An Interview with the President of The Artists’ House of Vienna, Micheal Pilz:
Development of Independent Cinema of Vienna Helped It to Find Identity
Art and Experience-Elaheh Goodarzi/Arezoo Ghorbanpour Wishkasooghi: Micheal Pilz, the President of The Artists’ House of Vienna and the experimental filmmaker of Austria came to The Art and Experience cinematic Group’s office. He has started making experimental films from 1964. In this meeting while having discussions and exchanging ideas with the manager of Art and Experience cinema, Amirhossein Alamolhoda,s he answered to the questions of the head of international section of The Art and Experience Cinematic Group about the Austria’s independent cinema and his filmmaking style, also Iranian Cinema.
In the first years, since the early 20th century, cinema of Austria started to grow with the arrival of pioneer directors like Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda and because of being close to Germany and due to having the special culture of Vienna that was a cult of avant-garde, what’s your idea about the filmmaking style of that era?
Because of political situation of Austria after the monarchy, after 1919 cultural people in Austria after the first world war mainly had the feeling that they could not survive after the monarchy without the help of Germany or without a link to Germany, politically, culturally and economically. So they asked more links between Vienna and Berlin. The main outcome film interested artists went to Berlin because in Berlin they could say this was mine and this was the film industry, beside that I would say from what I know the production of films in Austria beside what was going on in Berlin was not so important.
In years around 1925 cinema of Austria was still affected by Germany’s cinema and specially the Expressionism style, what was the influence of this style on film production?
When film production came in to life in Austria, I think it was more in the 30s, and then it was concentrating on social issues, especially the good ones as I remember, because these were the important issues in Austria, because of political reasons, economical reasons and cultural reasons after the First World War and also to find their own identity. This was the main aspect, to find their own identity opposite of the Germans massive influence, politically, economically and culturally. And to find its own identity, it was so important after the First World War because I say many people in Austria after the war were thinking we are unable to survive without being connected to Germany and so it was more or less a fight or a fight in 1934 between the right and the left part. It was a fight for their own Austrian identity and also in cinema. And from my knowledge because there was less money in Vienna for film, there was less interest and film was not so much in the focus of people who were more interested in the art. It was more conservative or it was more the paintings, the graphics, or the sculptures. Film was not much in the focus because it was so expensive to do and there was no money. Moreover, those people like Fritz Lang or others who really wanted to succeed in film went to Berlin and then from Berlin to America because of Nazis. Then because of national Nazis party and ideology and propaganda they installed a second studio in Vienna. They had the famous Ufa studio in Berlin and they placed a studio in Vienna for the comedians. The policy was, in Berlin we are doing the real and the serious stuffs and films and in Vienna we do the light ones and the comedy ones and mainly for entertaining. Then film production started in Vienna with the studio, mainly and then I would say the studio production in Vienna mainly influenced the ideas of Austrian artists which film to be done and for a long time, actually it was the light entertaining films. Also some political stuff for the Nazis but this light entertainment went on with so called Heimatfilm and so these were the light entertainment for average people. The policy of the Nazis with the studio in Vienna was an intention propaganda idea, to feed the people with light propaganda so they don’t get interested in politics and they were feed with sugar.
After a while neorealist style which was more close to the people’s taste substitute the pervious style, how was the filmmakers reaction to that new style in that time?
Since I said, we had these Heimatfilm. It was a strong influence on the brains of the people in Austria, because they were shown though all over the country and everybody knew the actors and they were very famous actors and people liked them and they were light entertainment. Until now, it was not so easy in Austria to come up with, let’s say the serious issues. It had never been in the character of Austria. The Austrian people are very different with German people.
German people are very strict, organized, clear, perfect and etc., right?
