Cineuropa Shorts Top Five European Shorts of 2016 Part 1 - The Festivals

Read the introduction to the Cineuropa Top Five European Shorts of 2016 HERE and Part 2 HERE

(Reminder: participants were allowed to choose 5 films from Europe and 1 from outside of Europe. Also please note that the following are individual choices and not necessarily of the organisations said individuals represent)

Enrico Vanucci (Short Film Advisor, Venice Film Festival)
The silence [Il silenzio] (Farnoosh Samadi and Ali Asgari, 2016, Italy/France)
Import (Ena Sendiarević, 2016, The Netherlands)
Pedro (André Santos and Marco Leão, 2016, Portugal)
What tears us apart [Ce qui nous éloigne] (Hu Wei, 2016, France)
First Night [Prima Noapte] (Andrei Tanase, 2016, Romania/Germany)
Asal muasal takut [On the origin of fear] (Bayu Prihantoro Filemon, 2016, Indonesia)

Miguel Valverde (co-Director of IndieLisboa Film Festival, Portugal)
“[…] Craving For Narrative” (Max Grau, Germany)
One of the most inventive shorts of the last decade turns to be a one shot pic. We see and hear, again and again, a sequence of “Grease” with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John during 25 minutes. But all that is in the middle turn out to be the story of a German guy and his obsessions regarding history, stories, family, music and philosophy. Much on everything.
Notre Heritage (Jonathan Vinel & Caroline Poggi, France)
Lucas invites his girlfriend Anäis to visit him at home. His parents aren’t around. The garden is all theirs. They can make love there. A photograph hangs on the wall of a man with a tiger in his arms. “Is that your father?” asks Anäis. “Yes, that’s my father. He’s the chairman of a tiger protection group in Thailand.” From this point, nothing will be the same. We went into a dreamlike-delirious where pornographic images meet the real power of love.
Love (Réka Bucsi, France, Hungary)
And if nature became filled with love? A planet from a far galaxy receives a strange element that will change all of its surface, but also their equally strange inhabitants. Divided in three chapters of different durations, we follow the curious haiku images associations, with a mirific wonder. The Hungarian filmmaker Réka Bucsi proves, once again, her quality and talent.
Batrachian’s Ballad [Balada de um Batráquio] (Leonor Teles, 2016, Portugal)
Berlin Golden Bear winner, Batrachian’s Ballad is a punk style documentary short where the young director (with Gypsy origins) destroys all the available frogs to avoid prejudice. With deep and subtle attention to the image, we go into action where found footage imagery joins beautiful super8 images of Paradise and present. Teles is definitevely someone to watch.
Sarah Winchester – Opéra Fantôme (Bertrand Bonello, France)
An opera ballet that doesn't exist. A ghost-like piece, played in Opera Bastille and danced at Opera Garnier, An almost mystical link between both scenes, A musician is testing sounds in Bastille's pit, The choir are taking their place in the rehearsal studio, Both sides are fine turning the work in progress of an opera ballet: SARAH WINCHESTER, her grief, her madness, her home and her ghosts. This is the premise to a dreamlike short where Bonello put all the essence of its deep work with the technical capacity. A film that we will never forget for years to come.
La Impresión de una Guerra (Camilo Restrepo, Colombia/France)
For over 70 years, Colombia has been confronted with internal armed conflict. Over the years, the outlines of the conflict have grown indistinct. A climate of generalized violence has gradually settled over society as a whole. As a whole this “Impression of a war”, talks about considerations on war but also about printed material that comment on the subject. With thin red lines between several different issues of a country as complicated as others Restrepo knows exactly how to put the hand in the wound without any demagogy, but with true. All different material used in this film, like a tattoo, become part of our own history.

Marija Razgutė (Producer at m-films, Vilnius ISFF, Lithuanian Shorts)
Fight on a Swedish Beach!! (Simon Vahlne, 2016, Sweden)
Written / Unwritten [Scris / Nescris] (Adrian Silisteanu, 2016, Romania)
Import (Ena Sendijarević, 2016, The Netherlands)
Batrachian’s Ballad [Balada de um Batráquio] (Leonor Teles, 2016, Portugal)
Moms On Fire (Joanna Rytel, 2016, Sweden)

