International ShortFilmFestival Hamburg
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The winners of the 20th Short Film Festival Hamburg have been chosen! Three juries and the audience have decided on the recipients of a total of 19.000 Euro in prize money. This year, for the first time in Hamburg, the Jameson Short Film Award, awarded by the European Coordination of Film Festivals and Irish Distillers Ltd. and endowed with 6.000 Euro was bestowed upon a German production with a European potential: »Escape!« by Christoph Wermke.

Overall, eleven prizes were assigned for outstanding short film productions from all over the world. Tough decisions according to the Jury, since all the competitors were of very high standard. The festival was also very well received by its audience: 14.500 film lovers attended the 20th International Short Film Festival.

Download: Laureates 2004 as PDF


The Jury: Mado Le Fur, Alexander Mirimow, Rudolph Monster, Carol Morley, Anja Reschke

The jury’s decision was not an easy one. We saw 55 films, many of which were very good, and our task was made even more difficult, because so many different genres were represented in the programmes. We eventually narrowed it down to a shortlist of 15 films, and discussed them quite controversially. But we all agreed on the two winners.

Hamburg Short Film Award: 2.500 Euro
»Two Cars, One Night«, Taika Waititi, New Zealand 2003, Short Fiction, 11’12 min., 35 mm
The winner of the Hamburg Short Film Award is »Two Cars, One Night« by Taika Waititi, a tightly told story that makes for a warm and gentle film employing simple camerawork and an economical use of narrative techniques. What makes »Two Cars« outstanding is first of all its cast, as well as its unity of time, place, and action.

François Ode Award: 1.250 Euro
»The Last Uncounted Village« (Akharin roustaye sarshomari nashodeh), Shahram Alidi, Iran 2003, Documentary Short Fiction, 14’30 min., 35 mm
This year’s François Ode Memorial Award goes to »The Last Uncounted Village« by Shahram Alidi from Iran. The film takes its audience to an unusual place, where it effortlessly and amusingly demonstrates the universality of human nature. Maybe, at the end of the day, the thing that unites all humankind is red tape.

Special Mentions:
We would also like to point out three more films from the competition:
First, »Le principe du canapé« by Mike Guermyet and Samuel Hercule from France, for telling its story in an unexpected way, which creates its very own magic, also »Alt i alt« by Torbjørn Skårild for its outstandingly aesthetic editing and imagery, and finally »Ward 13« by Peter Cornwell from Australia. This is an extraordinary animated film whose action sequences can hold their own with those of any conventional thriller.

Skoda Audience Award of the International Competition: 1.250 Euro
»Harvie Krumpet«, Adam Elliot, Australia 2003, Animation, 22’15 min., 35 mm


The Jury: Patrick Huber, Else Gabriel, Brent Klinkum

NoBudget Prize of the Jury: 1.500 Euro
»Cultural Quarter«, Mike Stubbs, England 2003, Documentary, 10’00 min., Betacam
Jury’s summing up: The Jury has decided to award the first prize of the No Budget competition to a work which clearly stood out, »Cultural Quarter« by Mike Stubbs; its precise and pertinent eye on a daily urban reality in an unspecified English suburb with it's social components balancing the fine line between reality and its representation in its subtlely edited movements shifting back and forth from reportage to a form of social voyeurism. The works builds up and questions the barrier between them and us, social coherence, family and community ethics.

Special Mentions:
In the spirit of this rather unique competition we have felt that it is important to single out two works for special mentions. Amongst the numerous works that merit the attention of a wider public, we have chosen two promising young filmmakers.
»Vostok 1'«, Jan Andersen, France 2003, Short Fiction, 2’48 min., Betacam
Jury’s summing up: Jan Andersen with »Vostok 1« has accomplished with a nuanced and understated humour a work of simple efficiency tying together dry Finnish humour and French technical precision. This unpretentious work echoes many of this competition's values in succeeding to do exactly what it set out to do. Question mankind's folly, ridiculise the Russian quest for supremacy.
»Fliegenpflicht für Quadratköpfe«, Stephan Müller, Germany 2004, Short Fiction, 10’43 min., DVD
Jury’s summing up: The second special mention is for a work that the jury feels has potential through its wit, playfulness and his capacity not to be swamped by a multitude of ideas and visual puns. Stephan Müller with »Fliegenpflicht für Quadratköpfe« was one of the few filmmakers in the No Budget competition to use slap-stick comedy and derision to tackle head-on in his acrobatic performances, questions of visual pollution, mass communication and consumerism.

Audience Award of the NoBudget Competion: 1.250 Euro
»Half Days«, Guillaume Niquet / Geoffrey Niquet, France 2003, Experimental, 4’05 min., Mini DV


– endowed by the Jury of the Made in Hamburg Competition –

Jameson Short Film Award: 6.000 Euro
»Escape!«, Christoph Wermke, Germany 2004, Short Fiction, 9’30 min., 16 mm
Jury’s summing up: »Escape« offers a very precise picture of the emotional worlds of its teenage protagonists in austere black and white imagery. The film is formally tight, moving, and mercilessly honest in its portayal of the characters and the world they inhabit.
In a wry and humorous way, we are presented with a piece of everyday German life that is often suppressed. Through the accessibility of its plot, the film ultimately transcends national boundaries. Christoph Wermke’s work is about courage: sometimes you have to take great risks for love and for changing your life for the better – something everybody can empathise with.
The depressing council estate in the middle of nowhere, where the protagonists are forced to come to terms with other people's definitions of happiness, becomes the backdrop of an unusual declaration of love: in spite of all the economic and social constrictions, there is still room for hope and intimacy.

