Fading, 18:00

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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?

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Second Floor

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.

School: Academy for Arts and Design St. Joost, ‘s-Hertogenbosch

A Life From Death

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.

School: ELO Film School, Aalto University

Stray Cat Ah Q

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

Gretel's Trick

Gretel’s Trick

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

Probably dead

Probably dead

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

Meanwhile, 19:30

STIFF2019 Day 4 - Meanwhile

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

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

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

Best fiction - Territories, Azedine Kasri, Algeria/France, 2018

Territories

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

My Label

My Label

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

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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

Equilibrium, 21:00

Equilibrium

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

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

Homesick

Homesick

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.

School: Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem

Time machine

Time machine

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.

School: The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź

Prime numbers

Prime numbers

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.

School: Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest

Dog Days of Summer

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.

School: Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade