How do you live?

Handy film contest 2017

“How are you living?” – that was the question the Goethe-Institut asked the participants of the handy film contest, which was conducted in the framework of the 14th German Week conducted in St. Petersburg. The organizers selected the topic inspired by the web-platform of the Goethe-Institut called Converter: recently the young authors and bloggers from seven countries of Europe and Asia wrote to Converter about how they lived. The participants of St. Pete’s contest were also offered to tell the world about their lives, only somewhat differently - with a short two-minute video film shot with a mobile phone. The idea of the contest of handy films first appeared in 2008, and since that time, this format has become an indispensable part of the annual German Week conducted in the northern capital of Russia. On the one hand, the contest organizers strive to attract the public attention to this large project, and, on the other hand, they support the issues most topical for the Goethe-Institut. For example, in 2009, the contest subject sounded as “(In)tolerance, while a year ago, the participants made their videos on the topic "Feminism as the New Reality".

This year, 65 applications were submitted, which is a record figure for the entire history of the contest. The participants themselves chose the subjects of their handy films, and they were allowed to add different filters and special effects at the post-production stage, like the black-and-white colors or slow-motion playback. The multi-aspect topic “How are you living?” allowed interpretation of different motifs and demonstration of different artistic skills. In their films, the participants showed themselves at work, surrounded by their family, with their pets, and in their leisure time.

The contest jury, consisting of Tamara Larina (the artistic director of the international film festival "Open Cinema"), Lilia Voronkova (a social anthropologist and a curator), Alexander Markov (a film director and a curator) and Ksenia Reutova (a film critic), had to watch all the films and to determine the winner. It was difficult to choose the best film makers, so, the jury decided to name two more second prize winners.

The 1st place: Timofey Andreev – “Aw, Willy-nilly”

The winner film shot by a 24-year-old student shows the director’s granny’s birthday in the format of a documentary. The fragments of the celebration allow the audience to feel part of the modest and touching family gathering.

The second prize went to three participants who shared two second places: Natalya Gurkina and the duo of Alexander Fiks and Eva Maryasova.

The 2nd place: Natalya Gurkina – “Confession”

The young film director born in 1990 showed a black-and-white feature film. This is a professionally made short film, backed by the filmmaker’s mastery and professional experience. The actor repeats the phrase “I love you” right to the camera, and finally the viewer feels the sincerity and authenticity of the emotion conveyed by the words.

The 2nd place: Alexander Fiks and Eva Maryasova – “Epidermis / Shell / Cover”.

The 27-year-old artist and the 26th-year-old PhD student shot an experimental film giving large room for interpretation. The creative duo’s work resulted in appearance of a sensual and exciting film describing various sensations, for example, perception with hands or eyes. Thus, we get the new interpretation of the subject “How are you living?”.


Not only the participants but many interested guests came to the final show and to the award ceremony in St. Petersburg. In addition to the main prize, all the participants received gifts from Converter.

The other handy films shown at the contest can be watched here:

© Goethe-Institute e.V.

Goethe-Institute St.Petersburg




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