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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Austria

The Trouble With Being Born and Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism triumph at the Diagonale

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- Sandra Wollner’s film has won the Grand Diagonale Prize for Best Feature Film, while Sabine Derflinger’s movie received the equivalent for best documentary

The Trouble With Being Born and Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism triumph at the Diagonale
The Trouble With Being Born by Sandra Wollner and Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism by Sabine Derflinger

The awards of the 2020 edition of the Diagonale, which could not take place as scheduled in March because of restrictions imposed by the Austrian authorities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, were announced on Tuesday 30 June. The festival, which had been scheduled to unspool between 24 and 29 March in the Austrian city of Graz, reported the cancellation of this year's edition on 11 March, explaining why postponing the event was not possible. However, the Diagonale has since successfully managed to make part of its 2020 selection available via various VoD platforms, Austrian TV stations and other local media. Despite the difficult circumstances, the awards of the 2020 edition were still handed out, with the winners being announced on Tuesday evening by means of live tickers on the festival’s social-media channels and, subsequently, on the festival’s website.

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The two main honours, the Grand Diagonale Prizes of the Province of Styria for Best Austrian Feature Film and Best Documentary, were endowed with €21,000 each. The international jury for the fiction features, which viewed the films online and comprised filmmaker Ruth Beckermann, curator and author Greg de Cuir Jr, and Inge de Leeuw, programmer for International Film Festival Rotterdam, decided that the Best Feature Film Award should go to Sandra Wollner’s The Trouble With Being Born [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sandra Wollner
film profile
]
, a movie that depicts the paedophilic relationship between the girl android Elli and her creator, and which was previously selected in the newly created Encounters section of the 70th Berlinale. “Oscillating between memory and projection into the future, this film is a testimonial to the breadth and timeliness of cinema. […] Never moralistic but always ambiguous, the film touches on the fears and wishes of our time, for every viewer. With poetic imagery and sound, as well as a good choice of actors, it creates an atmosphere of torment in which all of the elements work well together,” the jury explained in a written note.

Meanwhile, Sabine Derflinger’s Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a portrait of Johanna Dohnal, the first Austrian State Secretary for General Women’s Affairs, received the Grand Diagonale Prize for Best Documentary from the jury, comprising German filmmaker Matthias Dell, FIDMarseille programme coordinator and FIDLab director Fabienne Moris, and curator and cinematographer Serafin Spitzer. In their statement, the three jury members described the movie as “a woman’s film, directed by a woman and delivered to the men and women of today” and praised it for being “a jewel for all eyes”.

The Prize for Innovative Cinema from the City of Graz went to The Notes of Anna Azzori / A Mirror That Travels Through Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Constanze Ruhm
film profile
]
by Constanze Ruhm, a film that takes as its starting point the young and pregnant Anna Azzori, who, in the 1970s, was accidentally discovered, accompanied and filmed by two male filmmakers in Rome.

Lastly, the Diagonale Award for Best Short Documentary Film went to How to Disappear, a game video essay by Total Refusal (Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner and Michael Stumpf), while the Award for Best Short Fiction Film was awarded to Raphaela Schmid for Fische.

Here is the complete list of winners at the 2020 edition of the Diagonale:

Grand Diagonale Prize for Best Feature Film
The Trouble With Being Born [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sandra Wollner
film profile
]
- Sandra Wollner (Austria/Germany)

Grand Diagonale Prize for Best Documentary Film
Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Sabine Derflinger (Austria)

Diagonale Prize for Best Innovative Film
The Notes of Anna Azzori / A Mirror That Travels Through Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Constanze Ruhm
film profile
]
– Constanze Ruhm (Austria/Germany/France)

Best Short Fiction Film
Fische – Raphaela Schmid (Austria)

Best Short Documentary Film
How to Disappear – Total Refusal (Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf) (Austria)

Best Young Talent Film
Das Urteil im Fall K. – Özgür Anil (Austria)

Diagonale Prize for Feature Film Editing
Hannes Bruun - The Trouble With Being Born

Diagonale Prize for Documentary Film Editing
Friederike Berat – We Did What Had to Be Done (Austria)

Diagonale Prize for Fiction Feature Cinematography
Thimios Bakatakis – The Lodge [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(UK/USA)

Diagonale Prize for Documentary Feature Cinematography
Yunus Roy – Space Dogs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter
film profile
]
(Austria/Germany)

Diagonale Prize for Fiction Feature Sound Design
Peter Kutin – The Trouble With Being Born

Diagonale Prize for Documentary Feature Sound Design
Florian Kofler – Safety123 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Austria/Italy)

Diagonale Prize for Production Design
Katharina Wöppermann – Little Joe [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jessica Hausner
film profile
]
(Austria/UK/Germany)

Diagonale Prize for Costume Design
Monika Buttinger – Oskar & Lily [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Austria)

Diagonale Prize for Best Actress
Julia Franz Richter – Der Taucher (Austria)

Diagonale Prize for Best Actor
Dominik Warta – The Trouble With Being Born

Prize for Outstanding Production Services (ex aequo)
Plan C Filmproduktion, in co-production with Derflinger Film Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism
coop99 filmproduktion – Little Joe

Kodak Analog Prize
Leena Koppe (cinematographer) – The Ground Beneath My Feet [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marie Kreutzer
film profile
]
(Austria)

Further (external) prizes that were handed out earlier this year in the context of the 2020 Diagonale are as follows:

Carl Mayer Main Prize for Screenwriting
Die Verkündung (treatment) - Josef Kleindienst

Carl Mayer Funding Prize for Screenwriting
Flat Mates (treatment) – Jan Prazak

Thomas Pluch Screenwriting Prize - Main Prize
Waren einmal Revoluzzer - Johanna Moder

Thomas Pluch Screenwriting Prize - Special Jury Prize
The Trouble With Being Born - Sandra Wollner

Thomas Pluch Screenwriting Prize - Short Film
Fabiu – Stefan Langthaler

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