of rebellion and withdrawal.

The festival’s Three Minute Quickie Award – for the festival’s yearly programme of films under three minutes which this year had the theme of ‘Switch Off’ – went to Bingo! (Dir. Patrick Schoenmaker, Netherlands 2015). The film is an animation about an old lady who REALLY wants to win a bingo game

You can find the full list of winners HERE

07 June 2016, by Laurence Boyce