Country Focus: Austria
Positive 2008 results
19/01/2009 - With an Oscar for The Counterfeiters [trailer], around 40 (co-)productions (including 22 avant-premières) presented at major international festivals, as many international awards and increased interest from local audiences, Austrian film enjoyed a successful 2008, according to the AFC (Austrian Film Commission).
The quality of Austrian films is often showcased at festivals, but last year was a particularly good one, starting with Berlin, where Luigi Falorni’s Heart of Fire [trailer] screened in competition. Meanwhile, Stefan Arsenijevic’s co-production Love and Other Crimes [trailer] won acclaim in the Panorama section and Götz Spielmann’s Revanche [trailer, film focus] – Austrian hopeful for the 2009 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination – received three prizes after its screening in the Panorama Special section.
At the Locarno Film Festival, the Leopard for Best Debut Film went to Händl Klaus’ March, while Philipp Stölzl’s North Face [trailer] and Andreas Prochaska’s Dead in 3 Days 2 were presented on the Piazza Grande.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Montreal, Telluride and Toronto festivals put the spotlight on Austrian film. The Amsterdam Film Festival hosted the avant-première of politically-engaged documentary filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer’s Let's Make Money and a retrospective dedicated to Nikolaus Geyrhalter.
A total of 39 Austrian films received 292 invitations to screen at international festivals and 14 of them scooped 39 awards, as well as the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
The Oscar for Stefan Ruzowitzky’s The Counterfeiters also fuelled a more exceptional phenomenon: a renewed interest from Austrian audiences in local film. Thanks to the domestic box office results for Ruzowitzky’s Oscar-winning film (176,800 admissions), Thomas Roth’s Falco: Damn It, We're Still Alive! [trailer] (153,622) in February and recent hits Let's Make Money (125,114) and North Face (80,181), the market share for Austrian film has tripled compared to 2007.
The most highly anticipated titles of 2009 are Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes, Wolfgang Murnberger’s The Bone Man, Benjamin Heisenberg’s The Robber, Ulrich Seidl’s Im Keller, La Pivellina by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Michael Glawogger’s Contact High and Kill Daddy Good Night, and Jasmila Žbanic’s Memory Full.