40 Years of Filmschoolfest: Here’s the program!

Wednesday, 10/27/2021

As FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, a total of 46 short films produced in 26 countries will be shown in ten screenings as they compete for numerous awards. The screenings for this international competition will be held at the festival’s host institution, the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF), from November 15 to 19. A multifaceted anniversary program of lectures, panel discussions, and special events will complement the screenings of these and other films.

Last year, FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH was forced to move online, where it proved to be a popular virtual edition. This year, however, the festival is once again able to be held live and in person, as a festive 40th edition with lots of national and international filmmakers in attendance!



 2021 International Competition

During the festival week, specifically from November 15 to 19, a total of 46 short films produced in 26 countries will be shown in ten screenings as they compete for numerous awards.

In terms of their aesthetics and subject matter, these short films cover a wide spectrum. Some of them deal with the circumstances of children and young people, their fears and conflicts, such as the funny short film LAND OF GLORY by Borbála Nagy, which takes us into the everyday goings-on at a Hungarian school — until the prime minister arrives. In KANYA, a short film from the Czech Republic, a girl refuses to submit to a traditional ritual that her parents insist upon. Father-daughter relationships are also examined in depth, in PAPAPA by Norwegian director Kerren Lumer-Klabbers as well as in the half-hour-long US-South Korean film UNCLE by Ju Hee Han.

Other films provide (fictional) insight into the lives of older protagonists. In ROOM 16 by Lebanese director Dany K. Saliba, a mute housemaid turns out to be a voyeur. In DEBT by Finnish director Max Ovaska, a man is unable to shake off his past as a debt collector. In DIVINATION by Nepalese director Gopal Achyara, a shaman must ask himself whether his healing powers still work. And in NO LAW, NO HEAVEN by Kristi Hoi, a student at the University of California in Los Angeles, a whole life is covered as a small child becomes an old man who must confront his past.

Dealing with history is also a theme of many of the films, some of which even dare to involve some humor. In GOOD GERMAN WORK, Uli and Didi work on a replica of a concentration camp, matter-of-factly and totally professionally. The students also do not shy away from dealing with violence and traumatization. In Ov’s animated film SCUM MUTATION, the voices of authoritarian regimes are juxtaposed with those of youthful resistance. In $75,000, Moïse Togo’s blend of documentary and experimental film illuminates how people with albinism are victims of violence in Africa. And WHITE ROOM by Jakub Jirásek takes a sensitive and expressive approach to “white torture”.

The films portray marriage (POTTED PALM TREES) and same-sex love (REFEEL, MUST BE PAINFUL, and others), and in both CONGENITAL and HER DANCE trans women must assert themselves within a deeply religious environment. A young and a middle-aged protagonist are attracted to each other (AGAPÉ), and the domineering relationship between cats and humans comes into focus (MMM...CAT) to the same degree as some plants prove to be talkative (PLANT SPEECH). If only one could understand them! And even shoes express a lot, in TOPLESS by University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) student Hannah Jandl.

Our program also includes three short films that recently won a Student Academy Award. WHEN THE SUN SETS by Phumi Morare (Chapman University, California) was awarded the gold medal in the Narrative/Domestic Film Schools section. NO LAW, NO HEAVEN by Kristi Hoi (UCLA) received the bronze medal. And WHY DIDN’T YOU STAY FOR ME? by Milou Gevers (The Netherlands Films Academy) won the gold medal in the Documentary/International Film Schools category.


HFF Specials I & II

Current short films from the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) will be shown in two specials that are curated and moderated by students. HFF Special 1 will be held on Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m., HFF Special 2 on Saturday, November 20, at 11:30 a.m. (both times in the HFF AudimaxX).


Wolfgang Längsfeld Special

The Wolfgang Längsfeld Award for the most original film has been presented since 2012. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, all nine previous award-winning films will be shown in this special.



During the week of the festival, various workshops, panel discussions, and screenings aimed at students and professors as well as interested members of the public will be held at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF).


Tuesday, November 16


Wednesday, November 17


Thursday, November 18


Friday, November 19

  • “Climate Day” — workshops, panel discussions, and more on “Green Producing in Filmmaking”, in cooperation with the Nagelschneider Foundation


Saturday, November 20


Further info and registration: www.filmschoolfest-munich.de



The first festival for young filmmakers was held in 1981 as the 1st European Student Competition, under the direction of Wolfgang Längsfeld, who was then a professor at the HFF. Längsfeld was thus able to put into practice his idea of creating a place for emerging European filmmakers to gather in Munich. In 1999, the festival, which had been renamed the INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILM SCHOOLS, was moved from the fall to the summer and held as part of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN at the MaxX theater at Isartor. Just four years later, in 2003, the festival was again decoupled from the Filmfest, rescheduled to the fall, and moved from the MaxX theater back to the Filmmuseum on Jakobsplatz.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the festival, renamed FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH in 2014, is moving to the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF), where founder Wolfgang Längsfeld once taught his students.

Filmmakers whose work has been featured at the festival include such celebrated German directors as Caroline Link, Markus H. Rosenmüller, Maren Ade, Detlev Buck, Rainer Kaufmann, and Florian Gallenberger as well as such big names in international cinema as Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Lone Scherfig, Mathieu Kassovitz, Małgorzata Szumowska, and the creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park.



Awards worth a total of 36,500 euros will be presented, thanks to the support of our long-standing award sponsors: VFF Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten mbH, ARRI Arnold & Richter Cine Technik, the Waldleitner family, Film & TV Kamera, Panther GmbH, zweiB GmbH, arte, Interfilm Akademie, Freundeskreis Filmfest München, and Freundeskreis Wolfgang Längsfeld e.V. The awards will be presented during the closing ceremony on November 20.

The Climate Clips Award (Nagelschneider Foundation), with a total value of 9,000 euros, will again be presented this year. The award ceremony will be held during the festival opening on November 14.

More information about the awards: Awards & Winners.


Opening and Award Ceremony

The Opening of the 40th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH will be held on November 14, the Award Ceremony on November 20 (both by invitation only).

The complete festival program is online at filmschoolfest-munich.de. As of today, the program guide is also included in the current issue (11/2021) of InMünchen. Tickets will go on sale in early November on the Filmschoolfest website and via München Ticket (individual tickets: 6 euros / festival pass: 30 euros). Detailed information: Tickets.


Media accreditation for the festival

If you are interested in being accredited, please contact presse@filmfest-muenchen.de. Please note that for space reasons only journalists submitting reports can be accredited. Accreditation deadline: November 10, 2021



Evelyn Voigt-Müller +49 (0) 89 - 38 19 04-30

Annika Eidam +49 (0) 89 - 38 19 04-42