European Short Film Festival at MIT
Now in its eighth year, the European Short Film Festival at MIT has established itself as one of the largest collections of European short film exhibited in the US. It is a unique showcase for contemporary short film productions from European film schools, as well as young and established independent filmmakers in Europe. ESFF is also recognized among European filmmakers as one of the prime venues for exhibiting their graduation short films in the US.
The Goethe-Institute, Germany’s cultural center in Boston, with its then director, Claudia Hahn-Rabe, played a crucial role in getting the first festival off the ground. At that time, the Goethe-Institute had produced a 4-DVD collection of contemporary German short films, which formed the core of the first ESFF. Through a collaboration with the Harvard Film Archive, the first festival also screened rarely seen German avant-garde films from the 1910s and 1920s, introduced by Weimar film and media expert William Uricchio, Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT.
The structure of the annual three-day festival has varied over time; for example, in one year, through collaboration with the Beijing Film Academy, the festival screened award-winning Chinese animation films. ESFF shows fiction, documentary and animation films on the first two festival nights, and the third night is usually dedicated to experimental films and video art. The first two nights have attracted a growing audience from MIT and the wider Boston area – up to 300 movie-goers per night in Room 10-250. The experimental night has evolved into a growing event for film aficionados.