The Austrian character is different and just in Vienna we have a typical cultural thing which is somehow light and more clearly pointing on the serious issues but in a lighter way. So it’s not so clear like the German culture structure and so it was not so easy in the ideas of Austrian film producers or film artists or filmmakers to react in similar way like the Italians or the Polish people or the Czech films which came to Vienna. We were watching those films from Italy and etc., we could see the films but many experiments were done cinematic graphically on these issues and it was not so easy to spread it to the cinemas and to the people because cinemas were blocked by blockbusters from Berlin or from all over the world culturally and also statically. I started my conscious work in the late 50s and early 60s. It was a hard fight and try to realize our ideas and it totally happened independent because no one was interested in that or doing what we were thinking about. Only the founders of the Film Museum like Kubelka were interested. They had an idea about the new cinema in Austria and some of my friends in those times. For instance, Ferry Radax, he was also making a film named Mosaik im Vertrauen with Peter Kubelka in the 50s. In addition, some, only some had the will to try and to do the films independently because it was not possible. As an example when I started and tried to make films on 16mm and I had already worked on 8mm, it was not easy to find the interest of a producer who had camera, to lend a camera for two days and they thought you are crazy. So, it was not nowadays that everyone has a camera. We imagined, we had our ideas, we were writing our scripts and we were dealing with the films we saw in the cinemas but doing really started with 1974 and 1975 when the ministry of culture installed for the first time, certain amount of money for producing the independent culturally essential film. Before that it was like a desert. They started it because we forced them. We founded a society that was called “Syndicate of independent filmmakers”, not only filmmakers, all people who were interested in cinema could join the movement. Moreover, we forced the industry or others and we did that to give money for independent art treatment.
Between the two World Wars, a director like Henry Koster, who had emigrated from Austria latter, came into the Austrian filmmaking scene and at the same time, Willi Forst and Walter Reisch founded the Wiener Film genre. How do you see that era?
I’m not so informed about this or even after the second world war but maybe this is an important issue that the films in the responsibility of the government was placed in the ministry of commerce and not in the ministry of culture and for many years this was very difficult for us, for artists to find the interest of government because the interest was a commercial interest in film and not a cultural interest, because it was placed in the ministry of economy and not in the ministry of culture. In addition, the second thing was really important which may be is not really relevant here, it’s the copyright. When the copyright as I remember was done in Switzerland in 1936 I think, it was done in French language and it was translated to English and German. In the French language the producer, as I know, is also the creative person, the director. In Paris the text of the copyright was logically also writing about the rights of film director, the creative people. But then the text in French was sent to Vienna and it was translated there, you must imagine there were some people making this conference about the copyright in Switzerland and had the final text and sent it to Vienna but sent to whom? To whom they should send this text? Because the film was placed in ministry of economy, they sent the text to ministry of economy. Who translated the text in Vienna? The producers! The producers were linked to ministry of commerce or economy. Not the artists! The producers! And what did they do? The verb of producer in the French text which is also the creative in Paris, in Vienna became the producer and this was a very difficult issue for the artists in Austria until now because if I want to make a film and I have script and I go to a producer and because I don’t know how to produce the film. So I meet a producer and ask him are you interested in my script. All the rights automatically go to producer because of the law. In addition, since many years the creative people and also the camera man are fighting for their creative right on the copyright issue. And this is interesting in the aspects of independent cinema because I remember it in the 60s that our effort from this society of “Syndicate of independent filmmakers” and also the camera man had a very strong association and worked for that law to get the support of government, we had to talk first with the ministry of economy but the guys had no ideas about films as a cultural product.
Is the situation still the same?
No. Since the law was installed in 1981 by the parliament, these thinking changed and the main supporting funds in Austria are dealing with ministry of culture and with the ministry of commerce but more or less this is simple issue that film is a cultural product in Austria.
Did the Austrian cinema changed place to ministry of culture?
It did not change to the ministry of culture, it is still there, in the ministry of commerce but the thinking has changed. Film became an issue of cultural identity after 1981.
Please explain a little bit about your filmmaking style, which you have started since the age of 14 and made your first film. Where does all this affection come from?
