Oberhausen - International Short Film Festival
Short film is still the prime source of innovation for the art of film - the experimental field in which future cinematic vocabularies first crystallize. Today its diversity of forms, themes and approaches across the globe is greater than ever - video or film, short fiction film or essay, installation, graduation film or artist's video, animation, documentary, and all imaginable hybrids thereof.
The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has been part of this highly charged field for over 50 years now, as a catalyst and a showcase for contemporary developments, a forum for what are often heated discussions, a discoverer of new trends and talent, and not least as one of the most important short film institutions anywhere in the world. Some 6000 films submitted on average per year, around 500 films shown in the festival programmes and over 1100 accredited industry professionals are proof enough.
In the course of more than five decades, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has become one of the world's most respected film events - a place where filmmakers and artists ranging from Roman Polanski to Cate Shortland, from George Lucas to Pipilotti Rist have presented their first films. Oberhausen has managed to instigate various political and aesthetical developments, for instance through the Oberhausen Manifesto, perhaps the most important group document in the history of German film. Careful programming and a pioneering choice of subjects has helped the Festival to build up its exclusive position in an increasingly unpredictable market.
Since 1989, the Oberhausen Market has offered buyers, festival representatives and other trade visitors a look at the curren tstate of worldwide short film production in a concentrated atmosphere, and to select works for their own use.
In 1989 Oberhausen set up its first short film market, a welcome addition from the start, as witnessed by its subsequent steady growth. Today, visitors can put together their own programmes out of the some 5000 works submitted each year and then view them at one of 20 excellently equipped stations in the Video Library. Nowhere else do buyers, distributors, gallerists, curators, festival representatives and other trade visitors have such a wide range of current shorts to choose from. Also available are the works from the Screenings, selected titles from the Profiles and Theme programme as well as the short-film inventory of the Internet platform reelport.com.
Since 2008 the market catalogue has been published on CD-ROM in order to make working with this enormous film reservoir even more convenient. With searches possible by genre, country, director, length or format, navigating the film pool is now much easier. The catalogue will also be available about two weeks before the festival begins on a password-protected page of the festival's website.
Oberhausen expanded its market in 2006 by adding a series of Screenings where selected international distributors of experimental and artistic short films were given the opportunity to present their current line-ups. The success was overwhelming: The theatres were packed from the first day onward. The programme rapidly established itself as the world’s largest showcase for artists’ film and video distributors and is today a not-to-be-missed event on the calendars of many festival representatives, curators and buyers.
With its distribution service and archive, the Short Film Festival Oberhausen remains active throughout the year and not just during the festival itself. Each year, selected works from the competitions and special programmes are purchased after the festival for non-commercial distribution, finding their way to venues all over the world from Manila to New York, from Estonia to Italy.
The Festival's film distribution service encompasses not only the annual publication of the current programme and the lending of the film print itself - promotional materials and photos as well as text lists with translations are also provided to the extent that these are available and desired by the borrower. Works acquired for distribution are eventually transferred to the archive of the Short Film Festival, where they remain available for distribution. Every year up to 70 titles are acquired from the festival programme for non-commercial purposes.