Imagine waking up one day to find all your friends have disappeared. For Martin, this concept has become a reality. Now he tirelessly scours the city streets looking for Angel, Gaël and Luna. But just how real is his world in fact? How real is he himself? Jonathan Vinel uses the computer game Grand Theft Auto V for his film Martin Cries to tell a story about loss, anger and loneliness. Animation that remains true to the real world meets nightmare vision. The border between reality and fiction becomes blurred. Who decides what’s real and what isn’t? And couldn’t an escape from so-called reality also offer up new freedoms?
Martin Cries (2017); Director: Jonathan Vinel
That’s exactly the question posed by this year’s Youth Programme ESCAPING REALITIES. Films will be shown in which the protagonists withdraw from everyday life and take up a new perspective on the world. In A Free Man Andreas Hartmann follows the 22-year-old Kei, who of his own free will lives on the streets and under the bridges of Kyoto. Still an introverted outsider at school, now he spends his days encountering the most varied of people and stories. He has exchanged the warmth of a home for a lifestyle of his own choosing and financial security for personal freedom.
A Free Man (2017); Director: Andreas Hartmann
Jose is also dreaming of opting out in an animated short film by Fernando Pomares. Morning Cowboy humorously shows that it’s never too late to realise your childhood dreams. Instead of putting on his usual suit and tie, one morning Jose just slips on boots and a waistcoat, grabs his hat and walks into the office as a cowboy. Clothing becomes an expression of one’s own personality.
Unlike in cosplay, where putting on a costume marks the transition into a different character. Cosplayers change their appearance, voice and movements in order to immerse themselves in the lives of fictional characters. In her documentary film The World is Mine Ann Oren plays a young cosplayer, and in so doing promptly slips into a second self. Her persona, the young M, moves to Tokyo and imitates the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku, the diminutive blue-haired mascot for a type of synthesizer software. Ann merges with M just as M merges with Hatsune Miku.
The World is Mine (2017); Director: Ann Oren
As much as an escape from reality can offer independence and protection, it also requires courage. The teenagers in Selma Vilhunen’s Hobbyhorse Revolution feel this especially, as their hobbyhorses really are their true passion. With an eye for detail, they make the wooden horses themselves, then train up for show-jumping courses with them and put on competitions – it’s a hobby that isn’t always taken seriously by their entourage and makes them into a target. The dark side of the escape from reality shows Jonas Odell's animated documentary I Was a Winner, in which three avatars of video games appear on the scene. Behind them are people who talk about how they got lost in the virtual world and how the hobby gaming transformed into an addiction.
The Special Programme ESCAPING REALITIES is aimed at audiences aged 13 and above and is curated by Kim Busch, programme coordinator at DOK Leipzig.