Directors Michael Haneke, Kenneth Lonergan, Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel were among the winners at the 50th Viennale.

The annual event will close this evening in Vienna‘s Gartenbau Kino with a gala ceremony and the closing film L’intervallo from director Leonardo di Costanzo.

This year’s Vienna Film Prize in recognition of the achievements of Austrian filmmakers went in the fiction category to Haneke’s Golden Palm winner Amour, while  Paul-Julien Robert’s Meine kleine Familie picked up the award in the documentary category.

Other awards included the Fipresci Prize for Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret; the MehrWert Film Prize – consisting of a residency grant in New York – to Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s Der Glanz des Tages, which premiered in Locarno in the summer; and the Standard Audience Award to Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s Leviathan.

According to initial figures, ticket sales remained stable at 96,900 (2011: 96,700) for the 50th edition, with a total 160 filmmakers and actors coming to Vienna to present their films in person – from Michael Caine and Patti Smithto Klaus Maria Brandauer, Thomas Vinterberg and Brillante Mendoza.

Funding hike for national fund

On the eve of this year’s Viennale, the Austrian film industry learned that the national government’s budget for 2013 will be increased by €3.43m – taking the total annual budget for the Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI) to €20m.

At the beginning of October, an open letter had been sent to Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann and Minister of Culture Claudia Schmied by the local industry calling for a hike of the ÖFI budget to €20m as well as €5m funding for young talents.

Although the latter sum was not forthcoming, Austria’s film and music industry trade association FAMA thanked Minister Schmied for her decision that was sure to have been“particularly difficult in times of tight budgets“, but would “secure a sustainable, calculable basis for the planning of future film projects.“

Festivals on the offensive

The Viennale also provided a platform for 18 Austrian film festivals to announce the creation of the Forum of Austrian Film Festivals (FÖFF) whose members include the host festival, Crossing Europe, Diagonale, Tricky Women and VIS.

They called on the national government in Vienna to introduce dedicated funding for film festivals with a budget much higher than the current €770,000.

Switzerland’s policy on film festivals was cited by FÖFF for comparison: the 14 most important festivals there receive around €2.9m funding.