The B3 Festival Of The Moving Image Takes Stock Of 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,
This year’s edition of the B3 Festival of the Moving Image concluded on Sunday. Over nine days, the festival celebrated the moving image in all its facets and explored new forms of visual storytelling as it focused on the theme of “Horizons”. Following the presentation of around 70 films and 60 works of art with 50 artists and guests from all over the world attending, the festival is now taking stock.
Festival director Prof. Bernd Kracke and the entire team wish to thank the audience for taking such interest in this year’s edition, which was evident in the strong attendance at events and lively participation in talks and discussions. The festival, which was hosted at five venues in Frankfurt’s city centre, counted more than 36,400 attendees in total.
The B3 Festival, introduced in 2012, was able to adopt a yearly rhythm in 2019 thanks to its close cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair. The festival removed the word “Biennale” (“biennial”) from its name this year. The annual rhythm makes it possible to keep up with the great momentum that has arisen in storytelling using moving images and new technology, as this year’s edition demonstrated once again in an impressive way.
The B3 Festival opened with a festive gala hosted by Julia Finkernagel and given musical accompaniment by Dennis “Denyo” Lisk of the group Beginner. The films of the B3 Film Festival, some of which were screened as German premieres, came from 40 countries and were complemented by talks given by the film directors. These included a master class by Stephen Frears, whom the festival honoured for his life’s work and whose latest film, THE LOST KING, was screened as part of the programme, as well as a film talk with director Alice Troughton and producer Judy Tossell, whose film THE LESSON earned the B3 BEN Award for best feature film.
The rapid adoption of AI-based processes in all areas of society, particularly the creative sector, was the prevailing theme at the B3 Conference. Several events dealt with the possibilities that AI offers in the area of cinematic storytelling, such as a lecture on “Art, Morality and Film: Towards an Ethics of Film” by legendary horror film director Jörg Buttgereit. In the panel discussion “Creative Storytelling at a Turning Point”, Oliver Schütte and Jonny-Bix Bongers explored the potential that AI offers at various stages of content development and production and discussed how the corresponding challenges can be met.
This year’s short film competition was also very special. Filmmakers from 26 countries submitted 110 entries, topping the interest shown by the industry in the previous year. The final selection included 27 films, two of which received a B3 BEN Award. HAVEN by director Maureen O’Connell was honoured as best short film, and directors Milena Bühring, Klara Kirsch and Lisa Kaschubat received the Rotraut Pape Inspiration Award for their experimental short film ECTORIDERS.
This year, the ASTOR Film Lounge in the heart of Frankfurt was not only the venue for the B3 Film Festival and the B3 Conference, but also an expanded cultural and meeting space. For the first time, international B3 artists went beyond the classic motion-picture format and brought various experimental and innovative formats to the silver screen. Prof. Bernd Kracke said: “This step marks a significant contribution to the updated discussion about expanded cinema 2.0 and to considerations of how inner-city spaces can be revived and revitalised. The cinema is expanding its role as a major cultural forum and as a place of communication and critical dialogue on contemporary issues.” Daniel Canogar, upon whom the B3 bestowed a special honour, for example, presented his impressive generative art, which among other things processes current data collected from the Internet on financial, environmental and energy issues live and in real time, in the cinema auditorium.
Other artists, whose works were exhibited in the Moving Image Forum, also explored new technologies, possibilities and ways of presenting art that relies on AI and algorithms. The main exhibition venue was the NOS – no ordinary store in Liebfrauenstraße. Here, visitors could admire the latest works and projects from the fields of art, VR, games and AI by established as well as up-and-coming international artists and media creators. The B3 Ben Award for best immersive and time-based art went to Canadian artist Evond “MEDIAH” Blake for AZURITE FIELDING. The honour for best VR experience went to Cameron Kostopoulus for BODY OF MINE. Federico Zurani, whose TINY CREATURES explores the possibilities of using a video game environment as an alternative narrative tool, was named best emerging talent.
Not only technologically, but also socio-politically, the B3 Festival presented itself as having its finger on the pulse of the times. The video installation HAPPILY EVER AFTER, exhibited in a suite at the Hotel Steigenberger Icon Frankfurt Hof, by the artist Katarzyna Perlak depicts the utopia of a same-sex wedding against the backdrop of homophobic violence on Poland’s streets.
In an unusual exhibition setting, the Frankfurt Palmengarten, visitors were able to admire artist Anna Ridler’s work ANNO OXYPETALUM. Inspired by the idea of a floral clock, it displays footage of the cactus flowers of the “queen of the night” closing and opening.
In 2023, the B3 Festival was able to further expand and consolidate the cooperation it has established and cultivated with the Frankfurt Book Fair in recent years. As part of THE ARTS+ at the Book Fair, the B3 presented a talk with director Behrooz Karamizade, who was honoured with this year’s Newcomer Award of the Hessian Film and Cinema Prize for his film EMPTY NETS, which was also screened at the festival. Several B3 artists also presented their latest VR projects here. A distinctive interface between books and video art was created by Federico Solmi, whose three books in the series “The Grand Voyage” from publisher D’ORO D’ART in Rome were presented as a world premiere at the book fair.
Presenting and promoting young talent in the B3 Talent Forum were a further focus of the festival this year. The HessenLab initiative is a collaboration with HessenFilm und Medien GmbH in which 22 creative individuals from various countries are individually advised by international media professionals in an online mentoring programme. HAB-Hessen is a multi-university funding programme for the graduation projects of Hessian students of art, film and media at the Offenbach University of Art and Design, the Kassel University of Art and Design, the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, which collaborate under the auspices of the Hessian Film and Media Academy network (hFMA).
Prof. Bernd Kracke concludes: “In this, its 11th year, B3 was able to explore new horizons in storytelling using moving images and also contemplate the use of artificial intelligence and its influence on societal transformation. In the second year after the coronavirus pandemic, the B3 once again had a strong showing at 5 locations in Frankfurt RheinMain with 145 participating artists and attracted a large audience of 36,400 visitors. We are very excited to see how this continues to develop and are looking forward to B3 2024.”
Save the date: The next edition of the B3 Festival of the Moving Image will be held from 11 to 20 October 2024.