Society has become fragmented; depression is rampant. It is high time to counter the bleak and at times cynical realities of our times with something—no, not forced optimism or shared bogeymen, what we need is daring ideas bordering on madness for a future waiting to be made. We keep an eye out for positive visions, social utopias, and new ideals from which strong communities and a sense of solidarity can emerge without having to resort to simplistic concepts such as national identity.
We are all confronted with a plethora of challenges today—from changes in the working world through automation to climate change poised to make life hell on Earth for us; from the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor to the question of how to deal with migratory movements around the planet. And perhaps the most basic question of all: How to make life better and more worthwhile for us all?
Today we know what we are against. But what we are for—that’s a much harder thing to contemplate. And this although there are so many inspiring people and courageous concepts all around us calling for substance instead of a politics of symbolism, and long-term solutions instead of rapid-fire symptom control. We need utopias and positive goals, otherwise life will look bleak. “It is not a finished Utopia that we ought to desire,” wrote the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, “but a world where imagination and hope are alive and active.” Courage!
Since 2013 we have invited two festivals every year to dedicate a program to our latest motto: this year, OFF Odense International Film Festival from Denmark, and the croatian Motovun Film Festival also have a focus on Courage!. Together with VIS’ programming contribution, the selections are screened at all three festivals: after it’s premiere in May in Vienna, the triangle-collaboration will subsequently be screened in July in Motovun and in August in Odense. (Daniel Ebner)