Sven Schwarz (Managing Director Hamburg International Short Film Festival and member of A Wall is a Screen
Ten Meter Tower [Hopptornet] (Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, 2016, Sweden)
A film which definitely is even better when watched with an audience. I experienced some screenings with people who just couldn’t stop laughing at this amazing observation piece. With every re-run there’s another favourite detail.
Sitting in Darkness (Graeme Arnfield, UK 2015)
One of these films that just get stuck in your head and certainly a perfect comment on our ‘post-factic’ times. No need to believe anything you see (especially if it’s on YouTube).
L’été espéré (Steffen Goldkamp, Germany 2016)
Beautifully filmed images from Paris through which a small story unfolds. The steady shots manage to suck the audience in, in the best way possible
Autumn [Herbst] (Meinhard Rauchensteiner, 2016, Austria)
No Top 5 list without a hilarious gem that ran in Hamburg’s Three-Minute-Quickie competition. Simple and a sharp-to-the-point idea. Makes you want to buy the main „character“ from this film
Nightlife (Cyprien Gailard, Germany USA 2015)
Normally I wouldn’t really care if a film is in 3D or not, this one here looks amazing even without the glasses on and is just purely stunning in i’s three-dimensional glory!
Project X (Laura Poitras & Henrik Moltke USA 2016)
NSA documents combined with beautiful images from one of the most mysterious skyscrapers in New York City. A film which is so contemporary it is almost painful to watch. But then again - who and what should we believe….

Marcin Łuczaj (ZUBROFFKA Short Film Festival programmer, New Europe Film Sales  sales agent)
Close Ties [Więzi] (Zofia Kowalewska, 2016, Poland)
Happy End (Jan Saska, 2015, Czech Republic)
Limbo (Konstantina Kotzmani, 2016, Greece)
Superbia (Luca Tóth, 2016, Hungary / Slovakia)
The Committee (Gunhild Enger & Jenni Toivoniemi, 2016, Finland / Norway / Sweden)

Lydia Beilby (Short Film Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival)
L'Oiseau de la nuit [O Pássaro da Noite] (Marie Losier, 2015, Portugal/ France.)
Elegantly interwoven vignettes of an identity in constant flux, create a dynamic, mosaic evocation of legendary drag artist Deborah Krystal, performing her manifold versions of self.
Spermwhore (Anna Linder, 2016, Sweden)
Through a performative process, Linder generates a purposefully ambiguous, flexible space of liberation, within which the cultural expectations of gender, sexual roles and family formations are re-imagined.
There is Land! [Há Terra!] (Ana Vaz, 2016, France/ Brazil)
Mercurial, sensorial encounter between landscape and individual, predator and prey. The subtext subtly shadowing the remnants of colonial history and facsimile of past memories bound into the topography.
Anna, Pina, Teresa (Cynthia Madansky, 2015, Italy)
Refracting historical narratives through movement, and engaging dance as a form of resistance, Madansky ingeniously reappropriates the three key movements from Pina's death scene in Rossellini's Roma Città Aperta.
Man (Maja Borg, 2016, Sweden/ UK)
Situating the body as a site for experimentation, Borg contorts, challenges and confronts with her physicality. These subversions centralise the elasticity of gender and petition for a rejuvenation of the language around identity.

Anna Veilande Kustikova (Curator of SHORT RIGA / RIGA IFF Short Film Competitions)
Ascensão (Pedro Peralta, 2016, Portugal)
Analysis Paralysis (Anete Melece, 2016, Switzerland)
Last Days of Leningrad (Maria Zennstrøm, 2016, Sweden)
Perfection is Forever (Mara Trifu, 2015, Romania/UK)
Manoman (Simon Cartwright, 2015, UK)

