V'20 Festival-Info

The 58th Viennale came to a close on November 1st with the gala screening of THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw

It was an extraordinary Viennale – in a state of emergency, so to speak. We were lucky that we were still able to stage it as a physical festival, and the audience’s reaction was amazing. Despite the shortened duration of the event by three days and the massive reduction in seating capacity, the Viennale welcomed 42,000 visitors in the cinemas. 

Viennale Direktorin Eva Sangiorgi bei der Eröffnung der Viennale 2020 / Viennale Director Eva Sangiorgi at the Viennale Opening Ceremony

“Just a few weeks ago we could not foresee how film lovers in this city would accept our offer in times of a pandemic,” said Viennale director Eva Sangiorgi. “I’m overwhelmed by the audience’s response, which exceeds my expectations by far.”

Here are the figures of this year’s festival: eleven days, ten cinemas, 320 screenings, 52 international and 45 Austrian film guests, plus numerous journalists, critics and representatives from the film industry.

Bundespräsident Alexander Van der Bellen bei der Eröffnung der Viennale 2020 / Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen at the Opening Ceremony of the Viennale 2020

On the opening evening, MISS MARX was shown at all ten Viennale venues. The director of the film, Susanna Nicchiarelli, attended several of the screenings and was thrilled to meet Viennese audiences in our beautiful cinemas. The festival began with the presence and support of many personalities from the world of art, culture and politics at the opening gala in the Gartenbaukino, in particular Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Vienna City Councillor for Cultural Affairs Veronica Kaup-Hasler, who pointed out the immense importance of culture and events like the Viennale in these challenging times.


Image of movie Say Goodbye to the Story (ATT 1/11)

One of the great highlights of the festival was the Monography dedicated to CHRISTOPH SCHLINGENSIEF, which – starting with Bettina Böhler’s documentary about the artist – allowed us to take an in-depth look at his cinematic oeuvre, including unreleased material such as his first film, shot when he was still a child, his THEATERFILME and the extraordinary SAY GOODBYE TO THE STORY, a great homage to the German actress Irm Hermann (1942–2020).

Our Monography dedicated to Isabel Pagliai made it possible to discover a young author capable of capturing the poetry of children and making it accessible to cinema in a previously unknown way.

Regisseurin Isabel Pagliai beim Screening ihres Programms mit den Filmen ISABELLA MORRA, ORFEO und TENDRE  im Filmmuseum / Director Isabel Pagliai at the screening of her program with the films ISABELLA MORRA, ORFEO and TENDRE at Filmmuseum

Domestic cinema played a particularly large and important role this year, as many Austrian filmmakers, authors, producers and actors attended the festival. The AUSTRIAN AUTEURS program by Filmarchiv Austria allowed us to rediscover a number of essential independent works of Austrian film history.

Regisseurin Lisa Weber bei der Premiere ihres Films JETZT ODER MORGEN im Gartenbaukino / Director Lisa Weber at the premiere of her film JETZT ODER MORGEN at Gartenbaukino

In addition, the selection of the Cinematography program DIAGONALE '20 COLLECTION proved to be a necessary synergy in order to stick together in these difficult times and celebrate our cinema together.The retrospective RECYCLED CINEMA, a collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, emphasized the ability of cinema to create connections between different situations and times, between narratives and authors – something that is particularly impressive these days.


Die Premiere von WOOD im Metro Kinokulturhaus / The premiere of WOOD at Metro Kinokulturhaus

One thing was especially remarkable: Although the pandemic has worsened in many countries in the past few days – and also here in Austria – the festival nevertheless continued with a strong feeling of security and solidarity among all participants. 

Moderator Patrick Holzapfel beim Online Q&A mit Regisseur Kazik Radwanski und Schauspielerin Deragh Campbell (ANNE AT 13,000 FT) / Moderator Patrick Holzapfel at the online interview with director Kazik Radwanski and actress Deragh Campbell (ANNE AT 13,000 FT)

“The spirit of the Viennale 2020 really celebrated the sense of community,” said Viennale director Eva Sangiorgi. “A sense of community among people who work in the cultural field and particularly in cinema, people who love culture and cinema and live off it. Our special thanks go to the audience – for their passion and trust.”

Premiere von HOCHWALD im Gartenbaukino / At the premiere of HOCHWALD im Gartenbaukino
Die Premiere von EPICENTRO im Gartenbaukino / The premiere of EPICENTRO at Gartenbaukino



V'20 Trailer

AD UNA MELA by Alice Rohrwacher

We owe this V'20 trailer to one of the great contemporary women filmmakers, Alice Rohrwacher. Shot on 16 mm film, it plays with the mystery of creation and the magic of light and shadow from which cinema is born. It’s an invocation to the return to innocence, which is the prerequisite for every new discovery, the driving force behind the eternal cycle of life. An excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s poem “Oda a la manzana” (“Ode to the Apple”), performed by the author himself, at the same time praises the film, the precious moment of a rediscovery and a new creation:

Cuando mordemos
tu redonda inocencia
por un instante
a ser
también recién creadas criaturas
aún tenemos algo de manzana.

