Kenneth Anders
Kenneth Anders
Udo Muszynski
Udo Muszynski
Sven Wallrath
Sven Wallrath

A note from the Long Documentary Programme Advisory Board

Surviving, here and now

About our selection for this year‘s Long Documentary competition

A good deal of people‘s struggles aim at surviving: heating and cooking, paid employment, self-supply. Butwhat, besides primary physical needs, does surviving include? Freedom, happiness, self-determination: are these just perks to be granted, with a bit of luck, to the sated and sheltered? Or are they integral to the human urge for self-preservation?

The films in this year‘s competition show that food and dignity, heating and hope, safety and the opportunity to express one‘s personality and needs are often closely intertwined. We see people revisit their own past, discuss what happened with others or re-enactit –all for the sake of finding their place in the present world. Others project their feelings and expectations into the future, while still others fight their battles here and now.

A young man travels to his Bosnian homeland to dig into secret layers of his life. Workers in a Polish tractor factory find very different ways to validate their past experiences. Young Moroccan nomads are longing for the freedom they hope to gain as urban employees. Siberian women, by acquiring practice in Tuvan throat singing, break into a traditional men‘s preserve, risking their social recognition. A Greek activist group establish a direct marketing system, leaving not a shred of doubt that they are not just aiming at revenue but a life in solidarity as well. The last inhabitants of a Belgian ghost town prefer to be the first settlers in a new home. Existential struggles take place where an Irish farmer opposes the government that wants to acquire his land and a Dutch sheperd‘s family desperately fight for their livelihood in a society which sets off nature and freedom against money. These protagonists are not striving for a private niche alone. They are fighting for rights rooted in their very own concepts of life as it should be lived.

As different as these stories may be,they are all about controversies taking place here and now, right on the spot. You‘ve got to go somewhere to sort things out or stay where you are, hold out and confront things in order to achieve that kind of self-determined life.

Again and again, filmmakers and their protagonists in our prize-contending submissions have shown solidarity with each other in their joint exploration of what surviving means, in a richer sense than the word suggests. This solidarity is what we‘ve been looking for, as a standard for measuring and training our ideas of what makes a good documentary film. We would like to use our competition to invest into the commitment, sympathy and love for life shown by people here and now, on the spot, and we‘d like to invite you –audience and jury members –to follow us on that path.

Long Documentary Programme Advisory Board
Kenneth Anders / Udo Muszynski / Sven Wallrath

Tim Altrichter
Tim Altrichter
Tobias Hartmann
Tobias Hartmann
Thomas Winkelkotte
Thomas Winkelkotte

A note from the Short Documentary Programme Advisory Board

Industrial plants and agriculture, seafaring and military installations, work and leisure. A teacher in a Kirghizian village school. Youth leaving an Indian village. An art project on the importance of nations. A farmer from Rwanda who lives in Russia. Thenomadic life of a circus family. A Kurdish dance master who reminds us of an old Kurdish mourning dance.

On the other hand, many of the more than hundred films submitted this year turned out to lack this dialogue and dispute between different perspectives. Films which don‘t ask questions but enact answers in a documentary way have no place in our competition. We prefer to focus on those which have the potential to challenge our certitude.

15 years of Provinziale have shown that Eberswalde has a sophisticated audience –people who like to take a closer look in order to find something interesting they can make their own. Consequently, it is the audience alone who decide on the winning short documentaryat the 2019 Provinziale. This is also why we look forward to inspiring film discussions so much.

Short Documentary Programme Advisory Board
Tobias Hartmann / Thomas Winkelkotte / Tim Altrichter

Sascha Leeske
Sascha Leeske
Katja Ziebarth
Katja Ziebarth
Lars Fischer
Lars Fischer

Short Feature Film Programme Advisory Board

People in their environments a challenge

Short feature films at the PROVINZIALE

For this year‘s competition, we have looked through some 500 short feature films. We were happy to see stories from almost all continents of this planet, and some we just had to watch –that‘s part of the deal. Our trip around the world reflected not only all genres of cinema, from bloodthirsty horror through drama to romantic comedy, but also a lot of conflicts people on this planet are concerned with –social, economic and political ones, in the best of cases tied to a particular place: war, persecution and migration, individual exclusion, environmental disasters, identity and family crises, dying regions, globalisation…

Every one of those films was made with the intention of finding viewers who will spend time watching it, get captured by the story and the pictures and eventually form an opinion about what they have seen and experienced aesthetically –ideally, in a dialogue with others, although a monologue will do as well.

