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Short Waves Festival

Poznan, Poland

impressions by Anne Gaschütz


It’s 9PM and you find yourself in a random dark street in a Polish town not knowing how you got there because a driver dropped you off. After a short walk through a backyard you somehow end up in a stranger’s apartment. Comfy cushions are laid out on the floor, someone is serving cocktails, the lights are low and you’re in a room with twenty strangers. What might sound like the beginning of a horror short is indeed one of Short Waves Festival's many original events: Random Home Cinema takes its guests to the homes of other people where festival programmers from around the world do not only serve cocktails and food but also specially curated short film programmes.

That’s about the essence of the festival: charming locations (regular visitors will notice the various festival clubs they have been to), very special events (anyone who has been to Rainer Kohlberger’s live-set in a pavilion knows what we're talking about) and not least the carefully selected short film programme (such as the amazing and unique competition programmes Dances with Camera and Urban View).

Short Waves Festival seems like a breath of fresh air in a Poland that has undergone some worrying political changes in recent years. Political, outspoken and not afraid to voice their opinions on important issues, such as LGBTQIA+ and abortion rights, the festival doesn’t shy away from challenging subjects. You might also just find yourself voicing your opinion at the heart of a demonstration for women’s rights together with the Short Waves-team.

Founded in 2009 by Szymon Stemplewski, the festival quickly developed first into an insider tip and then into an industry favourite not least thanks to the relentless work of Talking Shorts co-Founder Emilia Mazik, who eventually took over as the Festival Director in 2019, and her team. March used to be the festival’s set spot, right between Tampere and Glasgow. Covid-19 forced it to change its dates to August in 2020. The team took it as an opportunity to again show off their creativity and, for example, simply turned their Random Home Cinema into Garden Cinemas. In 2021, the festival is set to take place in June. And we can’t wait to see what great ideas they will come up with this time round.

Learn more

Visit the official website, or follow Short Waves Festival on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.