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The International Short Film Festival (IKFF) in Hamburg
by Ericka Seifried

On June 6th the IKFF opened its various screening rooms throughout the city for the 33rd time, with an opening session at the Zeiss Kinos in Altona. This festival continues to be an important player in the short filming game and attracts about 6,000 entries from all over the world each year. The art of the short film (all submissions restricted to 30 minutes) is sacred in these circles, maybe as a bit of a backlash to Hollywood big-budget blockbusters which America studios dominate. But even with its scaled-down manner, there’s something refreshing about the far-reaching international policy and standards in place, having English as a targeted lingua franca, and the unpretentious mix of filmmakers and short film fans. Here in Hamburg, there’s no place for in-fighting and everyone wants “quickies” to do well!

Back in 1985 when it started, it was called the “NoBudget” festival, and even with its name change, the IKFF still dedicates itself to promoting short films which are particularly experimental and independent, underscored by Defragmented (formerly NoBudget) category with two prizes from the jury and viewing public. Others include International, German, and Three-Minute Quickie, as well as another important element of the festival the Mo & Friese Children’s Short Film Festival. This companion festival is in its 19th year and a favorite amongst old(er) and young alike.

At the opening, at the Zeiss Kinos, we were welcomed with sparkling wine and popcorn. I, along with about 300 filmmakers, critics and supporters, pushed my way bottle and popcorn in hand, into the theater to be greeted by Sven Schwarz (festival director), Ruth Rockenschaub (actress, moderator), and Dr. Carsten Brosda, State Senator, the Ministry for Culture and Media. After the obligator words and a plug for more funding for the arts, previews of a few films were shown, most notably the Defragmented Competition Audience (shared) prize winner Frank Heath’s (USA) The Hollow Coin. Afterwards, we were ushered down the streets of Altona to the festival hub space for some light fare and long drinks, where attendees chatted well into the chilly night.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the next IKFF scheduled for June 5-11, 2018! Entry forms are already available. And the Quickie section has the theme “scandal,” so it’s bound to be good!