In just a few days Rostock’s own film festival will take place yet again. Since the Covid19 outbreak, everyone even just slightly interested in the youth short film festival had been worried that it could not happen for the first time since it first took place in 2004. After initial concerns, the festival team has come to the decision that instead of taking place at our local independent cinema the Li.Wu (which mainly shows films you cannot find in a big chain cinema), the M.A.U. Club (which is used for concerts, night clubbing, etc.), and some other locations around the city, it will be moved online.
The first time I went to watch some short films at FiSH was in my fist year of university here in Rostock; I went with a friend of mine, and it was quite a different experience than going to a cinema chain like Cinestar to watch a highly and expensively produced blockbuster. It was different because the short films that are shown at the festival are productions by young people, that for the most part do not have a production company behind them, and the films are made throughout their studies at a film university, or just by kids on their phone just for fun; so you will find some professional films as well as homemade videos, animations, and much more. However, what makes the experience at the festival so unique is that many of the filmmakers are usually there and give interviews on stage and you can interact with them after their film has been shown.
Last semester I was taking part in a practical media studies seminar, and as a result of this I was able to secure an internship at the festival. Being part of the festival team was interesting because it gave me a lot of insights into the planning of such an event. Due to the Covid19 outbreak, we decided to make three short film blocks available via the video platform Vimeo that can be accessed for 2€ each. The films shown are mainly from students from all over Germany, but there are also some so-called Baltic OffShorts, meaning films made from students from countries on the shores of the Baltic Sea (and Norway, for that matter). Since it is important to the festival team to still preserve this unique festival feeling, that you can arguably only truly get from actually going to it, they will attempt to create this with a livestream opening ceremony and an award ceremony at the end of the week, while also putting out jury statements, Q&As and interviews with the film makers online that can be watched after each film on Vimeo. They are very much encouraging a conversation between film makers, professionals in the field, and the general public that is just there to enjoy a few good films, all of which have subtitles in English. For now, let’s try to make the most of this situation, support a local film festival and take a wee break off of Netflix. I promise it will be good.