In its latest newsletter, interfilm, the organizer of the Berlin International Short Film Festival, announced the expansion and revision of back-looking festival websites. Shortly thereafter, the Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg also referred to an online festival archive that looks back a long way. It seems that now is a good time for retrospection and reflection …
At interfilm, information about all 8000 films shown back to 2004 and all trailers back to 1992 can now be viewed online. Not least due to the parallel distribution activities, film information was entered into databases early on, which are now available online. There are commentary introductions to the early festival editions without online data.
The festival chronology reflects the particularly eventful history of the Berlin Short Film Festival. This includes changing organizers and sponsoring associations, but also name changes. For example, the name interfilm does not appear at all at the second festival in 1983. And, whether the first interfilm  was the “1st 8mm Film Festival in West Berlin” or the first short film festival could be debated .
The Kurzfilm Agentur Hamburg has also made its online archive more visible, with a link on the homepage. On the archive pages it is possible to search for films even back to 1985 via a database interface. As of 2014, festival catalogs can be viewed and – as with interfilm – trailers and festival posters can also be called up and the award winners of past festivals are mentioned.
The history of the Hamburg festival is also brought to life and made accessible through the archive. For example, one learns that the first “festival” in 1985 was actually only a short film evening for Super-8 and 16mm films – an event that was called “No Budget” in reference to and differentiation from the Hamburg Low Budget Film Festival. The official organizer was the LAG Hamburg .
Browsing through the archives of short film festivals of the founding wave in the 1980s, it is also noticeable that most of them focused on the 8mm film format or had their origins in the independent Super 8 film scene.
The saying “The Internet never forgets” is unfortunately not entirely true. Changes of organizers, but especially changes of providers and relaunches led to data loss. And many a festival only afforded a ‘homepage’ rather late or is older than the World Wide Web. Therefore, the further back you go, the less information is available about the festival. It would be helpful to have the means and resources to digitize existing archives, such as the festival catalog and photos, and make them accessible.
Other major German short film festivals with online archives (chronologically by founding year):
International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (founded in 1954 as West German Educational Film Festival).
Archive content: Award winners, trailers, press reviews, catalog from 2005.
Open Air Filmfest Weiterstadt (founded 1977)
Archive contents: Program overviews as of 1997, individual links to producers as of 2001, film pages from the catalog as of 2013.
Archive (only in German)
International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (founded 1982)
Archive contents: Award winners as of 2009, catalog as of 2015
European Media Art Festival Osnabrück (founded 1988 / Experimental Film Workshop 1981)
Archive contents: Catalog entries as of 1988, festival pages as of 1997.
FILMFEST DRESDEN (founded 1989)
Archive contents: Catalog, images, award winners from 2008
 “FILM STATT BERLIN, second international super-eight meeting”, organizer: Freunde der deutschen Kinemathek und Gegenlicht
 “1st international 8mm film festival in west berlin”, 1982 organized by Gegenlicht-Filmverleih, G!B 8 Kino und U.V.A.
 In 1980 and before, there were events (film screenings, concerts, exhibitions and performances) in Berlin-Schöneberg around the artist scene in the Mitropa (“Café M”) in Goltzstraße, which could be called precursors
 The Hamburg Regional Association Youth and Film in the Federal Association BJF e.V.