Some of the directors participating in the short film competition already have experience, while others have been invited to screen their first works or graduation films. What they have in common is that none of the participants have released a feature film, as this is a formal requirement of the programme. This does not, however, mean that we view short films as a rehearsal. Ultimately, the most important criteria for us are the originality of the statement and the sense of an aesthetic inquiry that may lead the creator to adopt a variety of artistic and professional strategies.
We have tried to reflect the range of methods and sensibilities, ranging from drama and observational documentary to photofilm and collage cinema, including hybrid genres and forms. The geographical diversity on display is also impressive. In a year of mostly-closed borders, these films also provide a window into the world, where we can look at the history of the Jola people of Senegal, the nightlife of the Colombian city of Medellín or the everyday reality of Zhukovsky outside Moscow. Antarctica is the only continent not represented on the programme, which even includes the story of an island that may not exist.
The films in the competition have been grouped into five screenings. Landscapes and Interiors showcases experiments in (psycho)geography. Living among people from prehistoric times to the present and beyond is the theme of the other group, Tribes and Societies. The films in The Mundane and the Otherworldly, explore witchcraft, the afterlife and rituals both mystical and social. At Home and Far Away comprises four shorts about what it means to have a home and one’s own land and community, and Voyages in Dream and Reality explores dream spaces and the search for happiness in a complex reality.