22 films from 18 countries will be competing for the Golden and the Silver Bear, as well as the Audi Short Film Award, worth € 20,000, and a nomination for the European Film Awards. The Nigerian film Besida by Chuko Esiri and the Austrian film The Shadow of Utopia by Antoinette Zwirchmayr will be screened out of competition. This year’s Berlinale Shorts competition includes films by João Salaviza, Réka Bucsi, Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca, Manque La Banca, Sylvia Schedelbauer, Ulu Braun, Arash Nassir, João Viana, among others. In addition the Berlinale Shorts will present a special programme about 1968.
The short films in this year’s international competition look reality in the eye and actively contribute to the current socio-political discourse. Different strategies of empowerment are brought to bear. Self-determinedly, the filmmakers capture small moments, local stories and topics, and connect them to events of great impact. Whether the films are animated, documentary or fiction – experimentation is the order of the day. The performative element is part of the strategy. Gender relations and power structures are still far from being equal or balanced, but they are the subject of these works.
In City of Tales by Arash Nassiri, a polyphony of Persian dialects can be heard that turns Los Angeles into Teheran. The sites of memory are the cities of others. In Onde o Verão Vai (episódios da juventude), Portuguese director David Pinheiro Vicente stages a queer exodus from the Garden of Eden and so rethinks the beginnings of humankind. In her documentary Circle, Jayisha Patel shows how the family can be a breeding ground for the trafficking of women. It is the grandmother who accepts money for her granddaughter’s rape. For the first time, a film from Rwanda will be shown in the competition, the co-production Imfura by Samuel Ishimwe.
Berlinale Shorts is interested in fictional narratives that go beyond the usual formats, and is open to creative means that find new dramaturgical forms for elevating tension and suspense.
In 2018, the members of the International Short Film Jury are Portuguese filmmaker and winner of the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at the Berlinale 2017, Diogo Costa Amarante; US filmmaker and curator Mark Toscano; and South African filmmaker and academic Jyoti Mistry (see press release from Jan. 4, 2018).