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A Special Shout-Out to Mo&Friese Shorts
by Marinell Haegelin

Although they are two separate film festivals (with different logos and websites), they share spaces and both have the same passion— wild about movies—and aim: they are passionate to share them, entertaining as many people as possible. The Mo&Friese Junges Kurzfilm Festival (Mo&Friese) thinks small to medium, for ages from four–eighteen years old, while Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg (KFF) thinks big-shorts for everyone else. They share space under the umbrella and in association with Kurzfilm Agentur Hamburg, e.V.

Running concurrently in early June, they share the fun-tastic opening ceremony at the “Playground” in the Kaltenkirchen Platz’s Post complex. This year’s festival began with Lina Paulsen, Mo&Friese’s director/curator, and Team watching films with 250 six-year-olds, thus playing their enthusiasm forward. By combining education with films and all things related at a young age, it engages and encourages active involvement to attend workshops, apply to become a jury member, etc. Particularly since kids are savvier earlies with all the technology thrown at them, which invites the idea of having a Kurzfilm-Kreis (short film circle).

Short film festivals catering specifically to children and adolescents are few and far in-between, especially one that’s dedicated to only short films of all types and genres. In many instances it’s repetitive everyday events and/or situations filmmakers find fresh, sometimes funny interpretations. In recent years contemporary topics often spring from humanitarian crisis, e.g., JASMIN’S TWO HOMES (Somalia/Finland), and answer questions people of all ages have providing insight into current societal issues from fresh perspectives. For example, the brilliant animation IN DER NATUR (DANS LA NATURE) that addresses generalizing sex/gender issues. Humankind is fighting against any changes, more so in some countries like the USA than in others, whereas sex/gender anomalies have existed in the animal kingdom since time immemorial. At least two films whose topics are universal and enlightening for audiences screened in Mo&Friese and KFF.

Mo&Friese has nine international competition programs that target certain age groups with topic-specific relevant films: Mo, Friese, and the NEON Awards, plus the special young talent competition, Gib Mir 5! (High 5!). Additionally, since 2022 there’s an adult jury for selecting the film for submission to the European Children’s Film Association. The program screenings are moderated and equipped for guests with hearing/visual impairment; the festival chooses new creative topics yearly for the youngsters and teens film workshops so different aspects of filmmaking are presented to whet their curiosity.

In its twenty-five years, Mo&Friese’s teams have kept pushing themselves to suffuse youths, their guests, and audiences with their passion for short films. Why, they’re already planning for next year’s festival. Highlight June 4 to 9, 2024, in your calendars, and a special shout-out to Mo&Friese’s great shorts!