For the 13th time VIS Vienna Independent Shorts will bring the whole range of short films, animations and music videos to Austria’s capital. The biggest short film festival of the country and its only Oscar® qualifying festival is welcoming many international special guests and has a clear political statement.


In springtime Vienna will be much influenced by international films with a length of no more than 30 minutes. More than 300 short films, animations and music videos are going to be screened at the cinemas, when VIS Vienna Independent Shorts declares the festival a fear-free zone: “Fear is not an Option” is the 13th edition’s focus, that couldn’t be more relevant considering the current social and political conditions. Fear acts as a bad adviser in times of enclosure and delineation, loss of trust and refusal of solidarity. Together with two partner festivals from the Netherlands (Go Short) and Canada (Festival du nouveau cinéma), VIS takes this mood as a starting point for an international discussion in the so-called “triangle programme”, which will screen in all three countries.

3,500 – 114 – 4. Those are the numbers from VIS 2016. More than 3,500 films were submitted to this year’s festival, while a total of 114 were selected for the four different competition categories. The films highlight the wide variety of the Austrian and international short film landscape. The Austrian competition features some household names, including former jury prize winners, Sebastian Brameshuber and Christiana Perschon. The international competition for experimental film, digital media and animation – ‘Animation Avantgarde’ – boasts 40 films from 18 countries: an immense bandwidth of artistic expression with a variety of different forms, from painting, to 2D animation, to machinimas.

Equally captivating are the 28 different works in the international competition for documentaries and short films, Fiction and Documentary. The star-studded program includes, among other short films, works by Ben Russell, Ronny Trocker, Sandro Aguilar, and Nina Gantz. And last, but not least one can find outstanding works set to music by Ogris Debris, Schmieds Puls, Flying Lotus or Björk in the Austrian and International Music Video competition.


Spotlights on Anouk De Clercq and Bill Plympton

One of the two Spotlights of the festival is dedicated to the Belgian artist Anouk De Clercq. The award-winning filmmaker’s oeuvre is presented and discussed within a special screening in collaboration with sixpackfilm. De Clercq explores the audiovisual potential of computer language, in order to create new worlds focusing on their architectural characteristics. This year’s festival graphics features a still from her film “Building”.

The second Spotlight opens, in cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum, the stage for another well-known guest: Bill Plympton is one of the most famous animation filmmakers worldwide. Born in Portland, Oregon, the director is celebrating his 70th birthday on April 30th. Plympton began his career as a cartoonist for various American newspapers including the New York Times. Starting with his first animated short film – Lucas the Ear of Corn in 1977, Plympton focused entirely on hand-drawn animation and grew rapidly in popularity.

“We don’t need any more children’s stories,” is the apt and bold premise of this exceptional independent animation artist, who must be viewed as the formative precursor to the humor and form of series such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. At the same time, Plympton is the creative role model to other artists like David O’Reilly and Don Hertzfeldt, to whom, together with the Film Museum, VIS devoted detailed programs in recent years. Plympton’s films always contain an extra pinch of sex and violence and therefore reach a more mature audience. However, since his collaboration with Kanye West in 2005 for the video Heard ‘Em Say, Plympton is also known in younger crowds.


Popular Midnight Movies & Zebra Katz live

The young audience is definitely a target group of the Viennese festival. Besides numerous parties VIS will show extra-ordinary and absurd films in three popular late night programmes. The “Midnight Movies” will present trash, horror and porn movies – and, of course, there’ll be one special event that will mesmerize not only the young audience.

Zebra Katz, the artistic alter ego of American rapper Ojay Morgan, has been on the tip of the music world’s tongue. With his extravagant appearances, deep voice paired with minimalist electronic beats and succinct bass, Zebra Katz’s presence is hard to grasp: an amazing artistic expression that challenges conventional viewing and listening perceptions. VIS provides two ways to check out Zebra Katz. First, the impressive music video Nu Renegade, directed by Austrian filmmaker Florian Pochlatko, can be seen at the opening night and in the Austrian Music Video competition. And following this, one of the biggest highlights of this year’s festival takes place at the METRO theatre. In an unusual live performance Zebra Katz will share the stage with Warp Records DJ, Leila, and arrange and mix new songs and videos.

Special features at this year’s festival furthermore include collaborations with the Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and Sundance programmer Mike Plante. There will also be guest performances from Colombia and the Czech Republic, an Open-Air programme celebrating the upcoming European Soccer Championships, an inspiring Kids and Youth program, a range of fantastic guests (including the Artists-in-Residence Réka Bucsi, Peter Millard, Una Gunjak and Jan Soldat) and raucous parties.

In only seven days VIS Vienna Independent Shorts bridges the fascinating variations of short films from popular and modern to artistic and historic works and proves that the Austrian Capital at the end of May will be once again one of the hot-spots for international short filmmaking.


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