A Celebration of Resilience and New Beginnings

Short film Screening
Reviews of our Guest Artists, Filmmakers, and Scientists

The Nowruz Networking Event on March 24, 2024, presented a diverse selection of short films that impressed the audience and sparked lively discussions. The presence of interdisciplinary guests from fields such as research, music, opera, theater, film, and IT added to the impressive atmosphere.

The short film “NATSU DANCE” shed light on societal changes in Japan, particularly the openness to the needs of young people despite natural disasters like the 2016 earthquake and the 2020 flood. The authentic portrayal of challenges and the inspiring message of the film received praise from the guests.

“The Last Party” impressed with its empathetic portrayal of family bonds and resilience in difficult times. The direction and editing of the film were especially praised for their ability to evoke emotional resonance. Guests were deeply touched by the story and expressed their sympathy for the characters.

“Katvoman” inspired by the character Catwoman, addresses women’s rights, domestic violence, and the MeToo movement. The film sparked discussions about women’s rights and illustrated positive societal development, particularly the empowerment of women.

“Water.Wind.Dust.Bread” evoked compassion for children living in extreme poverty and emphasized their resilience and determination. The portrayal of the challenges faced by young protagonists in the midst of nature deeply touched the audience and prompted reflection on identity and belonging. The successful portrayal of the protagonist’s responsibility towards his fellow player despite his physical impairment was praised multiple times, as was the supportive family environment, but also criticized.


Review by Professor Dr. Irmgard Merkt

The Superraum in Dortmunder Brückstraße stands for interculturality and inspiration. On March 24, 2024, both were impressively con firmed. On the occasion of the Nowruz festival, the New Year and spring festival celebrated by approximately 300 million people from Iran to Turkey and recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage, the THINKUP Connectivity network together with THINK UP Editions organized a “Festival of Resilience and New Beginnings”. The core of the event were four short films, one each from Japan and Italy, and two from Iran. The thematic focus in each case was on girls and women. Short films, as short stories, sometimes have fleeting, sometimes lasting effects. The four films shown each refer in different ways, and in any case, significantly to the blending of self and other energy, of dependence and development. “Natsu Dance”, Japan, screenplay and directed by Teruyoshi Uchimara, addresses not only the emancipation of the girl through her development into a member of a dance group, but also that of the father, who struggles with himself and his ideas and ultimately gives his daughter permission to participate.

“The Last Party”, Italy, screenplay and directed by Matteo Damiani, is a enchanting film about two sisters who encounter each other anew in their old age.
“It’s never too late to find each other and to dance” – more shall not be revealed.

“Katvoman”, Iran, screenplay and directed by Hadi Sheibani, awarded in France, deeply shocks with the dimensions of violence against women and immediately raises the question of the efficacy of art, as does the film “Water.Wind.Dust.Bread”, Iran, screenplay and directed by Mehdi Zamanpour Kiasri, which, as a documentary, equally engages with the fate of a boy with physical disabilities and girls in the Afghan border region who are unable to attend school due to political circumstances. Four films, four such different realities of girls and women – and all are present. A rich and enduring evening at the Superraum.


Born in Munich, Professor Dr. Irmgard Merkt, affiliated with TU Dortmund, embarked on her journey into German music education following her studies in opera singing. Transitioning to music education for grammar schools, she earned her doctorate in 1983 with a pione

ering dissertation on intercultural music education. Throughout her career, Merkt held diverse academic roles, notably contributing to inclusive music education for individuals with disabilities and spearheading initiatives such as “InTakt” and “Dortmund Model: Music”. Her tireless advocacy earned her prestigious recognition, including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2020, solidifying her status as a pioneer in the field.

Merkt’s influence transcended academia into practical projects focused on enhancing diversity and accessibility in music education. Even after her retirement in 2014, she remained committed to inclusive education, playing a pivotal role in the “Network Culture and Inclusion” from 2014 to 2021. Professor Dr. Merkt has been honored for her exceptional contributions to the musical life in North Rhine-Westphalia through the annual awarding of the “Silberne Stimmgabel” in 2016 by the State Music Council of NRW during its general assembly. Her profound impact on music pedagogy continues to inspire educators and musicians, shaping inclusive music education for future generations. We were honored to welcome Professor Merkt to our event, where her critical insights sparked lively discussions and provided valuable perspectives to all attendees. Her contributions enriched the experience, fostering open and constructive dialogue, and we eagerly anticipate benefiting from her expertise in the future.


Review by Shahram Karimi

The short films presented themselves at a professional level, with “The Last Party” particularly standing out for its precise portrayal of the theme and landscape, as well as successful post-production. Despite their brevity, the films masterfully addressed aspects such as patience, tolerance, and the joy of life. In particular, the short film “Katvoman”, one of the young filmmaker’s first shorts, offered an engaging and cinematic portrayal that also addressed the challenges faced by Iranian women and women in general. An impressive portrayal of a mother highlighted the pragmatism necessary to protect children from patriarchal violence in backward societies.

A tragedy between dance and life, presented through a culture of acceptance that acknowledges reality and continues life, even amidst unrequited love. The bond between a father and his adolescent daughter was emphasized, with home always serving as a place of return and comfort.

The documentary “Water.Wind.Dust.Bread” portrayed the lives of nature-bound people who lead a tough yet simple life despite their challenges. The portrayal of a disabled child who still performs all necessary tasks illustrated the love and support within their environment. This approach underscored that life is not defined by external circumstances or formal documentation but rather by the relationships and experiences it offers.



Born in Shiraz, Shahram Karimi’s artistic journey reflects Iranian culture. Initially a painter, Shahram transitioned to film, collaborating with figures like Shirin Neshat and Shoji Azari. His work on “Desert Dancer” showcased his eye for detail. Devoted to painting, Shahram’s art is a homage to his homeland, blending past and present with Persian poetry. Traveling between Germany, Iran, and the US, he continues to bridge cultures through his art, celebrating humanity’s diversity. Aside from his film projects, Shahram Karimi is recognized for his work on “Empty Nets” (2023), “Logic of the Birds” (2002), “Windows” (2006), and “Open the Door” (2021). These works reflect his relentless pursuit of new forms of expression as he explores the boundaries between art and life, past, and present.



Review by Prof. Dr. phil. Makiko Hamaguchi-Klenner

The NATSU DANCE (NATSU ZORA DANCE 夏空ダンス) focuses on the relationship between a father and his daughter. The father, portrayed by the director himself, strives to revitalize his hometown in Southern Japan after it’s been ravaged by earthquake and flood. However, he’s disheartened to learn that his talented daughter, along with many others in the town, desires to leave and seek a better life in larger cities.

The film paints a picture of a traditional Japanese family dynamic, where the mother manages household responsibilities while the father holds authority in decision-making. The protagonist, NATSU (Summer), a skilled dancer, has injected vitality into the desolate town but now yearns to depart. In the past, the father might have insisted she stay.


Yet, in contemporary Japan, many housewives earn their own income, even through part-time work. Their voices carry weight in family matters, and husbands have come to value not just their wives but also their daughters, who deserve promising futures. After reflection, the father not only permits NATSU to pursue dance lessons in Tokyo but also welcomes her return should her endeavors not thrive.
In Japanese, “NATSU ZORA DANCE” translates to “Summer Sky Dance”. “空” means “sky” and implies that the dances took place in open air, while “夏” (Natsu) refers to both her name and the season during which they danced. “ダンス” (dannsu) represents the English word “dance”, and “空” denotes sky.


“The Last Party” focuses on the relationship between sisters, delving into the intricate psychological dynamics that require time to unravel. Despite their mutual love, differences in mentality, preferences, and lingering competitive feelings from childhood hinder their ability to openly express affection. It’s a journey where they must each live their lives and experience loss before they can authentically reveal their true emotions to one another.


