Celebrate World Diversity at Ongoing International Film Fest

What better place to engage in human empathy than at the Oregon State International Film Festival? The 11th annual gala, headed by Festival Director and OSU Film Professor Sebastian Heiduschke, is a two-month event taking place now until June 15. 

Marking a drastic departure from past festivals, the 2019 OSIFF will consist of three pop-up events throughout Corvallis and its surrounding areas. Each will feature a new roster of films. 

Conceived as a means of sharing voices and viewpoints from around the world, the OSIFF, also known as Das Film Fest, was founded by passionate filmmaking instructors teaching international cinemas on campus. The aim is to support, encourage, curate, and showcase award-winning films from across the globe, many of which premiere at some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. 

“I believe that international cinema unites us in a number of ways. It provides us with glimpses of lives in other places,” says Heiduschke. “It gives us hope. It inspires us. It shows us what humankind is capable of – the good and the bad.” 

In addition to presenting films accepted to Berlinale, Cannes, Venice, and other high-profile international film festivals, the OSIFF proudly screens world, U.S., and Westcoast premieres from foreign and local filmmakers alike. Films of all formats and languages other than English will be included, though runtimes may be limited. 

“Most, if not all, of these films would either never be accessible to U.S. audiences, or would require a big financial commitment to travel to festivals taking place in various locations across the globe,” Heiduschke remarks.

In furthering the cause, Heiduschke emphasizes how antisocial filmgoing has become. “We live in a time where algorithms suggest what we should watch. It has become difficult to discover new things – we are drowning in visual stimulation, but most of it is, frankly, garbage. The films in the festival reflect the filmmakers’ passions. They are not meant to sugarcoat reality. Some of them are brutal, relentless, hard to digest. Others are poetic and enchanting.”

Above all else, Heiduschke wants to remind community members of the underlying importance of foreign cinema.  “Watching international films is a must for anyone who believes that there is more to life. And let’s not forget the communal aspects of watching films together in a movie theater, the smell of popcorn, the reactions of others around you.”

Dates and Screenings
OSIFF’s opening event will feature two blocks of short films divided into categories denoted as “contemplative and engaging” and “riveting.” The first short-film program will take place on May 11, while the second will run on June 1. The title and synopses for each short film will be posted on the OSIFF Facebook page and all screenings will take place on Saturdays at 2 p.m. at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis.

The event will showcase four full-length films, including the Spanish documentary Mustango, Peruvian horror Flesh City, Irish ethnic thriller Black Pool, and German punk rock documentary Wild Heart. The documentary double feature will screen on Saturday, May 18, while the narrative double feature will screen on Saturday, May 25. 

All films accepted into the festival will be screened at various venues throughout the state. The auditoriums will be determined by availability and announced publicly on various OSIFF social media platforms. In addition to Darkside Cinema, venues are being considered in Albany, Ashland, Bend, Eugene, Portland, and Salem. 

While some screenings will be free of charge, admission fees typically range between $5 – $10. Film submissions qualified as international have either been filmed in a language other than English, or produced in a country outside of the U.S.  

To learn more about the 11th annual Oregon State International Film Fest via social media, including when, where, and which films are set to screen, visit Facebook.com/DasFilmFest.us.

Jake Dee