Short films occupy a prominent position throughout the programme. They were everywhere: part of an installation, as a short preceding a Pathé premiere and naturally there were lots of them at the Shorts headquarters LantarenVenster.

Basically, the International Film Festival Rotterdam consists of not one, but two festivals. The Shorts programme which features hundreds of films is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe, and can be viewed as a festival inside a festival. The short films have their own Tiger Awards Competition and also appear in all the other parts of the programme. Nevertheless, the highest concentration of shorts can be found at LantarenVenster which was the Shorts Headquarters again from Thursday 26 – Monday 30 January 2012. The films that were screened there varied in length from just under a minute to 59 minutes in length.

Alongside their duration, the films also varied wildly in subject, technique and execution: from documentaries and fiction to animation and experimental films. Nowhere else can film buffs engage with such a wide range of cinematographic options. For instance, in In Search of a City, which is part of theSignals: Power Cut Middle East programme, Hala Elkoussy takes a hallucinatory walk through Cairo, from the centuries’ market old gate to a modern suburb. In 20 Hz, artistic duo Semiconductor even takes viewers to the highest layer of the atmosphere providing an awe-inspiring visual translation for a geomagnetic storm. The black & white computer animation created by Manque de preuves visualises something entirely different: the inhumanity of the asylum system. What starts out as an ancient fairy tale descends into a nightmare.

Films in ‘Spectrum Shorts’