The “Katvoman” focuses on the relationship between a mother and her son, with domestic violence (DV) as its central theme. While the father’s presence is acknowledged, his role in the film is relatively minor. Domestic violence, whether physical or verbal, remains a prevalentissue worldwide, albeit more prevalent in certain regions. Viewers may question why this cycle persists. The intimate bond between mother and son serves as a key insight. The mask she wears to conceal her scars becomes symbolic of the secret she keeps from her son. Perhaps she should have revealed her scars, explaining that conflicts between parents are inevitable, and he shouldn’t take sides without understanding both perspectives. Importantly, he should never resort to violence against his future spouse, but instead, respect her as an individual. Failure to impart such lessons could perpetuate psychological harm, leading the young boy to replicate his father’s mistakes.

“Water, Wind, Dust, Bread” was challenging to discern the central theme of this movie as it addressed numerous issues: poverty, limited educational opportunities, the affection between a boy and a girl, and the boy’s disabilities, among others. However, viewed through the lens of women’s emancipation, the film primarily revolves around the relationship between a privileged boy and a less fortunate girl. The girl, unable to attend school due to a lack of birth certification, forms a close friendship with the boy and assists him with daily farm chores. By the film’s conclusion, it seems improbable that the girl will ever attain the same privileges as her counterparts in more developed areas. Despite the boy’s kindness, he does not teach her to read or write, preferring independence and refusing her assistance. This behavior hints at a potential future where he may become a dominant husband, despite his kindness. The discrepancy between genders appears especially pronounced in impoverished regions of the world.


Prof. Dr. phil. Makiko Hamaguchi-Klenner, Political Sciences, Born in Tokyo in 1949, spent her childhood in California before delving into Chinese Affairs through studies in Tokyo and Singapore from 1969 to 1974. With a passion for East Asian Politics, she shared her expertise as a lecturer at Ruhr-Universität Bochum from 1991 to 2015. Alongside her academic career, she actively engaged in global discourse, attending World Women Congresses in Prague and Moscow, contributing to discussions on gender equality and societal progress. A staunch advocate for gender equality, she brought a unique perspective to her academic and activist endeavors. Makiko’s dedication to bridging cultural divides and fostering dialogue continues to inspire positive change worldwide.



Review by Tatiana Previati

“The Last Party” was was captured near the coast of Gabicce, where the “Geranio”, the typical flower of this area, is ubiquitous. The old sedan of the homeowner transported me back to my childhood. Although the film’s story does not progress quickly, the images, scenes, and frames focus on the real life of the time. Personally, I felt like I was by the side of the two characters, and time passed quickly.

“Katvoman” and “Water.Wind.Dust.Bread” left a profound impact on me with their poignant narratives and compelling visuals. Both films exuded strength and power, delving deep into their respective themes with remarkable depth and emotional resonance. From the exploration of women’s rights and domestic violence in “Katvoman” to the portrayal of resilience and determination in the face of adversity in “Water.Wind.Dust.Bread”, these movies captivated my attention and stirred my emotions. Each scene was crafted with precision, drawing me into the characters’ struggles and triumphs. Overall, both films delivered a powerful cinematic experience that will stay with me for a long time.


Tatiana Previati, born in Ferrara, graduated from the Milan Conservatory and works as a soprano. She has debuted in various roles in Tuscany and toured as Musetta in “La Bohème” through Romania and Germany. Her repertoire includes opera arias, international hits, and film music. Tatiana won the Humor Festival in Krasnodar with “Memory” from “Cats” and opened Michael Bolton’s concert in Naples. She supports charitable events and has performed at international gala concerts.




written & directed by Teruyoshi Uchimura, Japan 2023

Hitoyoshi Kuma, Kumamoto, Japan, birthplace of Uchimura Teruyoshi, boasts nature, hot springs, and rich culture. Despite setbacks from the 2016 earthquake and 2020 flood, a high school girl dreams of reviving her town through international Breaking dance events. The short film showcases Hitoyoshi-Kuma’s resilience post-disaster, featuring famous landmarks and memories of the 2020 flood.


The Last Party (IL ULTIMA FESTA)
written & directed by Matteo Damiani, Italy 2022

The Last Party is a short film about two elderly sisters, Celeste and Teresa, reuniting after many years. Despite feeling forgotten in a small provincial town, they proudly assert their desire to live fully, reclaiming roles often denied to women in their youth. It’s never too late to reconnect, share stories, and find one’s place in life’s journey.


