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Fund supported projects at Berlinale 2024

Berlinale Shorts

City of Poets
Direction/screenplay: Sara Rajaei
Production: near/by film

Photos from a family album reveal a city that perhaps used to exist. It was built for refinery workers and university employees; its streets were named after poets. When war broke out, new neighbourhoods emerged to accommodate refugees. The streets were renamed and now bear the names of fallen soldiers. The mother’s house was on one of these streets. She was the one who planted the mulberry tree in the garden.

Generation Kplus

Fox and Hare Save the Forest
Mascha Halberstad
Screenplay: Fabie Hulsebos
Production: Submarine (NL), Walking the Dog (BE), Doghouse (LU)

In a large forest clearing, Beaver, a short furry animal with a big ego, inaugurates his masterpiece: a giant dam. With the help of two Rats, he blocks the flow of a river. The water level rises and in no time at all, a giant lake is formed. Beaver is very proud of himself but, to his disappointment, there is no one to admire his feat. Elsewhere in the forest, Fox and Hare have been throwing a party with their friends. After the party, Owl returns home and discovers strange streams of water flowing past his tree. He panics and flees into the forest. The following day, Fox and Hare discover that Owl is missing. They set out with their friends to find him, but instead discover the mysterious lake. Where has all the water come from? While they continue to search for Owl, the water continues to rise, threatening a flood. Their quest to save the forest will test their friendship to the limit!

Young Hearts
Anthony Schatteman
Production: Polar Bear (BE), Family Affair Films (NL), Kwassa Films (BE)

In the middle of the school year, 14-year-old Elias meets his new neighbour Alexander, a boy from Brussels who seems self-confident and headstrong. The two quickly hit it off. Alexander asks Elias if he has a girlfriend – and reveals without hesitation that he’s into boys himself. Elias enjoys spending time with Alexander but keeps his burgeoning feelings to himself. Afraid of the reactions of those around him, he becomes entangled in a web of lies until he no longer knows how to extricate himself apart from to push Alexander away. Elias feels completely alone. However, after a heartfelt conversation with his grandfather about how much he loved his deceased wife, Elias realises that love is too precious to let it slip away. He has to find a way to win Alexander back...

Above the Dust
Wang Xiaoshuai
Production: Lemming Film

Ten-year-old Wo Tu dreams of having a water pistol like the other boys in his village. Even though his father promised, he fails to bring one back with him from the city. But there is one hope for Wo Tu: his dying grandfather assures him that he will grant his wish once he becomes a ghost. After his death, the old man visits the boy in his dreams and initiates a treasure hunt. Soon, the boundaries between reality and dreams, past and present become increasingly blurred. Spanning three generations of a family in rural China, the film also paints a portrait of their profound love for the land.


The Nights still smell of Gunpowder
Inadelso Cossa
16mm Filmes (MZ), IDA.IDA (FR), Kaske Film (DU), DuplaCena (PT), BALDR Film (NL), STÆR (NO), Filmreaktor (NO)

It is dark and stays dark. Through the medium of nightmares, sounds, absent images and a child’s black-and-white photo in dry foliage, the film – slowly and in fragments – explores the memory of the civil war in Mozambique, which lasted from 1977 to 1992. Archival material is carefully deployed. The fighters for independence (FRELIMO) and the rebels of the National Resistance (RENAMO) fought each other, and countless landmines claimed their victims. Filmmaker Inadelso Cossa, still a carefree child at the time, now visits his grandmother’s village. Victims, perpetrators, former rebel fighters and surviving civilians live here. Cossa asks the sound recordist Moises, who hears voices from the graves at dusk: “Do you want to talk about it?” The filmmaker’s grandmother is suffering from the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and can only remember at night. A former rebel numbs himself with alcohol and continues the battles in his soul. The echoes of horror are omnipresent. Against the backdrop of Mozambique’s now taboo civil war history, As noites ainda cheiram á pôlvora develops a sensory approach to ghosts, to missing and fictitious memories.


My Favourite Cake
Direction: Maryam Moghaddam & Behtash Sanaeeha
Behtash Sanaeeha & Maryam Moghaddam
Production: Filmsazan Javan (IR), Caractères Productions (FR), Hobab (SE)

The 70-year-old Mahin has been living alone in Tehran since her husband died and her daughter left for Europe. One afternoon, tea with friends leads her to break her solitary routine and revitalise her love life. But as Mahin opens herself up to a new romance, what begins as an unexpected encounter quickly evolves into an unpredictable, unforgettable evening.

Image: Fox and Hare Save the Forest