Anssi Kasitonni’s Saladdin Castique & Laura Horelli’s Namibia Today picked for ISFF Oberhausen

Anssi Kasitonni’s Saladdin Castique (2018) and Laura Horelli’s Namibia Today (2018) are selected for the official competitions of International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Held for the 64th time from May 3–8, Oberhausen is one of the oldest short film festivals in the world.

The international competition of Oberhausen Short Film Festival marks the world premiere for Kasitonni’s Saladdin Castique. In the Kasitonniesque fairytale, a man walks in the forest and tries to find berries. He finds instead an empty French salad dressing bottle. A genie comes out of the bottle and grants the man three wishes. The man uses the wishes traditionally but he uses bad language all the time and the genie does not like it. The man is going to learn a lesson.

Anssi Kasitonni is a skateboarder and an award-winning artist from Sahalahti, Finland. He has worked in music, drawing and sculpture, but to many of his fans, the most beloved of his works are the short films he makes at his own farm. The films deal with age-old questions related to morality, love, death, generation gaps, sexuality and, of course, submarines. The ideas are epic, the films decidedly homespun. His movies create their own world that tells us something essential about ours. Kasitonni won the esteemed Ars Fennica Award in 2011.

Selected for the German competition of Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Laura Horelli‘s Namibia Today premiered at Berlinale Forum Expanded earlier this year. In the short documentary film, seven people wait in an underground station below Karl-Marx-Allee in former East Berlin. Billboards line the walls, each combining a front page of “Namibia Today” with collaged material about the journal’s history in the GDR. “Namibia Today” was a journal of the Namibian liberation movement, which was printed and distributed by East Germany during times of military confrontation with South Africa. SWAPO’s (South West Africa People’s Organisation) editorial board was forced to operate from exile in Angola and without the ideologically motivated help of the GDR, the mass production of the periodical (1980-1985) would not have been possible. Rushing underground trains pick up the slow moving shot between the billboards and the protagonists, between fragments of image and speech. The participants, both Namibians with a past in the GDR and former East Germans with a connection to the liberation movement SWAPO, stand still in the movement. The present and the past, different locations, many unspokens and unknowns come together in the circular movement of the camera on the underground platform.

Laura Horelli (b. 1976, Helsinki) lives in Berlin and works with experimental documentary video. Her works have been exhibited at Venice Biennale (2001, 2009), Manifesta 5, (2004), ARS 11, Kiasma (2001, 2011), Galerie Barbara Weiss (2011) and Badischer Kunstverein (2014). In 2011, she received the Hannah Höch Prize for Young Artists.

Horelli: Namibia Today (2018)

The 64th Oberhausen Short Film Festival, 3.–8.5.2018, Germany

More information: ISFF Oberhausen