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world of shorts

visegrad shorts on tour

a shortfilm magazine published by - the european shortfilm centre


WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 1

This project is realised with the kind support of the Visegrad Fund.

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content 7 - the rebirth of a website

a sponsor - an interview with 20 Not Hungarian producer Ferenc Pusztai


Natural born talents? The shorts of Szabó and Polanski


Visegrad Shorts on Tour: introducing the filmmakers


The Beauty of the Long Distance Runner - an interview with Ivana Laučíková


The Visegrad Exchange Forum - defending animated films


The International Kino Movement: the sky is their limit

short film festivals in 36 European 2012 - your festival agenda

illustration: Álvaro Lope Morales Quevedo

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editorial text: Dániel Deák illustration: Álvaro Lope Morales Quevedo

When we founded, a short film sharing website, we wanted to create an entirely international project - we believed that the Internet didn’t know any boundaries. And it was as true then as it is true now. In order to be successful worldwide, however, you need to find your local identity. And if you are lucky, you have a few different ones. For instance, at first we defined ourselves as European, as it’s stated in our name: The European Short Film Centre.

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editorial Then, slowly but surely, we found our Central European identity too. As the Nordic countries make up Scandinavia - which is now an extremely vivid and successful cultural and economical alliance - we thought ‘why shouldn’t we do something similar here, in the very heart of Europe?’. We already have a flagship, the Visegrad Group - comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. There is still a lot to dream about, but last autumn we really felt the need to do something about this idea, and made our first step towards creating a cultural alliance in the region. We had to stay on our field, so we aimed to foster the collaboration of cinema and culture. That is why we launched our project Visegrad Shorts on Tour - with the help of the Visegrad Fund and the MEDIA Programme of the EU (being both European and Visegradian, by definition.) Visegrad Shorts on Tour is a travelling short film festival, introducing the most innovative short films from the region, made by young people under 35. The festival aims to help emerging young filmmakers in showcasing their work to a wider audience, and getting feedback and networking opportunities. On the other hand, it helps the audience too, in finding and discovering a new way of entertainment: short films. The number of applications we received for the first Visegrad Shorts on Tour project - over 120 films have been sent in - proves to us that there is a demand for these kind of initiatives. From the 120 works, our jury has chosen six, which are now travelling around the four countries between 12th and 17th of April, together with their directors.

One of them will be the winner of the Visegrad Short Film Award - and can take home the 1000 euro prize. We teamed up with the Krakow Film Foundation, Kino Praha, Ishorts and OZ to organise local events in the four cities: Krakow, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. An occasion like this is definitely a wonderful opportunity for the selected filmmakers to get to know each other, which is the first step on the way to fruitful collaboration. To take the second step too, we are organising a conference in Budapest to get the thoughts and ideas of industry professionals about how to co-produce, co-promote films in the region. It’s no secret that we would love to see an organisation of young Visegrad filmmakers - let’s talk about further details in Budapest! At the end of the tour, everybody goes home - too. It’s not as sad as it sounds, because the home of Daazo is the Internet, which means that all Visegrad Shorts films screened at the event can be watched online, along with the 120 films submitted to the project, competing for the audience award of Visegrad Shorts on Tour. We hope that this Shorts on Tour will be the first edition of an annual series - and a symbolic cornerstone for a new Visegrad (Short) Film Culture.

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daazo news Earlier this year - after a long development process - we proudly released the new version of Our aim was to create a platform for sharing and celebrating short films. According to the first feedbacks, with its fresh, new design and up-to-date technical solutions, is now one of the most relevant hubs for short film makers and film lovers. For filmmakers, we offer full HD uploading, a killer HTML5 player (with a crew and festivals info section for your film) and an optional password protected mode.

In recent years, we have had channels based, for example, on the Berlinale Short Film Programme and we presented oeuvres of award-winning master directors like Kornél Mundruczó or Ferenc Cakó to name but a few. Just like most of the website’s films, Daazo. com channels are also available on iPhone and Samsung Smart Hub so you can watch these film collections almost anywhere you want, whether on a long journey or just at home, looking for TV-programme alternatives. More applications (Android and iPad among others) are coming later this year. is always there for you, providing a vivid community of filmmakers and a colourful spectrum of European short films to entertain you.

You are invited to submit your films to weekly challenges, like funky mini-competitions to gather films around a certain topic or a motive. You can literally challenge other filmmakers, get feedback, and if you win, your film will be presented amongst the featured films of Daazo. com, or even promoted to our Facebook community. Have you done the best-ever long shot in your film? The best use of black and white? Besides the website we have another misThere are so many assion: to create pects of filmmaking; we the media platare not looking for perform that short fect films, but for a new films deserve. and fresh approach. So we carry on publishing While challenges are World of Shorts mostly judged by the magazine filmmaker community, hopefully you contests are something didn’t miss the text: Dániel Deák, Zoltán Aprily more serious. Similar previous edito the Visegrad Shorts tions, (if yes, on Tour, many contests never mind, all will follow this year issues are availwith valuable prizes able here: issuu. and distinguished jury com/daazo), members. Contests are usually supported by our Also, the next issues of the magazine will partners and offer a chance to get in touch with be available at the Cannes Film Festival and the professional film industry. at the Sarejevo IFF. Don’t miss anything: connect your Facebook account to Daazo. For film lovers, offers unique films com and you will be updated on all these and channels updated weekly. Channels are usu- projects. ally collections of short films on certain topics.

- the rebirth

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Natural born talents?

The shorts of Szabó and Polanski text: Zsolt Gyenge illustration: Cristina Groşan

The persisting romantic idea of the “genius” makes us think that the „thing” that leads someone to great achievements and especially memorable works of art cannot be learnt. There has to be something, which we usually tend to call talent, that lies beneath all the studies and experiences, and which differentiates the hardworking mediocrity from the genius. And if this were true, we should be able to find the traces of this genius even in someone’s earliest works. This is why we have decided to research the early shorts of two great masters of the same generation from the Visegrád countries to find out if they are just well trained craftsmen or natural born talents. As a defining principle for “genius” we’ve chosen two directors who got an Academy Award later in their career.

