The first snow of the year. The cinema of Ingmar Bergman’s childhood. Long conversations about films in the festival bar. And rather expensive beer (as everywhere in Sweden), which probably only guests from Switzerland and Norway order without a moment’s hesitation. These are some of the first associations that come to mind when thinking about the international short film festival in Uppsala, a small and somewhat sleepy university town not far from Stockholm.
And indeed, Uppsala is a special case in the European short film festival landscape. Because rarely is there a festival where you pretty much know in advance what you’re going to get – and where what you get is almost always pretty great. The venues, it feels like, have been the same for ages; the hangouts are always within walking distance; and the film selection is mostly exquisite (with some extravagant outliers thrown in for good measure).
On the one hand, this may be due to the fact that the festival already has 40 years under its belt and thus simply brings with it a wealth of experience (including the enviable early step of securing the domain shortfilmfestival.com for the festival). On the other hand, this mixture of routine and familiarity is certainly also a result of the well-coordinated team around Niklas Due Gillberg, Christoffer Ode and Sigrid Hadenius, who, year after year, attach great importance to putting together a diverse and challenging film and seminar program — the details of which are then, of course, discussed with relish at the bar.
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