“When we bite into
your round innocence
we too regress
for a moment
to the state
of the newborn:
there is still some apple in us all.”

Der VIENNALE Trailer 2020


V'20 Sujets

V20 Plakat

From a biological perspective, fungi belong to the domain of the eukaryotes; they comprise a kingdom distinct from animals and plants, which was not assigned to them until the middle of the last century. Previously, they had long been relegated to the plant kingdom, both traditionally and erroneously. Today, though, we know that they have more things in common with animal organisms.

Fungi live in symbiosis with other animal and plant beings, or they are their parasites, including those of humans. Fungi play a fundamental role in the cycle of nature and in the exchange of nutrients in the environment: they are the originators of decomposition and they transform organic matter. Fungi live in dark environments, a characteristic they have in common with the cinema.

Humans use mushrooms as food, they are used as ferment in the preparation of drinks and food, they are used for disinfection or as biological pesticides. Ancient medical traditions as well as modern naturopathy value mushrooms as remedies, and because of their intoxicating effect they are used in religious rituals as well as in secular contexts as a means of escape from everyday life.

Mushrooms have also always been described in literature and in the visual arts as the key to the gates of perception due to their psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties.

The poster subject of the Viennale 2020 is a cheerful collection of stylized toadstools (Amanita muscaria), which have always been iconographically associated with psychedelic experiences. Just as cinema, with its surprising perspectives, inspires unexpected insights and visions and opens perspectives into new worlds. These aspects of transformation, astonishment and liberation are what we want to evoke with our poster subject. The Viennale’s mushroom, neither animal nor plant, is reminiscent of both, although it stubbornly remains something else – something that can continue to transform itself.

At the same time, this lively, colorful surface – on which the playful combination of representation and form makes a variety of associations possible – brings together many mushrooms, at the necessary distance, but still gathered together as if for a celebration and a meeting.

V'20 Retrospektive: Recycled Cinema

The leitmotif of transformation and recycling also characterizes our Retrospective, which this year is a collaboration between Viennale, the Austrian Film Museum and the distributor sixpackfilm, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It is reflected in a still from the groundbreaking trilogy FILM IST (“Film Is”) by Gustav Deutsch, who died last year and who explored the phenomenology of the medium of cinema through the images from other films found in the world’s archives.Cinema is made up of cinematic material, cinematic art is a kaleidoscope directed at the world and the images it creates. Our poster shows a single image that captures their fire.


V'20 Guests

Regisseur*innen Juan David González Monroy und Anja Dornieden (HER NAME WAS EUROPA) / Directors Juan David González Monroy and Anja Dornieden (HER NAME WAS EUROPA)

A total of 120 stage talks with artists took place in the cinemas, about ten of them online to also connect us with Eliza Hittman, Kelly Reichardt, John Gianvito and Gianfranco Rosi, among others, who weren’t able to attend in person.

The presence of directors, producers and authors enlivened the auditoriums, and audiences reacted extremely benevolently, streaming into the cinemas in large numbers.


Regisseur John Gianvito (HER SOCIALIST SMILE) und Moderatorin Katja Wiederspahn beim Online-Q&A im Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus / Director John Gianvito (HER SOCIALIST SMILE) and moderator Katja Wiederspahn doing the online-Q&A at Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Many authors were happy to interact in a common space, including Jasmila Žbanić, Abel Ferrara and Radu Jude, and Želimir Žilnik, to whom we dedicated one of our Cinematography programs, and who also presented an exhibition of his works in Vienna’s Kunsthalle during the festival period.

Anders Edström

V'20 Award Winners



Jury: Rapper and poetry slammer Yasmo, journalist Renata Schmidtkunz (ORF) and Kira Kirsch, artistic director and managing director of brut Wien.

The Vienna Film Award, a prize donated by the City of Vienna and awarded at the Viennale, is given to a current Austrian feature film screened the last year. The prize consists of a sum of money provided by the city's cultural department, monetary support from the Hotel The Harmonie Vienna, and generous material assets donated by the sponsors BLAUTÖNE and viennaFX. Two prizes will be awarded at the Vienna Film Prize: the prize for the best Austrian film and the jury's Special Prize. Each of the two awards is endowed with monetary donations and material assets.

Best Austrian Film

Hubert Sauper, Austria/France 2020


In a poetic and political-analytical way, Hubert Sauper has succeeded in enabling us to encounter people, especially children, in the Cuban capital of Havana. The film interweaves the beginnings of moving pictures with the visions of “the little prophets,” as Sauper calls the children of Havana. Both with his camera and the narrative strand, he is always at eye level with his self-confident, cheerful and clever protagonists. Hubert Sauper approaches all the characters with tenderness and solidarity, turning the utopias expressed by the children into possibilities that can be realized. This makes us optimistic.

