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.
Just as the short film depends on the reduction to what's essential, the Fiction & Documentary programme also depends on necessary compression. This year, twenty-six films (twelve directed by women) from twenty-six countries were chosen from 2,750 submissions to be presented in six feature-length evening sessions. The films hail from countries such as Sri Lanka, Morocco, and Colombia; five had French and four Portuguese coproducers.
The selection process is long and quite arduous, but the chosen 0.9 % have a lot to offer: Visit a coconut plantation in Mozambique and palm trees in a dentist's waiting room! (Don't) be startled by the woman on the frontlines of the Syrian war or an outcry after the attempted coup in Indonesia! Participate in excessive karaoke sessions and freedom-loving motorcycle trips! And let's not forget the many animals we will meet this year: a fox, some snakes, countless hares, four hundred goldfish, and a whale.
Along with high-quality discoveries and premieres (such as Miki Polonski's Livorno 32), our exclusive line-up features award-winning masterpieces from the Berlinale, from Rotterdam, and from Sundance. And if this year's programme titles should make you want to hum a tune or think about other art genres, please don't be alarmed: they served not only as an inspiration for several films, but also for our own programme titles. (Doris Bauer)
Doris Bauer (db) & Marija Milovanovic (mm)
Daniel Ebner (de), Diana Mereoiu
The special profile of our programme Animation Avantgarde has gained international renown—perhaps because it has remained true to its original concept even after eight years: “The central aim of the selection is to highlight the most innovative international works. A second, equally important aim is to make good on its claim to formal pluralism.” What primarily distinguishes Animation Avantgarde from many animation festivals is the mixture of experimental films and digital productions as well as the avoidance of conservative clichés. Additionally, it emphasizes the animated experiment, an aspect often missing in many avant-garde festivals.
This year, thirty-one films have been selected from more than six hundred submissions. In terms of the techniques used, one may notice that only a small portion of the works were not digitally edited: There is only one work shot exclusively on 35 mm film and two films scratched on film roll. Two larger groupings are constituted by painted and hand-drawn films, more than half of which use digital montage as well as pure 2D and 3D computer animation. Other works experiment with a mix of different techniques. Viewers will note that the selected animation and avant-garde artists also deal with current sociopolitical issues, changes in the (political) landscape, and our individual standing in the world. We have retraced these lines in the titles of our three blocks: The Medium. The Subject. The World. (Thomas Renoldner)
Wiktoria Pelzer (wp) & Thomas Renoldner (tr)
In cooperation with ASIFA Austria
VIS provides an international platform for Austrian film, that invites the viewer to explore the country’s diverse and high-quality short film scene. In the National Competition, genres are traditionally mixed, placing feature films alongside experiments, documentaries alongside animations and essays alongside musical films. In order to better represent the wide range of strong productions, for the first time, there are four programs dedicated to Austrian short films.
This year, a total of 20 out of 400 films were selected. We are proud to present the works of eleven female and eleven male directors, primarily as premieres (two of the films were created by partnerships between two directors). The selected works were eventually combined into four feature-length programs with the titles Head/Wind, Stage/Lights, Future/Music and Image/Worlds.
The films are resourceful, humorous and brave in their formal and contentual approaches. They touch and inspire, criticize and provoke. They are challenging and invite the viewer to engage more deeply. There are intense stories and strong performances, sophisticated floods of images and political testimonies—mostly from the arts, higher education and independent context, but this year also with a special focus on international co- productions.
In addition to the prize for Best Austrian film awarded by the VdFS and the Vienna Tourist Board the young artists award of the VAM and the Youth Jury Award, all Austrian entries have the opportunity to qualify for the Oscars® for the second time this year. (Alexandra Valent)
Alexandra Valent (av)
Daniel Ebner (de), Franka Giesemann, Gregor Hochrieser (gh)
Thirteen nominees for the Austrian Music Video Award and ten videos in the international competition explore the many varieties of audiovisual art in the Screensessions, a format that became part of the festival five years ago. From digital and analog animation to found footage and elaborate performance videos, the filmmakers find different approaches to present music and images in a symbiotic form on screen. Inspired by the increasing diversity of dissemination strategies, recent years have witnessed the greatest renaissance of music videos since the late 1990s.
The two competition programs try each year to present a cross-section of the current state of Austrian and international music video production. The METRO Kinokulturhaus is the perfect location to liberate the music video from the confines of our laptop and smartphone screens and to honor the completely overhauled genre of what once were mere commercial clips as the idiosyncratic art form it has become.
However, it wouldn’t be the Screensessions if the music video screenings weren’t complemented by the networking of filmmakers and musicians as well as a live concert. This year’s edition of our archive series CinemaSessions features an audiovisual live performance by VENTIL, jointly commissioned by donaufestival and VIS, which the group based on their film Bulletproof and developed especially for the movie theater, merging sonic Techno, Industrial, and avant-garde elements. (Christoph Etzlsdorfer)
Ann-Katrin Dorner (ad)
Marco Celeghin, Daniel Ebner (de), Christoph Etzlsdorfer (ce), Verena Klöckl (vk)