Press release: Programme Revealed

exground filmfest 34: Programme Revealed

Over 150 Films from 47 Countries // World and European Cinema // Socially Critical Themes and Unusual Insights into Other Cultures // Cash and Non-Cash Prizes Valued at Over 18,000 Euros

The programme for the 34th edition of exground filmfest is now available online. From 12 to 21 November, the festival is presenting over 150 films from 47 countries in its traditional Wiesbaden venues. In assembling the programme, the curatorial team viewed over 1,600 films from 93 countries. As in the previous year, the festival will also feature an on-demand programme. The exground filmfest YouTube channel will also once again serve as a platform for various live and archived event streams, including the festival opening and awards ceremony, as well as industry events and film talks. The festival boasts no less than seven competition sections, featuring cash and non-cash prizes valued at over 18,000 euros.

“We are very happy that we were able to view so many exciting new films this year, in spite of the aggravated production conditions,” explained festival organiser Andrea Wink at today’s press conference: “It is enormously important for us to be able to return to the big screen again with the selected programme, since we would like to maintain the cinema as a space for encounters.”

Country Statistics, Accompanying Programme and Venues

The 2021 selection includes a host of firsts: namely, 13 world premieres, five international premieres, two European premieres and 26 German premieres. In addition, 59 films will be celebrating their first screenings in the Rhine-Main region. As in 2020, Germany leads the pack in the country statistics, with 49 films, while the Focus Country, the USA, takes second place, with 26 films, followed closely by France, with 19. However, lesser-known cinema nations are also represented within the programme, like Montenegro, Qatar, the Dominican Republic and Singapore.

Alongside the film selection, guests can look forward to a rich accompanying programme in the scope of exground-Xtras, which features industry events, art exhibitions and cult happening like the beloved exground Gong Show and the festival’s Film Quiz. In his LES ANNÉES SCOPITONES programme in the Marktkirche crypt, Bernd Brehmer will present the forerunners of the modern music video format, clips that were played back in the 1960s in a jukebox-like device featuring a monitor. His selection of Scopitones treasures on original 16mm reels ranges from Sylvie Vartan and Petula Clark all the way to Debbie Reynolds or Alice and Ellen Kessler.

Aside from the established venues in Wiesbaden, Caligari FilmBühne, Murnau-Filmtheater, the Marktkirche church crypt and Nassauischer Kunstverein, selected films from the Country Focus will also be shown again in Darmstadt (programmkino rex) and Frankfurt am Main (Pupille – Kino in der Uni).

Film Programme: Germany, Europe and the World

In addition to the extensive programme in the Country Focus USA, the feature film selection is primarily structured according to geographic criteria. Joining the perennial favourite Made in Germany section this year are the European Cinema and World Cinema series. In accordance with exground filmfest’s transnational credo, one can find films from every continent here, which provide comprehensive insight into manifold cinematic schools and languages.

Among other films in the German selection, Ronny Trocker’s HUMAN FACTORS (Germany/Italy/Denmark, 2021) is captivating cinema. Featuring a star-studded cast, the film tells of conflict and distrust in a modern, affluent family. In staging the story, the award-winning director placed great importance on weaving the audience as tightly as possibly into the familial entanglements here, through deft camerawork.

The drama LEAVE NO TRACES (Poland, 2021), the Polish candidate for this year’s Academy Awards, may also soon be a prize-winner. Director Jan P. Matuszyński’s political film about the aftermath of a police murder treats repression, militarisation and the importance of civil rights.

Ana Katz’ absurd black-and-white film THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET (Argentina, 2021) uses short episodes to relate the life of graphic designer Sebastián, as he attempts to find his way in life, caught between deep love for his dog and an approaching disaster.

The short film programme also mirrors the international diversity of exground filmfest: in addition to a selection of Iranian films, there will also be a Short Film Reel World Journey, in which four short documentary films bear witness to everyday realities around the world.

Social (In)Justice and Critique

A large number of the works in the feature film programme are not afraid to formulate courageous critiques of society. Social injustice, lived reality for migrants, repression of women, queer life and the right to a future – the voices for a better and fairer world are loud in the exground filmfest programme.

For instance, the film BANTU MAMA by Ivan Herrera (Dominican Republic, 2021) deals with the fate of Emma, a French woman with African roots fleeing the police, who decides to hide in Santo Domingo. In the midst of a Black diaspora, she finds a home here in a community of three orphaned children.

In the documentary film LUCHADORAS (Germany/Mexico, 2021), Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasmin paint a portrait of three female Mexican wrestlers. Raised in Juárez, a city shaken to the core by the drug war, they fight self-assuredly against received gender roles and for justice.

YOUTH TOPIA (Germany/Switzerland, 2021) by Dennis Stormer and Marisa Meier depicts a dystopian society, in which every individual’s life is determined by algorithms. When the latter assigns none other than Peter-Pan-esque protagonist Wanja a position as a privileged architect, she has to decide whether or not she intends to grow up.

Competitions at exground filmfest

In a total of seven competition sections, exground filmfest awards cash and non-cash prizes valued at over 18,000 euros. The jury for the 19th International Short Film Competition consists of Brendon Conway, New York film producer, Alexander Espigares, animated film director from Luxemburg, and Karin Hoffinger, director of international relations at the Berlinale.

Tickets for the programme of exground filmfest 34 will be available starting 29 October via


End of press release