John Canciani (Artistic Director Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur / Film Curator Kino Cameo)  
A Man Returned (Mahdi Fleifel, 2016, UK / Netherlands / Lebanon/ Denmark)
A 100% Cinema Direct Film. The camera is close to the protagonist. He wants us to be part of his reality or how he wants us to see his reality. A Film that shows the force of Cinema, an urge to show us what is happening in our world. This film is moving and emotional. I'm still overwhelmed, every time when I see it.
Now Only the Eye Can Catch (Jakob Ohrt Nielsen, 2015, Denmark)
Film is often about showing and not showing. Jakob uses passages where you only see black or a colored screen but followed by a told myth, which gives those passages a logic sense. The story is about an indigenous myth told in an Inuit language. A story about light, darkness and physicality. It's one of the films of this year which gave a very warm feeling when I saw it and therefore one of my favourite films of 2016.
A Brief History of Princess X (Gabriel Abrantes , 2016, Portugal / UK / France)
This films includes the whole discourse of contemporary art in a very charming and intelligent way. It's witty, it's funny and it's short. Gabriel Abrantes shows us how he can make a conceptual film by using a narration.
La disco replandece (Chema Garcia Ibarra, 2016, Spain / Turkey)
La disco replandece is very atmospheric film about kids in Spain. It shows a new way of Chema's work but still finding original and funny moments, for what he's known as a director. A film which wins threw it's modesty but with strong scenes which stay in our mind and don't leave again.
Avant l'envol (Laurence Bonvin, 2016, Switzerland)
This film explores modernist buildings and how they are used today. It's an observing film with great camerawork. This work has many layers besides the beauty of the architecture itself and makes it one of my favorite Swiss Shorts this year beside others.
B-Roll with André and Indefinite Pitch (James N. Kienitz Wilkins / both films 2016 / USA)
Two great films and both made in 2016. James has a unique style to talk about moving image, internet, popular culture and cinema itself. The voice over is witty and becomes this kind of spoken word performance. He's for sure an analyst of modern society and hits the Zeitgeist perfectly. A great artist which is to follow...

Maike Mia Höhne (Berlin International Filmfestival, Curator Berlinale Shorts)
Notre Heritage (Jonathan Vinel & Caroline Poggi, France)
Batrachian’s Ballad [Balada de um Batráquio] (Leonor Teles, 2016, Portugal)
A Man Returned (Mahdi Fleifel, 2016, UK / Netherlands / Lebanon/ Denmark)
489 Years (Hayoun Kwon, 2016, France)
Ten Meter Tower [Hopptornet] (Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, 2016, Sweden)

Matt Lloyd (Director, Glasgow Short Film Festival)
In, Over & Out (Sebastian Brameshuber, 2015, Austria / France)
Any film which can cram into ten minutes a non-linear, spatially-creative technical history of cinematography, a reference to cinema's earliest days AND a comment on the post-industrial Western economy has got to be one of the top five films of the year.
Love (Réka Bucsi , 2016, France / Hungary)
I think this will appear in a few shortlists. Whimsical, playful, profound, gorgeous. 
not even nothing can be free of ghosts (Rainer Kohlberger, 2016, Austria / Germany)
An unmissable big-ass cinematic experience. F**k narrative.
9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo (Thomas Vroege, Floor Van Der Meulen & Issa Touma , 2015, Syria / Netherlands)
A vital record of the early days of what has become a horrific tragedy, and the western world’s shame.
A Man Returned (Mahdi Fleifel, 2016, UK / Netherlands / Lebanon/ Denmark)
Like 9 DAYS, an essential contemporary document, but also a hugely compelling character portrait. Protagonist Reda comes across as a young De Niro in a Lebanese Mean Streets. A story about a man trying to lead an ordinary life under extraordinary circumstances.
Ear, Nose and Throat (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2016, USA)
Perfectly poised and balanced between the quotidian and brutality, which for some IS the quotidian.

Szymon Stemplewski (Festival Director, Short Waves)
489 Years (Hayoun Kwon, 2016, France)
A Man Returned (Mahdi Fleifel, Denmark/Lebanon/The Netherlands/United Kingdom)
Decorado (Alberto Vázquez, Spain/France)
Green Screen Gringo (Douwe Dijkstra, 2016, The Netherlands/Brazil)
Pussy [Cipka] (Renata Gąsiorowska, 2015, Poland)
Eden [El Edén] (Andrés Ramírez Pulido, 2016, Colombia)

