36th International Short Film Festival Berlin 2020
11 November - 13 December 2020

International Competition

Berlin-Brandenburg Short Award - TARANG / LIFE'S PEDAL

The most striking quality of this film is its candid, blunt and sincere storytelling in which all film departments are equally important. From the first scene on, it captures the audience: inviting us into the character's realities instead of judging them. You seem to forget you are watching a short film and think you are watching a documentary - the reality of the film makes you feel like a fly on the wall, but there is no wall to hide behind.

The Berlin-Brandenburg Short Award – Best Film –  with a 6000 € cash prize donated by Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg – goes to Tarang/Life´s Pedal by Arvin Kadiboy Belarmino, Philippines.


This Film had an important presence on this year’s film selection. It is fun, bright and remarkable, with all departments working brilliantly together to give life to a sweet story with a fantastic leading role; a character that you  simply can’t stop watching. She invites us into her life and makes us watch, laugh and reflect about her magic journey of being born again, and if that’s not enough, it has literally a happy ending.

The Award for Best Live Action in the International Competition – worth 3000 € in cash, donated by 25p *cine support  – goes to The birth of Valerie Venus by Sarah Clift, from England and Mexico

Best Animation - DCERA / DAUGHTER

This film suggestively uses an original animation style to express complicated emotional states between father and daughter. The integration of the bird with its inherent symbolism makes it seem almost like a third figure and completes the film. It is a film about love, unfulfilled expectations and reconciliation.

The Award for Best Animation in the International Competition – with a 3000 € cash prize sponsored by SAE Institute - goes to Dcera/Daughter by Daria Kashcheeva, Czech Republic.

Best Cinematography - DA YIE / GOOD NIGHT

In this movie, the  camera becomes another character, a very tender, invisible observer. We discover the perspectives of two child heroes in a very harsh reality. It keeps a visually beautiful balance between light and darkness and invites the audience to see the story from within and not from the outside. 

The Award for Best Cinematography in the International Competition, comes with a prize of post production valued at 5000 €, donated by D-Facto Motion, goes to Da Yie/Good Night by Anthony Nti, Belgium.

Best Sound Design - KANYA

This short film specifically dazzled us with its soundtrack. It is  like a poem about the relationship of the main character to herself and the outer world. This is wonderfully reflected in the sound design which "plays" with time, sounds, silences and suspensions. It literally "breathes" with the character's feelings, thoughts and perceptions.

The Award in the International Competition for Best Sound Design – with the prize of an Ableton Live 10 Suite, valued at 600 €, donated by Ableton, goes to Kanya by Apoorva Satish from Check Republic and India. 

Honorary Mentions in the International Competition

This is an unusual film, with a unique story, that stands for itself. It keeps the audience hooked with its unexpected twists and turns and the way it plays with gender roles and the concepts of fiction and reality. We were hooked the whole time, please keep making films! The special mention in the International Competition goes to GRAB THEM by Morgane Dziurla-Petit, Sweden.

This story is a fascinating clash of two different strategies. It reveals a non-obvious second bottom. The dynamic rhythm of the story keeps our attention until the very surprising end. We honour the great acting, the script, the tempo and the camera perspective as it is always in motion and gives insight into a setting full of emotional depth. The special mention in the International Competition goes to ANJA by Benő Baranyi, Hungary.

Confrontations Competition


The film projects many layers of oppression to which young girls might be exposed in a patriarchal-conservative society; a 15-year-old girl impresses with her shy but strong appearance in an environment of concealment and repression. "Baran", played by "Ghazal Shojaee", is abandoned by her mother, sexually abused by her father. She tries to escape from her reality, a society full of perpetrators that forces her to keep her heavy secret.

The 1st award in the Confrontations Competition: Human Rights Films goes to Be Hichkas Nagoo / Don't Tell Anyone by Sahar Sotoodeh, Iran, a prize worth 2.000 €, granted with the support of the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

2nd prize - ANJA

This film doesn’t limit itself to decry human rights abuses; as a profoundly humanistic film it challenges us to reflect upon moral dilemmas, refraining from offering easy explanations. Its strength lays in its narrative and realistic settings, entangling the spectator in a tightly told story, as a young trainee of a rural hospital chooses to take sides with marginalized, local communities.

