© Egg (Martina Scarpelli)

VIS 2019 – Two Women Directors Win Big

Nicole Foelsterl wins National Competition, is named Best Female Director, and qualifies for the Oscars—Italian Martina Scarpelli wows Animation Avantgarde jury and audience alike

The sixteenth edition of the VIS Vienna International Short Film Festival turned out to be a triumph for two female directors, both of whom won multiple awards this year. With her deeply personal documentary “Eigentlich Vergangen” (Far From Past), the Austrian filmmaker Nicole Foelsterl won the Grand Prize in the National Competition and the Elfi Dassanowsky Prize for Best Female Director of the Festival. On top of these accolades, the film qualified for the Austrian Film Awards as well as the Academy Awards and garnered high ratings in the audience vote.

The Italian Martina Scarpelli accomplished a similar feat: Her black-and-white animation “Egg,” produced in France and Denmark, convinced the jury of the international Animation Avantgarde competition (for animated and experimental films), thus entering the race not only for the Oscar but also for the European Film Awards. Additionally, she received the highest rating from the audience, winning the 2019 VIS Audience Prize.

Second Grand Prize Goes to Vietnam—Music Video Prize for Soap&Skin Video

The Grand Prize in the second international competition for live action shorts and documentary shorts (Fiction & Documentary) went to the stylized drama “Blessed Land” by Vietnamese director Pham Ngoc Lân. The jury prizes, which come with residencies in Vienna, went to “Black Bus Stop” by Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold (US) and “Splash” by the Chinese animation artist Shen Jie; the jury prize in the national competition went to “Nuit” by the newcomers Grzegorz Kielawski and Alexander Bayer.

Anja Plaschg and Ioan Gavriel received the Austrian Music Video Prize for their video “Italy & (This Is) Water” by Soap&Skin. Special Mentions went to Rupert Höller’s music video “Wannabe” for Leyya (Music Video Competition), the home-care drama “Hörmanns” by Siegmund Skalar (National Competition), the documentary road movie “Back to Wonderland” by Alice Fargier (FR), and the animated “Slug Life” by Sophie Koko Gate (UK). 

Vimeo Staff Pick Award Goes to Scotland—Much Love for Austrian Comedies

Presented for the first time and awarded by the curators of the US online platform Vimeo, the Vimeo Staff Pick Award went to the Scottish animation artist Ross Hogg for his humorous 16-mm experiment “4:3.” Austrian filmmaker Bernhard Wenger received the Youth Jury Prize for his single-take comedy “Guy proposes to his girlfriend on a mountain,” while the ORF.at audience award went to Alexander Gratzer’s fantastic animation “Apfelmus” (Apple Sauce). Already on Friday, Norwegian Anna Mantzaris won the “Prix Très chic pour le film le plus extraordinaire.”

In its sixteenth edition, VIS Vienna Shorts showed 305 films from 55 countries during its six-day festival run. On Sunday, the event came to a close with a screening of audience favorites and jury-selected films. The awards came with a total prize money of 20,000 euros as well as qualifications for the Academy Awards, the Austrian Film Awards and—for the first time ever—the European Film Awards.

Click here for the jury statements and here to download film stills of the award winners.