DERRIÈRE LES PIERRES / Behind the Stone Wall
For the 14th time, this section illuminates European working worlds and realities in a time of globalization and economic crises.
This year the series, curated by Katharina Riedler, revolves around the theme of meaningfulness of work under the title What We Do. The four selected works (three documentary films and one fictional work) raise questions such as: What do we actually work for? For personal fulfillment? To live well? Or simply to survive? – The central film this year is the fictional “experimental arrangement” LA MANO INVISIBLE, which focuses on essential things like the meaning, appreciation, and visibility of work, which can also be found in the other films. In David Macian’s feature-length debut, work becomes merely a show, an empty, mechanical, purposeless activity. The teachers portrayed in the German long-term observation ZWISCHEN DEN STÜHLEN are confronted with manifold challenges and are also not driven solely by idealism. In contrast, a protagonist in the visual stunning French documentary film QUELQUE CHOSE DE GRAND, the young construction worker Joao, talks proudly about how working in construction has become a part of him: “It looks as though you were useless, but you are needed.” In the second documentary film from France, DERRIÈRE LES PIERRES, a filmic monument is dedicated to a factory that has long existed, hidden in the midst of the metropolis of Paris, before it vanishes into the periphery and out of the urban world of life.
CROSSING EUROPE presents, now for the eighth time, the section Architecture and Society, curated by Lotte Schreiber.
Under the title GENDER & SPACE, this year the section explores the relationship between gender roles and space. Centering around Sofia Exarchou’s multiple award-winning Greek debut film park, a four-part film program pursues the question of the extent to which the social construct of “gender” influences our perception and ideas of real and imaginary spaces. In PARK the director situates a coming-of-age story on the periphery of Athens, specifically in the Olympic Games buildings, which have been vacant and decaying for more than ten years. They become the stage for gender-specific self-representations and an intimate place of retreat for first sexual experiences. The female body as actor in transitory space is the focus of the journal-like documentary film Wanderlust, cuerpos en tránsito. This film accompanies two young women from different backgrounds, who travel exclusively over land and water from Egypt to Germany. The Kurdish-Canadian documentary filmmaker Zaynê Akyol focuses on the role of Kurdish women in the armed battle over a territory in Gulîstan, terre de roses , offering an insight into an unknown, hidden everyday life. Solitude, quiet and the untamed forces of nature dominate the life of the scientist Aušra Revutaite in the Kazakh mountains in the Lithuanian film Woman and the Glacier by the director, jury member 2017 and 2008 Tribute guest Audrius Stonys. In contrast to this, the Latvian short film Garāžas shows the audience the testosterone-dominated world of garages.
ANNE VON PETERSDORFF, MARIA PEREZ ESCALÁ
Germany / Argentina 2016
In 2015 CROSSING EUROPE placed a focus on the “next generation” of European filmmakers for the first time with the program focal point Cinema Next Future in cooperation with the young talents initiative Cinema Next.
Conceived as a platform for European-wide exchange and networking, this section now goes into the third round. The emphasis is again on discovering fresh voices and promoting young European cinema. In six hand-picked film programs, assembled under the title Very Bright Future, strong positions of young European film are presented: young filmmakers who present a strong profile with their current works – which from a curatorial perspective are not only promising for European cinema and its art, but also for the audience. Yet the stories and their realization in film are by no means compliant or less courageous: they range from short films to feature-length films, from festival successes (DIE BESTE ALLER WELTEN, DAS UNMÖGLICHE BILD) and artistic works (I AM TRULY A DROP OF SUN ON EARTH) all the way way stark documentaries (IKONA).
In addition to the presentation of film programs, this section also includes a framework program, to which film students, young film, media & culture studies scholars, and young talents in the field of film are cordially invited. Plans include a case study on the topic of “festival strategies” as well as networking meetings and informal discussions. Cinema Next Europa is intended to create a European platform for young talents in film within the framework of the festival. This section addresses all the filmmakers who want to take a further step in the direction of a professional “film career” as well as an audience interested in the filmmaking of the “next generation”.
Altogether ten documentary works are brought together in this competition section, thematically and geographically spanning a broad arch right across Europe and beyond.
