On/Off Poster


dir. by Jurg Slabbert, South Africa
runtime: 18 min
An Afrikaans-speaking man helps his elderly German neighbour in a time of need, despite a language barrier. In the process, he learns volumes about himself. ’n Afrikaanssprekende man help sy bejaarde, Duitse buurvrou in ’n tyd van nood, ondanks die taalgrens tussen hulle. In die proses leer hy boekdele oor homself.


  • Marlo Minnaar
  • Aletta Bezuidenhout


Jurg Slabbert
Christiaan Boonzaier
Mia Cilliers, Katharina Stehle
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot
Mykonos Biennale 2015 - Film Festival -  On/Off - screen shot


  • Silwerskerm Festival Cape Town March 25
  • 2022 World Won – Best Actor (Marlo Minnaar); Nominated – Best Editing (Elana Steyn) South Africa Fright Nights – The Ultimate Festival of Fear Pasching October 5
  • 2022 International Nominated – Best Actress (Aletta Bezuidenhout) South Africa Woordfees Stellenbosch October 10
  • 2022 South Africa Treasure Coast International Film Festival Port St. Lucie October 12
  • 2022 North America Nominated – Best Foreign Short Film; Nominated – Outstanding Actress in a Short Film (Aletta Bezuidenhout) United States Goa Short Film Festival Goa October 15
  • 2022 Asia India Topaz Film Festival by Women in Film
  • Dallas Dallas October 20
  • 2022 Texas Won – Best Score (Lars-Luis Linek and Jordan Kareem Rees) United States Curtas Festival do Imaxinario Villagarcia de Arousa October 21
  • 2022 Spain Spain Abuja International Film Festival Abuja October 31
  • 2022 Nigeria Nominated – Best Short Film
  • Foreign Nigeria Diabolical Horror Film Festival November 1
  • 2022 Won – Best Short; Won – Best Director (Jurg Slabbert); Won – Best Cinematographer (Pascale Neuschäfer); Won – Best Actor (Marlo Minnaar) United States Queens World Film Festival New York City November 1
  • 2022 New York Nominated – Best Narrative Short; Nominated – Best Actor Female
  • Narrative Short (Aletta Bezuidenhout) United States ColorTape International Film Festival Brisbane November 6
  • 2022 Australia Nominated – Short Fiction Film Australia Cyprus International Film Festival Nicosia November 10
  • 2022 Cyprus Cyprus Meglio Matti Che Corti Modena November 11
  • 2022 Italy Finalist – Best Short; Finalist – Vittorio Saltini Prize Italy The Midnight Soul Film Festival Lulea November 11
  • 2022 Sweden Honorable Mention – "Emerging Stars"
  • First-Time Filmmakers Sweden Newcastle International Short Film Festival Newcastle November 18
  • 2022 Australia Hammer Kurzfilmnächte Hamm November 25
  • 2022 Germany Germany Another Hole In the Head Film Festival San Francisco December 1
  • 2022 California United States Anchorage International Film Festival Anchorage December 2
  • 2022 Alaska United States Shockfest Film Festival December 10
  • 2022 United States Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival Mumbai December 11
  • 2022 Won – Best Film India Asti Movie Awards December 13
  • 2022 Italy Global Bengaluru International Film Festival Bengaluru December 17
  • 2022 India Gully International Film Festival December 20
  • 2022 India Indian International Short Film Festival December 20
  • 2022 India

Directors Statement

The film is based on a true story – a bizarre experience between the screenwriter of the short and his elderly German neighbour, who desperately needed help after she couldn’t recall how to turn off her TV. What ensued was an empathetic attempt to help, despite a language barrier, but a failed exercise at that, since neither could find a way around the old woman’s crippling memory. It was a moving experience, strangely reminding our screenwriter of the many things he himself had forgotten in his life – and which he luckily, unlike both our characters, could still easily call to mind.

Since the short is based on an unexpected and thrilling – both good and bad – moment, the style of the film is equally chaotic and haphazard. The tight framing mimics the intimate space, the forced intimacy between the two strangers, also the sense of claustrophobia they face next to each other, but also in their separate lives, which neither can escape. Ironically, they are worlds apart – different races, sexes, ages… all evident in the film’s warm and cold colour grading – but independent from each other, they also share many life experiences, which unique cinematography, expert lighting, moving performances, and clever production design highlight subtly.

Apart from shining a light on themes concerning sickness, elderly care, and disability, the film hopes to start conversations about loneliness and the bridges kindness can build to dispel isolation. In some ways, we are all broken, and we can only really heal when we take hands. Let this film be a reminder of that.

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