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Watching István Szabó’s early shorts, what we notice at first glance is a very fresh, playful approach to filmmaking and a self-reflexive use of the filmic form. “Please, make a drawing of me” – says the beautiful young girl to the unseen male protagonist (clearly the director’s alter ego), but he refuses the request, saying that he can only see images that move, and that movement is also the essence of the girl. This typically youngish ars poetica, this artistic statement at the beginning of You (Te, 1963) in one of his earliest works shows a very enthusiastic young filmmaker, who strongly believes in the expressive power of cinema and in his capability to make good use of it. This 10 minute film also showcases a clear influence of the French New Wave: the jump cuts of the girl wandering around in the city, the presentation of her moods by very short takes organized in flat spaces often remind us of Godard’s Vivre sa vie, which was presented just one year before Szabó’s film. Thematically, Szabó’s early works – not so much the above mentioned You – already show one of the main subjects of his later films: the mechanisms of power and its effect on society. Several of his shorts deal in a very subtle way with the experience of the war, and especially the memory and the representation of this experience. The contrasting combination of playful music (viennese waltz, soul, and cabaret music of the ‘30s) and tragic images of war or postwar times make his Piety (Kegyelet, 1967 – shot one year after his first feature) a disturbing film, where we never know what we should take seriously.

The strong political content can also be spotted in his very early Variations on a Theme (Variácók egy témára, 1961), where the chapters entitled “Objectively”, “Shocked” and “Screaming” offer a sarcastic and almost absurd view on the memory of the war. Whilst the chapter titles suggest a growing emotional involvement from the beginning to the end of the film, the images present a completely different attitude: at the beginning we see the war on archive footage, but in the last chapter (“ Screaming”) we just see middle-class people drinking coffee and tea and enjoying the sun on a downtown terrace. The use of contrast between the different layers of the cinematic form (sound, image, text, etc.) can be considered Szabó’s trademark in these great early works. In conclusion, it appears that Szabó has been a self-conscious artist from the very beginning; one who knows very well that what he does is an aesthetic as well as a political act at the same time. Though sometimes we can see some playful moments in his short films, he is mostly very mature regarding both form and content.

Besides the music, this confusing feeling is created by the fact that several times he makes clear that we are only watching the re-enactment of some historical events; the march of the laughing Jews among the guns of Hungarian and German István Szabó, You (1961) policemen towards the Danube is bizarre, especially because we can see the camera and behind it the young director several times.

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critical thinking The young Polanski had a completely different approach to filmmaking. His early short films represent a field of experimentation, where he tries out many stylistic and thematic issues that reappear in his later work. These movies are much less polished than those of Szabó, there are many bugs which show that we are not dealing with an experienced filmmaker. Lust, aggression and the unstable, unreliable character of the human psyche are the main subjects which are dealt with in these shorts (as, of course, in his feature films produced later). His second film of not entirely 2 minutes long is a true Polanskian moment: a middle aged man is leaving his house on the stairs when by accident he notices a naked woman washing her hair (so she is not able to see that she is observed) through a small window. A Toothful Smile presents a typical voyeuristic situation, where the pleasure of the lustful voyeur lasts until he can stay unnoticed. Besides hidden desires and the powerful attraction of the forbidden – which are important elements of Polanki’s oeuvre – in his early shorts, we can also often see the study of aggression. In both Break Up the Dance (Rozbijemy zabawe, 1957) and in Two Men and a Wardrobe (Dwaj ludzie z szafa, 1958) we can see a gang of young people who attack other people seemingly for no reason; it seems that it is very important for Polanski to understand the aggressive side of human behaviour. Aggression is often exaggerated to the point of horror – another important element of his later films –, as in the latter film where the young gang kills a cat with stones and then one of them throws it in the face of the protagonists. Another kind of horror is revealed in the short called The Lamp (Lampa, 1959) where we can see a man fabricating dolls manually, but never really succeeding. A series of ugly, damaged, distorted dolls are shown in detail, before everything burns down.

Roman Polanski, Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) Another interesting characteristic of Polanski’s early films is a strong presence of the grotesque, which might originate from the avant-garde tendencies of the Polish theatre in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Funny, aimless characters perform strange actions which have no sense, and their only role is to generate reactions from the “normal” people surrounding them. Often these grotesque moments are presented with the tools of burlesque – this is very clear, especially in his visually very special Mammals (Ssaki, 1962). Our conclusion here is that Polanski seems less mature in his first filmmaking attempts than Szabó. He appears to be experimenting all the time: he does things that are unusual, he searches subjects that are important for him, and he tries to find different ways to express them, without paying too much attention to elaboration. And if he tackles some political issues (like the relation of the poor and the rich), he deals with them on a much more individual level than his Hungarian contemporary. It is clear that while Szabó tries to learn serious filmmaking, Polanski has much less respect towards cinema itself and somehow looks to break the boundaries.

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Life in Stills, dir. Tamar Tal

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‘POLISH SHORTS’ GOES WORLDWIDE The idea of bringing to life POLISH SHORTS – devoted entirely to the promotion of Polish short films abroad came to light at the beginning of 2008 as a continuation of POLISH DOCS programme that Krakow Film Foundation launched in the middle of 2007. The project initiated nearly four years ago for the past years has been covering the complex festival promotion of around 200 short films produced in Poland after 2006. From its origins POLISH SHORTS is continuously supported by Polish Film Institute.


