Short film programmer Lydia Beilby offers a tantalising peek into some of the treasures contained within this year’s programme.

We programmers work year round to select work for EIFF. Sometimes I feel we are rather like film detectives; visiting festivals, furiously soliciting material from filmmakers around the world, following up on tips from colleagues, and of course working our way through the vast number of titles submitted directly to our festival.

Short films are an extremely exciting and vibrant medium, a platform for experimentation, risks and playfulness, so here’s your chance to immerse yourself in the best of this year’s selection. Take a trip around the world of short film as we showcase wonderful work from Canada, USA, Australia, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, France, Iran, Netherlands, Lebanon, Haiti, Brazil, Argentina and Finland, none of which has yet screened before UK audiences!

Music fans will be delighted to discover a number of ingenious musical collaborations at play within the shorts. L’Oiseau de la Nuit by Marie Losier (last present at EIFF with remarkable documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye in 2011) weaves into being a colourful portrait of legendary Portuguese drag artist Deborah Krystal, a fabulous chameleon-like personality whose identity experimentation is syncopated by the gutter-punk electronics of the inimitable Alan Vega of legendary 70s New York Punk band Suicide.

Music and image form a close dialogue too in Man, in which director Maja Borg’s engagement of her body as a site of radical transgression is dynamically mirrored in Glaswegian composer Ela Orleans resonant soundscape. These shorts were screened as part of the Flaming Creatures programme.

In Anna, Pina, Teresa, Cynthia Madansky ingeniously re-appropriates the three key body movements from Pina’s death scene in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City, thus reclaiming these powerful physical actions as assertions of resistance and agency, and Zeena Parkins improvised electronic harp superbly articulates the immediacy and tension of the emotional subtext.

Finally, Ja’ Tovia M Gary’s An Ecstatic Experience makes fantastic use of Alice Coltrane’s lush, free- form jazz, her powerful interweaving of sound, image, archive and contemporary visual materials presenting a powerful celebration of African-American political struggle and resistance, screening as part of Radical Transmissions.

Bringing together a short film programme is a thrilling experience, restricted only by the limits of the programmers imagination! I am excited by the challenge of collecting together a selection of films that work not only as individual entities, but also in combination and dialogue with the other works within the programme. Each of the individual programmes in the shorts strand are loosely curated around, or explore a theme or an idea, and the hope is that this work will engage the audience as active participants, rather than passive observers.

For example, Voices from the Wilderness explores the intersection of landscape and individual as a location for narrative, memory and historical enquiry, and Fragments of the City examines the cinematic representations of the sprawling metropolis, both as a place of wonder and possibility, and a metaphor for the darker afflictions of society.

Following each screening, we host a Q&A with the attending filmmakers, which is a fantastic opportunity for you to discuss and debate the work with the people who have created it! The works that find their way into the programmes are chosen from thousands of films: they represent the most interesting, exciting, groundbreaking examples of the form that we have seen this year, and we really want to share them with you, the audience. So, during EIFF 2016, grasp the opportunity to immerse yourself in the thrilling, diverse and arresting world of short film.

Click here for the full Shorts programme.

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