The 32nd Internationales KurzFilmFestival opened with a passionate cry for money and a new base camp since their current residence has become an expensive piece of property in the ever-expanding cityscape of Hamburg. One would expect them to give up and throw in the towel, but, instead, they rose up and, despite their minimum budget they have produced another great year filled with surprises, films from 40 different countries and a great audience which enjoyed every minute of it.
One of the biggest surprises was the innovative idea for the trailer. As I watched the IKFF gang get ready for the festival, I noticed a big yellow phone booth and several containers which were now stacked and placed where the beautiful factory/art space stood previous years. This space was created for the animation and documentary filmmaker Dustin Grella who, back in 2011, decided to create the Animation Hotline and began to post it on a blog. He chose the best and his film not only went to Siberia but also landed in the No Budget category in Hamburg and received an award. So now 2016 the phone booth was waiting for the participants to call and was just a few steps away from Dustin’s Studio where we could watch him go to work on his favorite messages. Later in the week I went by and was just a call way from the Animation Hotline, so I entered that booth and made my call but unfortunately it wasn’t picked. But that was no surprise since the competition was fierce. Day one started with Werner Herzog telling us about whales in the harbor, magical monsters, the universe and us in Hamburg watching the festival, Day two was a recipe for soup, and at some point he was working with a group of kids. He said that he already had experience working with a classroom of kids back in Ohio on such a project and it was a lot of fun. Actually you didn’t need to use the phone booth, any mobile phone would work; the phone number was at the end of each trailer I could only be impressed by this man since he had to come up with a different trailer every day, but he seems to have an amazing amount of energy since he has been in some 200 film festivals which included the Cannes Film festival. What is particular special about Dustin Grella is that he is a giver. He is not your typical artist who wants to work alone. He has found a wonderful way to integrate others to be a part of his projects. In fact this animation Hotline is still going on even now as we speak; it is on line and you can call this number 212-683-2490 and maybe your story or idea with get picked.
The next surprise event was the Flotter-Dreier-Wettbewerb (Three-Minute Quickie Competition) or films that are very short and contain the theme Switch Off. One would think that this would be a short night at the movies but 30 films were showed and you met all the filmmakers. I went with my husband and another couple and since the audience chose the winner, we all bet on which one would win. My husband won with the film Bingo from Patrick Schoemaker from the Netherlands. This film is bound to show up on Arte since it shows an old lady in the old folks home who really wants to win at Bingo and how far she is will to go to achieve that. Just in case there is a filmmaker out there, here is your chance; next year’s subject is Resistance.
What is nice about this festival is that if you don’t have a lot of time you can go the last day and see all the winning films. It is quite interesting to see how different they all are and sometimes you sit there and you just don’t get it. Nevertheless if you are the kind of person who likes to see where creative thought can take you, then check out this festival. It is just one big party where filmmakers are very accessible and a lot of fun to boot.