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Repressed Feelings

The 2009 award at the 7th international short film festival in Munich went to a Polish feature film.

For the past 15 years, the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Behinderung und Medien” (abm, working group for disabilities and media) has held an international short film festival in Munich called ‘Wie wir leben’ (The way we live). Hörmann sponsors the €5,000 first prize awarded by a jury. The Polish short film “What It’s Like to Be My Mother”. The audience at the final event enthusiastically applauded the jury’s choice.

Martin Hörmann presents first prize to the Irish film author Nora McGettigan.

Other honoured files included: “Body and soul: Diana and Kathy” (USA, 2007) about two energetic civil rights activists and “Henio, idziemy na Widzew – Football Father” (Poland, 2008), that tells of a blind football fan and his partially-sighted son). The gangster comedy “Outcasts” from the UK also received a special mention from the jury.

The 7th annual festival presented 26 feature films, documentaries, and cartoons selected from 300 submissions. Forty countries were involved this year and, in line with tradition, as many participants, both film-makers and film subjects, travelled to Munich. One of the conditions for submitting a film to the festival is that it must deal with what it is like to have a chronic illness or handicap.

Stills from “What It’s Like to Be My Mother”.

The film confronts views with a complex mother/daughter drama and shows how both are affected. The story is about a young author, who is submitting her first movie to film school. This film is about her mother who is in a wheelchair.

The mother of the film-maker fights against seeing herself as handicapped. She does not want to lower her guard, grieve in public and have people feel sorry for her. She only lets her daughter see her commitment and true feelings. But when she thanks her daughter in the final scene and wants to embrace her, the daughter resists. Don't show your feelings! – This film shows that you do not need to be handicapped to have a hard time dealing with your feelings, but that life is not worth living without them.

The Munich working group regularly releases films and television reports that deal with the problems faced by the handicapped. Its website can assist you with detailed research on films with similar topics.

Once a month, the TV station 3sat broadcasts an episode in the series "Aus anderer Sicht" (Another viewpoint), each of which portrays a person with a handicap. Kabel 1 regularly broadcasts the program “Challenge”, which is produced by abm.

The WDR studio in Bielefeld and abm have distributed a DVD called “Kinderzeit” (financed by Hörmann) to schools in Germany. The DVD can be ordered free-of-charge from both organisations, as well as from this website.