For me more or less was a necessity to work with film. I would say a necessity out of my social realization. I had to; otherwise, I would not have survived. I started taking pictures and photographs and late on I started working with film. Even in the age of fifteen I had a camera, because my father had a camera and it’s a funny story, he was told by a friend to buy this camera, it’s an excellent Swiss made camera and my father beside a business man was a hunter and fisherman. So in holidays in summer time he went with family, with my mother and my sister and me, to the countryside to mountains for fishing and he had the new camera with him but when he was fishing he could not film, so he gave me the camera, you boy, take the camera and you film me fishing but it was this kind of fishing you have high boots and you go into the water and you follow the river and I was standing at the side of the river and father disappeared. Therefore, it did not make sense for me to film my father very far. So simply I was taking the camera and I was filming my sister and I was filming my mother or nature. This photographic work became important for me, experimenting and the thinking had start. Maybe this story be interesting for your attention that I was born into a bourgeois family. My father was a merchant and we had all the things we need for life but emotionally there were some problems because of my parents etc. There were some conflicts that I as a child, as a little boy was often very sick. Somehow, I had the feeling of being in distant with grown up people. I had good understanding of my sister because we were together but with the grown-ups there were problems and somehow I felt isolated. My eyes and my senses were open but in distant. So it’s the same with the camera, you took a camera and look through it to the world. So these were some psychological reasons for watching and watching very precisely. What do my mother and my father and friends of them do? How do they behave? What does it mean? Because I could say, I could not very well understand what was going on there and why I had some problems. They had problems and I didn’t understand as a boy. That must have been the reason for my sensitivity. Automatically I think every outgrowing child become sensitive if they cannot look naturally. Their senses become sensitive for some secrets behind the masks. What is going on? Then when I had the chance to work with cameras, I was interested to do that and also I attended to technical school at the age fifteen to nineteen. I totally changed this interest. As a young boy, I was interested in techniques like every boy. I was filming ships, boats and airplanes but in the age of seventeen and eighteen, I changed completely to the arts. Arts like literature, jazz music and music at all and painting. In the age of ten to thirteen, I left my hometown for attending school in monastery, a catholic monastery. A boy school that we were only fifteen boys and we had a singing choir, but I felt very home sick in those three years that it was really difficult for me. Also I was the best singer there but I left. I started to remember this music I experienced and I tend to sing in the monastery because these were the basic musical tradition of serious issues in European countries. I felt it from fifties on that it was influencing me all the time. Also it was not easy leaving there but then I had the chance to go to Vienna and in Vienna I attended this technical school but at age of eighteen I said technique no, I want to do something different and by that I gathered with some friends and started to use 8mm cameras. We did everything you can do with this 8mm cameras, even painting on the film or scratching them. Also I started with some of my friends to write scripts and to think on big feature films. We tried to find the network but the producers in Vienna were not interested. We had no contacts in Berlin or Paris or London. We were film culturally isolated. In the beginning of 70s I started with a film project which I was already signing contracts with famous actors in Paris but the person who had to invest on the project was thinking maybe I should invest this money on the newspaper again and finally he invest his money on paper industry so this project was gone. Immediately I turned away back to my early period of my experimental filmmaking and experimenting. I was connected with Richard Leacock in Massachusetts. He had the laboratory at the MIT and even there were contracting editing tables for 8mm and sound cameras. This was my interest. To find tools to produce films by myself. Not being forced to go a producer and ask them please lend me a camera or help me to produce this film. I wanted to make it myself and it was possible with 8mm.
Since you have said that you are a kind of a poetic director and you have many documentaries, I want to ask you this question that some directors believe that the less they use the words and dialogues in their movies, the more close to reality it will be. Do you agree?
You mean words? You can forget.
