Shorts by six Flemish filmmakers have been invited to interfilm, the International Short Film Festival in Berlin. Among the selectees is Sahim Omar Kalifa’s festival favourite Baghdad Messi. Not only one of the longest running German short film festivals after Oberhausen, interfilm Berlin is also a prime European short film festival and runs from 12 till 17 November.

Name of the FathersThe competition programmes of the Confrontations section not only see Kalifa’s Baghdad Messi but also screen This is Ronald by Jules Comes and Timothy Wennekes’ short Name of the fathers. This section of the festival offers room to films with a conscience; films that give a face to the many – often dramatic – headlines that reach us from abroad.

In Baghdad Messi, Sahim Omar Kalifa reveals the story of a 10-year-old Iraqi boy sending his father on a mission to Baghdad after their television set breaks down prior to the long-awaited Champions League finale. Already invited to over 50 international festivals and having won some 13 awards so far, the short keeps a pole position on the international festival scene. Baghdad Messi is a production by Hendrik Verthé and Kobe Van Steenberghe for a team productions.

By zooming in on the community of Jehova’s Witnesses, Timothy Wennekes spotlights another topic in Name of the Fathers. 16-year-old Thomas has difficulties trying to find his way in this world he is raised in and finds himself in the middle of his disfellowshipped older brother and his younger brother who is about to be baptized. Last year, the film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Equally set for a Berlin screening is Jules Comes’ short This is Ronald, featuring a man experiencing difficulties to fit in. His neighbours accuse him of strange practises and struggling with isolation he seeks help in a secret group of people with similar problems. But once again he might end up alone.

Interfilm’s international competition also covers two sections of animation shorts, including Pieter Coudyzer’s The Wake. The story of an introverted man whose wife is in a coma after a car accident already screened at about a dozen fests including Annecy and is playing at the Valladolid International Film Festival this week. Geert Van Goethem and Linda Sterckx of S.O.I.L. produced the animation short.

Featuring in the ‘Between War and Peace’ competitive documentary section is Frederik Jan Depickere’s Adrift. In the 9-minute film, produced by Cobra Films, a refugee from Uganda, wandering aimlessly 150 kilometers beyond the arctic circle, shares his story.

Finally, after winning Best Experimental Film at the Tabor Film Fest in Croatia last June, Jimmy Hendrickx returns to the scene with a selection for interfilm’s Green Screen Competition. Hendrickx Malaysian-Belgian short Semalu, a cinematographic portrait of abandoned children surviving in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is part of a collection of films highlighting the global dilemma between humankind and nature. Semalu was produced by Hendrickx and Kristian Van Der Heyden for Port Actif.

Both Baghdad Messi and The Wake received funding through the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Wednesday 23 October 2013

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