VIS Competitions

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.

Fiction & Documentary

The goal of Fiction & Documentary is to find clever and powerful films that, using the tools and resources of cinema, examine the world we live in and confront it in new and interesting ways. The films should take a critical look and political stance, challenge the viewer in terms of form and content, and not be constrained to preexisting notions or genre boundaries.

Every year viewing the submissions for the international competition for short films and short documentaries takes up the most of the time during the selection process. To address this issue and to be fair to the growing number of high-quality (and increasingly longer) short films, the number of programmes has been increased from five to six. Their titles originate from song texts from, among others,  R.E.M., Nancy Sinatra, and the Talking Heads.

The selected films take us into jungles in Suriname and on to Romanian beaches, into the Syrian civil war, as well as Palestinian refugee camps. Of the 28 selected works from 20 different countries (including 13 from female directors), five were made with French, four with British, and four more were made with Portuguese participation.

In this year's vibrant and open program you can find festival hits from the past months (from Toronto, to Sundance, to Rotterdam, and Berlin) and also discover new voices on the short film circuit. This year's jury will not only hand out the Vienna Short Film Award and the Elfi-Dassanowsky-Award but, for the first time, also nominate a film for the Oscars® long list. 

Programme coordination

Doris Bauer & Marija Milovanovic

Programming team

Daniel Ebner

Animation Avantgarde

The international competition programme Animation Avantgarde shows contrary, innovative and critically reflective animations and experimental films. Independent artistic works beyond the trodden paths of the mainstream are screened - and yet we offer a broad spectrum of contents and genres between abstraction and narration.

Some current tendencies are apparent: this year we received a large number of unusual 3D computer animations. It seems that the technological possibilities have become more refined and that interest in the experimental form has also grown in this field. Parallel to the technological progress in the area of digital images, the opposite tendency of attention to film material threatened by extinction is equally conspicuous, although a classic stance of filmic purism is found but rarely here. Meanwhile works that mix analogue and digital techniques or unusual methods of transmitting images onto film have become more frequent.

Paintings and drawings are also multifariously represented in this programme: two object animations, one Machinima, one Google found-footage project, a 2D graphic, as well as several experimental processes, which elude any general terms. A major part of these works gets by without language, whereby sound and music become all the more important.
The competition for the ASIFA Austria Award mixes newly discovered talents with famous names, building bridges between art and entertainment - thus offering a rich field of intellectual and sensual inspiration.

Programme Coordination

Thomas Renoldner & Wiktoria Pelzer
in cooperation with ASIFA Austria

National competition

The national competition displays the high quality and vast diversity of Austrian short film making and offers an international platform to national productions within the festival's framework. From about 350 submitted fiction, documentary and experimental films we will show 18 short films from an art, university and independent context.

The three feature length competition programmes with the titles Power/Games, Tunnel/Vision and Faith/Leap attempt to offer a representative cross section through genres and formats while depicting the crème de la crème of current film productions. They are films that touch, inspire, criticise or provoke, whose stories range from small and private events over beautifully absurd snap shots to great occurrences steeped in history. And the partly informative, partly associative or reflective references to themes in culture, society or politics challenge the audience to an extensive examination of current topics.

The festival's most highly endowed prize? is awarded in this competition: the award for the "Best Austrian Film" is worth 5.000 Euros and sponsored by the Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden and the Austrian Film Institute. Additionally the Austrian submissions have the opportunity to qualify for the Academy Awards® for the first time.
We are delighted to be mostly presenting the works by eight female and fourteen male directors as premieres in the Austrian Competition.

Programme Coordination

Michael Reutz & Alexandra Valent

Programming team

Franka Giesemann, Gregor Hochrieser, Daniel Ebner

Muvis & Screensessions

If the last three years of music video competitions at VIS taught us anything, it would have to be the fact that there are just as many ways by now to approach the short medium as there are (sub) genres that emerged from the long music history. Big Hollywood gestures are just as deeply rooted in this year's selection, the fourthin VIS history, as European Avant-garde or commercialised TV aesthetics.
Images and sounds merge into symbiotic webs or fight against each other so vehemently that the sum of their parts might be far greater than we could even imagine. The clips, which were once dismissed as advertising media, shout out more and more for presentation on the big screen and directors and musicians alike no longer shy away from the challenges of realising their visions appropriately.

With the national and international competition programmes and a curated focus programme we attempt to show a cross section of the current status quo in music video creation. Once again the METRO Kinokulturhaus will offer the perfect setting to liberate the music video from the limitations of small screens and celebrate the medium's increasingly important function as an art form. Screensessions' tried and tested mix of film screenings and live concerts doesn't only serve as a networking platform for filmmakers and bands, but has also found a wonderful place in the CinemaSessions programme of the Filmarchiv.
Following the competition programmes the prizes for the best national and international music videos will be awarded once again by a prestigious jury.

Programme Coordination

Christoph Etzlsdorfer, Ann-Katrin Dorner 

Programming team

Verena Klöckl, Daniel Ebner & Marco Celeghin