The production of short films in Poland has flourished significantly over the last ten years. Nowadays the majority of short films produced in the country comes from filmschools – long established institutions such as Polish National Film School in Łódź and Radio and Television Department of the University of Silesia in Katowice or those set up recently such as Wajda School that maintain the very same high craft and storytelling qualities in every film made. Another efficient producer is Munk Studio founded to focus exclusively on producing directorial debut, art‑house documentaries, fiction and animated films. With such a large and quality production, the need of showing Polish films abroad came up as an insistent necessity. The origins of POLISH SHORTS reach year 2003 when Krakow Film Foundation was set up with the purpose of assuring the stable development to Krakow Film Festival – the oldest and the biggest international film festival in Poland aimed at screening short and documentary films that this year will celebrate its 52nd edition. Thanks to many professional contacts made, in 2007 it expanded through the creation of a film promotion agency helping filmmakers and producers to make their first appearances at international festivals. The first project carried out by POLISH SHORTS was organizing a Polish national stand at Clermont‑Ferrand Short Film Market in 2008, that since then is being organized every year. The agency now runs three main programmes POLISH DOCS, POLISH SHORTS and POLISH ANIMATIONS basing on number of activities related to festival and market distribution.

POLISH SHORTS aims at promoting the best films by young, talented and educated filmmakers who are now on the eve of their feature length debut. The experience they are building by participating in international festivals and meeting film profes‑ sionals from many countries will surely pay off in the future and will be helpful for their professional career. Through the complex festivals’ promotion service POLISH SHORTS marks the most important spots on the international festival’s map and introduces young filmmakers and producers to the international short film milieu. Barbara Orlicz‑Szczypuła – the vice president of Krakow Film Foundation says: ‘The promotion for many Polish shorts begins at Krakow Film Festival, that is undoubtedly very important development factor to the POLISH SHORTS project. It is festival itself that helps short films to start their worldwide festival tournée as international guests visiting Krakow are given here the chance of watching the latest Polish films, meeting both filmmakers and producers’. She concludes ‘We are very glad that different fields of our activities keep on interweaving’. ‘For me working in the field of promotion of short cinema abroad is more a pleasure than it is work. Numerous successes that Polish films celebrate abroad make up for all the effort and difficulties involved in everyday work‘ – says Katarzyna Wilk, the initiator of the programme. Every year POLISH SHORTS screens documentary, fiction and animated films at around 230 festivals worldwide. Last year proved to be particularly fortunate for Polish films as from all the 760 international festival screenings more than 550 were the competitive ones. ‘The total outcome of the awards presented to Polish short films in 2011 was 145’ – says Wilk. With so many quality films produced in Poland we are now keeping our fingers crossed for more successes in the future! Zofia Ścisłowska – POLISH SHORTS coordinator

all you need to know about Polish short film

The beauty of the long distance runner text: Michal Klembara, Juraj Kovalčík illustration: stills from Posledný autobus (The Last Bus), by Ivana Laučíková & Martin Snopek

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Ivana Laučíková (1977) is a Slovak animated film director, producer, university lecturer and editor in chief of the animated film journal Homo Felix. June 2011 saw the release of Posledný autobus (The Last Bus), a short film she produced and co-directed with Martin Snopek. Today, the film is enjoying a successful run on the international festival circuit: it has won the Animateka festival in Slovenia, Ljubljana and was awarded a Youth Jury Prize at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. The Grand Prix at the Tampere Film Festival (7. - 11. 3. 2012) is the latest great news. Due to the award, the film will also be considered for an Oscar in the short film category. The Grand Prix at the Tampere Film Festival is another award for The Last Bus from one of the most important short film festivals in the world. How do you feel about it? My team and I are very happy. The Last Bus was made under tough conditions, production was marred with troubles and outsiders’ scepticism right up to the last moment. Great festival awards prove for us that we have believed in the right thing and give us satisfaction. Can you tell us more about the troubles you experienced during production? How long did you work on the film? Most of our troubles had to do with our chosen shooting method. Martin Snopek came up with a story, where live actors would act in animal masks and would be photographed like stop motion puppets by pixilation, frame by frame. Since it was an exterior shooting with rough autumn weather and there would occasionally be up to 12 actors on the spot, this proved to be impossible. So we changed a few things: we photographed motion with the camera, but in series, 3 frames per second. The actors moved very slowly, but they didn’t halt after every shot. There was a lot of discomfort during shooting, but the trouble was also that nobody from the institutions that supported us financially trusted in this mode of shooting.

In the midst of the production they expressed their doubts and said that they thought we were making a home-video. The production stretched for almost 5 years. What was the most important reason for stretching the production? The typical model for financial support of cinematography in other countries is that the financial backers first support development, then production (in entirety, including post-production). If an institution decides to finance a film, they allocate credit only after the whole budget, including their share, is covered. But at least when you get the support, you can be pretty much sure that you will be able to finish your movie. In Slovakia, we have to deal with partial support – first, we apply for money for development, then for preparation of shooting, then for the shooting itself and finally, for post-production. We are unable to cover the whole budget in advance. Every new phase means new applications, associated paperwork and statements of cost. And that means awful delays. If you don’t get support for one phase (this happened to us in 2008), the whole project goes to sleep for a year.

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Shouldn’t the Audiovisual Fund solve these problems - at least some of them? Have you, as a filmmaker, noticed any progress since 2010, when it was founded? The Audiovisual Fund tries to tackle these issues and when compared to previous functioning of the AudioVision programme at the Ministry of Culture, there is notable progress. For example, the support system is defined in the way I have just described. However, the sum of money it can distribute is crucial here. It is simply insufficient to cover a film production in total. Maybe producers should make the next move and find a Foreign sales agents are interested in acclaimed shorts and they can easily place compromise solution with the Fund. our films on the short film market (art Are there alternative sources of financing for Slo- channels, DVD distribution, paid-entry festivals etc.). We signed such a convak short and animated film makers? There is support for screenwriting, facilitated by tract for The Last Bus. This way we can the Literary Fund. In comparison to actual costs achieve better financial returns that help of realization it is a negligible fraction, but it can us in starting new projects. help in the beginning. There is no other standard and stable patron of animated shorts here. Recently, the public Slovak Television has resurrected its funding of TV shows, but not standalone shorts.

