The Film Year 2021 in Review

We are looking back upon a festival year which can, all in all, fairly be described as hybrid; after the first six months of festivals reinventing themselves in various combinations of online and on-site events, we were treated to a pleasant sense of normality in the summer and autumn, with major festivals again welcoming audiences. A feeling which, it turned out, ought never to have been entirely trusted. For our festival team 2021 also meant embarking upon strategies at short notice and being prepared for changes in direction at any time. All of which makes us even more delighted to be able to present, after a difficult year of shooting and festivals, an impressive report of the voyage through 2021.
Facts & Figures for the Film Year 2021
1.     Altogether 40 films represented by Austrian Films were invited to festivals. This resulted in approximately 350 festival participations. The proportion of feature films (22) to documentary films (18) was almost balanced.
2. Four films celebrated their world premieres at key festivals which are particularly relevant for international sales:
  •     •  GREAT FREEDOM by Sebastian Meise: Un Certain Regard (Cannes)
  •     •    HINTERLAND by Stefan Ruzowitzky: Locarno (Piazza Grande)
  •     •    LUZIFER by Peter Brunner: Locarno (in competition)
  •     •    MONEYBOYS by C.B. Yi: Un Certain Regard (Cannes)
3. These films also celebrated their international premieres in 2021:
A CLOWN | A LIFE by Harald Aue · A JEWISH LIFE by Christian Krönes, Florian Weigensamer, Christian Kermer, Roland Schrotthofer · ANOTHER COIN FOR THE MERRY-GO-ROUND by Hannes Starz · AUSTRIA2AUSTRALIA by Andreas Buciuman · CHASING THE LINE by Andreas Schmied · EVA-MARIA by Lukas Ladner · INTERPRETATION OF REALITY – GEORG STEFAN TROLLER by Ruth Rieser · ME, WE by David Clay-Diaz · RISK AND SIDE EFFCTS by Michael Kreihsl · SARGNAGEL THE MOVIE by Sabine Hiebler, Gerhard Ertl · SOLDAT AHMET by Jannis Lenz · THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH by Elke Groen · THE SCARY HOUSE by Daniel Geronimo Prochaska · WELCOME TO SIEGHEILKIRCHEN by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, Santiago López Jover

Thus a total of 18 Films from Austria launched their international festival careers.

4. The most successful festival films of 2021 measured by participation are:
This ranking is of particular interest, firstly because with the two Austrian features in the Un Certain Regard section it demonstrates in almost exemplary fashion the positive “Cannes effect”, and secondly because this list contains several films which celebrated their world premiere in 2020, suggesting that many films may have been obliged to launch under difficult festival conditions but then went on to enjoy a long festival career.

5.  We recorded a total of 65 international awards for 20 films.
GREAT FREEDOM won the highest number, with 22 prizes, followed by FOX IN A HOLE with eight and MONEYBOYS with seven. This means that well over half of all the prizes were awarded to these three films, which are marked by particular sensitivity in their perspective on diversity.

6. International recognition of work by young filmmakers
Of the 18 films which celebrated their international premieres in 2021, half of them were first or second features by the filmmakers in question, with six feature film debuts and three other films.
This proportion is also reflected in the total number of participations: 19 of the 40 films which participated in international festivals during 2021 were debut or second features, scoring slightly more than half of the total number of participations.

7. European Film Awards 2021
The extraordinary result achieved at the European Film Awards on 11 December deserves a separate mention:

GREAT FREEDOM by Sebastian Meise won 2 Excellence Awards for
·      European Cinematographer: Crystel Fournier
·      European Original Score: Nils Petter & Peter Brötzmann
And, with two further nominations, was also in the running for European Actor (Franz Rogowski) and European University Film Award.
The success of QUO VADIS, AIDA? by the Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić represents a further triumph:
·      European Film 2021
·      European Director Jasmila Žbanić.
·      European Actress Jasna Ðurčić
This film was made as a European coproduction with significant support from coop99 filmproduktion in Vienna, Austrian funding and creative input from Austria.
8. A hope for 2022
More and more festivals approach us with direct enquiries for works by female filmmakers, since they are attempting to ensure increasingly gender equality in the programs they present. Of the 18 films which celebrated their international premiere in 2021, the proportion made by men is 85% – rising to 100% of the premieres by young talent. Consequently we are not always able to meet these enquiries appropriately. In this sense we certainly hope that something may change in 2022.