June 5, 2017

Do you know those moments when you have a feeling that something is going on and you don’t know what it is? Or, how would it feel to be in someone else’s shoes? Films have a power to immerse a person in another reality, without necessarily trying to be a pedagogical tool for personal or social transformation. Films are an invitation to people raise their own questions, and re-evaluate their position and view of the world.

In the National Competition at Vienna Shorts 2017, 20 films have been selected out of 400 submissions, with the intention to mix a wide range of styles and techniques used by the local (co-)productions.

After Everything Will Be OK opened VIS 2015, and Don Hertzfeld was the special guest of the festival, the VIS team managed to get their event accredited as an Oscar-qualifying festival. This gives an Austrian film a chance to get to the Academy Awards, though through a super complicated process involving at least two VIS juries. This makes VIS a unique opportunity for young Austrian filmmakers. Exposing the plurality of the local productions, these selection provides a good overview of what’s been produced by local film schools, independent and state-sponsored productions.


The National Competition section Head / Wind was composed of four short films. 1637°C by Mareike Müller is a conceptual documentary observing the process of production of metal from ore to final product, in a visually impressive way, with a poetic ending. The VIS programmers then continue the atmospheric line of the block with a impressionistic POV road movie, Toutes Directions by Milly Roisz and Dieter Kovacic, in which the viewer is never sure if he or she is the driver, or the one being driven, to an original, krautrock-inspired soundtrack.

The second half of the programme consists of two family dramas. The Slovenian-Croatian-Austrian co-production Good Luck, Orlo! by Sara Kern, which world-premiered at Venice last year, deals with the issue of loss as seen from a child’s eyes. In this morbid drama, a lonely boy is left to his own devices as his parents mourn the still birth of a child.


In the German-Austrian film Kai, Friederike Güssefeld, a student of the Munich HFF, demonstrates an acute sensibility in a portrayal of rural Brandenburg traditions through a coming-of-age story of a teenager who has to deal with his abusive father in his process of becoming a man.

This selection was an excellent example how sensitive and smart programming can lift a block of films to a higher quality than the simple sum of its parts.

Maximiliano Fernandes Silva