Cineuropa Shorts Top 5 European Shorts 2015 Part 2 - Filmmakers and Industry

Read the introduction to the Cineuropa Top 5 European Shorts of 2015 HERE and read Part 1 HERE

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

WOUTER JANSEN (Some Shorts - Festival Distribution, The Netherlands)

Looking at my top I realize that my number one and five couldn’t have been more different. The one exists on only one film print, can only be seen in the theater (and only makes sense in that context) and with barely anything on screen it is maybe the most romantic film about film and cinema I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve already seen the film three times in the cinema, and I’m already looking forward to watching it the next time. My number five though was made completely in the context of the internet. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t great to see this in the cinema, because it is!, but it means that without internet culture and online funding possibilities this film wouldn’t have existed and it is so full of action and thing happening, that it resembles my way of browsing the web with always a hundred tabs open. I love how both extremes are still possible in 2015 and that film festivals are still able to united these two perfectly!

Black (Dir. Anouk de Clercq , Belgium)

Totem (Dir. Marte Vold , Norway)

Sunday Lunch [Le Repas Dominical] (Dir. Céline Devaux, France)

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

Kung Fury (Dir. David Sandberg , Sweden)

SIMON ELLIS (Filmmaker , UK)

Over (Dir. Jorn Threlfall, UK)

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

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

Twelfth Man (Dir. Duane Hopkins, UK)

Quiet Mujo (Dir. Ursula Meier, France/Bosnia)

CARMEN GRAY (Film critic / Programmer for Berlin Critics’ Week, Germany/UK)

To Light (Dir. Nora Sarak, Estonia)
An intimate, beautifully surreal depiction of anomalous life in expiring time in a border region.

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)
An innovative, acerbic pop replication of the way identities are constructed elusively and endlessly in the online age.

Aissa (Dir. Clement Trehin-Laianne, 2014, France)
A unique, politically resonant and ambiguous take on identity assumptions and their mapping on the body.

Moon Blink (Dir. Rainer Kohlberger, Austria/Germany)
An abstract short of elegant, teasing liminality that both allures and affronts the eye with its swarming mutations.

End of Summer (Dir. Johann Johannsson, Denmark/Iceland/Antarctica)
The lives of penguins take on an existential melancholy in this gorgeously soundtracked short of meditative surrealism.

World of Tomorrow (Dir. Don Herzfeldt, US)
A dazzling sci-fi of pitch-black, absurdist humour that’s pure Herzfeldt, teeming with idiosyncratic philosophical musings on memory and loss.

DIMITRIS ARGYRIOU (Filmmaker / Distributor: NewBorn Short Film Agency /Programmer: Interfilm Berlin, Germany)

Everything will be okay [Alles Wird Gut] (Dir. Patrick Vollrath, Germany/Austria)

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

Picnic (Dir. Jure Pavlovic, Croatia)

The Culprit (Dir. Michael Rittmannsberger, Germany/Austria)

Ave Maria (Dir. Basil Khalil, France/Germany/Palestine)

Blue Tonnerre (Dir. Jean-Marc E.Roy, Canada)  

DYLAN CAVE (Curator, BFI National Archive, UK)

The Atom Station (Dir. Nick Jordan, 2015, UK
The Atom Station was an intricate psychogeographic doc from the masterful Nick Jordan. The film takes a melancholic view of technology, suggesting that entropy threatens to blight all human endeavours whereas nature simply abides.

Excursie (Excursion) (Dir. Adrian Sitaru, 2014, Romania)
The innocent activities of a 9-year-old are misinterpreted by the police, leading to an investigation that is amusingly mistaken but potentially very serious.

Maman(s) (Mother(s)) (Dir. Maïmouna Doucouré, 2015, France)
A beautifully told drama about a young girl who is faced with sudden and significant changes to her family and feels torn between conflicting affections for her parents.

Over (Dir. Jörn Threlfall, 2015, UK)
A striking and well-observed film about the ways in which international affairs can impact the most inauspicious scenes of suburban domesticity. Simply told but immensely powerful.

Shipwreck (Dir. Morgan Knibbe, 2014, Netherlands)
Perhaps the most moving film I saw this year, Shipwreck documents the appalling aftermath of a dreadful shipwreck in 2013.

PETER MURDMAA (ShortEst Film Distribution, Estonia)

Listen (Dirs. Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni, Denmark/Finland
A real masterpiece that reveals one problem from different angles but - even then - keeps the essence hidden. Every time you watch it again it feels like you’re seeing it for the first time.

Chulyen, a Crows' Tale (Dir. Cerise Lopez & Agnès Patron, France)
A remarkable achievement by young filmmakers

Démontable(Dir. Douwe Dijkstra, Netherlands)
Wonderful proof of how to deliver a message without having a merlodramatic story.

Mouth Shut (Dir. Anna Farré Añó , Spain)
A touching short story with a classical short film structure that is surprisingly by a young filmmaker. A good example of how to stay short and sharp and yet still be deep.

