In 1960, a group of journalists around Sigmund Kennedy, who were convinced of the importance of film as an art form, founded a festival that would soon become a reference for cinema lovers in Europe and elsewhere: the Viennale. This year, 2022, we’ll be celebrating for the sixtieth time the festival’s curiosity and spirit of discovery, which have been cultivated with the greatest tenacity and perseverance under different artistic directors – with the exception of three years (1961, 1983 and 1990), when the Viennale didn't take place.
The festival was born during a leaden time, in which much turbulence and conflict had to be overcome – also in the very territorial block of Europe that is currently recalling itself and the supposed past in such a cruel and cynical way.Surviving times of crisis, the festival has grown and has succeeded in flexibly meeting the demands of various political, economic and film industry currents. Today it is confronted with new difficulties, not least due to the pandemic, and consequently it addresses the needs of our time.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary in October, a special publication dedicated specifically to the Viennale and more broadly to film festivals will be launched. VIENNALE 60. ON FESTIVALS brings together reflections from festival experts in the form of conversations, interviews and essays; members of the film industry share memories and experiences, discuss the past and present of the festival(s), and offer ideas and suggestions for the future.
The foundation for the publication was laid at last year’s Viennale during a meeting in Vienna between Maialen Beloki (Donostia Zinemaldia – Festival de San Sebastián), Carlo Chatrian (Berlinale), Giona Nazzaro (Locarno Film Festival), and Paolo Moretti (Quinzaine des réalisateurs de Cannes). The book now includes additional contributions from other key figures of the most important contemporary film festivals: the Venice Film Festival’s Alberto Barbera, Tom Luddy from the Telluride Film Festival, Colorado, USA, as well as colleagues from Latin America, Asia and the African Mediterranean countries.
It is a good time to reflect on the presentation of films and the promotion of the Seventh Art from the perspective of festivals. In doing so, we discuss the technical aspects and ask in what way they contribute to the change of the medium as well as to the change in the habits of reception. At the same time, we examine the motivations, the responsibility and the meaning of those whose calling/profession is cinema. And, of course, we specifically explore the practical aspects of the changes and the tangible effects of an industry in transition.
But this is not our only anniversary publication. We continue to celebrate by even publishing two volumes of our TEXTUR series this year!
TEXTUR #4 is dedicated to the Kazakh director Darezhan Omirbayev and – in line with the editorial concept of the series – features different types of texts and material. Essays, critical statements, poems, and photographs, always also of the director himself, shed light on a career that has been extremely rich and full of inspiration for decades – as most recently proven by AKYN, which was screened at the Berlinale this February. Among the many authors contributing to the book are Uzbek artist Saodat Ismailova, recently awarded the Eye Art & Film Prize and a Venice Biennale as well as documenta participant in 2022, and actress Isabelle Huppert, an admirer of Omirbayev’s filmmaking.
TEXTUR #5 pays tribute to the work of another great master of our time, Alain Guiraudie. It presents photos and texts by the filmmaker and writer, as well as contributions from other directors, critics and experts who believe that Guiraudie’s original voice of dissent gives expression to the unconventional spirits, the marginalized and the excluded of contemporary society, and does so with a fine, elegant sense of humor.
The 60th Viennale has numerous program features in store: film screenings, meetings, talks and special events. The first of these we would like to announce here, because its protagonist, Werner Herzog, has a special connection to the history of the festival. He was director of the Viennale together with Reinhard Pyrker in 1991 and continues to make unforgettable films that will be part of our program again this year. On October 28, in collaboration with Vienna’s Volkstheater, the Viennale is organizing a performative evening with readings and musical performances to celebrate Werner Herzog’s 80th birthday as well as his invaluable contribution to an always provocative cinema.
VIENNALE TRAILER 6.0
We are celebrating the festival’s anniversary with six short films by great directors from different traditions and regions of the world. Six authors, who stand for various cinematic perceptions, realities and generations and thus reflect the diversity and richness of contemporary cinema.
They are all well-established, award-winning and widely acclaimed filmmakers, experimenting and provoking with their own characteristic style: from documentary form to linguistic exploration, from political cinema to sophisticated narrative – everything is represented. Six directors celebrating filmmaking over the decades of its history: Claire Denis, Nina Menkes, Sergei Loznitsa, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Narcisa Hirsch.