Recap 2021 – 19th Filmfest took place under the motto „Vaporwave“

In 2021 the Filmfest Düsseldorf celebrated its 19th edition.

After the first online- version of the Filmfest Düsseldorf in 2020, was it possible for the 2021 Team to celebrate the festival like usual.

On two of the three festival days was the location the homely Heinrich- Heine- University, while on the final day, it debuted at the “Weltkunstzimmer” in Flingern.

From the 24th to the 26th of November 2021, the audience had the chance to watch the 20 best short films from over 800 submissions between three and 30 minutes. Every one of the short films was subtitled in English.

Four awards were awarded again: two audience- awards, one for the best short film under 15 minutes and one for the best short film over 15 minutes.

The audience award for the best short film under 15 minutes went to the Australian dramedy The Handyman by director Nicolas Clifford. The Audience Award for the best short film over 15 minutes went to an animated film: The French short film Shooom’s Odyssey by director Julian Bisaro won the hearts of the audience by showing the adventures of the owl- chick Shooom.

Another one of the awards was the Jury- award, awarded by the Jury of this year.

Every year, an old member of the board of the Filmfestteam gets invited, this time Vicky Flentge, who worked with the team as both a team member and a member of the board. An expert in the field of film academia was Robin Curtis, professor for media- and cultural studies and head of the professorship for media- and cultural studies at the Heinrich- Heine- University in Düsseldorf. She was present at several film festivals in the positions of filmmaker, curator, and juror. Apart from that, the jury was made of actors Jörn Grosse and Tanja Schleiff. Grosse is working as an actor for tv and movies and after starring in several short films was celebrated for his feature film debut Just Drifting Along on the Max- Ophüls Festival. Tanja Schleiff stared in several cinema- and tv- movies, up until recently in Latvia and Lithuania for the tv- multipart Sisi. In this edition of the Filmfest Düsseldorf, the jury was able to meet as usual and watch the short films together, making further discussions within this group about the films possible. After this process over several days, they awarded the german drama Selina by director Greta Benkelmann.

The jurors were, just like in the years before, carefully chosen and cared for by the acquisition- team. Apart from the films, the acquisition team produced detailed video interviews with the filmmakers, which were shown on the festival days after the respective films. Next to that, the team was responsible for watching all submissions and for setting up the program. The final program was set only weeks before the festival days. The design team summarized and structured it into a concept. They were also responsible for designing the advertisement- posters and several more graphics, according to our motto of “Vaporwave” this year.

Our technical team also worked creatively again this year, by putting together trailer, teaser, and intro for the festival. The created videos and graphics were used by the great marketing team as ad material for the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: by this, they acquired more attention to the Filmfest Düsseldorf as well. The fabulous team regularly published contributions with the newest information and was able to give away several coupons by our sponsors Yomaro and TeamEscape.

The event- team was forced to change plans in 2020 because of the health political situation, by organizing a delivery service for the audience to be able to give them snacks and drinks. This year, it was possible for the event team to organize the happening according to the motto again. With gaming machines, old TVs, and neon lights they changed the locations into an aesthetically pleasing festival. Further, they were able to provide a good mood by booking young live bands for the entertainment in the breaks between the film- blocks. On the first two festival days, the bands Tender Gleam and Small Strides provided the musical entertainment, while on the final day Brightside Delight played for the audience. Further, was the DJ Norwin Lang booked for the aftershow party, who made the audience dance.

We were able to award the fourth and last award again, thanks to the funding contribution in the value of 500€ by the BürgerStiftung. All 65 team members of the Filmfest Düsseldorf rated the 20 chosen films, which resulted in the short film Shooom’s Odyssey by Julien Bisaro winning the team award.

This year the WDR, Antenne Düsseldorf, as well as the Rheinische Post reported about the festival beforehand.

Just like in the year 2020 the team of the Filmfest Düsseldorf was facing diverse and unpredictable difficulties. The monthly team meetings happened digitally; the team had to work together over long times without ever seeing one another. Further, everyone was worried that the festival wouldn’t be able to happen in presence, because of everchanging infection counts and safety measures. Thanks to an elaborated hygiene concept and a 2G+ regulation, the whole team was able to organize a festival in presence, that they can all be proud of.

Another thank you goes out to the youngest team, which integrated the functions on the website, that were responsible for appropriate functions, but also to the board, who was able to stay calm in the storm surrounded by a lot of responsibility.

For the year 2022, we hope that the culture operations and through that also the 20th edition of the Filmfest Düsseldorf can turn back to normal. That way the contributors and visitors can exchange their opinions again and enjoy a great festival inside a cinema with a good atmosphere, tasty popcorn, and great films together.