Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio’s Alamar and the Austrian avant-garde short Shadow Cuts were the closing films tonight of this year’s edition of the Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale) which posted record attendance figures.
The number of tickets sold for the festival between October 21 and November 3 increased from 2009’s 94,800 to 96,300 with more than a third of the 351 screenings being completely sold out.
Festival director Hans Hurch reported that the Tribute to US director Larry Cohen - who came in person to present his films during the Viennale - was “one of the most successful of recent years”, and the retrospective dedicated to Eric Rohmer and staged in cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum, had attracted around 4,700 spectators.
“The Viennale appreciates the fact that, over the past years, it has managed to build up a mutual relationship of trust between the festival and its audience,” Hurch observed, describing the two-week event as “a love story between the cinema and its audience.”
At the same time, the Austrian national daily newspaper Der Standard quoted Hurch as saying that the festival had “grown faster than the structure we have for running it. We see this, on the one hand, in the soft- and hardware for [ticket] sales and, on the other, in the digital projection.” Some films were only available now digitally - which had led to a digital projector being installed in the Gartenkino for just two days at a cost of Euros 20,000. “Actually, a waste of money,” Hurch was reported as saying.
The festival director - whose contract as head of the Viennale runs until 2013 - called on the national government in Austria to gradually increase its financial commitment in the coming years and not regard the festival as only a “local event”, but rather see it as an internationally respected one with significance for all of Austria.
At the prize-giving ceremony ahead of the closing films on Wednesday evening, the Vienna Film Prize in the feature film and documentary categories was presented to Marvin Kren’s Berlin-based zombie film Rammbock and Hüseyin Tabak’s documentary Kick Off about the Austrian participation in the Homeless World Cup, with a Special Mention for Houchang Allahyari’s Die verrückte Welt der Ute Bock.
In addition, the Viennale Standard Audience Award for a film currently without distribution in Austria went to US filmmaker Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol, along with a Special Mention for Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary El Sicario, Room 164.
Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Prize was given to Bogdan George Apetri’s feature debut Outbound (Periferic).
The Romanian-Austrian co-production had already won the FIPRESCI jury’s award when it was shown at the Warsaw Film Festival three weeks ago - along with another three distinctions. Outbound is currently showing in the International Competition at the Filmfestival Cottbus in Germany this week.