Report: Foresight Film Festival in Halle, Germany

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-17 um 17.15.39

Foresight is looking into new ways of connecting to a wider public audience and one of the alternatives to lengthy and academic reports are movies. The second Foresight Film Festival, took place in the small university town of Halle (near Leipzig, Germany), and displayed poetic, fascinating yet disruptive film clips in three categories: “digital competence”, “from do-it yourself to do-it-together”, and “the future is open space”. A jury composed of university lecturers, artists, policy makers, journalists and scientists selected 16 out of the 56 submitted works. The selected clips were presented to a large audience in Halle, June 30, followed by the nomination of winners for each of the three film categories.

The first prize in “digital competence” was awarded to “OmnisFi – the upgrade for quality of life,” by the Austrian filmmaker Dominik Bücheler. The clip placed emphasis on the aestheticization of today’s commercials, zooming into a perfect-world where everybody is happy and successful by consuming beauty. Appalling and alluring. The first prize for the second category, “from do-it yourself to do-it-together,” went to “Comfortable Protest” by the Russian artist Elena Artemenko. Ironic and political, in her work Artemenko explains how to make public rallies ecologically feasible and more comfortable for protesters (the “make a protester comfortable kit” included a reusable whiteboard (for signs/slogans), an umbrella and three table legs to be used with the banner as a stool)). During an interview the artist pointed out that the Russian government would prefer all protesters to be comfortable. We understand her contribution as an artistic reflection of that preference. In the third category “the future is open space” the first prize went to a documentary on cooperative wind energy production on a northern German island, named “Pellworm open landscape” and produced by the German team Dokworkers Filmproduktion (Wolfgang Gaube, Uta Kolano, Vincent Kolano).

This year, two additional prizes were awarded, one for young talents, and one audience award. The young talents’ award was sponsored by the DASA Arbeitswelt Ausstellung Dortmund and went to the movie “Step One”. A very aesthetic and lyrical documentary was presented by the young German filmmaker Lea Dinger on a Panamanian volunteer grass-root initiative for turtles’ conservation. Last but not least, the audience selected “Joco 2034” as the most innovative Foresight film of 2016. This is a documentary about the future of a local store where customers and producers work together on custom-made products and services. Its predecessor actually exists in the city center of Nuremberg. The documentary was produced by Patricia Petsch and Christina Müller.

Although it was not always clear what the criteria for the award nomination were, for example: artistic design, originality, foresightedness, etc., the 16 clips presented an extensive variety of reflections of our present and their culmination, at times, in quite near future. Despite the announcement of one of the major sponsors, the German Ministry of Education and Research, to terminate their financial contributions towards the festival, the audience’s overall reaction was positive, bringing hope for the future of the event. Local supporters of the film festival and the co-sponsor Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg are confident that there will be a third festival next year. More international flair in terms of reach and contributions would definitely help to promote this grand idea of merging film and foresight.

All selected 16 films can be watched online: