What is it about Cosmico that keeps striking a chord among Teutonic film buffs? Following the 2014 Hamburg International Short Film Festival and Dresden's Festival BEAR, Berlin's Contravision Film Festival became the third German movie competition to welcome Duke Cosmico into its program.

Contravision Film Festival Prioritizing left-field short films with ambitious ideas, Contravision's program groups competing movies by thematic affinity in creatively titled showcases ("Altar of Madness", "A Little Bit Perverted", etc). Described in the program as a "philosophical comedy", Cosmico earned a place at the "Nerves of Steel" section. With its irreverent look at religion, the short fit in rather snuggly within a bill of patricidal twins, imaginary sea predators and post-Soviet time travel.

All awards at Contravision are decided by the votes of the viewers who purchase tickets for each individual screening, with the two top-voted shorts of every section competing at the festival's closing event. Out of the 11 Nerves of Steel nominees, Cosmico finished in third place, jointly with Marc Schiesser's multilingual slasher Au Pair.

"Many festivals are only now beginning to realize the increasing demand for controversial short films," says editor-turned-director C.J. Lazaretti. "Contravision has been at it for 23 years. You've got to respect that. My debut short Cosmico got booed in London last year, and now it's fared rather well in Berlin. That's the kind of reception I like: passionate, for better or worse. No indifference. No compromise. Contravision is just the right kind of event for that, and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it."

A week after Contravision, Cosmico had its Greek premiere at the 10th Athens Animfest, where it won its first award. There might be some deeper truth about that philosophical comedy claim, after all...

Does the future hold further adventures for our hero among the Germans? One can only hope so. Peoples of the Earth, beware of Duke Cosmico: he is what they eat!


Selected photos from the 2015 Contravision Film Festival

"Cosmico" producer Hamish Graham at the entrance to Haus Schwarzenberg (photo: C.J. Lazaretti) Papers, please: the Contravision hosts grill C.J. Lazaretti after the Berlin premiere of "Cosmico" (photo: Hamish Graham) "Cosmico" director C.J. Lazaretti at the entrance to Haus Schwarzenberg (photo: Hamish Graham) The walls have eyes in East Berlin: C.J. Lazaretti and Hamish Graham on their way to Contravision venue Kino Central (photo: C.J. Lazaretti) Hosts Mark Szigat and Michaela Menda get the show on the road at Kino Central (photo: courtesy of Contravision Film Festival) Democracy in action: Festivaldirektor Robin Bodenhaupt supervises the counting of audience ballots after a screening at Kino Central (photo: courtesy of Contravision Film Festival)


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