VIS Vienna Shorts: New Managing Director for the Festival

Experienced cultural manager and founder of “espressofilm” Doris Bauer takes over executive management from Benjamin Gruber with immediate effect

The international short film festival VIS Vienna Shorts is delighted to announce its new managing director beginning with the 2018/19 season: Doris Bauer, long-time managing director of the high quality video library “Filmgalerie 8½” and co-founder and director of the open-air cinema “espressofilm”, took over the executive management from Benjamin Gruber in September, who is leaving the festival after eight years.

The board made the appointment in August already, now the decision was also presented to the general assembly and received very positively. Doris Bauer, who has been closely associated with the festival for many years and has been the head of selection of the international competition “Fiction & Documentary” since 2011, took over some of the management tasks on an interim basis in spring and will manage VIS together with Daniel Ebner in future. Ebner has been responsible for the artistic aspects of the festival since 2010.

Advancement after consolidation

After years of organisational professionalisation and financial consolidation, Bauer has set out to further develop both the formal concept and the impact of the festival. “A film festival today has to be attentive and curious, sometimes controversial and resistant, with a clear profile and clear attitude,” says the new managing director. “VIS should therefore present contemporary cinema on the pulse of time and position itself increasingly as a cultural event and international flagship of the city of Vienna”.

The politologist, who has already worked closely with Ebner as co-founder and speaker of the advocacy association “Forum of Austrian Film Festivals”, thanks Benjamin Gruber in particular for his outstanding work over the past years. From 2012 to 2018, Gruber was in charge of the management and during this time not only reorganised the organisational processes, but also introduced fair employment conditions for all employees and tripled the festival's turnover. “I would like to thank the festival and the team for the great time,” said Gruber. “These have been very exciting, inspiring, eventful and invaluably instructive years in which we have achieved a lot”.

Art Award, Oscar® and EU Funding

VIS Vienna Shorts has indeed earned itself a very good reputation: In 2014, the Festival for Short Film, Animation & Music Video received the prestigious Bank Austria Art Award for its international efforts in the service of Austrian filmmaking. In 2016, VIS was named an Oscar® qualifying festival by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – as one of only a few festivals in Europe. In the same year, the festival was included in the European MEDIA programme and has since been supported by the EU.

“The bar is definitely high,” says Ebner, who regrets Gruber's departure and wishes him all the best for the future on behalf of the team. At the same time, the Artistic Director is already looking forward to working with Bauer: “The world and the film industry are in motion: The production landscape has multiplied, watching films has changed, life is faster, the city has become more diverse,” says Ebner. “It is precisely these developments that a festival like VIS must take up in order to make surprising, political and memorable film experiences possible”.

VIS Vienna Shorts will take place for the 16th time in 2019. The submission period for the next festival edition starts in just under three weeks. The festival receives more than 4,000 short films from all over the world every year and attracts around 10,000 visitors and over 500 accredited guests from all around the globe during the festival week.