Short Report: Oldenburg 2016: The Secret Weapon of the Festival

What everyone – or at least every self-respected indie film aficionado – knows is that the Oldenburg International Film Festival is the German Sundance (twenty years ago) and an indie film safe house. BUT, what nobody knows, or better said, does not seem to see or care amidst the excitement of big names such as Nicolas Cage or Amanda Plummer and titles of films by veterans and darlings of independent film – and that’s perfectly understandable, mind you – is that Oldenburg’s other secret weapon is its collection of extremely well-curated short films screened either before select features or during the Sunday Shorts program.

And, this year, the programmers outdid themselves, bringing a roster of not only new names buy also those who have been rocking the short film world over the past few months. The 2016 selection included the following films:

“A Beautiful Day” by Phedon Papamichael; “And the Whole World Fit in the Cow’s Eye” by Francisca Alegría; Mathieu Cyr’s “Between The Sea and the Bark”; Jesse Kreitzer’s “Black Canaries”; “Cloudy All Day” by Dylan Pasture; “Dissonant” by Jurgen Willock; Jody Wilson’s “Indigo”; “Love is a Sting” by Vincent Gallagher; “Love on Top of the World” by Jan Cvitkovič; “The Circle” by Rûken Tekeş; Chris Skotchdopole’s “The Egg and the Hatchet”; Tom Bewilogua’s “The Swelling”; “We Remember” by John Andrew Gallagher and Becky James’ “Vocabulary 1”.

The jury was made up of the German talent agent Georg Georgi, the German actor Antonio Wannek and the Serbian director Dušan Milić. The jury awarded “The Circle” by Rûken Tekeş for its “universal relevance, its allegorical, exemplary force and its extremely moving poetic pictorial language.”

In the past, the festival has been known to showcase works by the offspring and descendents of prominent indie filmmakers and actors like for instance “Merry XMAS” by Boman Modine, son of actor Matthew Modine and “Dylan Redford Official” by Robert Redford’s grandson screened in last year’s Sunday Shorts program. The festival also likes to present shorts made by already established names in other fields of the film industry. In that sense, it played German actress Victoria Schulz’s “Deaf & Dumb” last year and this year, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael’s first short film but also the latest directorial effort in the short format of the prominent Slovenian director Jan Cvitkovič (see above).

 The bottom line is that everyone gets their shot in O-burg as long as they have a voice, a vision and a little bit of talent…

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