Paul Ploberger, 2023
born 1986 in Pasching, Austria.
Paul Ploberger was born in Austria in 1986. After training as an actor and engagements both as an actor and a photographer, he decided to step behind the camera. He was accepted at the Vienna Film Academy where he enrolled in the film directing course and, during his studies, produced several short films that were screened at international festivals, picking up a number of prizes. He currently works as a screenwriter and director.
Nackte Männer im Wald [Naked Men in the Woods], 2022
She has a tumour, he’s gay, and they’re both hiding it. That’s one tricky marriage!
It’s one tricky marriage: she has a tumour, he’s gay, and they’re both hiding it. When their only daughter moves out, he’s eager to come out of the closet, and she’s keen to make a fresh start of it, together. Neither of which occurs. While he arranges a date for a bizarre role-play, she – convinced that he has a younger woman – decides to spy on him. And the hunt begins.
4 March 2023
We were particularly taken by the refreshingly different look at life’s big moments: a cancer diagnosis, a coming-out within a marriage, and a child that goes out into the world – here all these typical movie set pieces are told in an original and entertaining way, yet always truthfully. Tragic situations are not captured with shock or horror, but with levity. Moments that are embarrassing or filled with shame are never ridiculed, but treated with humanity and disarming humour. And although the storylines become ever more bizarre, they remain grounded in real life and believable in a sympathetic way.
In what is seemingly a simple story, the director manages to subtly lampoon the toxic speechlessness in family and society as well as the pressure to hide illnesses, proclivities and fears in order to maintain the appearance of an idyllic family. Everything could be so simple if people just spoke plainly, in ways both pragmatic and humorous. With a fine balance of precision and truthfulness, we were moved by the entire cast, right down to the smallest cameo role.
This year the ZF Short Film Prize worth EUR 15,000 goes to Nackte Männer im Wald [Naked Men in the Woods] by Paul Ploberger.
Jury members of the 2023 Filmtage Friedrichshafen Film Festival: Anke Sterneborg, Daniel Hadenius-Ebner, Marcus H. Rosenmüller, Regina Michel und Tomasz Robak