Viennale announces prize-winners

Article published on Nov. 4, 2008
community published
Article published on Nov. 4, 2008
The Viennale (October 17-29) has announced its three prize-winners. The Vienna Film Prize – awarded to an Austrian film – went to Arash T. Riahi’s For a Moment, Freedom, which was co-produced by Vienna-based Wega Film with France and Turkey.
The title – which is made up of three stories about escape and borders – won over the jury due to its "juxtaposition of tragedy and humour…powerful narrative style… and the performance of its actors".

The Der Standard Readers’ Jury Award – intended for films that have not yet found an Austrian distributor – was awarded to US title Momma’s Man by Azazel Jacobs. Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI Award went to Our Beloved Month of August , the second feature by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, whose previous works were the focus of a special programme at the festival.

Produced by O som e a fúria (in co-production with France), Our Beloved Month of August describes a summer in the heart of Portugal. According to critics, the film "brings to life a world of music, passion, romanticism and tragedy, a world that is at once magic and mundane (...), real and fictional, which emerges before our eyes and, at the same time, seems to have always existed".

The Viennale organisers also have reason to be pleased. Their well-stocked line-up attracted 92,100 viewers, exceeding last year’s record of 91,700 admissions. Out of a total 332 screenings, 116 were sold out.

The level of attendance at screenings dropped slightly (76.80% compared to 79.20% in 2007) due to the increased number of showings. However, as is tradition at the Viennale, viewers were drawn in equal numbers to features and documentaries.

The homage to Bob Dylan wasn’t as successful as hoped, but the programme dedicated to Viennese distributor and exhibitor Franz Schwartz of Stadtkino (24 superb films were chosen, including titles by Demy, Kaurismäki, Godard and Chris Marker) was an unexpected hit.

The evening events dedicated to the festival’s special guest, Werner Schroeter, were also memorable. Moreover, the two works commissioned by the festival – the trailer directed by Jean-Luc Godard (entitled "Une Catastrophe") and Jem Cohen’s video project "Empires of Tin" – made a strong impact.