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.
Rocket training in Zambia. Other-worldly singing in a street café. A bull ring as the starting point for a quest for trust. But sometimes even those, who are closest to you, seem a million miles away. Like in the Russian desert. Or in another century. You find yourself under water, unable to come up for air – maybe you don’t even want to. This contorted view of the world, this slightly shifted perception, the sensation of drifting is as playful as it is threatening and runs through the five programmes in Fiction & Documentary 2014 like a golden thread.
This year 23 individual films boasting bold narrative approaches and a strong creative drive were selected from over 2.000 films submitted to the international competition for fiction and documentary short films. That 14 of these productions were directed by women or a mixed team of directors is very positive considering the unbalanced gender ratio of the submissions and might serve as proof for a slow but sure change that has become palpable on the international short film scene over the past years. Another tendency, on the other hand, continues to grow consistently: the short films are getting longer and longer, within the allowed 30-minute time limit. While there were more than 30 films in the competition just a few years ago, we record the lowest number of selected films in the festival’s history with just 23 productions. This will also be something to think about.
But not just yet: now we celebrate the 23 competition films and their creators, who hail from Brazil to China, from Norway to Spain and from Russia to the USA. They all demonstrate a flair for aliens and little shortcomings, but also for the average people and their world, from political to poetic. Come and play!
Doris Bauer & Marija Milovanovic
The international competition ANIMATION AVANTGARDE celebrates its fifth year. This year’s selection particularly conveys the concept of this animation and experimental competition, as the aim is not to just show the combination – i.e. experimental animations – but also experimental and animated films respectively. Here the aspect of innovation is at the core of the operation. For us innovation doesn’t mean repeating established clichés of various genres (from avant-garde to commercial), but enabling new means of experiencing films. Thereby we are committed to showing a great diversity of content, intentions, techniques and genres.
Another aspect that characterises ANIMATION AVANTGARDE is the close relationship to visual arts. Many artists in our programme aren’t classic film makers per se, but consider themselves “visual artists”, who are interdisciplinarily active in various areas of the visual arts (drawing, photography, object art, installations, etc.) or also have a great interest for music and sound art. This background often enables a very individual understanding of the “art of moving pictures”, which could by all means be described as anti-cinematographic, as the interests and inspirations don’t necessarily derive from cinematic history, but often much more from the history of visual arts.
For the competition programme we selected 36 films from 16 countries that were either submitted to thefestival or discovered by us at other festivals. They all have the chance of winning the ASIFA Austria Award (2.000 EUR) as well as a one-month residency in Vienna (1.050 EUR). Here’s what we want for our audience: a lot of intellectual stimulation, emotional highs and lows, pleasurable adventures of projection, acoustic sensations and, last but not least: a lot of fun.
Thomas Renoldner & Wiktoria Pelzer
The national competition has become a kind of poster child, impressively documenting the high quality and diversity of Austrian short film making: this year only 15 films can be shown in three 80-minute programmes, although many more of the 300 submitted fiction, documentary, animation and experimental films, both independent productions and films produced at academies and art schools, would have deserved a slot within the festival programme. This year nine of the selected films are by female film makers, which doesn’t at all correspond to the gender ratio of the submissions, but might prove to be a further stimulus for female film makers.
With the support of VDFS and Casinos Austria the main prize will be worth 5.000 EUR this year. As far as programming is concerned, we entitled the three programmes “Signs of Disintegration”, “Sense of Time” and “Headlock”. In the first programme photos disintegrate, the population of an entire city vanishes. A mist-shrouded family history becomes a heavy essay film, while child’s play turns into danger just as quickly as the instability of three youths who are either overwhelmed or unchallenged by life. In the second programme an avant-garde manifesto is sung like a pop song and a building is surveyed image for image in a swift architectural study. An intimate-magical artist’s portrait sharpens our perception, a silent miniature challenges our senses with strong and painful images. And we gain a satirical insight into the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation), which fuses fact and fiction. In the last programme we work up a sweat in the heat of the summer, at home in the countryside and on the beach, after the peak season. An odyssey through night-time Jerusalem is followed by a journey back to one’s own youth, in a time when youth wasn’t yet associated with social media and YouTube.
presented by superfly
Michael Reutz & Alexandra Valent
Over the past few years, music videos have proven that the internet, with its powers of speedy distribution and vast number of potential viewers, provides a playing field for experimentalfilm makers. The world wide web has become the main medium for music clips, with the number of clicks and tags determining whether or not it will go “viral”. It remains debatable whether most videos that achieved huge popularity online would have even made it onto the “classic” TV music channels. Especially since channels like MTV and VIVA, back in the days when they still showed music videos, mostly concentrated on high-budget major productions, whose premiers were almost as highly celebrated as those of star-studded Hollywood blockbusters.
The aesthetics of current music videos often only boasts few of the features of these million-dollar productions. The world over, creative minds are using all means and techniques available to them to try and convey stories within the duration of a song or conjure unknown worlds and viewpoints onto our laptops, tablets and smart phones. The Screensessions, based on a concept of Marco Celeghin, aim to provide a framework for these often underestimated works, exceeding the possibilities of small screens and on-the-go consummation. This year, in cooperation with music film festival Poolinale, mica (Music Information Center Austria) and SAE, we will present and award the best national and international music videos for the second time. Afterwards the nominated bands BRNS from Belgium and local heroes Velojet will honour us with live performances – for the first time open-air on Karlsplatz.
Christoph Etzlsdorfer, Ann-Katrin Dorner & Marco Celeghin
SCREENSESSIONS LIVE: BRNS
26.05.2014 - 19.30
HEUER am Karlsplatz