Could the achievements of The Last Bus and other shorts bring support from foreign TV networks and co-productions? The first short we produced was Štyri (Four) by Ivana Šebestová. She received some awards for it, too and we managed to sell it to foreign TVs and for cinema distribution, so we gathered some resources that helped us in getting her new film under way. After Four’s success we were talking with a French producer who wanted to co-produce Ivana’s new short. But he wasn’t able to accumulate support in France and our co-operation ceased. Anyway, if we are to work with foreign partners, they have to know about us and believe in our work. Festival success serves us very well there.

There was a lot of discomfort during shooting, but the trouble was also that nobody from the institutions that supported us financially trusted in this mode of shooting. In the midst of the production they expressed their doubts and said that they thought we were making a home-video. Could you introduce The Last Bus short to potential viewers? Promotional articles state that it is a short film about egoism and fear. About a borderline situation which shows the protagonists’ true characters. That is all true. Personally, I see The Last Bus as a tormentous question about how one should act when one’s own life is in danger. If we haven’t experienced such an incident, we have no right to judge, but we are obliged to think it through, to consider the ethics of decisions.

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interview The lead character of the wolf is very incongruous – he’s both a predator and an underdog, a victim. He’s both aggressive and humane, cowardly and high-principled. But that’s exactly what life is about. The torment of his situation is not in his fate, his story, or his actions. It lies in the question of who caused this desperate, life-threatening situation and why. I think it is inevitable to reopen these themes time and again. Our film refers to postwar times and to the persecution of Jews, but it is valid in any time and any unequal, unfree society.

Are you going to take the film to more international festivals and screenings? Yes, the next stop is a huge animation festival in Stuttgart. We have been picked for the main competition and nominated for the Meckatzer LenaWeiss Prize, which is awarded to films dealing with issues of humanity. Then to Regensburg, the Czech AniFest, and the non-competition section at the animation festival in Zagreb. And we’re awaiting decisions from more festivals.

So it’s quite a serious short. Is it aimed at a specific age group? Your film will be in consideration for the short film Oscar. Could this put it on the We haven’t defined an age limit. It was made rosters of American festivals? mainly for adults. It’s great that young people react strongly. Martin Snopek (co-director) was at I think so. The problem with American some high-school screenings and he had goose- festivals is that they are usually not subbumps all the time, because youngsters were sided by support funds, so application taken aback, they discussed and analyzed the film has to be paid for. Until now, we haven’t passionately. The youth jury in Clermont-Ferrand been able to afford this. After the Clerexpressed very strong emotions, too. This is re- mont-Ferrand festival we got some ofally important for me. The message can be under- fers from Canada, where they decided stood, it speaks to people, it makes them question to waive the entry fee for us. I think that things. This is why we should make films. after Tampere we will look at paid-entry festivals more enthusiastically. How did you get along with your co-director? Does the Audiovisual Fund refund these At first, Martin Snopek directed alone, I was in costs? a team as a producer. Then, during shooting I became involved as an assistant of direction and You can apply to the Fund for contriafter a while our positions levelled, and we led the bution to these costs in advance. Howpostproduction together. With such a demanding ever, experience (not mine) may vary. project it was good that there were two of us for It looks as if boards don’t appreciate the the job. relevance of short films and that these expenses are marginalized. Usually, That’s interesting. Usually, directors don’t like to they require a proof that your film has a share responsibility with other people. chance to get a “festival life”. This means that you have to participate at some fesReality always defies our expectations. tivals first, only then do they believe that the film deserves such expenses. Costs include not only the entry fee, but also media coverage, postal charges, air tickets and various other expenses.

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the international kino movement: The sky is their limit! The „Kino” movement was born in 1999 in Montreal. The idea is very simple – making short films in a limited time and with a low budget. Any filmmaker can attend and produce a short film - film students, film professionals, film enthusiast and amateurs produce their films side by side. There is no competition and no censorship. The directors are free to make any genre of film as long as they finish it in a limited amount of time – usually 36 to 72 hours and then present their completed work to the audience in public screening. Starting with the new millenium, Kino organizations spread all over the world and nowadays there are about 60 Kino groups in various cities on four continents. Once a year, these local groups organize filmmaking events called Kino Kabarets and moreover, they host regular film screenings. The biggest and most active European Kino groups are in Hamburg, Brussels, Vienna, Berlin and Paris.

text: Haruna Honcoopova collage: Francisca Pageo

The idea of Kino Kabarets is to produce films in a spontaneous way. Some directors come to the Kino Kabaret with a prepared script and only find local crew; other directors prefer to improvise on the spot, according to local conditions. Different experimental forms are produced at the Kabarets. An experienced director, Mélodie Grumberg from Kino Paname in Paris, created such an innovative format: “In Prague I organized an “Absurd” project. I got the idea shortly before the Prague’s Kabaret, in Off Courts Kabaret in Trouville. The concept is to propose 12 directors to shoot a 12 second movie each with the subject of absurdity. I put all the movies together and it makes a nice and rhythmic short movie.”

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opportunities Director Dave Lojek from Kino Berlino uses another technique: “Most of the time I arrive with a finished script or an idea which I wrote on my way. It saves so much time to already know what you want to create when you only have 2 or 3 days to make a film. It also gives the director and his team confidence, because the biggest problem of how to structure a narrative has already been solved and only needs to be filmed and edited. If I have the time to make a second or a third movie during three Kino Kabaret sessions, I may also improvise, making art-pieces, collages, poetry films, jokes, or I join other crews.” Some films produced at the Kino Kabarets are screened only for the Kino circuit groups, some are submitted to other short film festivals. “My second film which I made in Prague, called Steal, was screened at our monthly screening in Paris, which accommodates about 150 viewers and then I presented it in Kino B in Brussels. I didn’t submit the movie to festivals yet because it was the first part of a trilogy I’m currently working on. I directed the second part in October at the Kabaret in Montreal and I’m writing the third part now to shoot it in May in Vienna,” says Grumberg.

