OBERHAUSEN Special Program



Now at its 59th edition, the International Short Film Festival OBERHAUSEN is one of the major international crossroads for short form, unique in the range of forms and genres it presents to the public, and particularly well known for its spotlight on experimentation. In the course of more than five decades, filmmakers and artists ranging from Roman Polanski to Cate Shortland, from George Lucas to Pipilotti Rist, have presented their first works in OBERHAUSEN.


The Festival organizes an International Competition, a Children’s and Youth Films and a German Competition and the MuVi Award for the best German music video as well as the NRW Competition for productions from North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition, OBERHAUSEN is known for its strong line of thematic programmes such as “From the Deep” in 2010, which presented early films from before 1918, or “Shooting Animals” in 2011, a programme about the history of the artistic and scientific animal film. The 2012 thematic programme focused on the 50th anniversary of the OBERHAUSEN Manifesto from 1962. The festival also operates a well-stocked Video Library, a non-commercial short film distribution branch and a unique archive of short films from more than 50 years of festival history.


"Short film is a great first step for a budding filmmaker. That's how I made my beginnings and OBERHAUSEN was an important step on my path to become a Director." (Roman Polanski)


"I smoked my first cigarette here. For years, I saw every single film at the Westdeutsche Kurzfilmtage, looking forward to those days in OBERHAUSEN every year. These events were important for me, for my decision to become a filmmaker." (Wim Wenders)


"There can be no doubt that the OBERHAUSEN Short Film Festival has written film history... The short film has kept itself young, and so has OBERHAUSEN. This atmosphere, this creative power are what still distinguishes short films today." (Gerhard Schröder, German Chancellor, 1998-2005)



HILKE DOERING – Head of the International Competition International Short Film Festival OBERHAUSEN. Born in 1966, raised in Germany and Switzerland, studied sociology in Bielefeld (Germany) and Paris (France). HILKE DOERING has been with the International Short Film Festival OBERHAUSEN since 1995 in different positions. She has been responsible for the distribution as well as the Childrens and Youth program, for the video library and the market. Since 1996 she is the Head of the International Competition and has represented the festival in international organizations. She has been a jury member in a couple of international festivals and has curated film programs for festivals in different parts of the world.

ACHILL (9’, Germany, 2012) Read more


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ACHILL is a bizarre visual discourse that seems to tell the story of a boy and a girl meeting in a bar. Through the mixed medium of animation and live-action we understand why this particular girl is so difficult to talk to. 

MERCÚRIO (18', Portugal, 2010) Read more


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Winner of the Principal Prize at Oberhausen in 2011, for its ability to open up an unexpected visual landscape, the intimate and sensitive MERCÚRIO shows a mysterious encounter that takes place on a quiet parking lot. Through glass and reflections, we spy upon a man and a woman from surveillance camera distance. They seem so close in space, but so far away in life. The inspired choice of the camera to capture the moment of intimacy through the car windows makes the glass strangely become a mirror, which transforms the external reality into an emotional inner space.

ODETE (16', Brazil, 2012) Read more


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Winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize OBERHAUSEN 2012, ODETTE captures a complex mother-daughter relationship. A woman goes on a journey to meet her mother. Soon this journey becomes an inner one, revealing the deeply broken connection between the mother and the daughter. The world the protagonist passes through is a subjective reflection of her solitude and emptiness: the streets and the hallways are empty, the town seems to be deserted. The meeting between the mother and the daughter is impossible, the emotional rift is cureless.

REFRAMING THE ARTIST (35', Netherlands, 2010) Read more


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Winner of the Principal Prize OBERHAUSEN 2012, REFRAMING THE ARTIST introduces to us the copy painters from Dafen Oil Painting Village in China, the world's largest producer of handmade copies after famous paintings. The Dutch visual artist SASCHA POHLE re-enacts scenes from popular movies about art and artists, like FRIDA, MODIGLIANI, THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, POLLOCK etc., having as actors these copy painters. As the copy makers “re-create” the works of art, SASCHA POHLE “re-creates” in these scenes the stereotypical representations of the visual artist in cinema, making us reevaluate our own views on art and artists.

SNOW TAPES (14', Israel/Palestine, 2011) Read more


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In the powerful SNOW TAPES, the Israeli visual artist MICH’AEL ZUPRANER offers a video camera to a Palestinian family living in the full of tensions Israeli-controlled sector of Hebron, in order to record the human rights abuses they are confronted with. Two parallel screens show simultaneously two points of view: on one of them, we follow a material shot by the Palestinians, capturing their violent clash with a group of Israeli neighbors; on the other, we see the same Palestinian family while they watch the material, their reactions and comments about the incident and the shooting, filmed by the artist.