© Thicker than water (Laras Reinstar)

Prologue

“A raucous blend of cinema art and wild jamboree”—this is how the Austrian magazine profil described the festival. Founded fifteen years ago as a student initiative, it has since evolved into an internationally renowned event celebrating the short format. It’s hard to compare VIS today with its humble beginnings in terms of both its organization and its content-but what has remained unshakable is its claim to providing an Austrian stage for extraordinary short cinema and its focus on new formats and sociopolitical subjects.

Our crystal anniversary is a great opportunity to say thank you—on the one hand, to the partners and sponsors, who have stuck by us for so many years, and, on the other, to our filmmakers and audiences, who each year encounter each other with fresh curiosity. A big thank you also goes to those who have contributed to the festival’s success in the past fifteen years, mostly under precarious circumstances but always with enormous passion and personal commitment.

The fifteenth edition of VIS promises to be a special one by celebrating two other anniversaries as well: Fifty years after 1968, our focus theme We Need To Disagree reminds us of the importance of political debate. And one hundred years after the founding of the Republic of Austria, the exhibition shaping democracy examines how the nation sees itself. A total of about 300 current and historic works under 30 minutes will be screened at this year’s festival. Each and every one of them is worth seeing. Now, who would disagree with that? (Daniel Ebner)