Most of the time I arrive with a finished script or an idea which I wrote on my way. It saves so much time to already know what you want to create when you only have 2 or 3 days to make a film.

But there are also new directors appearing in the Kino movement – Kristian Hrušovský, who studies film directing, experienced Kino for the first time in Prague: “I really liked collaboration with the international crew and the idea that until the very last moment you don‘t know who will like your project and join your crew. Everyone is very open minded and enthusiastic about filmmaking. I am definitely looking forward to the next Kabaret!“ Kino Praha launched the 1st International Kino Kabaret in September 2011. In Prague, 94 participants from 16 different countries made 55 short films in 1 week, divided into 3 sessions. The 2nd Kino Kabaret of Kino Praha will take place in Prague in September 2012. The date will be announced in May. Besides Kino Kabarets, Kino Praha also organizes film screenings. Currently it is helping to develop a collaborative feature film, BATESIAN, produced by Austrian kino group Kino5 in Vienna. At , you can find the list of upcoming Kino Kabarets in Europe.

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Not a sponsor

text: Anita Libor collage: Francisca Pageo

An interview with Hungarian film producer Ferenc Pusztai Ferenc Pusztai is the producer and the founder of the Hungarian production company KMH Film. Pusztai and his team are trying to provide opportunities for young and upcoming artists, which means they primarily deal with shorts and first features. Ferenc Pusztai is a member of the Ateliers du Cinema EuropĂŠen and the European Film Academy; he is a tutor at MIDPOINT Central European Script Centre. He was voted Best Producer at the Hungarian Film Week in 2010 as well as in 2011. Daazo proudly presents Mr Pusztai as the member of the international jury for the Visegrad Shorts on Tour project.

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interview What do short films mean to you as a producer? When I meet new filmmakers, it is always very important for me to find out if we can work together, whether we think alike. Short films offer this: we can try each other out, which is a crucial thing to do before embarking on a large-scale project together. It is always important to get to know the previous works of new directors, but to me, their personality and the project they want to involve me in are much more relevant. Naturally, one cannot always be certain and debutant filmmakers often mean a risk. There have been cases, where, based on the personality of the director and his previous works, we started a coproduction but we failed.

Right now, the situation of exam films in Hungary is controversial, which is a great problem: it would be crucial for every filmmaker to embark on the project of his first feature film after having made shorts in decent circumstances and of decent standards. Does making short films mean any financial advantages?

We have not made a profit with any of our short films yet - at most, we broke even. Luckily, we can invest our profit from other ventures in short films. But the situation is not all hopeless. There are film festivals where the short films How much say do you have in a joint project? in competition get paid for, and after a number of festival appearances, this I am not a director, nor am I a scriptwriter or art amount can be a significant one to rely director - but I am no sponsor, either. Having upon - of course, one needs a successful worked with a great number of debutant film- film for that! makers, it has happened many times that directors called me to say that they needed money for What opportunities do debutant filmthe shooting of their exam film that was to start makers have in the Visegrad region? the following day and would I please give them the money they needed. But that’s not how it MIDPOINT and NISI MASA are two works. I like to be involved in the development of the best organisations offering opphase from the very beginning, from the moment portunities for filmmakers in the rethe idea for a film hatches. I like to observe the gion. MIDPOINT is a two (one plus work in progress, to see where the project is go- one) week workshop, specifically aimed ing. I can only think of the project as my own if I at students and graduates living and was there at the solving of the problems too. working in Central Europe, that focuses mainly on scriptwriting. At these workWhen somebody contacts you with the plans for a shops, participants can develop their feature film and sends his previous short films as a scripts with the help of script doctors. NISI MASA’s European Short Pitch proreference - what do you primarily focus on? ject consists of a series of events too: I watch these films with great interest, because I first, the selected film ideas are develam primarily intrigued by the creator behind: I oped at scriptwriting workshops, then, have to put the filmmaker’s person into context. at the closing event, they are pitched in Fortunately, over the years I have developed an front of a panel of film professionals ability to consider each film as a whole, irrelevant that is also something that filmmakers of how much money its production might have don’t usually learn about at film school. Both programmes can be very useful to cost. emerging filmmakers. WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 21

illustration: Ă lvaro Lope Morales Quevedo

visegrad shorts on tour: introducing the filmmakers Visegrad Shorts on Tour is a travelling short film festival, introducing the most innovative short films from the region, made by young people under 35. The festival aims to help not yet established young filmmakers to showcase their work to a wider audience, get feedback and network. Visegrad Shorts on Tour will be held between 12th and 18th April in Krakow, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. Six selected directors will be travelling on the tour and present their films in each country. Here they are. Good films, fresh faces. All six of them.

the critic says:

Short films are important. Talking of short films is important too. The aim of our Visegrad Shorts on Tour project is to show everyone that shorts can be as relevant as feature films on the cultural scene. This means reviewing them properly. We believe that constructive criticism helps filmmakers to become better storytellers. So here is what our film critic, Zsolt Gyenge thinks of the six films selected to the Tour.

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WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 23


agata jagodzinska, PL Agata was born in 1986 in Poland. She graduated from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh last year, after completing her BA (Hons) in Media Studies. Until about 2 years ago she didn’t even think about making films and today she can’t think about doing anything else. This drive towards filmmaking developed from her passion for photography which she got from her father at a very young age. Her first film, “Secret of Confession”, has been recently awarded a Scottish Bafta New Talent Award for Best Script.

Tomasz Jurkiewicz, PL Tomasz was born 1981. He graduated from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, after completing his studies in Film and Media in 2005. He then studied film directing at the University of Silesia, in the Krzysztof Kieślowski Radio and Television Department (2009) and at the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing (2011). He is a screenwriter and director of shorts: Franciszek (2005), Broadcast Rehearsal (2006) Sleepwalkers (2007), Merry Christmas (2009), Grandma Has Gone (2010) If Fish Could Talk (2010) and documentaries.