But not all of the films were submitted to the PROVINZIALE because their authors, producers or agents were interested in our festival‘s profile as we state it in our call for submissions every year: the search for films where the places or, more precisely, the landscapes where people –irrespectively of their age or sex –live, work, hope, love and die play an important role for the characters and the story told. We have already justified our aspiration to see landscape not just as a beautiful backdropbut as an important character in the play, and the readers of our last catalogues know our justification: We, as humans, are bound to places. Our lives depend on how we take possession of places and landscapes in practice, and the environment that surrounds us is a product and expression of our lives, is our hope, our doom or destiny and the point our desires and fears are tied to. It inscribes itself into ourselves, and we inscribe ourselves into it.

Our cinematic preferences narrow the selection for the programme which will be screened during the festival week. Our focus on claiming that a story have environmental ties, as specific as possible, expels some films to the back seats which are dedicated mainly to pointing out topical social or political dimensions and challenges in our society, mirrored in the lives of individuals. On the other hand, every new festival year sees us struggling with the question of how to compile a strong, convincing programme.

This year, we will accompany a forester who tries to manage his forest in a sustainable way, facing resistance from many quarters; a woman with a cow in a bus in search for a way out; a son who sells his father‘s land to secure a future for his daughter, thus killing the aroma of life; a boy kept in slavery to become a camel jockey; a mother who has to abandon her baby in her flight because it was fathered by a Taliban fighter; a young woman gently opposing the public moral guardians in her country. We will stroll through a dying village, search for the lost promises of her village home with an old lady, watch as a family bid farewell to their life in the village, reinforcing their ties to the place in the process, plus some more stories.

And we‘d like to talk about all of these films with you, if you want.

Short Feature Film Programme Advisory Board
Katja Ziebarth / Sascha Leeske / Lars Fischer

Nele Fischer
Nele Fischer
Almut Undis
Almut Undis
Steffen Neumann
Steffen Neumann

A note from the Animated Film Programme Advisory Board

Animated films can create their very own worlds of visual experience. Their frames may have been created using computer animation, as in Sealand and The Bolt Connection, stop-motion techniques, as in Death of a Filmmaker, or any from a wide range of drawing styles, as in Little Bandits or Bridge at the Brogs. What they all have in common is their potential to carry us away to different worlds –not just as backdrops but as vital parts to the stories they tell. Again this year, we‘ve been looking for films where the storytelling makes use of this special capacity of animation: to conceive a world of its own. Like Memorable, which has developed a way of picturing oblivion, or The Fox, whose imagery opens up a host of possible interpretations. It is this level of expression, the capacity of picturing things, which makes animated films so fascinating to us, capable not only of taking us to places all around the world but also on a journey into our inner worlds. Animated films can create a very special room for all the major and trifling issues, feelings and questions in our minds.

This year‘s animated film programme is again full of stories whose soft visual appearance hides a core of tough questions and issues on the inside. Their storylines are not finished when the film is over. On the contrary, they are meant to start off discussion among us.

One of the major themes in this year‘s films, similar to last year‘s, is aging –from growing up (Little Bandits) or escaping from a crushing maternal lock (Metamorphosis) to old age and obliviousness (Memorable), and also dying.What struck us about this year‘s submissions was how many involved robots. Three of them (Avarya, The Bolt Connection and The Elephants Will Be Happy) have made it into the competition. Looking at post-apocalyptic worlds, they all ask what it means to be, or have been, human –a question which, projected onto a mythical and progressing world, also motivates Bridge at the Brogs. Films like Death of a Filmmaker, The Fox and Sealand take a different perspective: they explore what‘s good and what‘s evil, how close together the two can be and how hard it is to abandon a role once assumed.

Many films deal with questions and things in our daily lives, which, understandably, have repeatedly included the use of smartphones over the past years. Selfies, for that matter, holds up a very smart mirror to us. Last but not least, the absurd and whimsical has its place, too, as in The Court Artist, which recounts a trial.

Animation Film Programme Advisory Board
Nele Fischer / Almut Undisz / Steffen Neumann