Special Mentions:
»Berlin, May 17th 2003 – A Video Letter To Rigoletti / Berlin, May 19th 2003 – A Video Letter To Rigoletti«, Marion Pfaus / Felicia Zeller, Germany 2003, Short Fiction, 13’45 min., Mini DV
Jury’s summing up: In their hilarious video letters, Marion Pfaus and Felicia Zeller cast an ironic and insightful glance at the tragic dreams of artistic self-realisation.
In contrast to the Berlin bohemians they portray so accurately, the two video activists represent themselves in their own work without vanity, and this makes for a fresh take on performance art.

»BerlinBeirut«, Myrna Maakaron, Experimental Documentary, 22’45 min., Betacam
Jury’s summing up: Based on the circumstances of her own life, Myrna Maakaron shows the underlying connections between two cultures that seem to be fundamentally different. Berlin and Beirut, both bustling urban centres and both scarred by history, provide the setting for this associative collage in which the global experience of migration is represented as an individual odyssee through everyday urban life. By moving beyond news footage and national differences »BerlinBeirut« opens the audience‘s eyes to the common ground shared by the two cities, and gives us hope that mutual understanding will preside in the long run.

Audience Award of the »Made in Germany« Competition: 1.000 Euro
»My Parents«, Neele Vollmar, Germany 2003, Short Fiction, 18’00 min., 35 mm


The Jury: David Kleingers, Kathrin Kohlstedde, Sven Taddicken

Hanse Short 2004 Prize of the Jury: 1.250 Euro, endowed by the Hamburg Cultural Foundation
»Driving Volkswagen«, Sebastian Poerschke, Germany 2003, Short Fiction, 6’47 min.,
35 mm
Jury’s summing up: In Sebatian Poerschke’s pointed short film, the Volkswagen, that four-wheeled antithesis to excitement, becomes the vehicle for two hapless adventurers . When Jürgen and his passenger’s daily car journey through Hamburg’s streets is interrupted by an unexpected turn of events, the Highway Code goes right out of the window: all that counts now are bold decisions made at the right moment. Poerschke’s dramatic feel for situations and love for his characters, coupled with a tight narrative technique, transforms what starts out as a pleasant run out in the Volkswagen into a cinematic journey taken at breakneck speed.

Special Mentions:
»Light Boy«, Eva Könnemann, Germany 2003, Short Fiction, 17’00 min., Mini DV
Jury’s summing up: This mockumentary about a dockside David Bowie to whom none of the normal laws of physics apply, takes an ironic and imaginative look at popcultural navel-gazing in Hamburg and the rest of the world. Walking the fine line between philosophical discourse and absurd experiment, Eva Könnemann’s film manages to achieve the playful transcendence which characterizes »Light Boy«, the film’s hero.
»Urban Poems«, Jörn Staeger, Germany 2004, Experimental, 8’25 min., 35 mm
Jury’s summing up: Jörn Staeger’s tightly composed collage is a condensed phenomenological study of German architectural history. »Urban Poems« translates the aesthetic patterns of High Modernism into the present with a sure-fire visual instinct, allowing the film to be perceived as a homage to the urban symphonies of the 1920s, while creating its own distinctive »everyday melodies«.

Hanse Short 2004 Audience Award: 1.250 Euro
»One-Way Ticket«, Ulrike Grote, Germany 2002, Short Fiction, 13’17 min., 35 mm


Audience Award: 500 Euro
»Best of Lukas M«, Lukas Müller / Stephan Müller, Germany 2004, Mockumentary, 3’30 min., DVD


Mo & Friese Prize of the Children's Jury: 1.250 Euro
»The Anti-Nuke Warrior«, Ashley Chen, Taiwan 2003, Documentary, 12’56 min., Betacam
Jury’s summing up: The jury awarded the Mo & Friese Prize to this film because the jury members were very touched by how the children and young people in the film stood up for themselves and their beliefs and, at the same time, talked about their fears and anxieties. The jury was very impressed by the main character’s commitment and found it very brave of him to look the President straight in the eye and tell him the truth about the situation. The film also helped everyone discover more about Taiwan and introduced the Tao people.

Special Mentions:
»Kabul Cinema«, Mirwais Rekab, Afghanistan 2003, Short Fiction, 17’00 min., Betacam
Jury’s summing up: Once again, jury members were impressed by how this film provided fascinating glimpses of a world very different from the one they live in. The world it depicted – a war-zone – was of enormous interest to everyone. The film used a series of great images to tell the story of an orphan who refused to give up his passion for film, even when it was banned by the regime and eventually resulted in him being severely punished. The jury members found his commitment very moving and impressive.
»Disa Moves to Japan« (Disa flytter til Japan), Benedicte M. Orvung, Norway 2003, Documentary, 26’00 min., 35 mm
Jury’s summing up: The jury appreciated how the film gave them a chance to look at a remarkably different part of the world and an unfamiliar way of life. The wonderful pictures created by the filmmaker brought across superbly how it felt for the little girl in the film to find herself a stranger in a strange land. The members of the jury really liked the way the film showed Disa gradually getting to grips with her new home and its depiction of different aspects of alienation and integration.