Robert Hloz, CZ Robert Hloz (1989) was born in Brno, Czech Republic. He is in his third year at TBU in Zlín, studying film directing. In 2010, he studied under the guidance of director Ki-hwan Oh at Hanyang film school in South Korea, where he also worked on LG commercials. His first year final movie Negative Pressure (2009) earned awards at several international festivals and his later film The Mill won the Kodak Student Gold Award 2011 as best short film of the year. WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 24

visegrad special

László Csuja, HU László was born in Hungary in 1984. He graduated from the Academy of Film and Drama as a screenwriter in 2012. In 2010, he spent a semester at FAMU International. Before his film studies, he read dance science at the Hungarian Dance Academy. He participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2005. His short fiction Phosphorus competed at the international film festivals of Edinburgh, Tampere, Cork and Bodega Bay (US) and won the best short fiction award at the Hungarian Independent Film Festival.

Lucia Halmová, SK Lucia Halmová was born in 1982 in Martin, a small town in Slovakia. After secondary school, where she studied art and jewellery design, she travelled in Europe and India and worked as a journalist for various Slovakian magazines. Now she is in her third year, studying film and television directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Until now, she has made only a few short films. One of them, Delusion, was selected to the Slovakian Festival of student short films, Áčko last year.

michal hogenauer, CZ Michal was born in Prague in 1984. After working as a stand-in for Elijah Wood in “Everything Is Illuminated”, Michal decided to study at FAMU, from where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film directing. He spent two semesters at the photography department of the Art Academy in Norway. Currently, he is finishing his studies at FAMU. He works as programmer for the Fresh Film Fest and the Ostrava Kamera Oko. WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 25

secret of confession `

Agata Jagodzinska, Poland

synopsis A religious old woman is going through a difficult time in her life. She doesn’t gain respect from anyone and is being constantly confronted by misbehaving youngsters, therefore she decides to punish them for their terrible behaviour. She goes one step further than others and decides to do what she thinks is right. She turns her workplace into a sacred place where no pornography and no contraception are welcome. After a few quite unpleasant experiences she has had with young people, she decides to act like God. Her extreme actions bring terrible results. What matters to her now is God’s forgiveness. the critic says: A dramatic story about the mistakes that can be made by the literal application of the church’s rules to “modern” life . Dramaturgically, the film is perfectly balanced within its almost 10 minutes of running time: every event occurs at the best moment and the whole story can develop from the beginning to the end totally. This quite conventional film could have done with more freshness or innovation instead of the slight overuse of emotional music. WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 26

visegrad special

Grandma Has Gone Tomasz Jurkiewicz, Poland

synopsis Jurek, a sixteen year old country boy, has problems at vocational school – he is a permanent liar. Soon his ability to make things up becomes very useful to him. After his grandmother, who is very close to him, is taken to hospital, Jurek has to deal with his father, who is an alcoholic. the critic says: The best side of Jurkiewicz’s short fiction about a dysfunctional family is the presence of the typical Eastern European absurd in some beautiful moments (the digging workers, or the inexplicable dream about New Zealand), which make this film more than a simple story about emotions. Even if sometimes the film seems too long, I have the feeling that a little bit more patience from the authors (and thus longer shots) would have made it more powerful.

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numbers Robert Hloz, Czech Republic

synopsis Strolling the street looking for help, Nick meets a girl with the same problem. They know nothing about each other and seem to know everything about everyone else. Sometimes the less you know about others, the better. Sometimes, knowing can change your life‌ it definitely did for Nick. the critic says: The astonishing cinematography of this short shows from the first images of the opening title that this is the work of a mature filmmaker with a strong cinematic vision. The gripping visual composition is able to recreate the crowded atmosphere of an Asian metropolis in just a few seconds, and thus we are able to dive into the science-fiction situation. Interesting characters, well-paced dialogues and an emotionally engaging twist make up what can be a great beginning for a future feature film.

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visegrad special

phosphorus László Csuja, Hungary

synopsis The father wants to get rid of the dog, and his son can’t oppose him - he never could. The boy is desperate for love. Someone or something is missing. the critic says: The powerful atmosphere, the precise and dense presentation of the environment and the nicely portrayed, strong characters make this an intriguing short fiction. The depiction of economically, physically or emotionally disabled people recall the socially engaged British cinema, especially Andrea Arnold. The problems lie mainly on the side of the script, as the frame story seems overwrought and the whole film is more like the exposure of a fulllength feature.

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escape Lucia HalmovĂĄ, Slovakia

synopsis This film talks about the reality and dreams of young dancers, for whom dance means their own world full of enthusiasm and a different way of life, but it also reveals reality, which is not easy. Escaping from reality, fulfilling their dreams and confrontation with life, how it really is. the critic says: This is a naĂŻve student film about young break-dancers, who fight not only gravity while dancing, but also their parents opposing them in fulfilling their dreams. The simplistic plot involving two opposite situations (two protagonists: one rich and one poor) runs through simple generational conflicts, and the characters and dialogues are rather direct. The cinematography is beautiful enough to compensate.

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visegrad special

children watching night trains Michal Hogenauer, Czech Republic

synopsis David is a young boy who tries to pull down boundaries: boundaries between silence and noise, loneliness and sex, game and tedium. One day he meets Elisse, who is mute. Their meeting could gain them freedom, but instead, it all ends tragically. The film deals with the revolt of two youths, which stems from the feeling of being misunderstood as well as from the absence of relationships and communication. the critic says: This is a slow and low-key, but in the end over-dramatized story about uncommunicative teenagers fighting with self-discovery and desire. The rhythm of the film tries to build up tension, but the small jumps in time make us aware of the denouement too fast. The emphasis thus is on the typical teen characters, who are simply unable to cope with their emotions and human relations, and who are not willing to accept the boring “normality�. WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 31

