Hamburg International Short Film Festival

The Hamburg International Short Film Festival has its roots in the independent filmmaking scene. The Festival first took place in 1985 under the title NoBudget, a name which clearly defined the Festival’s mission. In 1994 it received its current name. Since it was founded, it has always been the Festival’s aim to rise to the challenge presented by new developments and changing parameters in technology, society, and aesthetics.


For this reason the Hamburg International Short Film Festival always presents new, unknown, unusual, or contradictory productions. This allows us to constantly monitor Festival-goers’ viewing habits, as well as offering them new perspectives. Experience has taught us that there is a direct relationship between independent production and the ability of a short film to challenge its audience’s pre-conceived ideas about how a film functions or should function – in other words, the more independent the filmmakers are, the more challenging their work is. And because the filmmakers work by-and-large independently of outside production firms, the short film possesses a much greater potential for expression than feature-length films or television drama. In addition to this, the short film’s brevity focuses the audience’s attention on the »nitty gritty« – that is, it highlights the film’s main concerns and throws its central aspects into relief.


These qualities make the short film into an independent art form, which is engaged in a constant dialogue with both the societal framework which informs it and the other forms of medial expression it coexists alongside. The main objective of the Hamburg International Short Film Festival is to emphasise this potential and – most importantly – to provide a forum for the short film.

Ever since its foundation, it has been a further aim of the festival to advance the proliferation of short films in general. This has been especially succesful, since the festival is organised by the KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V.. By housing the archive, theatrical distribution, and sales departments, as well as the festival itself all under one roof, the ShortFilmAgency is able to create considerable synergy effects which enhance the work with and for the short film.


By presenting an enormous range of international short film productions, the Festival is able to offer its visitors an incredibly varied forum and serves as an ever-popular meeting place for filmmakers from both Germany and abroad. As well as putting together special one-off programmes each year, the Festival also stages regular events such as the »International Competition« for new short films, and the »NoBudget« competition, which is also international and caters for films made completely without outside funding or sponsorship. In addition to this, features of the Festival every year are the »Made in Germany« and »Made in Hamburg« competitions, which provide a showcase for national and regional productions, as well as the international programme of the »Mo & Friese Children’s Short Film Festival«. One of the Festival’s many special features is the »Three Minute Quickie« competition. Films entered in this category must not exceed three minutes in length and have to be about a topic specially selected for each year’s Festival.


Further information about the content and awards of individual competitions can be found under »programmes«. Details of special one-off programmes, where interesting topics, countries, or directors are featured by means of short film programmes and retrospectives, can also be found there.

International Competition

This competition largely consists of films made with proper production budgets, and realised with a wide range of technical equipment. It also presents works which achieve their aims in form and content with a small budget, but sometimes require enormous personal commitment and lots of time.

The results, not the means of artistic production are therefore at the centre of this competition.


NoBudget Competition

The projection of non-commercial NoBudget films was once the Festival’s founding idea. The NoBudget film is a constant movement of unstable, exploring, challenging images; it is a dynamic process rather than a fixed statement. It does not simply reaffirm already existing concepts, but offers the audience new imaginary and real spaces for their own ideas. It is an invitation to self-exploration, an invitation to leave the point of view of the observer and merge with the observed itself. The films in the NoBudget programme offer new perspectives and a huge variety of points of view.


Three-Minute Quickie

This unique Hamburg invention is an international competition under aggravated terms: films of a maximum length of three minutes have to deal with an annually changing topic set by the Festival team. A special homework for filmmakers.


Made in Germany

This competition focuses on new shorts from Germany and aims to give an overview of current topics as well as aesthetic and technical tendencies. Most of the films shown in this programme are made by newcomers or film students. It also serves the film industry as a territory for scouting talent.


Made in Hamburg

Through the generous support of the Hamburg Cultural Foundation, short films from and produced in Hamburg have their very own competition since 1998. The best films are awarded the »Hanse-Short« prizes by the audience and by a jury.


Mo & Friese Children’s Short Film Festival

The Mo & Friese Children’s Short Film Festival is addressed to the specific modes of media consumption of children aged 4 to 14. Traditionally, however, its audience is made up of people of all ages. In order to also reach children who live in the many outer suburbs of Hamburg, and to include them in the Festival, a mobile Festival section has been created. It travels through Hamburg with films, projectors, presenters, and filmmakers. The Children’s Short Film Festival also organises film workshops for schoolchildren. During one morning’s session, children can either shoot their own short film, or participate in one of the other classes on film and media related topics. The films in competition are from all over the world. At the end of the festival, a jury made up of children selects the winning films.


Special programmes

In addition to the competitions, the Festival offers programmes that take a closer look at chosen topics. These topics range from social observations or retrospectives of individual filmmakers to film genres or films from certain regions or countries. Technical, aesthetical or formal developments are also examined at irregular intervals.



Alongside the film programmes, the International Short Film Festival Hamburg regularly organises a wide range of extra activities, such as seminars, workshops, or panels on special topics. These classes are designed to help the filmmakers gain deeper insights into film production. Among others, a film music work shop, a script writing seminar, and the panel »Talent Meets Producer« (in cooperation with the Hamburg Film Fund) have so far been held.


International Short Film Festival Hamburg

Organiser: KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V.

Friedensallee 7 • D-22765 Hamburg • Phone: +49-40-39 10 63 23

Fax: +49-40-39 10 63 20 • eMail festival@shortfilm.com

© 2006 KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V.
Page last updated > 15.05.2006