Not completely. I even recently talked about this matter with my children, they are grown-ups. I have a complex understanding of what is reality. Since my early years of eighteen to twenty by chance I was confronted by literature and thinking of the Chinese Buddhist like Laozi. Laozi was a famous important Chinese philosopher. Moreover, I was very touched by their way of thinking, this metaphysic system and the old culture and also the German philosophers. There are some similarities. And I remember when I was twenty years old I was not so much interested in reading novels by Dostoyevsky or any writers. I was more interested in reading their real stuffs like their diaries. I wanted to know from Dostoyevsky personally, what was going on in his life but not the transformed issue in his novel. The real stuffs I wanted to know and this led me to making photographs and films to the so-called documentary. Why do you say so called documentary? I always say so called documentary because a feature film is also a documentary because I’m watching actors at work. It’s a documentary of actors at work. Im watching films even fiction films and these so called documentary films because I’m interested in the background of different fantasies and different imaginations. What are the reasons? You were asking me what are your reasons for starting to make films, right? So to press the lemon to the minimum of the material and then look what is it and then also to go from detail to cosmic imagination. Therefore, between the detail and the cosmic is endless and infinite. To work on this infinite dimension, in this world is only possible with working on conflict material. This led me to the documentary and there is another reason. Since my youth, I was interested in psychoanalysis. Introspection. I wanted to know who am I? I wanted to open up myself and look into this who am I? Early in my life, I had the imagination, I’m living in a huge house with hundreds and thousands of rooms, I only know this room and maybe the room beside. I wanted to know the other rooms. Words for me are a Seenzone. At the age of twenty or twenty-two, I was thinking I should do psychoanalysis out of professional reasons. Because the films which I wanted to do should be different from the traditional films that I already knew. Michelangelo Antonioni was a great filmmaker for me because he was dealing differently. Jean-Luc Godard was more of a pioneer of the avant-garde. I wanted to know who am I? and to project myself, to project this guy first to outside world. It needs not much money for doing that. I have no need for millions of dollars or euros for producing a film. For me its rubbish, it’s not necessary. It’s the waste of money. It could be done much cheaper and easier and the words, the language for me are music or some natural sound. Even talking is an expression of more or less subconscious issues and ever I had the feeling that what I know consciously is illegal, what I do not know is infinite and therefore words for me are a seenzone. If you listen to a person talking and you get the seenzone of the words, I’m not speaking Farsi and I often meet this people and they talk Farsi and do not know anything, no idea about what are they talking about. This film I saw named Half Faces in the Farhang Cinema, I didn’t understand any words but I could follow the emotional expressions, body language, the gestures and also in the voices you can sense and understand.
For shooting the “Rose and Jasmine” documentary, you traveled to different cities of Iran like Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Yazd etc. Where did the idea of making this movie come from?
Mostly I like to do films without preparation. I want to jump into the water and see what comes to me. Early in my life, I understood that to come closer to this secret of life that who am I, I have to risk. There is a good saying in English “No risk, No found.” Early in my life, I was full of fear. So much fear that also in my social conduct as a young man I had problem. Because I didn’t know who am I and also because of this isolated situation in the monastery and the years before in the home. I felt somehow full of fear and not being sure of myself. Everybody has that. I wanted to overcome this. By the years I faced the fact that the only way to overcome this fear and these multiply fear is to go into it. And then beside the fact that in the age of twenty two I wanted to do psychoanalysis for professional reasons and didn’t do that but because of personal reasons in the age of thirty five at the end of my first marriage I started with psychotherapy and I did that consecutively for fifteen years. Following the question who am I? That led me by the years to find ways to produce films easier and I always liked the idea of making diaries and I was writing diaries all my life and also making diaries like Jonas Mekas. When I was on travel, I took my camera and started shooting from what I was interested in. Even while shooting my film “Heaven and the Earth” I was working with my fears in the meaning of I went to those people and to those far houses in the mountains where I had the good feeling and I didn’t go where I had bad feelings but I was working with my fears and asking why? Why I don’t like to go there and why I like to go there? So I was trying to find out about the fear. It was a private travel with my friends but I had my camera with me and we were traveling through the country and I started to film. In addition, these films do not need much time to construct and to think about the montage. This intellectual work more or less is done in previous years. I’m also painting oil with my hands, to find a way to express my existence simply. Some month ago my daughter who is a writer and very sensitive in the art sent me an SMS and said: “ There are some art works which is beyond any intellectual calculation and your films are of that kind that watching your films gives me the feeling of simply to be, free of any stress, free of any tension.” Because I do not put the audience in the situation, that you must see that or you must feel that or think that. I always wanted the audiences to be free. I tell them you don’t need to watch my film, you can dream or you can sleep with the films, just come back to yourself. As a child I was interested to understand my parents and I was interested in my parents would understand me, as an adult person I’m interested in people because I’m interested in myself. As I’m talking to you here, I talk in a way that you don’t need to follow my words so much but finding your words so that we can have a dialog in balance. This is the interest of also films like “Rose and Jasmine.”
