Mission Film: Possible
At the 38th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH, film students from 19 countries will present their short films. Viewing audiences at the Filmmuseum from November 19 to 24, 2018 will see what outstanding student films are possible around the world.
Like Tom Cruise, the motto of this year’s festival is “Mission Film: Possible”. This can be taken two ways. First, believing in oneself and one’s mission can allow one to make interesting and exciting films against all odds. Second, many of the emerging filmmakers deal with today’s tenuous job market and of course tell coming-of-age stories, this time focusing particularly on the everyday lives of boys.
The preselection jury (Olga Baruk, Hans Albrecht Lusznat, and Milena Debeljković) has chosen 46 films from 19 countries for competition, including 30 feature films, 8 documentary films, 5 animated films, and 3 experimental films. These come from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Colombia, Germany, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Israel, the Netherlands, Palestine, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. The professional and emotional realms they examine and the issues they reveal within those realms could not be more diverse.
“It isn’t easy to make a film. It requires diligence, stamina, a high tolerance of frustration, and in spite of all of one’s desire for self-fulfillment, patience and team spirit. Young film students from around the world must demonstrate all these qualities and many more before they can even get started. At film school, they learn to cultivate their various talents over a period of years, in order to go to work with others. We’re looking at their first works here at the festival and are happy to find that, yes, in spite of everything, mission film is possible!” says festival director Diana Iljine.
ABOUT THE FILMS IN THE COMPETITION
In the Israeli short film “Meir”, caregiver Meir has to face a daughter’s accusation that she injured her mother. Man Ho must also become a caregiver when her own mother dies and she needs to earn her own money for the first time, leading to an encounter with an old woman in the tragicomic film “Landing” from Hong Kong. Not one, but two short documentaries take us to water’s edge: “With All the Will in the World” deals with a shipyard in England that was closed in 1988 and is to be replaced 30 years later by a bridge costing millions of pounds. “Unspoken War”, about a fishing community in Singapore, follows an environmentally conscious fisherwoman as well as the coast guard in their activities. The German animated film “A Sweet Story” introduces us to a fishmonger’s melancholy existence, but when he falls in love, he decides to become a confectioner in order to create the perfect sweets for the woman he adores. Less dreamy is the workplace of a foreman in the United States who has to deliver bad news to the workers at her machine shop, some of whom are employed illegally. As a documentary counterpart to “A Foreman”, “Undocumented” portrays the working life of a young man who was brought to the United States illegally as a child. His only joy is his job on a film set. Conforming to our motto, “Mission Film: Possible”, young Israeli director Omri Dekel-Kadosh portrays himself in “Portrait of My Family in My 13th Year” as a director who wants to get his father (“played” by Omri’s real father) to reenact a childhood memory. However, his father remembers things differently. A fantastical end-time scenario far from the documentary realm is the product of the Australian animated film “Fifty-Two”. In an underground station, a worker must clean the dust off of a power-generation facility — until an accident occurs. Shocking is the view of a completely different profession given by another animated film, this time one with a documentary background. “Worth Every Penny” from Israel is based on the testimony of sex workers as well as posts by Internet users who have sought out their services. “Mathias” enters an austere new working environment that’s sometimes made more cordial by a few co-workers in the new film by Clara Stern (Film Academy Vienna), whose “Waiting Time” was shown at last year’s Filmschoolfest. Mathias doesn’t quite manage to feel comfortable at the workshop because his co-workers might find out that he used to be called Magda. Other short films take us to a cheap hair salon (“4,95”), a pool used by professional divers (“Eyes Shut”), a resort hotel in the Russian steppe (“End of Season”), and a supermarket in Israel, where an employee named Dan suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (“Terror”). The consequences of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are also palpable in “Torch”: 15-year-old Noga is expected to give a eulogy to her father, who died in a terrorist attack.
Deceased, lost, and missing persons
Many of the films deal with mourning and coming to terms with the loss of a family member. In the Colombian film “Don’t Knock”, a couple are reluctant to enter the room of their son, who has been missing for years. In “The Road to Santiago” from Spain, a woman searches for her husband, who has gone missing from their village. In “Flood”, another film from Israel, Osher must take her mother to a shelter for battered women and confront her violent father and her siblings, who are in need of help. A man’s girlfriend goes missing at an Austrian spa hotel in the comedy “Excuse Me, I’m Looking for the Ping-Pong Room and My Girlfriend”. In the Belgian short film “Son of Wind”, little Panpan misses his father, who leaves voice messages from distant France. And little Asa is reluctant to visit the grave of his late mother in “Asa Turns 13”.
