18.04. ‐ 23.04.2023

International Short Film Program

International Shorts FREEDOM – DREAM – ILLUSION – DESIRE

One of the strongest desires humans have is to achieve complete relief from all the mental and physical stresses they face in life. The power structures tie you down, that starts at a very young age and stays with you for life. Will they ever be free? Antonio Marziale's Starfuckers is about abuse of power in Hollywood, but also in the film and television industry. Olivia Martin-McGuire's Freedom Swimmer chronicles the harsh reality of past Chinese immigration to Hong Kong and confronts us with the city's less than hopeful present. And Soum by Alice Brygo navigates between historical and current generational conflicts and wishes for a harmonious coexistence.

Curated by Saul Judd


Director: Antonio Marziale
USA 2021, 14 Min.
Ort: Mal Seh'n Kino // SA, 14 MAI - 22:00 Uhr

Starfuckers is a queer revenge thriller dealing with the abuse of power in Hollywood. An intimate evening between an established film director and a young aspiring movie star that is disrupted when a familiar face arrives.

Anto​​nio Marziale, who has starred in three Netflix series Alex Strangelove, Altered Carbon, and the upcoming Grendel makes an impressive debut as a writer and director with his short film Starfuckers, which premiered at Sundance and also had its european premiere at the 72nd Berlinale. The Los Angeles based actor, who also stars in the film alongside Cole Doman and Jonathan Slavin, was born in London and grew up in Switzerland before studying at Pittsburgh’s prestigious Carnegie Mellon.

Freedom Swimmer

Director: Olivia Martin-McGuire
Australia/France 2021, 15 Min.
Ort: Mal Seh'n Kino // SA, 14 MAI - 22:00 Uhr

Freedom Swimmer documents a 20th-century story of mass migration relatively untold in the Western world - and provides the context for a city in turmoil today. A granddaughter asks her grandfather to recount his journey from China as he literally swam to Hong Kong, a free city, in the 1970s. While looking at the past, Freedom Swimmer reflects on recent events and the fact that Hong Kong people are losing their freedom right now.

Olivia Martin-McGuire is a London-based documentary filmmaker and photographer who previously spent five years in China and Hong Kong. Freedom Swimmer is her second film. Her first film, the documentary China Love, premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and DOCNYC. Her photographic work has been exhibited in various international galleries, festivals and museums and published in many international publications including TIME, The Guardian and VICE.


Director: Alice Brygo
France 2021,
30 Min.
Ort: Mal Seh'n Kino // SA, 14 MAI - 22:00 Uhr

On the outskirts of Paris, Inti, Jai and Pauline are looking for an empty place. A rift through which the "Trouble Generation" they embody could slip, between the laws of the old world and the uncertainty of the one to come. A portrait of our time that oscillates between documentary film, art performance and surrealism. Soum celebrated its world premiere at the 72nd Berlinale.

Alice Brygo, born in Montpellier, France, in 1996, graduated from L’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in 2019. Her artistic practice moves on the border between documentary method, fantastic cinema and art installations. They explored the notion of uncertainty in times of fragility, challenging notions of survival and community building through encounters between social groups and symbolic detours.

International Short Films

Poetic visions of figures, landscapes and events, fascinating riddles or funny encounters-all of this, short film provides. In our international short film compilations, we’re presenting a very personal selection of works, some from our partner festival in Contis, some from friends of the festival. This year, many of the films revolve around different shapes of human relationships, such as the question of what a real kiss is (La Chamade, France), real love (Nicht nur Körper, Germany), what is merely played on stage and what is meant (Rehearsal, Nigeria)

La Chamade (Blackbirds)

Director: Emma Séméria
France 2020, 10 Min.
Language: French with english subtitles
Ort: Kino im DFF // FR, 13 MAI - 22:30 Uhr

The unres tof a girl before her first date–a sparkling summer, love and life ahead. In an attempt to protect herself from uncertainty, certainties are lost. Where does the game end and where do things begin to get serious?

From the programme of our partners at the Festival de Contis (supported by the Hessian partner region Nouvelle Aquitaine).

Nicht nur Körper

Director: Frédéric Jaeger
Germany 2021, 18 Min.
Language: German with english subtitles
Ort: Kino im DFF // FR, 13 MAI - 22:30 Uhr

Two lovers in Berlin. But what does that mean? Both of them are wondering the same, and their fumbling attempts at an answer shift between verbal and body language. The fact that they cannot seem to understand each other becomes clear in moments of most beautiful ambivalence.


Director: Michael Omonua
Nigeria 2021, 14 Min.
Language: Nigerian Pidgin with english subtitles
Ort: Kino im DFF // FR, 13 MAI - 22:30 Uhr

Who wants to convince whom here? A young woman convincing strangers of the Christian faith? Actors their director or a troupe their audience? The lines between the levels of speaking and acting blur in this attempt on creation and the impact of art.

Lemon Grass Girl

Director: Pom Bunsermvicha
Thailand 2021, 17 Min.
Language: Thai with english subtitles
Ort: Kino im DFF // FR, 13 MAI - 22:30 Uhr

Rain would hinder the small film crew in rural Thailand. Despite all modern equipment, an agreement with the elements is supposed to be brought on by a traditional rite: A virgin places a lemongrass plant roots up in the soil. In their search for someone from the team to perform the rite, questions outside of the obvious are raised.


Director: Gerard Ortín Castellví
UK/Spain 2022, 21 Min.
Ort: Kino im DFF // FR, 13 MAI - 22:30 Uhr

Can machines operate nature, make themselves understood by it, make it submissive to them? This two-part essay film observes the encounter between machine and plant and imagines how nature could subvert it.