Three of your movies “Pieces of Dreams,” “Rose and Jasmine” and “Window, Dogs and Horses” were on screen in Shahre Kord and Esfahan, how was the feedbacks and audience’s reactions to your movies?
I didn’t experience these reactions. I was in Shahre Kord and twice in Isfahan. First time with “Window, Dogs and Horses” and with Khosrow Sinayi from Academy of Vienna, it was a full audience of many young people from the universities and a long complicated discussion because some people didn’t understand what the story was. It was interesting for me because they were asking me, what did you mean by this film? Moreover, I answered I didn’t mean. And also in Shahr-e Kord, it was just an evening with two films but Sinayi told me before that screening in Isfahan, because he knew my work, he told me: “ You should a film like “Window, Dogs and Horses” because these film can’t be done easily in Iran because people don’t even think in this way.” In that, sense the reaction was enormous.
Did you see any similar reactions in other countries?
It was similar in India. I was in International Film Festival of India in Goa with the film “Invocation of Bliss” in 2009, it was one of the most beautiful films I did, and it was a very slow motion film. Students and elder people came out to me and said, how is that possible? It was an experimental film. In addition, once in California, this film was on the screen and a woman came to me after screening and said: “I have to talk to you.” I said sure, let’s go to reception. She was an adult person, she said: “My boyfriend was waiting for me at the door of the cinema but I told him I saw a film I did not expect is possible. I have to talk with director. Please go home, I have to clear my mind.” If you did not see that, in this film intentionally nearly nothing is happening on the screen. It’s all very stable and more or less in silence. Much is happening in the sound and in the details on the screen and there is no story and you can find your own story but the less is happening on the screen, more is happening in the audience. Some people can stand it and some people cannot stand it.
Do you want to continue the same style of filmmaking you have been using?
First, it is very easy to do. Second, I do not have to think, nearly I could say like when there is no need for making any concerts. If you have done a life time experienced life and experienced your talents so I can do films where ever I want; with or without people.
How much are you familiar with Iranian cinema due to the fact that independent cinema is being made without the support of government?
In your opinion, Khosrow Sinayi’s films are independent?
Some of his works yes because they were made without the support of government.
The situation Austria is a little different. Since the early 60s in Europe, it became not possible to produce films any more without the support of different states. Because of the upcoming television and lowering the box office outcome. The more the television came up the less people went to the cinemas. So for instant, in 1962 in Oberhausen short film festival, a group of independent German filmmakers and producer made a manifesto for the young independent cinema. This was the main manifesto in the German language countries for the independent cinema. Austria was the last country in Europe which realized state law for supporting film production. It was done in 1981. I was the one of those who independently was working for the realization of this law. When I was started working in the beginning of 60s it was not possible to make film without any help by state.
What’s your opinion about independent cinema?