Childhood and youth are anything but easy. In a juvenile detention facility, one more unusual workplace this year, Eva teaches a group of adolescents, one of whom gets into a fight with a warden. Who in the Belgian short film “Sons of No One” is really the guilty party, though? In “Captain” from Israel, 13-year-old Omri is sexually abused by his basketball coach and has difficulty extricating himself from the dependent relationship. Young Sean meets his parents in a pub in the British animated film “Facing It” — and blames them for his social anxiety. Fifteen-year-old Kay struggles with his sexual identity in “Siren” from the Netherlands and sees himself as an outsider in his motorcycle gang. Groups can provide warmth and security, but there’s often a catch: In “The Vine” from Serbia, a group of wild boys guard a dark secret, while a winning lottery ticket allows a group of US teenagers to become even more hedonistic in “Hounds of Love”. It’s the sons who are worried in the Slovak short film “Warm Comedy about Depression, Madness and Unfulfilled Dreams”.
Tears never lie
So many conflicts can certainly start the tears flowing. However, in the experimental film “The Perfect Spectator” from Berlin, crying is not allowed anywhere, while in the Belgian short film “Simon Cries”, the titular protagonist simply can’t stop crying when his wife leaves him — until he meets someone at the swimming pool.
Simon is so sad that it’s actually funny. The Filmschoolfest has a few more short comedies on offer this year, often with a macabre undertone: In the Spanish film “The Beetle at the End of the Street”, a fishmonger foresees the death of Amadeos. The whole village rallies to give him a wonderful final week of life. But what if he doesn’t die? In the Finnish entry “Rose Garden”, three retired people come up with a crazy plan to escape their home for the elderly. And “Squash”, a film from HFF München, turns a harmless game of squash into a cruel existential battle for survival. Who will win?
In the end, it’s of course always the awards that count. A total of 56,500 euros can be awarded this year, thanks to a number of faithful sponsors: VFF Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten mbH, ARRI Arnold & Richter Cine Technik, the family of producer Luggi Waldleitner, Film & TV Kamera, zweiB GmbH, arte, Interfilm Akademie, Freundeskreis Filmfest München, and Freundeskreis Wolfgang Längsfeld e.V. Two special competitons also have a long tradition: “Hofbräu Trophy” (Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München) and “Climate Clips Award” (Nagelschneider Stiftung). The awards will be presented on November 24. - An overview: Awards & Winners.
THE FESTIVAL JURY
A first-class festival jury led by director Philip Gröning will determine who receives the awards at the festival. The jury also includes: Sinje Köhler (last year’s award winner for “Freibadsinfonie”), Antonis Papadopoulos (artistic director at the International Short Film Festival Drama, Greece), Tice Oakfield (2017 preselection jury, director, actor, theater composer, Netherlands/UK), and Asja Krsmanović (curator for the Student Film Competition at the Sarajevo Film Festival, Bosnia).
On two mornings at 11 a.m., FILMSCHOOL LECTURES will take place at HFF München (Bernd-Eichinger-Platz 1) in cooperation with HFF. Admission to these supporting events is free. On Thursday, November 22, Prof. Marcus H. Rosenmüller, Prof. Michaela Kezele, and Prof. Gerd Baumann (Hochschule für Musik und Theater) will offer a master class titled “Comedy Film & Score: It’s All About Timing!” On Friday, November 23, jury president Philip Gröning will also hold a master class.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS (out of competition)
HFF Special + Commercials
The international competition program of FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH will be flanked by HFF Specials. In these sections of the program, current productions will be shown as well as a selection of commercials made by the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München.
- HFF Special 1: Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, 12 noon, Filmmuseum
- HFF Special 2: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, 12 noon, FIlmmuseum
The jury presents...
Director and jury president Philip Gröning will attend a screening of his current film “My Brother’s Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot” (in German theaters starting November 22, 2018).
- “My Brother’s Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot”, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, 2:30 p.m., Filmmuseum
The opening ceremony of the 38th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH on Sunday, November 18 will be held at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (HFF München). Following this, the festival films will be shown in ten sections from November 19 to 24 at the Filmmuseum München, St.-Jakobs-Platz 1. The festival is expecting to welcome 45 young filmmakers and 13 professors from around the world.