© VIS, Jannis Gonis

VIS 2018: (Post-)Apocalyptic Game Adaptations Win Big

German animation Ugly triumphs-online performance Operation Jane Walk named Best Austrian Film-Portuguese film named Best Live-Action Short-first VR Prize goes to Finland-2 Canadian films on Oscar® longlist

The grand prizes of the 15th edition of the short film festival VIS Vienna Shorts were all about dystopian films and their computer-game aesthetics. The German Russian director Nikita Diakur triumphed with his animated film Ugly, a 12-minute work celebrating an aesthetics of deficiency in an apocalyptic imbroglio created using a game interface. The film was awarded two of the major prizes and qualified for the Academy Awards®. The online performance Operation Jane Walk by Leonhard Müller and Robin Klengel, which denaturalizes a multiplayer shooting game to become a postapocalyptic guided tour through New York City, received the award with the highest remuneration-5,000 euro-for Best Film in the National Competition. The award for Best Short Film of the festival, which ended Monday, went to the Portuguese triptych Miragem Meus Putos (Mirage My Bros) by Diogo Baldaia.

Diakur's Ugly convinced the jury with its "stunning formal language" and "impressive talent for storytelling." The film received the ASIFA Austria Award in the international Animation Avantgarde competition, with a prize money of 2,000 euro. Operation Jane Walk is "not the first example of an interactive take on found-footage filmmaking, but the first we've seen to acknowledge that the virtual world is part of our lived experience." The Vienna Short Film Award for the best Austrian film comes with a prize money of 3,000 euro by the Collecting Society of Filmmakers and a 2,000-euro production voucher from viennaFX and Blautöne. Miragem Meus Putos (Mirage My Bros), which was awarded the Grand Prize of the international Fiction & Documentary competition, left the jury mesmerized. The members found its "riveting, poetic, and sensuous exploration of youth" arresting and evidence of "the immensity of wonders" that the short film medium has to offer. The award comes with a prize money of 4,000 euro, donated by the City of Vienna.

Two Jury Prizes go to Canada, first VR Prize to Finland

The cross-category Jury Prizes, which qualify awardees for the Academy Awards®, went to Ugly (in the category Animation) and to two Canadian productions. The Jury Prize in the category Documentary Short went to Ryan McKenna's dramatic sound-footage work Voces del Secuestro (Voices of Kidnapping); the Jury Prize in the category Live-Action Short went to Jeremy Comte's Fauve. All three films are therefore also eligible to be nominated for an Academy Award® in 2019. The prize of the first ever, completely sold-out competition VR the World went to Finland with Devil's Lungs by Alla Kovgan. It consists of a one-month residency at Vienna's MuseumsQuartier and 1,050 euro in cash, donated by MuseumsQuartier's Q21.

Awards for best directing, best newcomer, outstanding achievement & popularity

Amanda Nell Eu from Malaysia was named best female director for Lagi Senang Jaga Sekandang Lembu (It's Easier to Raise Cattle), an unusual coming-of-age story with clear genre elements. The prize comes with 1,000 euro, donated by the Elfi Dassanowsky Foundation. The Best Newcomer Prize, which includes 3,000 euro donated by the Collecting Society of Audiovisual Media in cooperation with viennaFX and Blautöne (1,000 euro as a post-production voucher), went to the Austrian director Michaela Taschek for her very personal film, Doppelgänger.

María Molina from the Netherlands was awarded a grant for a one-month artist residency at Vienna's MuseumsQuartier for outstanding achievements in the category Animated and/or Experimental Film with her work Digital Trauma (And the Crystal Image). The audience rewarded Retour à Genoa City (Back to Genoa City) by Benoît Grimalt from France. The film is an affectionate and adventurous portrait that blends the director's own family history with that of the TV family from The Young and the Restless. Awarded for the first time this year, the ORF.at Audience Prize for the most popular Austrian film under 12 minutes comes with 500 euro and an appearance on the ORF website-it went to Fabian Lang's Supernaked.

Music video prizes and awards in cooperation with Forum Alpbach and Erste Group

The winners of the 6th Austrian Music Video Prize are KIDS N CATS with Frizzle Frizz, directed by Patryk Senwicki. The International Music Video Prize went to Estonian Tommy Cash for his video Pussy Money Weed. The Scottish filmmakers Ross Hogg and Duncan Cowles, who had been awarded the festival's artist residency last year, were named the first VIS Art Scholars at the European Forum Alpbach (valued at up to 3,000 euro).

The coveted Prix Très chic pour le film le plus extraordinaire, awarded for the most absurd humor, went to the young Austrian filmmaker Puppie Krammer for Lolana - Rising. And even before the festival opening, the Erste Group's 3,000-euro Keep It Short Award went to a one-minute silent film: the extravagant Ingwer gegen alles by Stefan-Manuel Eggenweber and Stephan Langer asserted itself against four other new works in the competition.