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Winners & Special Mentions: Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival 2021

A massive thank you to everyone who participated in the Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival 2021. It's been absolutely fantastic having so many filmmakers involved and seeing the global support for true indie film...

The judges' votes have been counted and added to the audience's feedback. Huge congratulations to the filmmakers who screened with us!  A special well done to the following films...


Festival Winners

Best Short Film

(next screening with Lift-Off in Berlin 2022)

Happy New Year

Dirs. Morten Jensen, Sabine Thun, Tobias Lunn Nielsen
Synopsis: "Happy New Year" is a dark, poetic drama about a dysfunctional relationship, addiction between young adults and love that "does not consider".

Best Short Film

(next screening with Lift-Off in Berlin 2022)

The Birth Of Valerie Venus

Dir. Sarah Clift
Synopsis: A selfless vicar’s wife is possessed by a strange force, unlocking a mischievous (and pleasurable) side she never knew she had.

Special Mention

(next screening with Lift-Off in London 2021)


Dir. Kathryn Carmichael
Synopsis: Today is Elise’s 21st Birthday. Elise suffers from Tourette's syndrome; she has done since she was 13 years old. Elise’s tics don’t involve her shouting or swearing. Brought up in a loving slightly kooky family, with a natural acceptance of all, Elise thrives within her home.
But school life has not been kind, picked on for being different and often the popular girls that have given her the hardest time.
Her has been musician father has taught Elise to play and sing, and within this she finds the freedom of her voice as her tic’s disappear.
But Elise has a crush on Mr. Popular Aaron Clark, and he has the prom queen girlfriend to match. Can Elise ever believe he will see her for her? Or will he only see the tics

Season Award Nominations

The Lift-Off Season Awards is an annual event which celebrates the very best of indie film. Following each Lift-Off film festival, films which have excelled in their respective category are nominated and invited to attend the prestigious Lift-Off Season Awards, culminating at the end of the Lift-Off season. Click here for more information about the Lift-Off Season Awards.

Good and Better

Dir. Gil Alkabetz
Synopsis: It's hard to think it's gonna be good, much easier to think it's gonna be bad": A song in waltz rhythm is combined with absurd animated loops to express a feeling of concern and uncertainty about the future.

Nominated for Best Animation

Under the Skin - In Conversation with Anish Kapoor

Dir. Martina Margaux Cozzi
Synopsis: Under the Skin - In conversation with Anish Kapoor" is an experimental art film that presents in an unconventional and emotional way the creative universe of one of the most iconic artists of our century.
Anish Kapoor returns to the emblematic city of Rome for a timeless conversation about art, presenting an astonishing exhibition of his latest work: intimate, shocking and dialectic between terror and sublime. The narration investigates, confronts and explores the conditions of matter, the dynamics of perception and the power of ritual throughout art.

Nominated for Best Short Documentary

King of Ravens

Dir. Piotr J. Lewandowski
Synopsis: Darko, a young survival artist, lives illegally in Germany. He tries to keep himself and his sick mother afloat in the urban jungle until he is at rising of losing himself in an amour fou with the mysterious Alina. What at first seemed to suit him very well, soon becomes a problem: he begins to fall in love with her. Alina seems to enjoy the situation, but leaves it open for a long time whether she shares his feelings. The fragile dream shatters when the unequal relationship with the past catches up with them. Suddenly Darko's whole existence, as well as the hope for a better life, is at stake.

Nominated for Best Feature Live Action Narrative

Comin' up Short

Dirs. Queen Muhammad Ali, Hakeem Khaaliq
Synopsis: “Comin' up Short” is the true story about Shorty, a member of “Da Lench Mob," one of the most controversial platinum and gold rap recording groups of all time led by Ice Cube.

Nominated for Best Feature Documentary

Audience Chioce

The Audience Choice award is given to the filmmakers whose film received the most votes during the festival. The filmmakers will be invited to join us on the Lift-Off YouTube channel for a directors commentary roundtable. Join in the conversation as we delve deeper into each film.


Dir. Ramon Buerki
Synopsis: After the unpleasant event of a seizure during a night out, right in presence of his crush and other school companions. DAVE is quite concerned about how other schoolmates might react to what happened, as he insecurely attempts to get back to his normal daily life. Throughout his recovery he will eventually discover the unexpected role in the lives of those he learns to truly call his friends.


Dir. Natalia Curea
Synopsis: Alfred, a middle-aged party clown leads a somewhat artistic life in New York City, but it’s not quite what he imagined in his youth. As he gets older, Alfred begins to question whether he has failed to achieve his dreams, and compare himself to a former college friend who seems to have it all.


Dir. Justin MacGregor
Synopsis: Set in a world running parallel to our own pandemic-gripped reality, ISOLATION dips into the life of John (Alexander Johnson), a young man sequestered in his high-rise apartment, waiting in tandem with a paused outside world swept up in illness. Even locked doors in the sky can be knocked upon, however, and when his past comes knocking, his isolation is rocked.


Dir. John Darbonne
Synopsis: Across a post-apocalyptic landscape haunted by malicious spirits known as Companions, a guilt-stricken woman must choose to abandon her husband or die with him.