Special Jury Prize
Sandra Wollner, Austria/Germany 2020

The Trouble with Being Born

In her film THE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORN, Sandra Wollner addresses in an aesthetically extremely accomplished way a topic that will occupy our societies in the coming decades. Humans create projection screens in the form of androids that fulfill all desires and exist beyond human rights. Moral conventions that have formerly been valid become obsolete. 
The power of the images and the disturbing narrative of this film have left us ambivalent. They force us all to reflect on our own ethical ideas about love and domination, the future of human rights in the age of artificial intelligence, and the deep rift between memory and projection. Whether we like it or not.



Every year the daily newspaper DER STANDARD presents its prestigious STANDARD Readers' Jury Award. An enthusiastic jury chooses from among a number of festival entries that do not yet have an Austrian distributor, providing the deserving winner a launch in Austrian movie theaters.
In addition to official notification of the winner, DER STANDARD grants advertising space in its pages when the film premieres in Austria.

Yulene Olaizola, Mexico/France/Columbia 2020

Image of movie Selva trágica

From the first to the last scene we are immersed in the rainforest, its wildlife and oppressive heat. At the Hondo river, which forms a border between Mexico and Belize, a woman flees from a British landowner and finds herself among a group of Mexican laborers extracting gum from trees. But before her oppression continues, the magical powers of the forest begin to work.
The jury was captivated by the story, which entwines a Mayan myth with the story of escaped female slaves. We were thrilled by the haunting visual language and the great sound of Yulene Olaizola’s film SELVA TRÁGICA. From beginning to end, it creates a pulsating undertow that tells of human greed, death and the beauty and cruelty of the rainforest.



FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, was founded in 1930. The association is dedicated to the cultivation of journalistic ethics and represents the professional interests of its members. The members of the FIPRESCI come from all over the world and come together in small juries at numerous film festivals to award the prize of the International Association of Film Critics. As at the Viennale, most of them choose from a series of debut works by young female directors.

Mariusz Wilczyński, Poland 2019

Image of movie Zabij to i wyjedz z tego miasta

The FIPRESCI award goes to Kill It and Leave This Town by Mariusz Wilczynski for its strikingly imaginative and raw  use of animation to tell a personal story that walks on the thin line between nightmares, dreams and shards of childhood memories.  Disturbing, uncompromising  and puzzling at the same time. A haunting story that goes deep into the psyche, history and culture of Poland and yet manages to transform it to a universal story about loss, memory, childhood and love.


Erste Bank ExtraVALUE-FILM Prize

Erste Bank, long-standing main sponsor of the Viennale, is awarding the ExtraVALUE Film Award for the 10th time this year. The ExtraVALUE Film Award enables a stay in New York, combined with a presentation of the works in the New York Anthology Film Archives. Due to the difficult travel and residence conditions worldwide, the ExtraVALUE Film Award will be offered as a cash prize in 2020.

Georg Tiller, Maéva Ranaïvojaona, Austria, France, Madagascar 2020

Image of movie Zaho Zay

ZAHO ZAY is a precise, complex and conscious cinematic meditation on the human condition. The protagonist, a guard in a Madagascan prison, fantasizes about the return of her father, who left her when she was a child. Between supervising the humiliating rituals of the prisoners’ daily roll call, shaving the heads of the condemned and distributing food, she dreams of a mythical father, an unreachable outlaw, who wanders through a biography of crimes and whose deeds are determined neither by reason nor emotion. Only the dice he throws decide on the progress of his actions. This dialectic of freedom and imprisonment, chance and order in the film’s narrative also becomes the pivotal point of its construction on other levels. At the beginning, the voice of the narrator, who increasingly transforms the text into a poem, seems to belong to the author of the script. In the course of time, however, the voice shifts to the protagonist, merging with the images of the final part of the film to become a hallucinatory poem. The cinematic gaze also oscillates between documentary and staged positions. When a colonial view by the filmmakers still flashes up in the sequences in the prison yard, it disappears in the dreamlike apparitions of the father. These movements between different forms of representation turn into an indistinguishable whole. The slow rhythm, the precise editing and the perfect interlocking of seemingly incoherent elements transform ZAHO ZAY into something unmistakable, into a work that goes beyond the genres of feature film or documentary. 

Erste Bank ExtraVALUE-Film Prize Appreciation

Pavel Cuzuioc, Austria 2020

Image of movie Bitte warten

BITTE WARTEN – PLEASE HOLD THE LINE is a quiet film that has a humorous and clever take on the subject of communication technology. It follows telecommunication technicians on their call-outs to households in the countryside, mostly in small villages, which also includes travelling to some neighboring eastern countries bordering the EU. We gain insight into personal stories, into other realities of life. The connecting factor is that telecommunication is always also a chain of never-ending absurdities to which we’re all exposed. A recurring theme in the film is the people’s criticism of the bad programs that they are sold. This film is definitely not one of them.