The competition is separated into four sections: Fiction & Documentary contains a selection of international narrative and documentary shorts, whereas Animation Avantgarde features international innovative short animation films. The National Competition is conceived as a showcase of current Austrian short film-making, no matter if fiction, animation or documentary. 2013 also brought the creation of a new competition, debuting the Austrian music video award.
Climbing walls and overgrown gardens, animal heads and protective overalls. Much is addressed, even more is left unsaid. But the heart beats strong, be it on the beach or in the African steppe. With the past as baggage, the eye on the present and the future in hand – the 22 films in the international competition Fiction & Documentary all relate one thing in particular: tales about us.
For this competition alone we received over 2.000 submissions this year. The fact that this allows for just about one per cent of the submitted films to be shown doesn’t only pain the programmer's heart, but also bears witness to the unstoppable trend, which had already become visible in previous years: within the allowed 30 minute time frame, the narrative short films are getting longer and longer. 22 productions in five competition programmes signify the lowest film count in the festival’s history – already an indication that the competition will have to be extended next year. This year, however, the programme stands and we look proudly at the selection, which proves more than ever that the short form isn’t just for film making novices. Claire Denis, Ursula Meier, Radu Jude, Yuri Ancarani, Oliver Pietsch, Sandro Aguilar or Jay Rosenblatt are examples of already established directors from this year’s programme, who have produced outstanding short films in the past year, just like the other 15 film makers, who hail from Singapore to Brazil, Greece to Lithuania, Great Britain to Switzerland.
They tell stories of acts of alienations, of everyday challenges or of heart beats, they go under the microscope and test their self-perception. They tell stories about us. And if the ice will not hold, you can expect casualties.
Doris Bauer & Marija Milovanovic
Daniel Ebner, Milena Nikolic
Animation Avantgarde has a clear mission: the idea is to put together competition programmes of works from the fields of experimental film making, digital media, video and animation, concentrating on works away from the beaten tracks.
The fact that animations are proportionally very well represented is directly linked to the number of submissions. As well as computer animation, motion graphics and puppet animations, there is also a substantial number of painted and drawn films, with plenty of facets between the figuratively concrete and experimental or abstract film. A smaller group of films does without animation techniques completely, using found footage or live-action, or can be classed more as avant garde due to their media reflexive approach.
This year we are delighted about the participation of several prominent names: in his first digitally produced work, World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt philosophises about the future, while Jerzy Kucia presents a new chapter of his experimental ‘life film’, Fugue for Cello, Trumpet and Landscape. Painting is the focus again and again, be it in the experimental expressive You look like me by Pierre Hébert, the humorous narrative Immer müder by Jochen Kuhn, or the pessimistic commentary on humanity, Hipotamy by Piotr Dumala. In her footage film Black Anouk De Clercq reflects on cinema, Maria von Hausswollf’s Evidence of the Not Yet Known is something between a film and theatre production, while Barcode III.0 by Adriaan Lokman is pure abstraction.
We are equally thrilled about the many works submitted by young talents, breaking and stirring up classic concepts. Extraordinary music videos by Theodore Ushev, Laura Gines and Pelin Kirca and humour from Christian Larrave, Frédéric Bonpapa or Ian Otto top off the programme of 37 films.
Thomas Renoldner & Wiktoria Pelzer
in cooperation with ASIFA Austria
Once again the short films submitted to the National Competition demonstrate the high quality and diversity of Austrian film making: from over 300 submitted works, 17 films were chosen to be screened in three approximately 80-minute competition programmes. Many more of the submitted fiction works, documentaries, animations and experimental films would have deserved a screening slot at the festival.
The selected films are representational for current Austrian short film making and come from independent film makers, as well as from students at art colleges and universities – the latter often from Austrians studying at international film academies. The inclination to the experimental form is particularly noticeable, a fact reflected both in the submissions and in the competition itself, thus corresponding to the tradition that already made Austria a talking point as a film nation in days gone by. Also gratifying is the fact that, thanks to the support of VDFS and the Austrian Film Institute, the main prize for the best Austrian film is worth 5.000 Euros again this year.
The three competition programmes bear the titles NaturGewalt (Force of Nature), JagdSzenen (Hunting Scenes) and WiederSehen (Seeing Again), thus intentionally leaving plenty of room for associations. Several of the films in the first programme are about violence, even though their individual approaches are totally different in style and content. In the second programme we meet hunters and the hunted in films ranging from documentary essays and disturbing experimental films to mockumentaries. And the final programme is all about meeting and meeting again, perception and memory – until the boundaries between film and reality start to blur, rough and hard, and there is a reunion in front of a multicoloured backdrop, which is slowly turning black.
Michael Reutz & Alexandra Valent
Franka Giesemann, Gregor Hochrieser, Daniel Ebner
The Screensessions, the series of musical film programmes within VIS, goes into its third year. Once again we have put together the best national and international music videos, which we will show on the big screen, while also offering a platform for young and established musicians and film makers alike to set their works free from the constraints of computer and tablet screens.
The selected works give a concentrated overview of the host of music clips, which find their way onto websites like YouTube or Vimeo each year, and are the framework for the often neglected perception of audiovisual miniatures as an art form.
The days when music videos were primarily seen as promotional media for songs are long gone by – a development that can be measured by the free and experimental use of the medium. Despite shrinking budgets and the disappearance of (music) TV, the clips are experiencing a revival (on the internet in particular), and thanks to distribution on social media this can result in world-wide hypes, attracting an ever growing audience.
Taking these questions as a starting point, there will also be a supporting programme to the Screensessions, which will address improving networking among music and film makers, and will also attempt to answer questions on copyright, distribution in times of internet marketing and any conflicts that may arise between the involved parties. This year the METRO Kinokulturhaus serves as the perfect venue for this combination of discourse and art appreciation – and after the screenings the wonderful musician Philipp Quehenberger will grace the stage with a live performance. True to the tried and tested concept of the CinemaSessions developed by Filmarchiv Austria he will thrill us with new interpretations of silent works by Josephine Ahnelt.
Christoph Etzlsdorfer, Ann-Katrin Dorner & Marco Celeghin
Verena Klöckl, Daniel Ebner