Berlinale 2011 has a special program for short films, now in its fourth year.
Here is a very interesting (and useful) interview with the curator, Maike Mia Höhne on the merits of the short film form.
Here is an insightful quote from her on how she approaches short film.
Q: “You talk about the self-sufficiency of the narration in short films. In your opinion, what are the special narrative qualities in short film?”“One of the big freedoms is that artists can take a very different approach to the narrative framework. Not everything has to be over-told and spelled out. Short films are closer to sketches than to paintings. Something I feel is closer to me, too. Short film is always interesting if the filmmakers try things out and discover new means of visual narration. I love this gentle, unfinished quality, as in La Ducha (The Shower), for example, by Maria José San Martin. Here, the narrative thread is often barely touched, while narrative associations form an organic narrative structure. The film plays in a single room. We see only two female bodies, who are talking to one another. But at the same time so much happens in a few, very powerful images. The film reveals a relationship drama that we all know well ourselves without spelling out a clear meaning – finally, everything remains open. The story unfolds through the gestures, the body language, less through the dialogue, since the characters hardly express their true motives. Through this minimal input one understands the perspectives of time, before and after the current situation, which the image implicitly talks about in every frame. And so La Ducha develops an impression of how a farewell feels out of this almost claustrophobic spatial limitation and through the narrative omissions. The viewer fills the omissions with his own knowledge and becomes very close to the characters. It would be exciting to find out if such a constellation and this type of approach to narration would work for over 90 minutes.”
And from the main page of Berlinale 2011 shorts program, here is a thought on short film:
A short film is an immersion into the world. Which breathlessly takes you from one adventure to the next. Sometimes, with a nod to the full-length film, sometimes on a search for a unique energy and variation of form.