For its catchy narrative and its nuanced ethical perspective and for reminding us that the often overlooked ordeal of Sinti and Roma people in Europe is not over, we have chosen to award the 2nd prize in the Confrontations Competition: Human Rights Films to Anja by Benő Barany, Hungary, a prize worth 1.000 € by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Honorary mentions in the Confrontations Competition - Human Rights Films

A laudatory mention receives Partir en poussière "Turning to dust" by Hüseyin Aydin Gürsoy, France. Here it is impressively shown how a family wants to escape its lack of prospects and its existential need. Especially the actress Emine Meyre delivers scenes that remain in the memory for a long time. She plays the film’s main character, a tragic heroine taking on both patriarchy and capitalist countries exploitation of their defenseless non-citizens.

A laudatory mention receives Freedom is Mine by Mahmoud Salameh, France, for the character who turns from a freedom seeker to be held in a detention center like a criminal or potential of one, the refugee decided to grab his freedom with his hands, and not allowing the circumstances to steal it from him dealing with the topics of refugee, migration laws and humanity.

German Competition


A historical narrative treating recent history that unfortunately remains just as relevant in our present day. Calm and observant camerawork and sensitive performances make the film something very special. In an atmospheric manner, the absurdity of man-made borders is placed at the centre of our attention. An inner-German story, one in which the speechlessness of the protagonists becomes impossible to ignore. Clear and without pathos, a chance encounter between two men triggers a realisation that differences believed irreconcilable are not really that large at all. 

Congratulations for 1st Prize in the German Competition, sponsored by D-Facto Motion and featuring a post-production package valued at 5,000 €, go to Joana Vogdt for her film “Fluid Border”, Germany.


The poetic film images for this microcosm to which the audience is transported are almost too beautiful. The alienation of the external world is represented by a weak sound signal, which nevertheless sustains the connection. The striking thing about this film is the warmth with which the filmmaker intuitively never exposes his subjects but instead enables a genuine connection to be established with the film’s protagonists. Some of the enigmas here are quite consciously left unresolved, while glimmers of hope are reflected in the luminous night-time reflections of the big city.

2nd Prize in the German Competition, featuring an equipment rental package from 25p cine support valued at 2,500 €, goes to Ben Voit for “Night Upon Kepler 452b”, Germany. Congratulations!

FBW-Sonderpreis zur Förderung des besonderen Kurzfilms / Kinderkurzfilms - IN DEN BINSEN / RUSHES

In only 6 minutes, this film manages, thanks to its precise observation of two diametrically opposed life concepts, to create a whole world of insurmountable interpersonal barriers, only to bring them crashing to the ground with a single sentence. With unexpected levity and the courage to leave all prejudicial notions behind, the film manages to embolden the viewer and foster the hope that the awfulness we expect doesn’t always materialise in the end.

The FBW Award in the German Competition goes to Clara von Arnim for her wonderful film “Rushes”, Germany. Congratulations!

Honorary Mention in the German Competition - WOCHENBETT / POSTPARTUM

Colourful, minimalist and full of humour, this film depicts a place where love, pain and worry become one, and where there is no room for perfectionism. In funny and clear images, the filmmaker encourages viewers to liberate themselves from expectations imposed by the outside world, and to trust themselves. We would like to express this special acknowledgement of Henriette Rietz, whose animated film “Postpartum”, Germany, provides a glimpse into the reality of the postpartum period in such an emancipating and liberating fashion and reminds us that, for a child, a loving mother is perfectly complete just the way she is.


Documentary Competition

Best Documentary - 1 A.M. IN HONG KONG

“1 a.m. in Hong Kong” is a poetic journey through the night of Covid-19 through the eyes of a young woman. With great precision, this moving snapshot captures the feeling of what it is to be alive in the here and now all around the world. The filmmaker starts off with personal questions for those souls lost in the night, then ramps things up visually and dramaturgically in a wonderful manner, before finally climaxing in a grand universal image: even the night is only a phase, closely followed by the next day.

We have chosen to award the 1st prize in the Documentary Competition worth 1.000 € by fritz-cola to Yiling Zhang for the film “1 a.m. in Hong Kong”, China. through the eyes of a young woman Our film is a personal reflection and an outside point of view of the nights of HK.We are observers not participants.

Honorary Mention in the Documentary Competition - JUST A GUY

In “Just a Guy”, three women give us insight into their feelings, obsessions and their fascination for one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century, who is awaiting execution on death row. Director Shoko Hara manages to pull off this difficult cinematic rapprochement not only with the masterful imagery of her chosen stop-motion documentary format – she also approaches her subjects on an equal footing, becoming a part of this unsettling film herself.

Our Honorary Mention goes to JUST A GUY by Shoko Hara, Germany. Congratulations!