Press Releases

Monday, 11/6/2017

Watch Me If You Can


At the 37TH FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH, film students from 17 countries will present their short films. Come to the Munich Film Museum from November 20th to 25th to see the world with different eyes.


This year’s festival motto is "Watch Me If You Can"– but in contrast to Spielberg's con man comedy, the plot is a simple one: Come to the cinema, watch a movie, discover a new world and have your eyes opened by one of our varied programs. Yes, you can!

The selection jury (Susanne Burg, Olga Domżała and Tice Oakfield) has picked 44 films for competition, including 25 feature films, 11 documentary films, 7 animated films and one experimental film from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, the USA and Venezuela. According to the three jury members, they are stories that had to be told: about war and flight, about violence, migration and fear, about wounds and injuries. Many of their stories are family stories dealing with fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, couples trapped and enmeshed in difficult relationships. Only a few attain liberation.

"It's always exciting to see the emotional depth with which the young film makers tell their stories", says festival director Diana Iljine. "In a matter of minutes, they give us insight into worlds that otherwise would have remained foreign to us."

Family Relationships are at the center of the 37TH FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH. The documentaries deal with individual experiences, such as Dutch director Tessa Pope, who quizzes her father about why he wasn't present in her life in "The Origin of Trouble". Or with the question of what went wrong "Between Us" and whether the young couple should give up their baby for adoption. Many of the dramatic films are also about relationships which suddenly and unexpectedly fall apart, such as in Polish film "Time to Go", in which a daughter finds out her father isn't as caring and nurturing as she thought. In "The Elusive" from Belgium, a mother suddenly has trouble relating to her pubescent son. The difficult communication between siblings is the topic of "Big Sister", in which a big sister wants to teach her little brother how to respect women but goes too far in the process. In "Dilapidated" from Norway, old family wounds erupt at a funeral, while the wonderfully off-beat Finnish comedy "About the Birds and the Bees" shows how a sudden emergency can unite father and son.

Most films are dramas, however, many of them dealing with romantic relationships between couples, whether they're just ending as in "You Usually Leave Me" and "Mr. Universal", or not even really getting started like in "Beautiful Figure" from Hungary.

And then there are the other universal themes: Stories of fear like in "Waiting Time", of ostracism ("Sog" and "Greetings from Kropsdam"), guilt ("Night Call”, "I Made You, I Kill You") and violence ("Nala", "Call of Cuteness" or "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow"), of illness ("Yearning", "Wolfe") and death ("212").

What unites all 44 films is their very precise observation and the unbending will to tell their stories. We will see which stories resonate best with the audience, and find out which films the festival jury and specialized juries will honor on November 25th at the gala award ceremony at Munich film school HFF, the culmination of a varied and exciting week of creative story-telling.

The Awards:

All this effort deserves to be rewarded: Prizes valued at a total €70,000 will be awarded this year, thanks to our old and new sponsors. In honor of this year's Quincentenntial of the Protestant Reformation, the Bavarian Lutheran Church - Munich/Upper Bavaria District will award a generous, one-time award. The two special competitions, the "Hofbräu Trophy" and the "Climate Clips Award", look back on a longer tradition, the Climate Clips Award being donated for the tenth year in a row by the Nagelschneider Foundation. The awards will be presented at a ceremony November 25th. You can find an overview of awards and juries on our website.

The Festival Jury:

We're proud to welcome a prominent festival jury chaired by actor Götz Otto, and consisting of US-Israeli festival director, producer and director Ariel Richter, British script consultant Selina Ukwuoma, Shubhashish Bhutiani, director and screenwriter from India, and last year's award-winner Anna Cazenave-Cambet from France.

Accompanying Events:

On four mornings, at 11 a.m. in the HFF Munich (Bernd-Eichinger-Platz 1), the FILM SCHOOL LECTURES will take place in collaboration with Munich film school HFF. Admission is free. On Nov. 21, HFF Munich will present a recap of its past 50 years and a look ahead at the coming years. On Nov. 22, a prominent panel will discuss the topic of "Student Ocsar – And Now What?" On Nov. 23, Prof. Michael Coldewey and his guests will talk about modern VFX work. On Nov. 24, you can get to know Jury President Götz Otto and the Festival Jury. If you're interested in the commercial work of HFF students, check out the commercial special on Nov. 20 at the Filmmuseum.

Dates & Schedule:

The 37th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH Opening Ceremony will take place on November 19th in Munich film school HFF. The festival films will be screened at the Munich Filmmuseum, St. Jakobs-Platz 1, from November 20 to 25. We look forward to welcoming around 50 young film makers and professors from around the world in Munich. You can find the complete festival program online at as of Nov. 6, and a detailed program guide in the current issue of In München as of Nov. 8. FILMSCHOOLFEST


Since 1981, the Munich International Festival of Film Schools has been a major meeting place for upcoming star filmmakers. It was founded by Professor Wolfgang Längsfeld, who managed it until 2002. It has been run by Diana Iljine since 2011 and is one of the world's leading festivals for upcoming talent. Every year, film schools from around the world submit current productions by their students, which are screened by an expert jury to select the best dramatic, documentary and animated films to screen in competition for generously endowed festival prizes. An independent jury chaired by a Jury President picks the winners. Previous Jury Presidents have included Marco Kreuzpaintner, Marc Rothemund, Michael Ballhaus, Roland Emmerich, Wim Wenders and Bernd Eichinger. The short films are shown in hosted program blocks. The young film makers will introduce their films in person. Special competitions and events spice up the program, along with accompanying events such as the Film School Lectures, location tours, etc.). The Festival Lounge offers a place to hang out and chat in a relaxed atmosphere. 40-60 short films are screened every year. Every year, international students and Professors meet to discuss and exchange experiences. Many internationally known filmmakers showed their first films here, including Caroline Link, Maren Ade, Florian Gallenberger, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Susanne Bier, David Yates, Nick Park, Sönke Wortmann and Detlef Buck. Surveys by the International Association of Film and Television Schools CILECT showed the Munich Filmschoolfest is one of the most popular of its kind worldwide.