VISEGRÁD EXCHANGE FORUM- defending animated films The International Festival of Animated Films AniFest runs the Visegrád Exchange Forum with the aim of supporting producers, new projects, talents and animation films, and to enhance the collaboration opportunities between the countries of Eastern and Western Europe. The second edition of this festival initiative will be held at the AniFest, in the Czech Republic, between 25th and 27th April 2012. “Such a platform has several different goals” - says Visegrád Exchange Forum coordinator Michal Prochazka. “First of all, we try to promote young talents, filmmakers, studios, and producers from the Visegrád countries and Eastern Europe in a better and more efficient way. The Forum offers a great opportunity for co-production meetings as international and local pro-

text: AniFest illustration: István Csekk

ducers can talk over prospects, projects and short and feature length animated films that they don’t normally have the time for at big festivals and markets like Annecy.” The Forum is partly an education initiative that tries to offer a better knowledge of how the European audiovisual market works, but also of alternative ways, outside the local film fund or TV support, of developing and financing film projects. On Friday 27th April, there will be a pitching of short film projects (or a pilot of a serial), whose authors and producers are looking for experience and feedback from international producers as well as possible co-producers.

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opinion “We are organising a meeting of producers who can share their experience of co-production projects. Their work will be demonstrated with case studies of films that have gone into production,” adds Prochazka.

There will be studio presentations and producers’ meetings as well. “Several animation studios dedicated to this traditional technique will be introduced like the Anima Prague from the Czech Republic, Animation People of JPL Luc Toutoughni from Studio Se-Ma-For will pre- Films from France, and, of course, Sesent a case study on the development of Marec Ma-For from Poland,” says Prochazka. Scrobecki’s international film Danny Boy. Vanja Andrijevič, a Croatian producer from the Bonobo With the help of Swissfilms Forum, we studio will present a case study of her film Father. have put together a panorama of conLong-time French producer Dora Benousilio temporary Swiss animation, where, from Les films de l´Arlequin will share her expe- among others, the work of Claude Barrience about working with filmmakers from East- ras will be introduced. We are also preern European countries. Finally, Tamás Liszka paring a presentation of the animation (Szimply Films) will talk about the international department of HSLU school in Luzern co-production project Egill. All case studies will and its films. be followed by a debate. Last but not least, one of the most important parts of AniFest will be a meeting of Visegrád schools of our region The Forum is partly an education (FAMU Prague, VSMU Bratislava, initiative that tries to offer a better UMPRUM Prague, Academy of Fine knowledge of how the European auarts in Krakow, Academy of Fine arts in diovisual market works, but also of Poznan, Vyšší odborná škola Zlín, UTB alternative ways, outside the local Zlín and MOME Budapest) with our film fund or TV support, of develcolleagues from abroad (KHM Cologne oping and financing film projects. and HSLU Luzern). The Forum offers a strong line-up of international professionals, producers and production companies, including Christian Pfohl from Lardux Films, Olivier Catherin from Les Trois Ours, Jean-Pierre Lemouland from JPL Films, and Florian Duval from Double Metre Animation, to mention but a few. René Chenier, producer at the National Film Board of Canada is also expected to come to the Visegrád Exchange Forum. As the next edition of AniFest is dedicated to puppet animation films, we are preparing an extensive programme on puppet animations, introducing Polish, Czech, French, Swiss and British traditions through film retrospectives and puppets.

The Forum offers a great opportunity for co-production meetings as international and local producers can talk over prospects, projects and short and feature length animated films that they don’t normally have the time for at big festivals and markets like Annecy.

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WOSH by - the European Shortfilm Centre 34


European Short Film Festivals in 2012 YOUR FESTIVAL AGENDA text: Zsuzsanna Deák, Cristina Groşan illustration: Álvaro Lope Morales Quevedo

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festival agenda JANUARY Prague Short Film Festival, Czech Republic The Prague Short Film Festival is a competitive festival of fiction short films. Its aim is to contribute to the development and promotion of artistic short films and their production. Set against an atmospheric background, this film fest is a real new year’s treat for film buffs. next year: to be announced cool! on my list for next year. FEBRUARY

NexT Film Festival, Romania NexT was created as an homage to Cristian Nemescu, the talented up-andcoming director, and his sound technician Andrei Toncu, who both tragically died in an accident during the filming of Nemescu’s first feature film California Dreamin’. This festival’s aim is to showcase international short films, and promote young filmmakers. The festival brings not only the most diverse programme of short films to Bucharest, but also organises meetings and talks with important names from the Romanian and international film industry at the most vibrant venues on the city’s cultural scene. next year: to be announced

The Berlinale, Germany One of the biggest film festivals in the world, the Berlinale has a special place in its heart for shorts. The Berlinale Shorts category features around 25 cool! on my list for next year. fresh films right out of the cinematic oven. The Berlinale also has a Talent Campus attached, a good opportunity for young filmmakers to make APRIL their first steps into the real world of film. next year: to be announced Crossing Europe Film Festival, Austria Since 2004, the Crossing Europe Film cool! on my list for next year. Festival, based in Linz, has devoted its programme to idiosyncratic, contemMARCH porary and socio-political auteur cinema from Europe. Over the six days of Festival International de Films de Fribourg, Swit- the festival, Crossing Europe presents zerland a programme with approximately 140 Each year, the FIFF presents three programmes outstanding, hand-picked films, docuof contemporary short films making their inter- mentaries and short films to the international, European or Swiss premiere, which re- national guests and the local cinema veal the new cinematographic trends and intro- audience. Crossing Europe offers an duce young talents.The work done by the FIFF in attractive and communicative platform scouting for the short film programmes enables for young filmmakers and film enthuit to take the pulse of creative trends and to cul- siasts - a festival of manageable size, tivate particular bonds with certain film-makers which centers around experiencing film or producers whose films are in the vanguard of in a relaxed atmosphere. developments in cinema. this year: April 24-29 And they’ve been at this for 32 years. Definitely going! worth a look! next year: to be announced cool! on my list for next year.

