Austrian film has been on a winning streak in the past couple of years. Directors such as Barbara Albert, Götz Spielmann, Ulrich Seidl and Michael Haneke have been awarded at film festivals in Venice and Cannes, giving Austria the reputation of a film nation. Stefan Ruzowitzky even took home the Oscar for “The Counterfeiters” in 2008. In several interviews, these renowned filmmakers have always pointed out the urgent need to provide the young generation with good education and useful platforms. In times of digital revolution making the production and presentation of film easier and the first significant awards coming in, a couple of Viennese initiatives started a project for young filmmakers that hadn’t existed before: a festival for short films.

“Along with other underground initiatives from Vienna, the festival was created in 2004. Nobody guessed back then that this project would rise to become the biggest short film festival in Austria one day and a role model for several initiatives alike.” unimag.at, Lukas Fischnaller

©VIS/Patrick Wally

The festival

VIS Vienna Independent Shorts started as a students’ project, with all the advantages and disadvantages coming along with the untamed will. Since then, the festival has grown professionally both in programming and organizational aspects. As of now, VIS is the biggest short film festival in Austria. Starting with the first edition in 2004, the festival’s location changed every year. In May/June 2013, VIS celebrated its 10 year anniversary, welcoming more than 8,200 visitors and showing more than 260 films. Throughout its history, the festival has continuously expanded: A national competition was soon added to the program, whereas the separation of international competition in two sections, “Fiction & Documentary” and “Animation Avantgarde”, was setting new international standards. In 2013, the first ever Austrian music video award was given away. Besides adding educational and theoretical programs throughout the years, many Austrian and international filmmakers – such as David OReilly, Miranda July, Ben Rivers, Mara Mattuschka, Virgil Widrich, Thomas Draschau, Lotte Schreiber/Norbert Pfaffenbichler and Nicolas Mahler – were honored with tributes.

“Being competently guided by artistic director Daniel Ebner, Vienna’s international short film festival has gained an excellent reputation within just a couple of years. That seems to involve the strategy of imagining only the biggest for the apparently smallest.” Stefan Grissemann, film critic ("Profil")

©VIS/Patrick Wally

VIS by numbers

VIS showed 2,657 short films for around 42,000 guests since 2004
VIS showed more than 20 programs at international festivals
VIS presented 89 Austrian filmmakers abroad
VIS receives more than 2,000 submissions from 50+ countries each year
VIS employs more than 20 contributors, most of them being volunteers
VIS is excited about 35 partner festivals all over the world
VIS owns a film archive with more than 7,000 titles
VIS shows between 200 and 300 extraordinary films every year
VIS celebrated 10 years of existence in 2013
VIS will take place from May 26th to 31st, 2015