Kenneth Anders
Kenneth Anders
Sven Wallrath
Sven Wallrath
Gregor Glass
Gregor Glass

A note from the Long Documentary Programme Advisory Board

Life under rules of our own making

On this year‘s selection of films for the Long Documentary Competition

The province, the countryside, the village: these words sound like quietness and stagnation. But the films in this year‘s competition tell a different story. These days, the rapidness of world-wide change can perhaps be appreciated most intensely at the back of beyond.

For one, there are steadily growing agglomerations engulfing the land around them like hungry organisms, as shown in our films from Ethiopia and Spain, where agriculture and self-sufficiency are crushed in the process.

Where deserts are colonised, as in Truth or Consequences, our concepts of life in the province have long been thwarted by reality anyway. Here, suburbanisation and subsistence form a tangled web.

The Alps, once discovered by European travellers as an eery wilderness, are now equipped with gigantic bulwarks to protect residents and tourists from avalanches of boulders and snow.

Places change, and so do the people who inhabit them.

In the eighties, young people from Switzerland got drawn into the maelstrom of Zurich‘s drug scene, and many of them paid with their lives.

Then there are those Swiss young men who got deported to Turkey, the country where they were born, after committing crimes, and suddenly find themselves in a foreign land.

There are the inhabitants of Pöhla, a town in the Erzgebirge mountains, who are trying to reassemble their lives from bits and pieces of mining tradition.

And there are the Colombian storytellers, last of their kind, who draw a line from the enslavement of their African ancestors to the present with their incredible narratives.

Is there anything common to these films so different in their plots? Yes, they give people a chance. The world is not straightforward, neither are people. But here we can see them as movers who are striving to be humane under the most diverse circumstances. And we see that the world with its rules and opportunities, its walls and borders, its fields and its places of labour and leisure is, more often than not, a product of our own making. We have to form these places to make life worthwhile, and we can – that‘s a very important fact which is almost completely neglected in our debates on the future of democracy.

Let‘s make it visible!

Long Documentary Programme Advisory Board
Kenneth Anders / Gregor Glass / Sven Wallrath

Julia Hebestreit
Julia Hebestreit
Sven Alhelm
Sven Ahlhelm
Thomas Winkelkotte
Thomas Winkelkotte

A note from the Short Documentary Programme Advisory Board

When we looked through this year‘s short documentaries, we noticed that there are now more and more entries which leave us uncertain about what is staged and what is real in their plots, and our colleagues from the Short Feature Film Department reported to the same effect. Some of those films indeed made it into our programme.

As soon as a camera appears to capture an event, it transforms reality. That is not a new debate, but we currently see an increase in creative determination, especially among young filmmakers. A contributing factor may be the ubiquity of mobile devices which almost seamlessly duplicate our lives electronically.

Two of our programme items, Blasty and Begstvo, have been influenced by the Pandemic and make life an experimental ground.

Marbleland, Germany Is a Trampoline and I Bit My Tongue are related through their insight into worlds that require a readjustment of people‘s feelings of belonging due to voluntary or forced relocation.

Our opening film, Living on the Volcano, shows living conditions in Southern Ukraine and incorporates scenes from the feature film ‘Volcano’, which was shot in the region and brings local people to the stage.

On the other hand, NAYA seems to make do without any form of staging. It comprises nothing but ‘found footage’ from various CCTV and game cameras, but that in itself opens up a very different kind of stage.

And finally, Terms and Conditions offers its own special form of self-staging which hints at the entanglement of filmmakers and protagonists.

We have thus managed to compile a broadly varied programme, which we would like to present to you for the sake of insight and also for your entertainment. All of the films are contenders for the Audience Award. This won’t be an easy decision, but we are looking forward to your active participation and are always willing to engage in dialogue.