In our country the governmental influence is not so big. The influence is much bigger by the industry or the money. Even the young people attending the film schools in Vienna or others, have difficulties to find their way to make their own independent filmmaking because the censor is in the head. Even my kids who are thirty-three years, they have a different brain like I had in their age forty years ago. They think differently but I would say not in an independent way because they are not independent. They are filled of these consuming industries products. They are full of this capitalism thinking. It is like our talk about communication, Balance. I want to be free; I only can be free if you are free. If I am not free, you could not be free in our conversation. So independent cinema for me means to become independent of any influences which hinder you and makes it difficult for you to find yourself and the answer to who am I? The meaning of independent is essential for everybody on this planet. Independent cinema for me would be independent of all which is not realized anywhere. Jonas Mekas for instant, he is a guy who is really an independent filmmaker because he is working with really simple tools. I try to be like that and I can say I am because the money I need from the state of Austria is less. My colleagues go for big budgets. A very good friend of mine made a film recently he needed six hundred thousand euro.What should I do with six hundred thousand euro? I begged for six thousand euro and that’s enough.
When the independent filmmaking entered the cinema of Austria?
After the Second World War, there were some solitary tries in the 50s. For example, the film Mosaik im Vertrauen by Ferry Radax and Peter Kubelka. Interesting films were maybe five or four films in the 50s. In the 60s some other intentions appeared but film did not join those happenings. The films were more on the level of the fine arts and feminism. Finally, more or less stable independent filmmaking started with the beginning of financial support by the ministry of culture in 1974.
Zaven Ghokasian, the writer and critic of Iran’s cinema, wrote a book named “ Austria Cinema” in 2008, this book has written about the important people in Austria’s cinema and a part of it is dedicated to 1990 which Austrian cinema’s new wave appeared and it is the sign for the fact that Iranian critics are interested in experimental cinema of Austria. Have you ever heard about this book?
No, I didn’t.
In your opinion, what’s the relation between independent cinema of Austria and the main stream cinema? Do you think it will help the growth of the mainstream cinema?
If the so called independent cinema or closer our assumptions, if my films be shown more often to audiences, then it actually happens. Audiences would be able to get some different issues into their mind not always the same from television and average mainstream cinema. That’s so important for kids, so they get different information and sensations in their mind. If those films would be shown more often than audiences would get different images and different sensations into their mind and they would deal with things that are more essential and different secrets in themselves and this is the deeper meaning of why you should meet the strange reality, not the reality I already know. I was not so much interested in these two rooms I knew in my house I was interested in different rooms. So audiences I would say beside the average fear of people, they have basic interest in this who am I question. Moreover, the answer to this question and the only possibility is by your senses. To sense a different world in this world you already know. So independent cinema or whatever you call it, should be shown. My early imagination was in the 60s or even 50s was we should make a cinema in Vienna, which is only dedicated to experimental filmmaking. Different to mainstream cinema and this cinema must be opened each day and should show films. Therefore, the people have the ability to get these different scenes and these so-called independent films. You are representing an organization who is dealing with these questions. If you can effort it economically, you should show other films even when there is only two audiences by the time by the months or years there will be the talking of the people that there is something going on which is different and make them interested.
So in your opinion, what’s the relation between independent cinema of Austria and the main stream cinema? In some countries, people believe that independent filmmakers will become commercial directors or in other words they say it’s a training ground for future commercial filmmakers. What do you think about this idea?
I know that it’s an average thinking that they say first you should do short films and then maybe you get the ability to do longer films, first you should do so called documentary films and then maybe you get the chance to do so called fiction films, that’s rubbish in my point of view. If you are dealing with the issues of art, all of them bring the same questions and the same discussions on different levels. The mainstream cinema is a cinema which mainly has one interest and that’s financial profit by entertaining people. It’s no different to any supermarket selling some goods. The influence that the so-called independent filmmaking can have on the mainstream cinema is the audience. To get more conscious about themselves and get more conscious about their needs or their fake needs for the commercial products and slowly coming closer to real needs for the essential issues.
How is the situation of cinema halls, theaters, movie screenings according to welcoming filmgoers and audiences facing native films? We want to know if the native films are welcomed by people considering the power of Hollywood?
