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© Freedom & Independence (Bjørn Melhus)

VIS 2019: Spotlights on Melhus, Gerbaulet & Vasof

Strong cooperation with the Film Museum puts video artist Bjørn Melhus, documentary filmmaker Alex Gerbaulet and Austrian shooting star Anna Vasof in the “Spotlight” – Vasof also designs festival trailer

In less than two months the 16th edition of the international short film festival VIS Vienna Shorts (May 28 – June 2, 2019) will begin – and we may take the opportunity to announce three very special guests of this festival edition: With the video artist Bjørn Melhus, the documentary filmmaker Alex Gerbaulet and the media artist Anna Vasof, three outstanding filmmakers will personally present their courageous and award-winning work at the Austrian Film Museum this year.

The most prominent representative of this year's "Spotlights" is certainly Bjørn Melhus, who has left his mark on the international film and art scene for many years and was invited to Vienna by the Film Museum, sixpackfilm and VIS. Melhus has been successful in the past both at film festivals (such as the Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen or the Transmediale) and in the exhibition context (including the Tate Modern in London, the MOMA in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris).

Born in 1966, the video and installation artist, who is mostly seen in his own works, works primarily with popular cultural elements and deals with the media world of surfaces and capitalist promises of salvation. Melhus has lived and worked in Berlin since 1987, has been a professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel since 2003, and since last year has been a new member of the Berlin Academy of Arts.

Former VIS Winner Gerbaulet & Master Class by Vasof
The fascinating essayistic work of Alex Gerbaulet (*1977) also looks at and under the surfaces: Gerbaulet, who, like Melhus, lives in Berlin, but studied in Vienna, among other places, and won the director's prize at VIS three years ago with "Shift", removes layer after layer in her films in order to clear the view of history as well as the personally and collectively repressed. In a mixture of biographical narrative and strict documentation, her works, which have also been received in many art contexts, stand for a reflective examination of a social and political current state.

The Austrian media artist Anna Vasof (*1985) stands for witty miniatures that repeatedly leave you astonished both in front of and on the canvas: With her "Non-Stop Stop-Motion" works, she not only experiments with the poetic mechanics of the cinematic apparatus, but with her mixture of performance, art, and expanded cinema, tears holes into the familiar, everyday set of rules. At VIS 2019, Vasof will not only be guesting with a program at the Film Museum, but will also hold a master class there and also design this year's trailer for the festival.

Spotlights – Talent Promotion and Retrospectives since 2006
The "Spotlights" section is one of the oldest at the festival and focuses on up-and-coming talents and established proponents of the international film scene every year. Since 2006, filmmakers with a distinct signature, a drive toward bold design, or historical achievements have been honoured, including Chantal Akerman, Miranda July, Don Hertzfeldt, David OReilly, Mara Mattuschka, Virgil Widrich, Martha Colburn or the archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Since 2016 VIS is qualifying festival for the Oscars and since this year also for the European Film Award. The festival annually shows around 300 films in competitions, curated programs and retrospectives. This year's main theme of the festival is "Courage!". The "Spotlights" were created in cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum and the avant-garde film distributor sixpackfilm (Melhus).

Alex Gerbaulet - Wed, 29 May, 7pm
Bjørn Melhus - Thu, 30 May, 9 pm & Sat, 1 June, 7 pm
Anna Vasof - Fri, 31 May, 9 pm & Master Class on Thu, 30 May, at 3:30 pm