Short Documentary Programme Advisory Board
Thomas Winkelkotte, Sven Ahlhelm, Julia Hebestreit

Sascha Leeske
Sascha Leeske
Katja Ziebarth
Katja Ziebarth
Lars Fischer
Lars Fischer
Sabine Eggeling
Sabine Eggeling

A note from the Short Feature Film Programme Advisory Board

On yearning for home, bones and putting up with small fry

Short feature films at the 18th Provinziale

Would you wage a bloody, almost deadly fight just to be able to leave your country? Or drug yourself up with painkillers until you pass out just to regain it? Or get trained as a pickpocket, an exploited young girl, in the hope to land on the Côte d’Azur or some other wealthy beach one day? What would you do if you found bones or cartridge cases in the place where you live or plan to live? How far are we willing to go for the hope, or maybe even prospect, of a successful life?

The question is present in many of the short feature films we‘ve chosen for this year‘s competition from some 350 submissions registered for the 18th Provinziale.

So far, I‘ve never had to think about an answer personally. I‘ve never experienced life-threatening hardships, and I‘ve never been on such hopeless ground anywhere I lived to see my life come to pieces. Maybe my vision of a successful life wasn‘t as far-reaching as it could have been, not bursting with yearning (what for?). Maybe it was so tame and faint-hearted that a total failure that would have challenged all my assumptions – and, consequently, require a totally new beginning – wasn‘t possible. Or rather, my concept of life didn‘t allow for it. After all, we don‘t live on our own. We share the places and landscapes of our lives with others, with our families, friends and neighbours. We are involved in institutions like schools, associations, social systems, shared values… We live in company, with all the impositions, securities, liberties and limitations that entails. We, the sum of all such individuals, are society. And in Germany, mostly sheltered by governments, economically safe and – as yet – spared from natural or other disasters that might rip us away from our homes or even threaten our lives, we are rarely ever pushed to the limits of existence.

What, then, makes a successful life and what does it take to one? Is it enough to be in a good place, to have family and friends, a job and a living? What if the fish you catch in the sea outside your village and depend on for your survival get smaller and smaller? Would you accept it quietly and just carry on? What if you don‘t manage to build relationships in a new place and don‘t succeed in making it your own? What if your life, meagre as it is, depends on a goat which has run away? What if you left your home in search of a successful life which you didn‘t find and are rejected as you want to come back? Is making your own music part of a successful life, and what if there‘s nobody left to play for others?

What makes a successful life? The short feature films selected by Katja Ziebarth, Sabine Eggeling, Sascha Leeske and me don‘t answer this question. They bring it up from different local and social points of view, and that‘s why we are going to show them and would like to invite you to come along, watch them with us and talk about them.

Lars Fischer on behalf of the Short Feature Film Advisory Board

Short Feature Film Programme Advisory Board
Sascha Leeske, Katja Ziebarth, Lars Fischer, Sabine Eggeling

Kathrin Welke
Kathrin Welke
Almut Undis
Almut Undis

A note from the Animated Film Programme Advisory Board

Animated films offer the opportunity to tell stories by very different means of photography and acting. Every so often, you get knitted protagonists, stick figures or ones made of putty. Fascinatingly, this allows to convey not only thoughts but emotions as well – maybe even more intensely so.

When we looked through and had to choose from all those laboriously crafted works of imagination, we always asked ourselves a question: which films do manage best to tell us a meaningful story rooted in the province and, at the same time, make good use of the variety of animation‘s artistic devices?

We settled on eight films which are very different in their approaches to animation but have one thing in common: they clearly challenge our ideas of idyllic country life. They may be set on a dismal island, starring a man who uses his socks to comment on his uncanny observations, or in the remotest part of Siberia, where an urban goat with her face painted is bitten in the bottom by a sinister village wolf. We the dairy farmer who wants to quit the perpetual grind his son is so fond of and the lovers after a happy ending, floating in their house on cloud nine, who are suddenly plagued by flies and ongoing rain. A mother keeps on dissolving and reappearing in new rooms, while her son tries to stay with her. Then there are the old matchstick people portrayed in their nursery home who seem to be preoccupied with waiting and shuffling their feet, however beautiful nature outside may be. And what if a gorgeous landscape is inhabited by people with problematic political views?

Animated Film Programme Advisory Board
Almut Undisz, Kathrin Welke