The 31 short documentary and animated films represented in this competition were nominated by a joint Selection Committee, a prerequisite that equally applies for the entire programme this year. 11 works are entering the race for the Golden Dove for a Short Documentary Film, 20 are competing for the Golden Dove for a Short Animated Film. The prizes enable both Dove winners to qualify for an OSCAR® (in the respective categories Short Film and Documentary Short Subject), provided they fulfil the formal criteria of the Academy.
The jury, which likewise consists of representatives of the two genres, also awards a Silver Dove for an individual outstanding artistic contribution. The short films are presented at the cinemas together with long films according to curatorial aspects. As was the case last year, audiences with an affinity for animated film are additionally given the opportunity to view all animated and animated documentary films once again in clustered form within compilation programmes.
Nighthawk (2016); Director: Špela Čadež
The competition entries come from 22 production countries, including Kenya, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Brazil, whereby Switzerland, France, Canada, Poland and Belgium are particularly strongly represented. Well-known names in Leipzig can be found among directors, too, for instance Martina Carlstedt from Sweden – her third time in the competition, this time with the documentary film “Livingroom” – as well as the Slovenian animation artist Špela Čadež (Golden Dove 2013) with “Nighthawk”. Otto Alder from Switzerland, who headed the Animated Film section in Leipzig from 1993 to 2005 and marked it decisively, returns with his experimental photo film “Progress” (“Fortgang”) – one of several artistic border-crossers in the competition.
Thematically and technically the programme distinguishes itself due to its great variety. A number of films address political conflicts and enhance the subject matter by adding new perspectives. In “My Daughter Nora”, which celebrates its world premiere in Leipzig, Jasna Krajinovic compassionately documents the despair and courage of a woman from Brussels whose daughter has joined the jihad in Syria. “This Migrant Business”, an animated film from Kenya by Ng’endo Mukii, imparts visibility to the no-holds-barred business with African migrants who traverse the continent – and is one of the rare African films represented in the competition.
Some Will Forget (2016); Director: Ruth Grimberg
In the autobiographical film entitled “Holy God”, Vladlena Sandu consolidates the personal consequences of the war in Chechnya in a portrait spanning three generations. Chadi Aoun from Lebanon recounts the conflict in the Middle East as a bloody dystopia in the style of a graphic novel in “SAMT (Silence)”, while Ruth Grimberg’s “Some Will Forget” is a nightmarish visualisation of the agony in an English miners’ settlement before the last mine is closed down.
In the Polish entry “Three Conversations on Life”, atheist director Julia Staniszewska argues with her Catholic mother about the ethical implications of in vitro fertilisation. Like “Close Ties”, a chamber play filmed with virtuosity by Zofia Kowalewska, it is one more proof of the fine art exhibited by Polish short documentary film. Dennis Stauffer and Norbert Kottmann employ affectionate humour in letting a senior citizens course discover the infinite vastness of the computer as “Digital Immigrants”.
Close Ties (2016); Director: Zofia Kowalewska
Up-to-date, fast-paced and anarchistic, several animated films dismantle conventional fictional narrative patterns and reassemble them anew. Works such as “Super Film” by Piotr Kabat and “This Ain’t Disneyland” by Faiyaz Jafri look critically at Hollywood myths. With “I Am Here” Eoin Duffy designs the world as a brainchild, while in “Drop Nowhere” Qing Sheng Ang has a baby crawl around in a thriller of Spielberg-like dimensions. Even the cultural history of an underestimated organ is retold in “The Clitoris” by Lori Malépart-Traversy – this time truthfully!