Katvoman (کت‌ومن)
written and directed by Hadi Sheibani, Iran 2022

Before the father arrived, a mother and son played the Catwoman-Batman Game. Meanwhile, noise and screams emanated from the next door, suggesting that the neighbor had harmed his wife. It was now imperative for the father to intervene in the game before the son became aware of the situation.


WATER.WIND.DUST.BREAD (آب.باد.خاک.نان)
written & directed by Mehdi Zamanpour Kiasri, Iran 2021

While Abolfazl comes from Iran, Setayesh, born into a migrant family from Afghanistan, lacks official documentation. Together, they navigate challenges with resilience. The documentary delves into their realities, portraying their determination amidst hardship, sheds light on their struggles, inviting viewers to contemplate identity, belonging, and resilience.


The splendor of Haft Sin and Scents of Nowruz

On the Nowruz table, adorned with rich traditions and the awakening of nature, a feast for the senses and the soul unfolded. The splendor of Haft Sin, with its seven artfully arranged elements, filled the room with an aura of celebration and new beginnings. The symbols of Haft Sin – from the green sprouts to the golden fish – embodied the essence of the New Year’s festival, inviting guests to receive the abundance and blessings of the coming year.

The delightful scents of Persian pastries and Shiraz wine evoked memories of the lively streets of Shiraz and Isfahan, allowing guests to revel in reminiscences of past celebrations. Every bite of saffron-infused Nokhodchi pastry and every sip of aromatic Shiraz wine was a delight for the taste buds and a homage to Persia’s rich culinary tradition.

The Ikebana arrangement “Scents of Nowruz” was the centerpiece of the festivities, an artful ensemble capturing the beauty and spirit of spring. The vibrant blooms of winter jasmine, the delicate pussy willows, and the radiant daffodils formed a harmonious tableau embodying the hope and renewal of the new year. Beneath the gentle glow of candles and the fragrance of flowers, “Scents of Nowruz” brought guests together in a moment of gratitude and anticipation for what may come.

The “Scents of Nowruz” with winter jasmine – Eisblume in Persian, accompanying the arrangement, weaves a poetic thread of spring longing and the promise of new love. It is an echo of times past, a whisper of melancholy and yearning that fills the room and carries the thoughts of onlookers on a journey through the seasons. The gentle melodies and profound meaning of this song enhance the atmosphere of the celebration, immersing guests in the poetry and romance of spring.

The evening concluded with a selection of typical Iranian delicacies, an Ikebana installation “Scents of Nowruz”, and Shiraz wine alongside orange blossoms from Tuscany, underscoring the cultural diversity and cohesion of the event.


“Ganbatteimasu” (頑張っています) is the progressive form of “ganbaru”. We are in the process of enduring ourselves!


We extend our deepest gratitude to Raban Ruddigkeit for his unwavering support and dedication in crafting the design works for our campaign. His sincere efforts have been instrumental in our success, and we truly appreciate his valuable contributions.

Special and heartfelt thanks are extended to Moritz Holtmann for his invaluable support and tireless commitment, which have made this endeavor a true celebration of joy.

Our sincere appreciation goes out to Shahram Karimi, Tatiana Priviati, and Dr. phil. Makiko Hamaguchi-Klenner for taking the time to write the reviews. Their invaluable feedback is immensely appreciated, not only by us but also by the filmmakers. Thank you for your thoughtful contribution.

We express our gratitude to F for the Shahnameh (Book of Kings), the most renowned work of Ferdowsi and regarded as one of the paramount works of Persian literature, the exquisite Sabzeh, and the fragrant Hyacinth.

Our heartfelt gratitude extends to all the supporting organizations, with special mention to Dortmund Kreativ, as well as to our esteemed filmmakers and individuals, especially Frau Prof. Dr. Irmgard Merkt, and our cherished guests. Their unwavering support and valuable contributions have truly made this event possible.

Motion graphics: Ali Ansari
Poster design: Raban Ruddigkeit
Editor: Mansoureh Rahnama
Ikebana arrangement “Scents of Nowruz”: Mansoureh Rahnama