(c) Alexander TUMA

Prize Winners 2021

31 Oct 2021

Prize Winners 2021


Jury: Choreographer and Dancer Christine Gaigg, Actress Aenne Schwarz and filmmaker Sebastian Brameshuber.

The Vienna Film Prize, donated by the City of Vienna and awarded at the Viennale, goes to a current Austrian feature film that has been screened during the past year. The prize consists of a sum of money, donated by the city’s cultural department, monetary support from the Hotel The Harmonie Vienna and generous material assets, sponsored by BLAUTÖNE and viennaFX. There are two awards: one for the best Austrian film and the Special Jury Prize. 

Best Austrian Film:

GROSSE FREIHEIT, Sebastian Meise, Austria/Germany 2021

GROßE FREIHEIT | Sebastian Meise, Österreich/Deutschland 2020/21 | © Viennale

Jury's statement: This visually stunning film addresses two major issues: freedom and love. It doesn’t shy away from great pathos and is masterfully delicate in detail at the same time. It traces the continuities and fault lines of social exclusion and societal standardization but without committing itself exclusively to a political cause. It feels as if we can smell the rooms when the air begins to run out. We can look into the innermost feelings of the fantastically performed and staged characters with great care and precision, follow them into every abyss but are never tempted to get too close to them or to feel superior – and precisely for that reason we can’t get rid of them.

Special Jury Prize:

BEATRIX, Milena Czernovsky, Lilith Kraxner, Austria 2021

Image of movie Beatrix

Jury's statement: This film is imbued with the mysterious and original power of cinema; it is a bold act of nonchalance and radical reduction. We see the emptiness of everyday life, Instagram-like situations, but the way the actress appears in these actions, namely oblivious and unabashed, these moments would not actually be suitable for Instagram at all. Instead, cinematographic sensuality and intimacy emerge. Banal activities go beyond themselves: cleaning turns out to be satisfying despite being disgusting; procrastination and social sulking reveal a certain charm. Economically narrated, precisely framed – this is how aesthetic resistance arises.


Jury: Jeremy Braunsberg, Robert Frenay, Marija Milosavljevic

The Standard Readers’ Jury Prize goes to a film that does not yet have an Austrian distributor and is especially recommended for screening in Austrian cinemas. Should the award-winning film find a distributor, Der Standard supports its film run with free advertising space in its newspaper.


KELTI, Milica Tomović, Serbia 2021

KELTI | Milica Tomovic, Serbien 2021 |© Viennale

Jury's statement: An 8-year-old's birthday party becomes a stage on which several intersecting dramas play out. In one corner, the kids critique each other's Ninja Turtles costumes; in another, the adults indulge in drunken discussions and amorous adventures. Over the course of a single night, this ambitious ensemble narrative, reminiscent of Altman, explores issues of identity, intimacy, sexuality and politics. The atmosphere in 1993 Belgrade may seem somber, but as the film progresses, the director highlights moments of joy, serenity and tenderness that shine through. The performances seem lively and improvised, as if we were joining a group of friends - amidst conversations and arguments that began before we arrived and will continue after we leave. The filmmaker guides us through the world of children with a sincere and serious eye, portraying their conflicts and dilemmas with as much seriousness and tension as those of the adults. We were touched by the film's humanity, its responsiveness to the characters' weaknesses, and its empathy for their longings. We were impressed by the director's mastery of space, clarity of vision, and ability to portray a large cast of characters in a way that made them instantly familiar. The jury is happy to give this award to Milica Tomović for her outstanding debut in feature film: KELTI.


Jury: Michael Phillips (USA), Veronika Zakonjsek (Slovenia), Marietta Steinhart (Austria)
First and second films by directors are available for the selection.

The FIPRESCI Prize goes to:

RE GRANCHIO, Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, Italy/Argentina/France 2021

RE GRANCHIO | Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, Italien/Argentinien/Frankreich 2021 | © Viennale

Jury's statement: In their visually imaginative leap from documentary to narrative filmmaking, Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis follow their outcast protagonist from his tragedy in 19th century Tuscia, Italy, to his reinvention in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego. With a knowing eye, raw beauty and authentic language, the two filmmakers affirm the power and poetry of folklore.


Jury: Silvia Bohrn (Kulturmanagerin), Boris Manner (Philosoph, Kurator), Andreas Ungerböck (Herausgeber)

This year, the ExtraVALUE Film Prize, initiated and donated by Erste Bank, will be awarded for the 11th time. The Erste Bank ExtraVALUE film price is awarded among the Austrian film productions curated by the Viennale via an independent jury. The ExtraVALUE Film Prize enables a stay in New York City including a work presentation at the Anthology Film Archives.

The Erste Bank´s ExtraVALUE-Film Prize goes to:

GROSSE FREIHEIT, Sebastian Meise, Austria/Germany 2021

GROßE FREIHEIT | Sebastian Meise, Österreich/Deutschland 2020/21 | © Viennale

Jury's statement: GROSSE FREIHEIT is a fearless film that is political without aiming for political correctness, a film that doesn’t psychologize and has a long, suspenseful narrative arc. Restricted freedom with the accompanying measures and enforcement that are legally legitimized as normal in their respective time periods provide the framework for these magnificently told love stories. Great actors who test the limits of their art in a claustrophobic setting, excellent lighting and camera work make this film an extraordinary experience.