Festival History: 2014 - present
2014 the festival began with an impressive festival opening – the opening event, the film screenings and the Nightline were already stormed by the audience. This trend happily continued, which is due, not least of all, to the presence of numerous renowned international film guests (including the outstanding directors Joanna Hogg and Claire Simon and the Italian old master of horror Dario Argento), who further enhanced the attractiveness of the festival. A total of 184 feature films, documentaries, and short films from 37 different countries (including 98 Austrian premieres and 28 world premieres) flickered across the screens, and roughly 700 industry guests from Austria and abroad – including over 150 film guests – were counted.
Over 20,000 festival guests and film and music lovers attended the film screenings, exhibitions, talks, lectures and the Nightline of the festival. Although the number of events in the framework program was somewhat reduced this year, due to a significant increase in the number of visitors in the cinemas at the screenings, last year’s record of 20,000 visitors was just surpassed – this is a clear affirmation of the programmatic orientation of the festival.
Also this year it has been important to CROSSING EUROPE to enter into partnerships that tie into the subject matter. Two cooperations have to be mentioned in this context, which were continued in 2014, as well as a new cooperation. The cooperation with the CREATIVE REGION Linz & Upper Austria was not only continued, but even expanded: the point of intersection here was the presentation and promotion of the creative potential of filmmakers from the region. In addition to the festival award already announced in 2013, the CREATIVE REGION MUSIC VIDEO AWARD – which was called the CREATIVE REGION MUSIC VIDEO AUDIENCE AWARD in 2014 –, this year the CREATIVE REGION MUSIC AWARD – RESIDENCY has also been awarded, which enables the winner to take part in a two-month residency in a branch-specific company in Europe. Cooperation with the Creative Europe Desk Austria – Culture also continued this year; the focus this time was on film works from the countries of the Danube region. Another example for the link between the contents of the festival program and the work of a partner institution were the two new festival awards for documentary films from the sections EUROPEAN PANORAMA DOCUMENTARY and LOCAL ARTISTS: the SOCIAL AWARENESS AWARDS powered by Land Oberösterreich/Soziales.
2015: Outstanding program, international festival flair, and record number of visitors. From the beginning, CROSSING EUROPE has been dedicated to the idea of accessibly presenting sophisticated European filmmaking here in Linz, and to offer international and local networking along with the possibility of direct exchange with the filmmakers present from all over Europe. In 2015 the festival audience again took over the festival locations for six days – turning the OK Platz into the vibrant hot spot of the city at the same time.
A total of 160 selected feature films, documentaries and short films from 45 different countries (109 of them premieres) were presented in the mostly sold-out cinemas, around 700 professionals from Austria and abroad – including roughly 160 film guests – were counted. Almost 22.000 festival guests and film and music enthusiasts attended the film screenings, exhibitions, talks and the nightline of the festival. This means that CROSSING EUROPE this year has broken last year’s record (20.000).
The rise in the number of visitors was already evident on the first day of the festival, and there was no break in the enthusiasm of the festival audience in Linz for contemporary auteur cinema from Europe. The festival opening on 23 April was already wholly in line with the programmatic orientation of the festival – to arouse enthusiasm for artistic auteur cinema from Europe among the audience, to take the visitors along on a – sometimes uncomfortable – journey right through Europe of today, while focusing attention at the same time on social-political inequalities and the social wounds of our continent. There was room in the program for burning topics such as “Fortress Europe”, migration and economic crisis, as well as works on music & youth culture and the program focal point CINEMA NEXT EUROPE focusing on the “next generation” of European filmmakers. The cinephile highlight was undoubtedly this year’s Tribute, which was devoted to the acclaimed and award-winning director Sergei Loznitsa, who presented a total of 18 films – largely Austrian premieres – in person during CROSSING EUROPE and held a masterclass for a full house. The presence of many international film guests was altogether conspicuous this year, and like the local filmmakers they engaged with the audience in film discussions.
2016: For six days the city center of Linz, with the established festival district around the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter and the festival cinemas, was transformed into the throbbing heart of the 13th edition of the festival. 22,000 festival guests and film and music enthusiasts accepted this invitation and visited film screenings, exhibitions, talks and the nightline of the festival. This means that last year’s record high was reached again, which may be taken as an affirmation of the orientation of the festival program – much to the satisfaction of the entire CROSSING EUROPE team.
Following the motto “Europe, what is your Destiny?” CROSSING EUROPE sought to spotlight the various nuances of the (film) continent of Europe – as an invitation to directly engage with – often complex – European life worlds. It is a fact that the grand project “Europe” is faltering, that the “European idea” is increasingly sacrificed on the altar of populism. Yet despite the uncertainly that currently predominates, there is also something positive to be told about Europe, for example stories of overcoming fences, working through the wounds left from war, solidarity in civil society, or living humanity. This contradictoriness with regard to our current state in Europe, wound its way through this year’s program like a red thread.
2017:1,000 visitors more than last year were counted – an increase that was especially noticeable directly in the cinemas at the film screenings. Almost five days of rain and the public holiday certainly contributed to the positive development of the festival’s popularity with the audience from the first day on. In addition to the film screenings, though, the exhibitions, talks, performances and the music nightline were also very well attended at CROSSING EUROPE.