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Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany One of the oldest short film fests in the world. It’s got an International Competition, a German Competition, an International Children’s Competition and a Youth Film Competition. It also rewards the best German music videos. All in all, it launches careers. It’s a must-see festival. this year: April 26 - May 1 going! MAY Early Melons International Student Film Festival, Slovakia One of the grooviest meeting points for young European filmmakers and a base for an important multi-cultural exchange of ideas and experiences, the Early Melons project aims to encourage cultural interchange and partnership between different countries and schools. The festival is currently being restructured - its next edition will be held in Bratislava, in May, 2013. next year: to be annouced cool! on my list for next year. Krakow International Film festival, Poland The Krakow International Film Festival has an international short film competition in its programme, documentaries, and a non-competitive section. It’s got various types of awards to shower talented filmmakers with, awarded by a national and international jury of filmmakers and professional critics. this year: May 28 - June 3 going! JUNE Vienna Independent Shorts, Austria A large short film festival in Austria, they project fiction shorts, documentary shorts, and avantgarde animation shorts.

In their own description, their ‘primary task is to represent international short film to its fullest extent.’ Definitely worth it! this year: June 6-10 going! KALIBER35 Munich International Short Film Festival, Germany KALIBER35 showcases the world’s best contemporary short films in the Bavarian capital. Filmmakers with a film in competition not only have the chance to win the festival’s prestigious awards, but are also invited to go to Munich and attend master classes held by internationally renowned film professionals, participate in the Kino-Sports-Cup and visit the world-famous beer gardens of the city. this year: June 21-27 going! JULY Sarajevo IFF, Bosnia and Herzegovina SFF is the largest film festival in the Balkans and an A-list festival too! It has a competition dedicated to regional (South East European) short films, and a special “New Current Shorts” category, “a panorama of recent international creations, a subjective selection of film from all over Europe”. In co-operation with the Berlinale Film Festival they put together the Sarajevo Talent Campus, an educational and networking platform for young filmmakers. this year: July 6-14

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festival agenda New Horizons International Film Festival, Poland The biggest film festival in Poland, New Horizons is regarded as one of the most important film events in Central Europe. The festival presents uncompromising, innovative and original cinema from all over the world that explores new horizons in film language, expression and storytelling. The festival has 4 competitive sections, including a Polish as well as an European shorts competition. this year: July 19-29 going!

There is a large array of prizes to be won, from the classical “Best International Short Film” to the “Locarno short film nominee for the European Film Awards”. The Locarno Summer Academy has been organized annually since 2010, “designed for film students and for young professionals beginning their careers in cinema.” this year: August 1-11 going!

Fresh Film Fest, Czech Republic Held annually in August, it has become AUGUST one of the most attractive student film festivals in Central Europe. Showing Locarno IFF, Switzerland both feature length films and shorts, its A film festival renowned both in Europe and in programme is varied and edgy. the world, Locarno has a special category for this year: August 29 - September 2 short films, called “Pardi di Domani” (Leopards going! of Tomorrow), showcasing student films.



Vilniaus Film Shorts, Lithuania The only international and professional short film festival in Lithuania, presenting the newest short films from all over the world. Vilnius Film Shorts offers a range of short film collections, competition and special noncompetition film programmes, premiers and masterclasses. The festival focuses on short films that are of high artistic level, innovative, experimental, unseen or long-forgotten. this year: September 6-9

International Short Film Festival Berlin 2012, Germany Organized in Berlin every November, it presents around 500 films in 7 competitions. interfilm Berlin organises this festival, as well as managing the interfilm Short Film Distribution. Since 1982, they’ve been bringing shorts to the public, in all ways possible. this year: November 13-18

going! Cinefest, Hungary Held annually at the beginning of September in the city of Miskolc, in the Northern part of Hungary, Cinefest manages to attract press, filmmakers and film buffs as well. It’s got many films in its programme, and a special international competition for short films. The festival is known for its cosy, friendly atmosphere. this year: September 14-23 going! OCTOBER Warsaw Film Festival, Poland With 5 competitive sections including the Short Films and the Free Spirit Competition, noncompetitive sections, and the CentEast Market - a meeting place for professionals interested in films from Eastern Europe, described by The Hollywood Reporter as “the go-to event”, this everexpanding and exciting festival is definitely worth a visit. this year: October 12-21

going! Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland Switzerland’s greatest short film festival, Kurzfilmtage Winterthur is a fresh festival, for both short film lovers and filmmakers. Short films of all genres are screened in front of an audience of 14,500 people, every year in November. this year: November 6-12 going! DECEMBER European Film Awards Every year, the various activities of the European Film Academy culminate in the ceremony of the European Film Awards. Seventeen categories honour the greatest achievements in European cinema. There is a prize for shorts, of course! this year: in Malta, December 1 going!


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For more news on festivals, competitions, and workshops, visit

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my favourite Visegrad films:


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World of Shorts - the visegrad issue by - the European Shortfilm Centre editors in chief: Dániel Deák, Zoltán Aprily editors: Anita Libor, Zsuzsanna Deák art director: Cristina Grosan contributors: Michal Procházka, Zsolt Gyenge, Michal Klembara, Juraj Kovalcik, Francisca Pageo, István Csekk, Álvaro Lope Morales Quevedo, Haruna Honcoopova, Anita Libor, Zsuzsanna Deák, Cristina Grosan


special thanks: Citroën Hungária, Polish Institute Budapest, Slovak Institute Budapest, Haruna Honcoopová, Michal Klembara, Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła, Zofia Scisłowska, Petr Horák works from our contributors can be viewed at:

You can also find this magazine online at The World of Shorts magazine is published by Daazo Film and Media Ltd. Printed in Hungary in April 2012.

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my favourite Visegrad films:

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people I’ve met:

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This magazine was printed entirely on recycled paper. - the European Shortfilm Centre is supported by the Visegrad Fund and the MEDIA programme of the EU. This material does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the EU.

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World of Shorts -The Visegrad issue  

The "World of Shorts" brings into attention short films, young filmmakers and short film events from the biggest festivals in the world. In...

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