Internationales Festival Zeichen der Nacht - Berlin - International Festival Signs of the Night


8. Internationales Festival Zeichen der Nacht / Berlin Edition
21th International Festival Signs of the Night / Worldwide

November 1 - 5, 2023
Kino in der Königstadt - - Space : movie members GmbH - Saarbrücker Straße 24 - Berlin Prenzlauer Berg




A Crooked Path Through The Dark

David Franklin
Ireland / 2022 / 0:25:52

A butoh dancer (Atsushi Matsuda, of the internationally-renowned group Dairakudakan) travels across Tokyo on his way to rehearsals, traversing a subconscious landscape that bridges the interior world of the self with an exterior world that extends through the city to the cosmos. In reflecting on a dancer’s creative process, "A Crooked Path Through The Dark" offers a phantasmagorical look at the ties that bind the individual to the world around them, the connections we form with our environment, and the role of personal experience in shaping both lives and artwork. As storms boil and earthquakes rattle, we witness the visceral and moving process of destruction and renewal needed for the creation of a new performance.



Jury Declaration:

The Main Prize winner was chosen for its enigmatic and hypnotic ride through the Tokyo metropolis that takes an everyday travel experience and extrapolates its nuances through image and narration. The seemingly commonplace becomes oblique and the mundane veers off into the realms of eeriness, underlining that the individual comfort zone should not be taken for granted when an alternative reality lurks in the shadows. For this elevation of mental and physical states, and for bringing the abstract into the realms of possibility, the director manages to both captivate and fascinate.


The Signs Award honors films, which treat an important subject in an original and convincing way

The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself

Ian Gibbins
Greece / 2021 / 0:08:45

“The life we live is a series of illusions… a fleeting smile… mistaken decisions… dangerous, unpredictable… yet, we will meet again, as lovers… parents… children… and you will know who I am…” Tasos Sagris’s poem, with its haunting soundtrack by Whodoes, offers us an extended exploration of lives lived in parallel, at cross-purposes, in and out of love, around the world, from the innocence of children to the wisdom of elders. There are the good times when summer seems to last forever, and the bad, when persecution and misadventure could land us in prison, with nothing but rain to hear our voice. But what is the reality? What is mere illusion? Can there be more to life than simply living?


Jury Declaration:

Ian Gibbins' poetry film "The Life We Live is Not Life Itself", based on an autobiographical poem by Tasos Sagris, is a deep reflection on the nature, conditions and limits of human life. Its experimental approach combines metaphoric visions of nature and urban life with spoken words and an emotionally absorbing flow of electronic music. The film, evoking Theo Angelopoulos' elegiac film language, ultimately gives hope in the quest for personal truth, wisdom beyond illusions and loss of meaning, and contact in an anonymous society.

Directior Statement:

Thank you and your jury so much for this award - I am deeply honoured by the beautiful and insightful comments of the jury. I don’t think that I need to add anything to their words.



The Night Award honors films, which are able to balance ambiguity and complexity characterized by enigmatic mysteriousness and subtleness,which keeps mind and consideration moving

Under the Midnight Sun

Mélissa Faivre
France / 2022 / 0:09:52

"Under the Midnight Sun" is a dance of light and shadows, textured grayscale expanding across the landscape of an apocalyptic city. The sun is moon and light. It unveils itself by means of visual pulsating dynamics, unstable frequencies and vibrating rhythms; until it disintegrates into particles and pixels, and vanishes into darkness. This visual-musical piece is dark, worrying and calls to sensorial explorations into deeper energies.


Jury Declaration:

A personal vision rendered and magnified to a fully intense effect makes Under the Midnight Sun the standout Night film. The director manipulates the static point of view to a rhythmic and unsettling collision of sound and image. Shadow and light chiaroscuro, so unique and powerfully charged, combine to a disturbing crescendo that inexorably stays in the memory long afterwards.


The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.

Ghosts in the Cloud Forest

Karl Nussbaum
United States / 2023 / 0:21:00

There are Ghosts in the Cloud Forest that suck the digital data out of humans to stay alive and to stay in the realm of memory. And there are also modern day Hungry ghosts who feed on the energy of political anger, racism and violence in our country. In return for the data of the living, these Ghosts from the Cloud Forest provide the spirituality of nature and the beauty of biology. This film was shot in the sacred Huangshan Mountains of China.



Jury Declaration:

This work provides a striking visual exploration, accompanied by an organic and hypnotic soundtrack, creating an immersive cinematic experience with a fascinating evolution of the narrative arc. It begins in the splendors of nature and gradually transforms into a powerful critique of the omnipresent and omnipotent presence of technology. This journey invites us to make informed choices about the ghosts we choose to live with.


The Goddess of Potong Pasir

Sze-Wei Chan
Singapore / 2023 / 0:07:57

This film is an intimate portrait of a mother’s love for her young daughter, as she teaches her about women’s strength and independence via the manifestations of the goddess Durga-Kali. Their rituals are a celebration of beauty, strength, life and the impermanence of it all. We see a unique expression of faith and love across diverse traditions from North, South and East India., that meet uniquely in the Indian diaspora in Singapore.



Jury Declaration:

This autobiographical documentary film, commissioned by the Borobudur Writers and Cultural Festival, connects the personal devotion of a mother to her daughter with a traditional choreography of religious devotion to the popular Goddess Durga, during the Singapore Navaratri Festival, in a particularly moving and surprising way. Rarely does a film show the mutual relationship of human love emotion and contemporary religious dance interpretation in such an expressive and convincing manner.

Competition Short Film, Cinema in Transgression, Documentary - Focus and Thematic programs