The end is inevitable and it is the same for each of us, but there are as many last chapters as there are people. Is there anything more intimate and universal than dying? We all have to go – no matter how slow or fast, expected or not, painless or in agony – we get lost, fade, our fire dies, we disappear.
Why shouldn’t we be afraid? Can we find solace in others – those who are with us and those who come after we are gone? Is death a proof of solitude, or of universal human bond? Can we give in to it?
Dymphie Huijssen, animation, 4 min, Netherlands, 2018
Everyone will die one day, but everyone feels different about it. ‘Second Floor’ is a non-narrative film about the diverse associations and thoughts people have about death, all inspired by songs, poetry and real conversations with people.
A Life From Death
Tuuli Teelahti, documentary, 20 min, Finland, 2017
In a hospice, every day is somebody’s last day alive. The sheets are changed, and someone else brought in to die. Before the end, hands are held, and there is time for coffee. And for some of us, all this dying is just the usual everyday life.
Stray Cat Ah Q
Mulan Fu, animation, 6 min, USA, 2019
A chance encounter between a stray cat and a young girl becomes a lifelong friendship able to withstand distance and time.
School: New York University
Milena Aboyan, fiction, 34 min, Germany, 2019
The retiree Gretel Lotz nests herself into an unsuspecting family. In order to escape her lonely and isolated life, she pretends to be “Aunt Gretel”, a distant relative,
School: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Ivan Grgur, documentary, 6 min, Croatia, 2019
How many times can you die of fear before you’re probably dead?
This short documentary answers the question by trying to visually bring the spectator closer to the surreal world in which his protagonists live. A kind of introduction to google hypochondria for beginners: from the first self-diagnosis, through the struggle with the doctors until certain deaths. Protagonists who are angry that they can not get official confirmation for their own assumptions, hunting for disease becomes a disease itself. A film that runs on a thin line between tragedy and comedy.
School: Restart Zagreb
Is where I come from written on my forehead? Can I forget my roots? Do I need to belong somewhere or to someone, and why should that be so important? We often don’t know if it’s harder to stay or leave, if we are looking for home or running away from it. We secretly hope that there is a place where we will blossom…
We are constantly expected to adapt, to accept, to label who we are, or to reinvent ourselves, find ourselves and our little piece of heaven. Places, time and people mark our destinies, and often while migrating we travel personally, intimately. Meanwhile, there is a hidden flame of nostalgia flickering inside us; we get homesick, although maybe we still haven’t figured out where home is.
As Far As Our Feet Takes Us
Renata Lučić, documentary, 35 min, Croatia, 2018
Director’s mother Vesna is in her late 40s. For the last seven years she has been living and working in Germany. Vesna rarely talks about herself, and when she does, her thoughts and attitudes remain hidden. Her life seems stable and monotonous, but she actually has another side. Through an autobiographical video diary, the author documents the moments that reveal the secret that mother and daughter carry with them.
School: Academy of Dramatic Art Zagreb
Grow up to be a Little Tree
Noemi Ribić, animation, 5 min, Croatia, 2019
A newcomer is beginning to settle in a little town with six other neighbours. Vegetation is scarce, but everyone is trying to grow their own tree. The new stranger is trying too hard, though, and she is met with the disapproval of her neighbours…
School: Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb
Azedine Kasri, fiction, Algeria/France, 26 min, 2018
The film follows Brahim, an Algerian mechanic living in France who dreams to travel to the US with his son. While trying to obtain a French passport, he gets in trouble with the police and has to hide in the Algerian community of Paris. There he begins an identity quest.
School: La Fémis, PSL, Paris
Janne Janssens, animation, 5 min, Belgium, 2018
Guus has a label. Wearing this label weights on him. Every day he has to endure severe bullying. During playtime he is always sitting alone on the same bench. Until one day a girl sits down next to him on the bench and shares her secret.
School: LUCA School of Arts Brussels
The Place I am Writing you Letters From
Nikolina Bogdanović, documentary, 9 min, Croatia, 2018
In the 1950s grandmother’s sister moved with her husband to Germany. The photos they send document their new life in the West.
School: Restart Zagreb
During childhood we build our lives around family relations, and when we grow up we create our own relationships. But the illusion of a newly acquired freedom is burdened by heritage that we carry with us and within us – sometimes good, sometimes bad, usually somewhere in between. Once created, family bonds are hard to unravel, because something always pulls you back.
How much do we own our parents, how to move on and beat our own path, how much do endings and new beginnings hurt, how to leave a safe harbour, and how to sail away from one that is not, how to deal with nostalgia that sometimes just won’t go away?
He Pulls His Truck
Proskurin Kirill, fiction, 24 min, Russia, 2019
An eight-year-old boy Lyosha is hiding from the older kids in an abandoned building where he bumps into a toy truck locked behind bars. He decides to get it.
School: Moscow Film School
Noy Bar, Yoav Aluf, Hila Einy, animation, 7 min, Israel, 2018
A crisis in a young woman’s life forces her to return to her parents’ home. Her reappearance shakes the delicate balance in the family nest.
Jan Bujnowski, documentary, 26 min, Poland, 2018
A lonely 55-year-old street artist from Poland lives in London. His parents decide to visit their son after many years of separation. A man wants to take advantage of the chance to resolve an old conflict with his father, not realizing that the real problem is much deeper.
Anna Ottlik, animation, 8 min, Hungary, 2018
The film depicts the morning routine of a man, memories seeping into the present moments, remembering his childhood and his father.
Dog Days of Summer
Nikola Stojanović, fiction, 20 min, Serbia, 2019
A teenage girl, bursting with lust for life, is moving to California, leaving behind everything she ever loved. In a dying, working class hometown in Serbia, she spends her last day with two childhood friends. Abandoned places bring up memories of a wild childhood, two boys are torn by the love for the same girl.