Marco Antoniazzi's feature debut Small Fish (Kleine Fische) will open this year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Cinema (March 17-22) in the Styrian capital of Graz.
This will be the first edition of the annual showcase of Austrian cinema under the new artistic director Barbara Pichler after she took over the reins from the previous incumbent Birgit Flos.
The South Tyrolean-born Antoniazzi's comedy about two completely different brothers - played by Michael Steinocher and Volker Schmidt - who meet up again at their father's funeral was produced by Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion and had its world premiere at the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival in Saarbrücken in January. It will be released theatrically in Austria after the Diagonale by Poool Filmverleih.
This year's programme will include 29 world premieres of such films as Michael Glawogger's absurd comedy Contact High and the documentaries Ca$h & Money by Atanas Georgiev, Little Alien by Nina Kusturica, eine von 8 by Sabine Derflinger, and Yemen Travelogues by Michael Pilz, while the 23 Austrian premieres include Glawogger's Kill Daddy Good Night (Das Vaterspiel), Thomas Woschitz and Naked Lunch's Universalove, Caspar Pfaundler's Schottentor, and Yoav Shamir's Defamation.
A showcase of local theatrical releases from the past 12 months will include Oscar-winner Stefan Ruzowitzky's family entertainment film Lilly The Witch, Wolfgang Murnberger's black comedy The Bone Man, Arash T. Riahi's For a Moment Freedom, and Erwin Wagenhofer's Let's Make Money as well as such international co-productions with Austrian participation as Stefan Arsenijevic's Love And Other Crimes and Philipp Stölzl's North Face (Nordwand).
Pichler's avowed intention to make the Diagonale more attractive as an industry event on a national and international level sees the festival hosting a two-day co-production meeting focussing on the distribution and sales of German-language theatrical documentaries. The event follows on from similar gatherings at Nyon's Visions du Reel and Leipzig's DOK Film Festival in 2007 and will combine panel discussions with pitchings, one-to-one meetings and other opportunities for networking.