Three of the competition films focus on looking back at more recent European history: in DIERA V HLAVE Robert Kirchhoff follows the traces of the Roma and Sinti genocide during the Nazi era and the Second World War all across Europe and questions the “last” survivors, contemporary witnesses and representatives of the generation born afterward. With the help of archive material and fairy-tale-like stories, the Animated Documentary KUUN METSÄN KAISA transports us into the world of the Skolt Sami in Finnish-Lapland – a fascinating nomadic people belonging to the Sami, of which there are now only 1000 people. Like a thriller, the Serbian documentary film DUBINA DVA reconstructs atrocities surrounding a massacre, which was carried out during the Bosnian War and was supposed to be covered up. The film ZAVTRA MORE also focuses on human-caused suffering – the “self-made” environmental disaster, which caused the Aral Sea to dry up around the turn of the millennium, massively threatens the existence of the remaining population. Highly topical political events form the contents of DIL LEYLA and POLÍTICA, MANUAL DE INSTRUCCIONES – on the one hand a portrait of a young Kurdish mayor in Turkey, on the other a look behind the scenes of the Spanish Podemus movement. The way it is often just a small step from failed politics to war is made painfully clear in two other films in this section: in one of this year’s opening films, RODNYE, Vitaly Mansky provides a documentary family constellation against the background of the simmering military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. THE WAR SHOW offers an inside view of the cruel proxy war in Syria and the shattering of all the dreams of an entire generation. A direct consequence of these wars are flight and migration. These themes also play a significant role in this edition of the festival as well – two very different documentary positions are found in this competition section: in DE KINDEREN VAN JUF KIET we see a determined primary school teacher, who is able to convey the curriculum and reach the hearts of her little charges at the same time, despite traumatic experiences of flight. STRANGER IN PARADISE is located at the boundary between reality and fiction. Arranged as a concept film, different views of the topic of refugees are presented in the course of multiple episodes.
PETRA LATASTER-CZISCH, PETER LATASTER
The Netherlands 2016
FERNANDO LEÓN DE ARANOA
Twelve film discoveries can be seen in this section this year, ten feature-length film debuts and two second feature-length films.
Three of the competition films tell coming-of-age stories in different variations set in breathtaking landscapes (ANIŞOARA, HJARTASTEINN and PÄEVAD, MIS AJASID SEGADUSSE). Another visually fascinating film is the Georgian contribution SKHVISI SAKHLI, that deals with the theme of “displaced persons” in the Abkhazian conflict of the 1990s. Socio-political issues are scrutinized, although in very different ways in BEZBOG and SELBSTKRITIK EINES BÜRGERLICHEN HUNDES. “Young adults under pressure” could be the common theme of the other six films of the section: whether it is young Danish doctors in training about to take the step into “real” life (I BLODET), the hard daily life of three street prostitutes with contrary life dreams (VÂNĂTOARE) , or dysfunctional family constellations that force the protagonists to take action (COMPTE TES BLESSURES, THE LEVELLING, NE GLEDAJ MI U PIJAT, ŠVENTASIS).
Ten feature-length documentary films were chosen for this section in 2017, including three names closely connected with CROSSING EUROPE.
Two previous Tribute guests: Peter Braatz, to whom the Tribute section was devoted together with Maja Weiss in 2005, presents his new work, in which old material that he shot on the set of David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET has been newly compiled – during the festival BLUE VELVET REVISITED will also be shown once together with the Lynch masterpiece. With Helena Třeštíková last year’s Tribute guest returns, bringing with her the latest “episode” of her “Marriage Stories” (STRNADOVI), which were veritably stormed by the Linz audience in 2016. The Spanish director and CROSSING EUROPE Award-winner Lluís Galter deals with the cultural transfer from Spain to China and compares the legendary artists’ meeting place Cadaqués with its replica in Asia in LA SUBSTÀNCIA.
“Woman-power” could be called the over-arching theme in three music/dance documentary films, portraying international, Berlin-based music producers, a still living and dancing icon of Flamenco (LA CHANA), and a female world championship duo in street dance (MARTHA & NIKI). Three protagonists, very different in nature, set out in search of the love of their lives or happiness in love in AT ELSKE PIA and GOGITAS AKHALI TCKOVREBA. Participants in the eponymous “Atelier de conversation” also take their future in hand as they meet every week to learn a foreign language together, so that they can “arrive” as soon as possible in their new homeland of France. The tenth selected film deals with the catastrophic Chernobyl disaster and its deadly effects: LA SUPPLICATION is a visually stunning adaptation of the book Voices from Chernobyl by the Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich, telling of the residents of the site of the disaster.
Georgia / Croatia / Russia / Ukraine 2016
Luxembourg / Austria 2016
This section assembles current feature films from all over Europe. As manifold as European filmmaking is, so are the filmic positions in this section.
NANA EKVTIMISHVILI, SIMON GROSS
Germany / Georgia / France 2017
TEONA STRUGAR MITEVSKA
Macedonia / Belgium / Slovenia 2017
A total of 160 works were entered for this program section last fall. The selection for this year’s festival comprises 60 productions, which are presented in 17 program slots – including 21 world premieres, two Austrian premieres and one international premiere.
The LOCAL ARTISTS section, which is highly popular with the audience, again offers an attractive overview of current Upper Austrian filmmaking, ranging from experimental film to socio-political documentary film. There are additional discoveries to be found among the mid-length films and in the music video field; 15 music videos are competing for the CREATIVE REGION MUSIC VIDEO Audience Award (€ 1.500,-). Further prizes that will be awarded to the films/videos in this section are the CROSSING EUROPE Award – Local Artist with prize money amounting to € 7.000,- Euro and the newly announced CROSSING EUROPE Innovative Award – Local Artist (€ 3.500,-) in 2017, which will be generously covered by the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter and awarded to a work with an innovative artistic approach. The CROSSING EUROPE Award – Local Artist Atelierpreis (powered by Atelierhaus Salzamt of the City of Linz) will not be awarded in 2017, because the future of the Atelierhaus Salzamt is not secure. We hope that our partner will be with us again next year.
