Vienna Shorts is Vienna’s international Festival for Short Film, Animation and Music Video and the only qualifying festival for the Academy Awards, the British BAFTA Awards and the European Film Awards in Austria. Since 2004, the festival screens around 300 Films of up to 30 minutes in length in competitive and non-competitive programs, including programs for children and young people.
Interview with Doris Bauer and Daniel Ebner
Who/what are you?
We are the two directors of Vienna Shorts. In this capacity, we are in charge of both programming and budgeting of the festival, which takes place every year at the end of May or the beginning of June.
What are your fields of activity?
We are responsible for strategic long-term planning as well as each year’s thematic and organisational direction. We put together the festival team which comprises several dozen people between January and June. Furthermore, we select films, curate programmes and represent the festival in several international collectives and networks.
What challenges are you facing right now?
Until now, the world of film festivals has hardly found representation online. There are many VOD and streaming platforms, but usually they just offer a rather commercial selection of productions, while film festivals love to celebrate cinema, art and the big screen. They are spaces of exchange and networking for filmmakers, audiences and industry representatives. Our great challenge is to find a way to transfer the things that make up a festival into a digital space - and to find out if that’s even possible. Moreover, we need to clarify film rights, build a streaming platform, etc. etc.
How do you reach your goals?
Through trustful collaboration with others. The new platform would be inconceivable without cooperation within the European short film network. Transferring the festival from an analogue to a digital space would not be possible without a motivated team that is willing to pull off such a major task. The realisation of a festival - no matter in what form – only becomes conceivable and possible if you rely on collaboration.
What can we expect at this year's Vienna Shorts Festival 2020?
Short films galore and a festival experience which hardly compares to previous years. There will be an exclusive online hub with approximately 200 short films, sorted by competitions and special programmes – including the best films of the past year. If you are getting bored by Netflix and Amazon Prime and looking for something new, we will give you something to discover: not less than the present and the future of art cinema.
How big is your team?
We are three regular members, but the team starts to grow quickly at the start of each new season (September). The programming team comprises 20 film connoisseurs who are experts in different fields such as animation, music video or film education. About six months before the festival, the organising team grows to 20 people working in marketing, production, technology or audience services. Since it will be an online festival, some job descriptions have slightly changed, but it will still require a huge effort.
Since when have you been at Q21?
We have been at Q21 since 2007, but our office room situation has changed a lot in the last few years. We are in our third office now and we love it - not only because, concerning required spaces, we have formed a symbiotic relationship with the designers of TEAM. We are also in constant exchange with many other institutions and the residency programme allows us to bring exciting artists to Vienna.
A perfect day working from home starts with …
…a relaxing cup of coffee, a good breakfast and knowing that despite a second cup of coffee you will still make it to the morning (video) meeting. We could definitely get used to that.