The supporters of Austria's 'original Diagonale' have unveiled their plans for a four-day event in Graz between March 3-7, 2004 while the 'official' Diagonale O4 under the management of Tillmann Fuchs and Miroljub Vuckovic seems to be on the verge of imploding.
"The 'original Diagonale' will take place because it has the trust and support of the filmmakers, directors and the Diagonale team", . The creative artists and the team, which is prepared to work in an honorary capacity, will be jointly responsible for the festival," the organisers of the rival event announced.
As in the previous editions under former festival directors Christine Dollhofer and Constantin Wulff, the filmmakers' Diagonale will invite the producers of all those Austrian feature films and documentaries released theatrically between March 2003 and next year's festival to submit their films for the showcase.
In addition, the festival will present the Austrian premieres of local films and a selection of shorts, avantgarde and animation films. An independent programme committee, which will be nominated by the Diagonale's advisory board and appointed in the first week of December, will be responsible for the film selection and the festival's programme.
The "original Diagonale's organisers also revealed that Vienna's Film Museum and the Austrian Film Archive have both accepted their invitation to curate special programmes for the 2004 edition and the students of the Vienna's Film Academy and Sixpack Film will also be supporting this event.
Meanwhile, the future of the official Diagonale - dubbed the "Morakonale" - looks in tatters. Wolfgang Ainberger, the designated curator for the Austrian film programme, has broken ranks and called for the cancelling of the Diagonale 04 and the transferring of the Euros 100,000 support from the city of Graz to the "original Diagonale". Moreover, he was highly critical of Fuchs and Vuckovic's qualities as festival directors.
Ainberger declared that, "as curator, I will not programme any Austrian film for whose screening the director and key crew members refuse their permission. The Diagonale is and remains the festival of the Austrian filmmakers and for many of them the only platform to be presented in a dignified and appropriate way."
He added that he would not be able to programme any special programmes or tributes as none of the filmmakers were prepared to cooperate and a sidebar of new and old TV productions would also be impractical since the TV directors had similarly refused to entertain any collaboration.
Turning to the two directors, Ainberger described Fuchs as someone "who to date doesn't have the foggiest about a film festival" and suggested that "my constant warning clearly got on your [Fuchs'] nerves to such an extent that you withdrew into a total cloud-cuckoo-land, no longer reacted to anything, and have left me and the team uninformed about the important events for many weeks."
He also criticised Vuckovic's attitude as being "absurd and inexplicable": "in five and a half months, I was able to speak with him for just three hours in total. His stays in Austria are marginal and he is only flown in for talks with the Secretary of State and roundtable discussions so that one gets the impression that he was always there. In fact, he is constantly travelling from festival to festival around the world and doesn't care about hardly a thing."