To Light (Dir. Nora Särak, Estonia)
This short documentary takes viewers into the story like they were there.

DAWN SHARPLESS (Distributor / Programmer / Sales Agent, DAZZLE London, UK)

Over (Dir. Jörn Threlfall, UK)

Samuel 316 (Dir. Bill Lumby, UK)

Sub Rosa (Dir. Thora Hilmarsdottir, UK/Iceland)

The Muse (Dir. Tim Walker, UK)

The Patriot (Dir. Eva Riley, UK)

A Million Miles Away (Dir. Jennifer Reeder, USA)  

ALEXEI DMITRIEV (Hobby Filmmaker, Russia)

Listen (Dirs. Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni, Denmark/Finland)
This was the first film that really blew my mind this year. Great fiction short dealing with communication failures, immigration and domestic violence. The only problem with it is that it’s not Oscar nominated.

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos [Мы не можем жить без космоса] (Dir. Konstantin Bronzit, Russia)
It is both weird and unique to list a Russian film here (as I am forbidden to include myself). A beautiful and simple animation about two things we know wellhere: space exploration and male friendship.

Supporting Film [Voor Film] (Dir. Douwe Dijkstra,The Netherlands)
Great for opening in front of a feature (as the title suggests), but works even better as a closing film in a program of shorts. Very imaginative and fun. Plus the director makes epic ‘thank you’ videos award ceremonies.

Sound of My Soul [Głos mojej duszy] (Dir. Wojciech Bąkowski, Poland)
The best experimental film of the year. As it is almost impossible to describe it — here’s my best attempt: Free, Wild, Spandau Ballet.

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)
Every second year a great film wins Cannes (usually in Quinzaine des Réalisateurs). 2015 was such a year. Sexy, gritty, and most importantly, very different from his previous work.

Mynarski Death Plummet [Mynarski chute mortelle] (Dir.Matthew Rankin, Canada)
Not the best non-European film. But clearly the best non-European director (and humanoid) I met this year. Best way to describe him: Guy Maddin on those great Canadian drugs. Yep, that much promising.  

FRANCOIS MORISSET (Salaud Morisset - production and distribution company, France)

Ave Maria [Ave Maria] (Dir. Basil Khalil, France)

De Smet [De Smet] (Dirs. Thomas Baerten & Wim Geudens, Netherlands)

Herman The German (Dir. Michael Binz, Germany)

Patriot (Dir. Eva Riley, UK)

Sunday Lunch [Le Repas Dominical] (Dir. Céline Devaux, France)

SIMON YOUNG (Director of Acquisitions at Shorts TV / Short Film Advisor, BFI London Film Festival, UK)

Midnight of My Life (Dir. Phil Davis, UK) This may well be the most perfectly formed short film of the year. It’s certainly my favourite. Short, sweet, witty, and very poignant. In an economic 7-minutes, set in an East London Pub on the day of Live Aid in 1985, Martin Freeman sidesteps the accusations of always “playing himself” and throws himself at the deep end in this homage to a man who is an inspirational but tragic genius to many (and is no doubt one of Freeman’s own heroes). And yes, that is THE Phil Davis. He really should get behind the camera more often.

Crack (Dir. Peter King, UK) Both written and directed by Peter King this razor-sharp urban London spoof is definitely from a filmmaker to watch. And with a stand-out convincing central performance the lead actor is also a rising star. Has done surprisingly well in territories which have never even heard of the game of the UK kids’ traditional playground game of ‘Conkers’.

Operator (Dir. Caroline Bartleet, UK) 2 Great female lead performances, including from the visually absent Vicky McClure and the onscreen throughout Kate Dickie playing vastly contrasting characters. The latter is calm and methodical while McClure is almost completely hysterical. We witness how an emergency-services call handler is plunged into (and then out) of the most extreme life and death scenarios at the press of a button.

The Stomach (Dir. Ben Steiner, UK) Genres blur as horror meets gangster meets the supernatural in this thoroughly nasty story of betrayal and revenge from beyond the grave via an exploited spirit medium. This film broke out of the genre film festival ‘ghetto’ and crossed over to become great success on the more mainstream festival circuit and got picked up for global sales distribution.

Over (Dir. Jorn Threlfall, UK) An experimental drama-doco told in reverse chronology with a fixed camera in a quiet West London suburban street. The reveal / conclusion is as heat-wrenching as it is unexpected. Inspired short form storytelling which fully exploits the medium to maximum effect. 

WIM VANACKER (Head of the Script Department - NISI MASA, Belgium/France)

Rate Me (Dir. Fyzal Boulifa, UK)

Uncanny Valley (Dir. Paul Wenninger, Austria/France)

Aïssa (Dir. Clément Tréhin-Lalanne, France)

De Smet (Dirs. Wim Geudens & Thomas Baerten,  Belgium/The Netherlands)

Bird Hearts (Dirs. Halfdan Olav Ullmann Tondel, Norway)

Bad at Dancing (Dirs. Joanna Arnow, USA)

21 December 2015, by Laurence Boyce