New shorts by Sahim Omar Kalifa’s  and Peter Connelly are selected for a screening at this year’s Berlinale. Connelly’s Back By Six is shown in the Berlinale Shorts competition, while Kalifa’s Land of the Heroes is up for an award in the Generation K+ shorts selection.

Land of the HeroesBack by Six is described by the Berlinale as a story which ‘tells (…) of the poetry of the Nouvelle Vague, with a dose of the absurd and instruction to be home by six.’ It brings us through a day’s journey of two young men who have to be ‘back by six’. As viewers, we are invited to see through the wondrous eyes of the characters, discovering intrigue in each moment and each encounter, taking nothing for granted.

Connelly has worked in the film sector as a set recordist and post-production sound designer, collaborating repeatedly with such Flemish filmmakers as Felix van Groeningen, Sarah Vanagt, Pieter De Buysser and Alexis Destoop. His first short, Framing and Unframing, got selected for the Locarno International Film Festival.

Being part of the Berlinale Shorts competition, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, Back by Six has a chance of winning the prestigious Golden or Silver Bear.

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s 2008 short Nan already won a VAF Wildcard, a prize for graduating Flemish filmmakers which provides a (starting) budget for their next film. With his prize money Sahim decided to make Land of the Heroes, a short set and shot in Iraq about three children killing time while waiting for the cartoons slot to start on TV.

The story of Land of the Heroes draws on his experience growing up during the war between Iraq and Iran. 'We had no choice about what we could watch on TV,' he explains in the Spring 2011 edition of the Flanders (i) magazine. 'It was always reports about victories by the Iraqi army, and we would have to wait four or five hours in order to watch a cartoon,' he explains. Not only were they deprived of entertainment, but they were exposed to brutal images of the war. 'There was no-one to say that certain things shouldn't be shown to children. So we saw everything.'

Read the full Flanders (i) article on Land of the Heroes here.

Published on Tuesday 25 January 2011

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