Films as a catalyst for change: politics, social issues and the environment at the festival 2023


    We live in turbulent times. People are trying to solve conflicts with weapons, the climate crisis demands answers, societies are increasingly tense, and the social dimension resonates in all of this.

    Films hold the power to raise awareness and move minds. They sensitize audiences to pressing issues, stimulate empathy, and call for action. The filmmakers tell stories of activism, (political) resistance, illuminate the nature of power and responsibility, explain social issues in capitalism and the associated fates and life stories.

    "In any case, cinema is more important than ever right now".

    Thorsten Schaumann
    Artistic Director

    We are happy to give you a further insight into this year's program:

    Politics, social issues and the environment (fictional productions)

    Å ØVE - PRACTICE, direction: Laurens Pérol (Germany, Norway 2023)
    Trine is a climate activist and refuses to fly. The 18-year-old is passionate about playing the trumpet and is invited to audition at the Oslo Opera House. She only has a few days to get from her lonely island in the Lofoten Islands to the capital 1500 kilometers away, so she decides to hitchhike without further ado. The small film team around Laurens Pérol embarked on this road trip and it finds its continuation in the journey to the Hof Film Festival. The director hitchhikes from Vienna to Hof.
    With Kornelia Melsæter, Mari Røttereng, Sebastian Bühler, and others

    THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE SUGAR CANES, direction: Ebrahim Ashrafpour (Iran 2022)
    Eleven-year-old Younes is preparing for a soccer tryout. Suddenly, his father is arrested because the boss of a sugar factory accuses him of setting the fields on fire. For the boy, a journey begins in which he forgets his love of soccer to help his family. he is confronted with things that people do when they see no way out.
    With Ilia Habibi Rad, Mohammad Sadeghi Hassanvand and Kazem Einali

    THE LANDLADY, direction: Sebastian Brauneis (Austria 2023)
    Johanna desires nothing more than an apartment where she can live and feel comfortable. She has already found it, but landlady Mrs. Schrankinger, real estate agent Mario and lawyer Dr. Winter are putting obstacles in her way. With satirical and socially critical commentary, a tenancy relationship is told against the backdrop of the Austrian housing market, in which law does not mean justice.
    With Marlene Hauser, Margarethe Tiesel, Lukas Watzl, Laura Hermann, Thomas Frank, and others

    SOVIET MILK, direction: Ināra Kolmane (Latvia, Belgium 2023)
    Astra, an ambitious doctor, literally loses everything in the conflict with the totalitarian Soviet regime: her career, her will to live, and even her maternal instinct to breastfeed her baby. Daughter Nora nevertheless becomes Astra's greatest support and, together with her intersex friend Jesse, helps her fight her depression.
    With Maija Doveika, Rūta Kronberga and Elīna Vaska-Botere

    PETER K. - ALONE AGAINST THE STATE, direction: Laurent Wyss (Switzerland 2022)
    After the death of his mother, Peter Kneubühl is threatened with eviction from the house where he cared for her until the end. He fights for his home, defending it from the city administration, his sister and finally the armed police. The biggest battle, however, he fights with himself.
    With Manfred Liechti, Sibylle Brunner, Hanspeter Bader, Stefanie Günther Pizarro and Beat Albrecht

    PLÜNDERICH, direction: Tim Kochs (Germany 2023)
    Marcel Lange, a young entrepreneur hungry for success, intends to create a monument for himself and his family by building a new high-end village. However, in order to convince his financier and employer, an energy company, to build a first villa, the old village must be completely empty. His sister, of all people, who occupies his family's old house, prevents him from succeeding. A whirl of entanglements takes its course.
    With Katharina Abel, Bertram Maxim Gärtner, Julia Schmitt, Jesse Albert, Valon Krasniqui, and others

    RAW MATERIALS, direction: Tuna Kaptan (Germany 2023)
    A fatal accident occurs on the construction site of a luxury building project. A drama about two loners, Lutz (44 years old) and Irsa (14 years old), who will be connected by this for the rest of their lives. One of them literally walks over dead bodies for his career, the other just wants a safe home.
    With Angjela Prenci and Peter Schneider

    21 WEEKS LATER, direction: Nasrin Mohammadpour (Iran 2022)
    A young woman decides to have an abortion and thus to exercise her right as a woman to decide for herself on the right time to become pregnant. She sticks to this decision even though her husband does not agree and threatens her. At 21 weeks of pregnancy, she aborts her fetus illegally. To relieve her guilt, she wants to bury the fetus and walks around the city looking for a suitable place. This does not happen without a problem.
    With Banafsheh Riazi, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Sudabeh Bahramnejad, and others

    Politics, social issues and the environment (non-fictional productions)

    BRATSCH - A VILLAGE SETS A PRECEDENT, direction: Norbert Wiedmer (Switzerland 2023)
    Bratsch is a small village in the Upper Valais mountains in Switzerland. In 2015, just one hundred people lived here. Due to a municipal merger, the school building remained empty for a long time, which changed in 2016. The young, visionary educator Damian Gsponser received permission from the Education Directorate of the Canton of Valais to open a private school in Bratsch open to all children. With his new concept, he turns the current school system upside down. The film highlights the developments and changes in the village from the reopening to the present.

    THE DNA OF DIGNITY, direction: Jan Baumgartner (Switzerland 2022)
    Thousands of people disappeared during the Balkan war in the 1990s. Bereaved families and survivors hope for clarity and put their hopes in excavations and the work of science. In the anonymity of mass graves, a team of forensic scientists searches for the last analyzable traces of human DNA in order to give the victims back their names and dignity.

    RESTORATION, direction: Gudrun Gruber (Germany 2023)
    A decade after experiencing violence as a teenager, Detroit woman Sabrina decides to face her past and open up to the director. The family portrait RESTORATION accompanies her and her closest relatives during this process.