Press Releases

Thursday, 10/22/2020

FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½ - Films and Festival-Jury

At FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½, students at film schools in 22 countries will present their work in international competition. From November 12 to 22, 2020, the website will be a digital showcase for 50 varied and outstanding short films from around the world. The jury will be chaired by German film director Julia von Heinz.


FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH will be held entirely online this year from November 12 to 22, 2020. During the festival period, 50 films from 35 film schools in 22 countries can be watched, including 23 feature films, 18 documentaries, seven animated films, and two experimental films. For all the viewers, this means the opportunity of exploring strange new worlds from the comfort of their own homes at any time of day or night!

The films come from film schools in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The breadth of the geographical spectrum reflects the diversity of themes and creative approaches that can be discovered in these short films.

This year the jury will be chaired by German film director Julia von Heinz, whose current film “And Tomorrow the Entire World” recently celebrated its premiere in Venice, opened the Hof International Film Festival, and will have its theatrical release across Germany on October 29. She and the four other members of the jury, Hungarian filmmaker and last year’s VFF Young Talent Award recipient Hajni Kis, Indian film critic Bedatri Datta Choudhury, film curators Emma Boa from Scotland and Faridah Gbadamosi from the United States, will decide which films are to receive a number of the awards [LINK] in the international competition, which carry a total value of 35,000 euros.


Detailed information on all films can be found here.

Sexuality & queer self-confidence
Many of the films in the program seem to agree on one point: outdated norms of gender and sexuality must be eliminated. Thus She Wants What She Wants has four women of all ages talk about societal expectations and their own sexuality. The animated film My Fat Arse and Ideals with society’s eternal obsession with beauty in a quirky and fanciful way. In order to break old patterns of thought, new, queer narratives are needed as well. Some films revisit the past to a greater or lesser extent. Frog Catcher tells the true story of transsexual frog catcher Jeanne Bonnet, who lived as an outsider in 19th-century San Francisco and met a tragic end. In the exaggeratedly glittery pink film Elagabalus, set in ancient Rome, a debauched emperor falls in love with a Roman charioteer. The protagonist in Drifting struggles with his identity as a biological man, as he was brought up as a girl by his parents under the one-child policy in China. Feminine Hip-Hopoffers an insight into queer hip-hop culture in Montreal. The documentary film The Dragon with Two Heads, in which the director addresses how he and his twin brother came to Europe to escape increasing homophobia in Brazil, illustrates the massive influence that politics has on the lives of queer people. Queerness can, however, also be seen as a normal state that does not need to be addressed in detail. This is the case in the film Kid, in which a homosexual man in his late twenties realizes that his friends have grown up, but he has not. InL’homme Jetée, on the other hand, a dock worker is drawn to a sailor and his hard life on a freighter.

Sociopolitical realities
Beyond topics of gender identity, the films in this year’s program take a sharp look at other sociopolitical realities. Poverty, for example, is a central theme. In Gold Plated, the class divide between rich and poor prevents two young people from falling in love. The documentary Silver Firefly portrays people in Buenos Aires, marginalized by society, who live in wooden shacks at the mouth of a river. Two films in the program show how political one’s personal life can be. In The Verdict in the Case of K., a family struggles with the moral expectations of others after a court ruling on a sexual assault. Neither Forget Nor Forgivetells the story of a student who returns home to her family and even after ten years can neither forget nor forgive the murder of her brother by fascists. Looking toward Asia, one also notices a vigilance in this year’s films. In interviews with young women, Facestraces the social compulsion to have plastic surgery in China. In The Father I Knew, a daughter and her family investigate the last known whereabouts of her father, who had to go into hiding during a popular uprising in Myanmar in 1988 and disappeared without a trace. Also in Myanmar is the singer-songwriter duo Angry Folks, who entertain and motivate factory workers during their strikes with their protest songs.

Heritage in focus
Some of the young filmmakers live and study abroad, but their films take them back to their country of origin. Even if it is only in thought, as in the documentary essay Gone Home, in which a mother and daughter reconstruct their memories of the grandmother’s house in Iran. The director of Filipiñanareturns to Indonesia, where he creates a microcosm of patriarchal Indonesian society in a bizarre scene on a golf course. InHeading South, life on the steppe of Inner Mongolia meets the modernity of big-city China. Finally, All Movements Should Kill the Wind uses experimental images to reflect on the dry-as-dust work in a Chinese quarry.


CLIMATE CLIPS (special competition)
In addition to the international competition, the special Climate Clips Award competition (offering a total of 9,000 euros in prize money) on the subject of climate change will be held again this year. The program will feature the ten best clips from among the submissions, competing for first, second, and third place as well as an audience award.

HFF SPECIALS (out of competition)
In addition to the films in competition, selected productions of the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) will be screened during the festival: five of them will be shown in the HFF SPECIAL, the other six in a special program called HFF SPECIAL: CLOSE UP WASHINGTON.


Current information about FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½ can be found as well as on our social media channels (#fsfmuc): Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.

The films (original English or with English subtitles; age 18 and up) may be viewed individually (0.99 euros) or in curated blocks of five (3.99 euros). A festival pass (12.99 euros) may also be purchased for the entire program. Each film is followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. The festival pass will be available starting November 7, tickets for individual screenings and program blocks starting November 12. Streaming will be enabled from November 12 to 22, 2020, worldwide. More information: Tickets (coming soon).