A German Absurdist Infiltration? – plus – “BERLIN SUPER 80”

A German Absurdist Infiltration? – OPEN CALLS CONSIDERATION

While film/video festivals have mostly rendered themselves irrelevant and obsolete – selections outdated and mainstream, still relying on the usual entry fee approach, not knowing how to handle, and rather ignoring since it’s easier, the plethora of artists publishing/screening their work online, etc etc etc., there is an angle that may be worth pursuing, the German angle.

Their video fests blow much of what’s happening elsewhere, especially in the States, away. Just the first few opening lines describing their events makes you want to read on, as opposed to the usual U.S. fest “festival statement” where you want to puke. And months later when you see their lineup of “mumblecore” films you want to…


From the transmedial fest in Berlin, entry fee: Free :

transmediale is Berlin’s annual festival for cultural activities crossing art, culture and technology. Entries are now open for the transmediale 2013 programme which will consist of installations, film and video screenings, workshops, performances, talks and discussions. Even though transmediale is always interested in works exploring new technologies, either as a theme or as form, no genres or media are excluded. The exhibition programme is particularly oriented towards artworks that explore ambiguous and problematic relationships to technology and challenge common perceptions of it as a rational or creative tool.

From the Hamburg International Short film festival. Entry fee – Free :

Since its foundation 28 years ago, the Hamburg International Short Film Festival has been celebrating short films as an independent art form, while offering an opportunity for film makers from all over the world to get in touch with an eager audience and with each other. The International Competition mirrors current global aesthetic tendencies and narrative structures. The German Competition offers an overview of the state of the nation’s short films and film academies. And in our long-standing and unique No Budget Competition, that had formed the festival’s nucleus and origin in 1985, we present works made with little money but plenty of ideas and commitment.


From the SXSW Film Festival, Austin, TX, USA entry fee: $25/$50 for shorts :

The SXSW® Film Conference and Festival features a dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry leaders in a uniquely creative environment. A hotbed of discovery and interactivity, the event offers invaluable networking opportunities and immersion into the art and business of independent film.

Notice the word “ART”  is sure to be mentioned in the first line of the first two German fests, while in the last festival the word “art” lands in the very last sentence, and is followed immediately by the word “business”.  It’s also preceded with the usual gag worthy marketing terms “dynamic” and “hotbed”.

On that note needless to say, the German outlets are much more open to non mainstream works, and seem to encourage the more out there, avant offerings. And much of the time, they are FREE to submit, which is a sad rarity in the States.

While one of the two recent open calls below is deadlined 6 days from now and the other a week later, it’s more the planting of the idea to start thinking about an Absurdist infiltration via Germany festivals.

It’s going to take YEARS for the U.S. to catch up with film/video art online, which many already note as worthy for cinematic screening, (and there are a few festival/outlet exceptions). Many of the Absurdists here already realize this and likely see film festival submission as a step backwards.

But with what the above has to offer, the existing environment that’s open to it, and of course the obscure glory of “making it in Germany”, eh, why not…



We will be monitoring more upcoming German festivals and events, and perhaps emailing out a collective infiltration plan to represent and offer up some works from our small corner of alt cinema history.

In the meantime here’s some strong roots as to perhaps why, in part, Germany maintains it’s celebration for the experimental. A DVD compilation of German experimental filmmakers from the late 70’s, early 80’s, “Berlin Super 80”.

From the DangerousMinds.net website:

Berlin Super 80 is a compilation of 18 short movies shot in Super 8 by West German experimental film makers during the late 1970s/early 80s. Featuring music by Malaria, Reflections, Einstürzende Neubauten, Frieder Butzmann and Die Tödliche Doris. It’s a hit or miss affair with films that range from the brilliant to the banal. Well worth watching for the flashes of genius.

Here’s the full hour/47 min. DVD comp. online:

01. Brand & Maschmann: E Dopo? (1981)
02. Christoph Doering: 3302- Taxi Film (1979)
03. Markgraf & Wolkenstein: Hüpfen 82 (1982)
04. Yana Yo: Sax (1983)
05. Maye & Rendschmid: Ohne Liebe gibt es keinen Tod (1980)
06. Stiletto Studio,s: Formel Super VIII (1983)
07. Walter Gramming: Hammer und Sichel (1978)
08. Georg Marioth: Morgengesänge (1984)
09. Hormel/Bühler: Geld (Malaria Clip) (1982)
10. Notorische Reflexe: Fragment Video (1983)
11. Jörg Buttgereit: Mein Papi (1981)
12. Die Tödliche Doris: Berliner Küchenmusik (1982)
13. Butzmann & Kiesel: Spanish Fly (1979)
14. Manfred Jelinski: So war das SO 36 (1984)
15. Klaus Beyer: Die Glatze (1983)
16. Markgraf & Wolkenstein: Craex Apart (1983)
17. Andrea Hillen: Gelbfieber 1982)
18. Ika Schier: Wedding Night (1982)

A DVD of these films is available with a music CD of Berlin bands as part of a box set, available here.