Miguel Dias (Director Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival)
A Brief History Of Princess X (Gabriel Abrantes, 2016, France/Portugal)
When asked to create a bust of Napoleon’s great-grand-niece Marie Bonaparte, the sculptor Constantin Brancusi delivered in its place a bronze phallus. In a lighthearted tone, Gabriel Abrantes skillfully reveals in these amusing and entertaining seven minutes an accurate critical sense of the art world, speculating at the same time on modernism, psychoanalysis and female sexuality. Incisive, intense and funny.
The Hunchback (Ben Rivers/Gabriel Abrantes, 2016, France/Portugal)
The result of this unexpected collaboration between two different kinds of approach to cinema turns to be a hallucinating and dystopian sci-fi take on the Arabian Nights’ ‘Tale of the Hunchback’. Future and Middle Age are combined, foreseeing the dangerous effects of technology and social networks, enclosing the human race in a virtual reality. The result: one of the most provocative, delirious and psychedelic shorts of the year.
Burning Mountains That Spew Flame [Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego] (Helena Girón/Samuel Delgado, 2016, Spain)
Inspired by the 17th-century German physicist Athanasius Kircher, who affirmed that the volcanoes are all linked by a network of communicating vessels, Helena Girón and Samuel Delgado expand their exploration of the Canary Islands landscape and of the materiality of celluloid, using expired and hand developed 16mm film, renouncing to narrative questions to focus on a unique visual and sound experience in which cinema and nature are interconnected. With landscapes and sounds that do not seem to be part of our world, a mythological territory emerge on this journey to the origins of cinema and Earth.
Notre Heritage (Jonathan Vinel & Caroline Poggi, France)
A teenager, the son of a director of pornographic films, discovers the images of his father's casting sessions while discovering his first love. Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi return to the neutral landscapes of suburban residential neighborhoods, banal settings from which fantasy and fiction come to surface, providing a modern and futuristic look to the eternal romantic themes - love, desire, death. Between realism, video games, porno footage and digital cinema, this duo comes back to surprise us again with one of the most stimulating and original shorts of the year.
Our Friend the Moon [Nuestra amiga la luna] (Velasco Broca, 2016, Spain)
Conclusion of a three-year retreat of director Velasco Broca in India, is presented as a rather free version of the 'Hymn of the pearl', a parable of early Christianity that tells the story of a boy, "son of the king of kings," who is sent to Egypt to take back a pearl protected by a Serpent. However, beyond references to eastern fables or ancestral religiosity, it is not easy to discern this or another story in ‘Nuestra amiga la luna’. It should instead be seen as a journey through different dimensions, where realities that belong to absolutely distinct worlds coexist: science fiction, documentary, surrealism, exotic adventure films. A trip that is deeply anchored in cinema and that only in cinema could exist.
Engram Of Returning (Daichi Saito, 2015, Canada)
Shot in 35mm cinemascope, “Engram Of Returning” is a powerful film about memory, turning anonymous “found footage” into a metaphysical expedition. Saïto deconstructs space and time to create an imaginary location made of memories, producing highly expressive images, suggestions of landscapes that are never completely discernible, as if they were recollections from dreams. In addition to the aesthetic and formal aspects that are close to collage and abstract painting, the hypnotic improvised music by jazz musician Jason Sharp adds to the piercing beauty of the film.

Per Fikse (Director - Minimalen Short Film Festival, Trondheim)
Limbo (Konstantina Kotzmani, 2016, Greece)
Home (Daniel Mulloy, 2016, Kosovo/UK)
Three Dimensions of Time (Pim Zwier, 2016, Netherlands / Russia)
Analysis Paralysis (Anete Melece, 2016, Switzerland)
I Was a Winner [Jag var en vinnare] (Jonas Odell, 2016, Sweden)
Blind Vaysha [Vaysha, L’Aveugle] (Theodore Ushev, 2015, Canada)

Philip Ilson (London Short Film Festival)
9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo (Thomas Vroege, Floor Van Der Meulen & Issa Touma , 2015, Syria / Netherlands)
This observational documentary has been winning festival awards all year and it's easy to see why as this window (literally) on a world at war is powerful, moving and beautifully simple.
Import (Ena Sendijarević, Netherlands)
Another film that shows us the refugee experience, but here we visit the daily mundane life of a Bosnian family in Holland in the nineties, while giving us a powerful slice of life observation on friendship, connections and an underlying racism.
Love (Réka Bucsi, France/Hungary)
What is not to love in the latest animation from Bucsi (who's previous film Symphony No.42 featured heavily on this list last year); stunning surreal memorable imagery to savour again and again.
Mia (Maria Martinez Bayona, UK)
This National Film & TV graduation film is a simple story of a young mother giving birth on the way to see her own dying mother. We experience a shocking surrealness as the young baby girl grows daily as the car journey continues across a remote landscape.
Murderous Injustice (Gavin Scott Whitfield, UK)
This one-shot harrowing story of a racist attack will leave you reeling, and perhaps gives us an insight into the Brexit mind.
Your Mother and I (Anna Maguire, Canada)
Adaptation is surprisingly rare in short film, but this is a powerful family drama based on a Dave Eggers short story about a teenage girl and her father connecting in the family kitchen; small moments are expressed through big ambitions.

