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Navigating the Festival
by Marinell Haegelin

Hamburg’s International Kurz(Short)FilmFestival (IKFF) kinda sneaks up on us: the school year’s coming to a close, the weather’s generally good, and everyone’s thinking about their summer plans. Hmm – the festival definitely needs better pre-festival press coverage.

IKFF didn’t cross my radar until mid-May, doubling my consternation at their convoluted, user-unfriendly website! After spending way too much time trying to checkout programs and schedules online, I gave up and went to Zeise Kino in Ottensen to procure pocketsize paper programs. Others I talked to were similarly exasperated. After the festival I wanted to check information while writing an article, and was amazed that the Archive(s) chronicle—equally hard to find, I’ll add—worked for just one year, 2014. Seems IKFF’s website desperately needs an over-haul.

Press accreditation was equally stymieing: I signed up, received confirmation, and was told where I could login on IKFF’s website. Great me thinks, the nitty-gritty, i.e. when/where to pick up my press package, ID, and pertinent information. Wrong again: I could change my profile and find out whom else had accreditation, but that was it. Frustrated, I emailed the accreditation team; although the reply was prompt, details were sketchy. Luckily, a colleague filled-in the blanks.

I missed the Opening Ceremonies, but fellow critic Shelly S. was there. Apparently, the bar opened a half-hour early, the ceremonies began a half-hour late, hence lots of people snoozed during. Which Shelly said was a shame since this year’s savvy presenter was entertaining, and the films shown were good. Finally, IKFF’s 2014 trailer is attention grabbing!

This frolicsome festival should include “party-time” in its name: all day, all night it buzzes with merriment. Beside films, there’s a wide-range of special events and screenings. Of course, the Festivalzentrum in Halle 5 at the Kolbenhof encourages open, friendly discourse and, nightly dancing and partying– teetotalers beware; they admit their festival club’s legendary. If someone’s film in competition doesn’t win, the consolation is they’ll still have a good time.

The films? A cornucopia worth sampling: the longest, 45-minutes, the shortest, 23-seconds. Topics cover every conceivable genre/classification and then some, as do the techniques used. IKFF labels itself an English-language festival, but they still have some work to do in this area. Granted, personal taste being as it is you may not like every film you see, but having this wide spectrum to watch facilitates developing a discerning taste. The events, panels, and workshops (in German and English, so double-check the catalogue) aren’t to be scoffed at either. As if all that isn’t tantalizing enough, a seven-daze party should entice anyone.