The Manifest

Since its first edition in 1997, the dresdner schmalfilmtage has developed into a recognised forum for the German and international narrow film scene. The unconventional film festival focuses on documentary, artistic or fictional film productions that have one thing in common: They were originally realised on cine film.

Whether in the film formats 8mm (in all its variations), 9.5mm or 16mm - narrow film was of particular importance for the development of media in the 20th century. Similar to photography, it achieved an extraordinary social spread and popularity as well as an important position in the field of artistic film.

The inexpensive material guarantees independent film production, while at the same time narrow film is largely spared a flood of arbitrary images, as in the video sector. Classically ambitious amateur filmmakers, artists and non-specialists have always used the handy and inexpensive way of filmmaking without scissors in their heads for the wildest experiments and most private image poetries. In many cases, the camera accompanies its enthusiastic users through all situations in life. The small-format recordings, which were and are still being made both at home and with the family as well as in the widely ramified cultural and artistic underground scenes, are often unique testimonies to social and film history. This authenticity of the extremely democratic medium with pretensions is gladly used by the sister media. Nowadays, music video clips, feature films and documentaries are more and more frequently adorned with film clips in order to come a little closer (to poetry) to reality.

While photography, as well as 16mm, 35mm and digital film have found their established exhibition and performance venues, comparable forums are largely lacking for the cine film sector. An entire epoch of media history is thus not represented. Many old productions have disappeared into oblivion and vast amounts of material have not even been made accessible. Filmmakers who still shoot on Super8 today are smiled at as birds of paradise or dilettantes. Often neglected is the very own aesthetic of narrow film, which, due to production conditions far removed from the market and mainstream, lies outside the general development towards film-aesthetic standardisation. Against this background, the dresdner schmalfilmtage has developed into an open platform for filmmakers, film historians and film enthusiasts who strive to do justice to the complexity of historical as well as current narrow film production, the other image in the spectrum from 'art' to 'trash'.