Lars Henrik Gass (Director International Short Film Festival Oberhausen)
20 July.2015 (Deimantas Narkevičius, 2016, Lithuania)
Elegance [Eleganssi] (Virpi Suutari, 2015, Finland)
Four Edges of Pyramiden (Ieva Epnere, Latvia, 2015)
Snow [Snö] (Richard Dinter 2015, Sweden)
Retrospective (Salla Tykkä, 2016, Finland)
The Day Before The End [Ang araw bago ang wakas] (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2015)

Laurent Crouzeix (General Delegate, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival)
Enemies within [Ennemis intérieurs] (Sélim Azzazi, 2016, France)
A truly great film. A simple setup. A harsh, complex confrontation. A film about a not so distant past, which also tells a lot about present and future. A directorial debut. Proud that it won the Audience Award and Student Jury Award in Clermont-Ferrand.
The Master [Isand] (Riho Unt, 2015, 18’, Estonia)
A dark tale by a luminous master. War is about male animals fighting for power. A superb animation. For grown-ups.
Chulyen, A Crow’s Tale [Chulyen, histoire de corbeau] (Cerise Lopez & Agnès Patron, 2015, France)
This surreal folk tale overthrows western narrative codes to take the viewer into a mesmerizing world of its own. You just have to let go and follow the image and sound. A unique vision, rendered through finely textured visuals and an organic soundscape.
Flamingo (Bryan M. Ferguson, 32’, 2016, UK)
“L’accès au plaisir passe par la voie de la douleur.” A daring story that revolves around self-inflicted pain. Probably one of the most original narrative fiction I saw this year. Painful, yet somehow universal I believe. Not for the faint-hearted.
Decorado (Alberto Vázquez, Spain/France)
A crazy little film, like nothing else short. A nice transition between Sangre de Unicorno and Psiconautas.
Madam Black (Ivan Barge, 2015, New Zealand)
Definitely the festival hit of the year. Ivan’s wonderful story probably reached out a wider audience on the festival circuit than a number of features in theaters this year. Success well deserved. A sweet comedy. New Zealand is regularly good at producing great shorts under 15 minutes.

Rich Warren (Festival Director at Encounters, UK)
A New Home (Ziga Virc, 2016, Slovenia)
A perfect encapsulation of the paranoid xenophobia that featured prominently in 2016.
9 Days from my Window in Aleppo (Issa Touma, Thomas Vroege and Floor van der Meulen, 2015, Syria/Netherlands)
Poignant, significant and a timely reminder of the realities of war. Encounters was proud to present this film as it’s nomination for the 2016 EFA Awards.
Everything’s OK [Já Passou] (Sebastião Salgado and Pedro Patrocínio, 2016, Portugal)
Based on a short story this film hits all the right notes in portraying the lengths a parent will go for their child.
Murderous Injustice (Gavin Scott Whitfield, 2016, UK)
Depicting the limitations of social mobility in the UK and the consequences of attempting to seize back control.
Red Light [Ná Cherveno] (Toma Waszarow, 2016, Bulgaria/Croatia)
It’s not all bleak misery, sometimes you need a hero to stand his ground – Toma presents this hero in all his stubborn glory.

Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła (Director of the Programme Office at Krakow Film Festival)
Close Ties [Więzi] ( Zofia Kowalewska, 2016, Poland)
Home (Daniel Mulloy, 2016, Kosovo, UK)
99a Frankfurt Street [Frankfurter Str. 99a] (Evgenia Gostrer, 2016, Germany)
Pussy [Cipka] Renata Gąsiorowska, 2016, Poland, anim.)
Ten Meter Tower [Hopptornet] (Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, 2016, Sweden)
Hpakant Jade Life [Pagan Qingnian] (Lee Yong Chao, Taiwan / Myanmar, 2015)

Daniel Ebner (Artistic Director, VIS Vienna Shorts)
Close Ties [Więzi] ( Zofia Kowalewska, 2016, Poland)
Ten Meter Tower [Hopptornet] (Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck, 2016, Sweden)
not even nothing can be free of ghosts (Rainer Kohlberger, 2016, Austria / Germany)
Love (Réka Bucsi, France/Hungary)
Ennemis intérieurs (Enemies Within)  (Sélim Azzazim, France)

Christoffer Olofsson (Programme Director Uppsala International Short Film Festival)
Love (Réka Bucsi, 2016, France/Hungary)
Answer Print (Mónica Savirón, 2016, USA)
Import (Ena Sendijarević, 2016, The Netherlands)
La Disco Resplandece (Chema García Ibarra, 2016, Spain/Turkey)
Que Vive L'empereur (Aude Léa Rapin, 2016, France

12 January 2017, by Laurence Boyce