First online jury

I was really happy to accept the invitation to be a jury member at Vienna Shorts that came to me in February. It’s one of my favorite festivals, not to mention the opportunity of a presumably pleasant trip to Vienna at the end of May, with a short stop at Krakůw Film Festival on the way back. Unfortunately, COVID-19 got in the way of that, and Vienna Shorts in the beginning of April announced moving the 17th edition of the festival online. I think it was a very good decision Ė at this moment delaying the festival till autumn was very risky (second wave of the virus?), not to mention that the calendar of the events at that time could give you a headache.

Festival teaser © Spring Break (Total Refusal)

The organizers of the festival take up quite a challenge – to make an edition that will resemble the analogue version in the best way they could. Most of the events (screenings, invitations, Q&A’s) will be available on the festival’s platform, and industry events will be streamed on social media channels. What’s important Ė the access to the platform will be geo-blocked only for Austria, to not obstruct the future festival plans of selected films. As a form of consolation, the international audience could apply for industry or media badges or try to bypass geo-block using VPNs.

Since I’ve been following the festival’s program for many years, I would describe Vienna Shorts as a socially involved festival, which isn’t afraid to show experimental works, but also welcomes all the forms of short cinema Ė including the more audience-friendly ones. I’m also deeply fascinated by the level of self-reflection of the organizers, who not only tailor the program very thoroughly, but also make an effort to show that they are creating an event in an ethical and transparent way. The best example of it will be Festival Regulations that include the descriptions of relations between festival team members, the commitments towards the filmmakers and the dealings with the partners. The festival mission opens with a sentence:

We regard life and cinema as inextricably linked: a result of time, experience and attitude(…). This intrinsically political and aesthetic approach interprets cinema as an empathetic and utopian mirror of society.

Doris Bauer and Daniel Ebner, Festival Directors

For nearly a decade, the program revolves around the competitions, split into two international sections (Animation Avangarde and FiDO Ė Fiction & Documentary) and two national sections (Austrian Competition and MUVI Ė Austrian Music Video Award). I have the pleasure to be on the jury of the last section.

Like always, the jury consists of three people. I watched 16 Austrian music videos along with music video director, Patryk Senwicki, the founder of the Ostblock studio and the winner of MUVI competition in 2018 for the music video KIDS N CATS ó Frizzle Frizz and Theresa Ziegler, the editor-in-chief of the pop culture magazine The Gap.

You will know our verdict on 2nd of June at the festival’s Award Ceremony, and in the meantime you could watch all the MUVI selection Ė all videos are available at YouTube.

I also want to invite you to the industry panel accompanying the festival Infinity And Beyond Ė Curating Films For An Online Audience, in which Iíll take part and will take place on 30.05.2020, at 5 P.M., you can find more information here.