Austria / Germany 2017
BERNADETTE MOSER, BARBARA ECKER
Austria / France / USA / Canada / Mexico / Hungary 2016
With the LOCAL ARTISTS MUSIC VIDEOS program section CROSSING EUROPE offers Upper Austrian filmmakers a international platform for the presentation of their most recent work.
For the tenth time, the film journalist and festival-maker Markus Keuschnigg has curated the NIGHT SIGHT at CROSSING EUROPE and this year again presents five unusual feature films – all of them from the genre of the “fantastic film”.
This time the curator prefaces them with the motto: Once upon a time there was reality …
The Night Sight program serves up five alternatives to realistic descriptions of the state of the here and now, outstanding and maladjusted European productions, which each approach the warps and rifts of the present in their own unmistakable way: pregnant mothers who sink sharp blades into arteries (Prevenge), alcoholics growing beyond themselves through self-destruction (Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman), lesbian terrorist cells destroying themselves from within (The Misandrists), rationalists overgrown by the primal forces of nature (Without Name), those with their backs against a wall, who start mutually sabotaging one another instead of sticking together (El bar). The selected positions call for taking a stance – toward oneself, toward one’s fellow human beings, and toward the world around us, and that in a thoroughly moral, humanist sense.
Yeşim Ustaoğlu (*1960) is one of the most well-known Turkish auteur filmmakers. Since 1994 she has been writing and directing primarily films about women in search of identity.
France / Germany / Greece / Turkey 2004
In April 2017 CROSSING EUROPE will be the first film festival to present a complete retrospective of the film work by the Polish artist couple Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal, which will open with their current feature film SŁOŃCE, TO SŁOŃCE MNIE OŚLEPIŁO / THE SUN, THE SUN BLINDED ME (PL, CH 2016).
The film premiered at the renowned film festival in Locarno and received high praise from critics for its political topicality and artistic quality. The two TRIBUTE guests are no strangers to the festival audience in Linz, as they have already been represented in the festival program twice in the past. In 2012 they won the main prize with Z daleka widok jest piękny / It Looks Pretty from a Distance (PL 2011), which had premiered in Rotterdam, and then returned with HUBA / PARASITE (PL, UK 2014).
Anka Sasnal was born in 1973 in Tarnów in Poland and studied Polish literature and gender studies in Krakow. As a screenwriter, editor, and filmmaker, she lives in Krakow together with Wilhelm Sasnal, who was also born in Tarnów and studied architecture and painting in Krakow. Wilhelm Sasnal attracted international attention as a visual artist with a series of solo and group exhibitions in renowned galleries and art institutions (including the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Frankfurter Kunstverein, MoMA New York, Whitechapel Art Gallery London, and Guggenheim) with visual art in the form of paintings, comic books, drawings, photographs, and videos.
Their first longer collaborative film work is Świniopas / Swineherd, created in 2008, in which the eponymous swineherd – the film is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s literary fairy tale “The Swineherd” (1842) – goes into service with an unpleasant farmer in the Polish province and secretly smuggles a lesbian couple’s love letters back and forth. Shot in black and white, the surreal filmic result is emphasized more than a straight narrative. Performative elements alternate with documentary and experimental film fragments, while a bombastic score, which usually starts unexpectedly, comes in with numbers ranging from Elvis Presley all the way to contemporary atonal pieces. In this first joint film project significant characteristics of their artistic collaboration are already visible: the intensive focus on language, texts and literary models, which they transform into an image language or moving image that suits them. In interviews they both stress that they are not interested in conventional storytelling; while the plot of a story is secondary for them, the cinematographic image language and atmosphere are all the more important. At the same time, they always seek a balance between abstract images and reality. “The way we think about film comes from literature, but not because of the plot, but rather the poetry and the structure. We experiment a lot during shooting.” (Monopol - Magazine for Art and Life, online edition, 12.2.2014). Asked about their role models in film, they come up with names like Bruno Dumont, Ulrich Seidl, Michael Haneke, early Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Skolimowski, and representatives of the “Romanian New Wave”.
An explicit political stance can be noted in their films – thematically Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal circle around the current state of Polish society, rising xenophobia, the relationship of Polish society to the Catholic church, and especially the recent Polish past – Poland was long considered or regarded itself exclusively as a victim of the National-Socialists, but around the turn of the millennium Polish entanglements and involvement in the crimes of the Nazi regime were publicly discussed and treated artistically. In the film Świniopas / Swineherd the “Nazi past” is already washed to the surface, specifically in the form of dishes with a swastika on them, revealing the swamp. A dystopian world view, although not so much a pessimistic one – as they say themselves – may certainly be attributed to their work, along with an undisguised interest in the “dark” side of human beings.
ANKA SASNAL, WILHELM SASNAL
Poland / Switzerland 2016
ANKA SASNAL, WILHELM SASNAL