For the Love of Film: Amour Fou Filmproduktion


Amour Fou Film's 2003 program for the Cannes film festival couldn't be fuller: In their first year, this company has produced or co-produced four different film projects, and all four have been invited to the most important festival of all. Ruth Mader's Struggle will be presented as part of Un Certain Regard, the Short Film Competition will include Virgil Widrich's latest, Fast Film- and both Bady Minck's In the Beginning was the Eye and Alain Guiraudie's Pas de repos pour les braves will be shown in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.


And that's not everything: the preparatory work for projects with Martina Kudlácek (In the Mirror of Maya Deren) and Jörg Kalt is underway, and the corporate design was developed for Vienna's relaunched Gartenbaukino. It may be difficult to believe, but this company, officially established just over one year ago, is involved in even more projects. All this is taking place at a time generally considered unfavorable due to general belt-tightening. The founders- love of film has however proven to be stronger.


Its name, Amour Fou, is intended to be programmatic, even if the amount of work going on seems to suggest insanity, and it's been joined by the intensive preparations for Cannes in the past few weeks. The company's philosophy, laid out by managing directors Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu and Gabriele Kranzelbinder, is open to a broad spectrum of creative ideas without regard for genres or sectors. "It was also extremely interesting for us," said Gabriele Kranzelbinder, "to offer a home for experimental and avant-garde films, to get the filmmakers out of their workshops and take care of production and sales on a more professional level." During production of Deanimated, an installation by avant-garde filmmaker Martin Arnold, and Bady Minck's In the Beginning was the Eye, Amour Fou's offices turned into an innovative hi-tech laboratory in which a team of technically savvy artists and artistically inspired technicians realized the films' concepts with rapidly developing technologies. For example, In the Beginning was the Eye, shot on 35mm, was an experiment which linked the second and third dimensions: Poet Bodo Hell journeys through clichéd scenes of Austrian landscapes and images from picture postcards.


Technical equipment which was previously unthinkable made production possible. Avant-garde and experiment was followed by a phase focusing on feature films of a more classic nature: Amour Fou managed to bring its first international co-production to Vienna, Pas de repos pour les braves by Alain Guiraudie. Sound design and mixing was completed in the past few months for this story of a restless dreamer who races between reality and bizarre dream worlds in southwestern France. And for Ruth Mader's debut film- Struggle, Amour Fou demonstrated its faith in an ambitious and relatively low-budget project with an uncompromising artistic vision. Working against the grain both esthetically and in its choice of subject matter, in addition to flying in the face of conventions, is the motto of this dynamic Viennese company. This applies to film projects, the building of a pool of directors for unconventional commercials, and if necessary, the articulation of political statements. Last summer, its petition at www.amourfou.at received over 15,000 signatures protesting the cancellation of Kunststücke, a program specializing in challenging artistic works. "Amour Fou," claimed Alexander Ivanceanu, "stands for a concrete esthetic form and worldview in which various genres and areas influence and enrich each other. It's been exciting over the past several months, seeing this concept succeed and watching the borders blur."


Karin Schiefer (2003)