A day at FiSH through the eyes of a student

Hey, I’m Janne and I’m studying Communication and Media Studies as a second subject at the University of Rostock. It was a real privilege to take part in this year’s FiSH Festival 2024 and take a look behind the scenes together with my fellow students. Each of us was able to get involved in different areas and make our own contribution to the festival. I opted for PR and public relations to gain an insight into a potential professional field. In this blog post, I would like to tell you about my very personal experience of the festival Saturday.

My day started at 11 a.m. at the M.A.U. with the last film block of the YOUNG FILM category. Together with some fellow students, I sat down in the second row so that I had a perfect view of the stage to capture the film blog for the festival page on Instagram. As before every film block, the foghorn sounded loudly to herald the start of the blog. I immediately got the feeling of being on a ship, about to set sail at any moment. And it actually felt a bit like an adventure trip, because I didn’t know what to expect. The moderator announced the first short film and I was immersed in the world of The Wolf and the Seven Minions, a comedy by the children’s group Familienzentrum Münster from Dortmund. The filmmakers, barely older than 6 years, managed to inspire the audience with their movie, which was bursting with creativity. I couldn’t stop smiling and it felt as if I was seeing the world through the eyes of a child again. This was followed by another comedy by 21-year-old Tabea Fritz from Munich. Entitled Augen Auf (Eyes Open), this film humorously addresses and criticizes today’s dating chaos via Tinder. The message to us is to keep our eyes open in real life, away from the smartphone screen. As part of the “relationship-incompetent” generation, I think it was a complete bull’s eye. Afterwards, students from the Babelsberg Film University took us on a journey with their documentary Ostschlager ist tot. Long live the Ostschlager! back to the world of Ostschlager. The film is about radio presenter Siggi Trzoß’s attempt to keep the memories of Ostschlager alive. By means of various media (radio, newspaper, television programs) from GDR times, one was taken back to the past in a nostalgic way. Although I only know the GDR from the stories of my grandparents or parents, I briefly had the feeling of being a contemporary witness of the Ostschlager myself. Then we continued with the drama My happy Place by student Ron Vodovozov.

The movie revolves around a man in his mid-30s who is overwhelmed by life and takes time out to reflect on his life using a plastic chair. My conclusion about the movie: beautiful shots and images, but the movie remained opaque for me. The last film on the blog was another drama by Berlin filmmaker Mohammad Eliraqui entitled Dabdub Majnun (Crazy Bear), a 15-minute film that attempts to break down prejudices and framings in the Neukölln district of Berlin. Does it succeed? In my opinion, definitely! The movie simultaneously builds tension and raises some questions in my mind, both of which are fortunately resolved in the end.

This impressive block of films was followed by an exciting discussion by the jury, live on stage, who analyzed each film in detail and gave valuable feedback. It was inspiring to see experts from the industry looking at the films and sharing their perspectives.

With so many different impressions, I had to fortify myself with a portion of pasta with vegan bolognese from Pesto Peter in the Scholle before moving on to the next film block: Offshorts Block 3.

Together with my fellow students, I once again took a seat in the second row to take a picture of this film blog for Instagram. The foghorn sounded again and I immersed myself in the world of Offshorts. I hadn’t been able to see any of these blocks before and was very excited to see the films by filmmakers from around the Baltic Sea. In contrast to the Junges Film, the films were mostly shot in the official language of the filmmakers and translated with English subtitles for the international audience. It was unusual at first, but I quickly got used to it. The blog starts with the animated film Take it easZzZy by Swedish filmmaker Kinga Lendvai-Kontár. The film is about a bear who is getting ready for Halloween until a fly gets into his queer and everything gets out of hand. A very amusing and beautiful animation! This was followed by a drama comedy from Estonia by Alexandra Pärn entitled Jõululaupäev (Christmas Day). We immerse ourselves in the stressful preparations on Christmas Eve and accompany Pia and her grandfather through the Christmas chaos. Through a final conversation with her grandfather in the afterlife, Pia regains her inner peace and rediscovers the joy and importance of family. From my point of view, this is a humorous and profound movie that made me want Christmas right away. Next up was a very impressive and personal documentary Ksenija (Ksenia) about 21-year-old Ksenija, who will soon have to stand trial. Filmmaker Renāte Saulīte from Latvia accompanies her on her journey between her criminal past and the present. By using original footage from her past, the film feels very authentic to me and makes me empathize with her. My conclusion: very moving and depressing at the same time. The drama continued with the short film Hjort (Deer) by Danes Luis Kølkjær Hansen and Rebecca Guldager Schultz. On the way to their mother’s wedding, two siblings hit a deer with their car. Now the brother is faced with a dilemma: leave the deer or make amends for an old childhood trauma? Personally, I found the movie very impressive and depressing at the same time, as you see a real lifeless deer the whole time, which didn’t die for the movie, but is still a corpse. After two rather thematically heavier films, another animated film rounded off the block. With Beanboy, the filmmakers from Denmark managed to make me feel good again: It’s summer, the time of unlimited possibilities. But the rabbit is held back by his inner fears from taking advantage of his opportunities – until Beanboy arrives. He shows him that his fears are getting in his own way and advises him to just do his thing. A good ending to the offshorts, in my opinion, which gives you a good boost of motivation. Even after this film blog, a jury has a heated discussion about the films they have seen.

By now it was already 4:30 pm and I went back to the M.A.U. for the Public Jury Voting JUNGER FILM. We went through each block in turn and voted by handling. As soon as the film received 3 out of 5 jury votes, it was awarded a silverfish. From these silver fish, 4 gold fish had to be chosen, one of which would then become the film of the year 2024. What was special about this was that the audience, including filmmakers, was able to experience the selection and discussion live right up to the final 4 films. The decision on the winning film was finally made in private, and I can assure you, it was not an easy task, because each film had its own unique touch and impressed in its own way.

Unfortunately, I was only able to watch the first and last of the 5 blocks, so it was all the more exciting to have seen the other blocks at least once in fast-forward. There was everything from animated adventures to moving documentaries, and I was impressed by the variety and quality of the films. I was pleasantly surprised that The Wolf and the Seven Minions was one of the top 4 films!

I won’t tell you which movie won in the end. I’ll just say this much, I didn’t expect it 😉

The award ceremony took place at 7:30 pm and afterwards there was the FiSH party as the grand finale of a totally successful film festival.

In summary, I had a great day, with lots of cinematic art and good catering. 😀 In general, I have to admit that I was really impressed by each of the films I saw (regardless of whether I understood them or not). Just the fact of having any idea and finally making a short film about it is insane! Especially because many of the artists were my age or even younger. Really big respect to every single one of you! Finally, I would like to say that I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this festival.