In 2014, 25 films from 21 countries will be competing for the Golden Bear for Best Short Film and the Silver Bear Jury Prize: fictional, documentary, experimental, essayistic and animated films all have an equal chance. Almost a third of these productions is not digital but was shot on film or focuses on the medium of film as a vehicle. A tendency reflected in the fact that independent laboratories around the world have again begun to develop film themselves. Evidently there is a desire to find reassurance in the “real thing”. Moreover, a sense of mourning pervades the entire programme. The need to deal with death puts inner landscapes on the screen - and they range between extremes: from groups of men clenching pump guns against their chests (Tant qu'il nous reste des fusils à pompe / As Long as Shotguns Remain), and naked women running with broad smiles through Macao’s pristine nature (Taprobana), to parents from the Cuban countryside trying to comprehend their twelve-year-old son’s suicide (Un Paraíso / A Paradise).
In 1955, Heinz Sielmann won the first Small Gold Medal for Best Short Film at the Berlinale for his work Die Zimmerleute des Waldes (Woodpecker). In 2014, Ulu Braun, winner of the German Short Film Prize 2013 for Best Experimental Film (FORST, Berlinale Shorts 2013), will present his new work, BIRDS. His poetic approach unites nature and urban life, enabling us to see parallels that would otherwise be lost in the momentum of our lives. Frieder Schlaich, director, producer and distributor (Filmgalerie 451: Schlingensief, Klick, Schroeter and many others), travels with Patti Smith to Jean Genet’s grave in Laroche to make good a promise. The South African ensemble with Pauline Malefane and Mark Dornford-May, Golden Bear winners with U Carmen eKhayelitsha in 2005, are back with a modern adaptation of Benjamin Britten’s “Noye's Fludde”: Unogumbe. Here Noah is a woman; and the ark’s construction, set against the townships. Mahdi Fleifel (A World Not Ours, Panorama 2013) will present his hybrid documentary Xenos, in which he reunites in Athens with his friends who have fled Lebanon.