The numbers are getting better every year. If the Austrian films could attract fifty or one hundred people to the cinemas, it is a high number for us. This is while the American films get one million audiences. At the point that Austrian audiences want to watch Austrian films, things are getting better but I remember that this is an usual problem not only for Austria but also in all over the world. There are more cinemas for mainstream films than the experimental films. But the young audiences even on the countryside and regions are more and less educated and conscious about different kinds of films. It is well done by the efforts and the help of this organization names Sic Pack Films. We talked with television several times and asked them please do something about culture of the country and put high potential cultural programs. We went each year and tried to convince them that is necessary to do one hour a week or more better about experimenting film and to widen the prospective of television audiences on other subjects than the average television programs but they didn’t do.
Nowadays cinema of Austria is like other countries in Europe and the focus is more on the low budget and few number of film productions. Is there any solution for this matter?
They installed a link between television and the governmental film funds and by the pressure of the government, the television was forced to open up a fund to cooperate with other funds. So television has to spend some money but year to year, I see in the papers there is a discussion about these funds in television and lowering their budgets and this money mainly goes to commercial film production. The main question is still if the television would be able to do some intelligent program to make audiences more conscious about what they are watching day by day. Things like the lectures in the universities about what is a movie image, what is photography and what projecting your needs to the objective world. Things like these should be done, right? I remember once in the 80s I was attending the Rotterdam film festival by chance in the hotel TV I saw something that was a rare experience, from the West German TV for certain times of month they had serious Heimatfilm program about film editing. They were talking, showing, and giving examples to the mass audience of television about film editing. And do you know where it comes from? There was a very clever and very well educated guy in Frankfurt of Germany and he invented cultural houses financed by the commune by the town of Frankfurt. In addition, they had the cinema, he invented the cinema. Formally, he was the director of a film festival in Oberhausen and then he became cultural manager in Frankfurt and he invented the cinema and he was doing alternative films and independent films. Then he installed in the west German a serious television program about the film editing. Why? Because statistically they realized in Germany alone about nine million people are filming but had no idea about film editing. So they were making basic lectures about film editing in the television with the examples of the big films. But this in Austrian television was not important. Nobody cares. Because they had to go for successful films and they did not want to lose audiences.
In recent years directors like Michael Haneke with the films Love, The White Ribbon etc. or the selected films in Vienna festival of 2015 Goodnight Mommy directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala has shown somehow the ability of Austria’s cinema in the world but what’s your opinion about the place of your country’s cinema in international level?
You asked me something not easy to be talked. I say nearly because I’m not so fond of the films of Haneke. Actually, the founding of Austrian film commission in 1985 was the beginning of a worldwide strategy of sending Austrian films to international festivals more and more and more. I must say that I’m proud of that because I was actually the mentally found of this idea. Because some years before I successfully sent my film “Heaven and the Earth” to other countries and when I came back I told these guys, you should so something internationally because no one knows about Austrian films in international level. I started with my film “Heaven and the Erath” because of my connections in Paris and other countries. And then they said yeas we should do that. And then they started their activities. Its right Austrian films are very well known in the world. I’m not so sure if this is the only positive aspect because I’m very critical of that.
How do you see the future of Austria’s independent cinema?
I think it is the same positive possibility like in all other countries. Young people can use tools to make films, so it’s very democratize. It helps people searching and finding their own identity and this helps for better communication not so much on the level of the fantasies but more on the levels of this reality. Independent film in Austria will go on. If you look past the years, past fifty years you can see consequently how it develops but it has to do not only with the tools and democratize of the tools, it has to do with mental develop and emotional develop. If I look at the situation of Vienna as I know it, a lot of people are filming and doing some stuffs with camera and its very helpful for finding their own identity, even its not the official level but it helps to develop the activity to be creative. It’s not so important to become famous like fifteen seconds for everybody could be enough. It’s not a situation for Austria alone it’s a worldwide situation. Communication becomes easier and more truthful and social Media’s helps to solitaires internationally worldwide. Because of the technology, the possibility of improvement is pretty much the same around the word.