Last week, Usva hosted the Flicks international student short film festival – quite a long and complicated name, as the host of the show got to experience himself a few times. But what is most important about it: all movies were made by students from all around the world. There were contributions from Senegal, Israel, Germany, the USA, China, Russia, Serbia and I could go on like this for a while. The point is: the festival was colourful, diverse and multicultural. It did not matter if the movies had a budget of 2m euros, perfect cinematography and sound or an overall academy award – worthy performance. No, this festival is about authenticity and fun. It is so nice to be able to see how much passion and hard work was put in these projects. It was incredible to see how subtle, multi-leveled and thought-through they were. Even more so if you remember that all of it was made by students like you and me. Which was also a bit intimidating when you I realised that I am a very uncreative person that would have never been able to come up with something like this. But anyway, I mean, there need to be those people that just simply watch and enjoy those movies. Which me and my friends clearly did.
What I personally, as a student of languages, liked most about all of the movies was the linguistic diversity. Some were in French, some in Russian, others in Hebrew, Arabic or Polish. I found it fascinating to see all these different languages and cultures presented through these film projects. This is what made this whole festival so authentic and diverse. It was not just polished, superficial, pretend-cosmopolitan Hollywood movies we mostly see that all treat more or less the same subjects. These movies were dealing with such different topics and themes that it is hard to recount all of them. Surely, there were some recurrent, typical themes such as love, friendship or growing up but they were incorporated in the stories in an interesting and special way. The theme “love” for example – here I remember one movie in particular: A women, insecure and desperate for being loved, seeks for this reassurance in her mentally disabled brother as her husband is oftentimes out travelling for his job. The movie explores this struggle between insecurity, self-doubt and constant quest for love. Another movie I particularly remember dealt with friendship, love, growing up – all these themes – but through the eyes of a coin that recounts the story of its life as he travels from hand to hand. Other movies treated the issue of suicide in a surprising nonchalant and funny way or showed how a pickpocket and its victim become friends. The movie that won the jury award in the end explored the story of a translator working for the police. With his help, the police could get hold of a refugee woman in order to send her back. Staying behind with feelings of remorse, he discovers that the woman brought a baby which is now left alone. The viewer gets drawn into two dilemmas: the translator and his boyfriend not knowing if they should return the baby and the woman wanting to live a better life than she would back in Africa. It was, admittedly an awesome movie. I am a rather cold-hearted person but even I was deeply moved by this movie (well, the insanely cute baby was probably the main reason for this to happen…); and speaking of this – it is fascinating how movies that last no longer than 20min can manage to drag you into the narrative and get you thinking more than some 90min ones.
To be honest, however, by far not all of them were as good as the final collection we got to see. The Flicks Committee had to work their way through 550 submissions – some of them made you really doubt the reason and sanity of humankind. So, just a short shoutout to them: you did an awesome job with selecting the movies, organising the festival and not getting a mental breakdown!
To come to a conclusion now – the festival is an awesome thing and it is really, really worth going (I am sure there will be another one next year). I really enjoyed myself (especially after noticing that there are free snacks) and judging from what I heard around me: I was not the only one.
Article by Charlotte Kansy
Photos by the Usva mediateam