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Yesterday, Sunday, June 13, the winners of the Diagonale’21 were announced. The award ceremony, the Große Diagonale-Preisrevue, was broadcast online on the FM4 website and on ORF III. Source: press release.

The best of the Diagonale

The Diagonale is pleased to award, also in 2021, Austria’s most highly endowed film prizes. First and foremost are the Grand Diagonale Prizes from the Province of Styria, each endowed with € 19,000, for the festival’s best feature and documentary films as well as the Diagonale Prize for Innovative Cinema from the City of Graz.

In addition to the main prizes, the highly acclaimed international juries also decided on the distinctions funded by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden for outstanding achievements in the areas of acting, cinematography, editing, stage and costume design, and sound design. In addition, the second Kodak Analogue Film Prize was awarded yesterday evening. The Kleine Zeitung Audience Prize was awarded on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. at the Annenhof Kino.

For the first time this year, the prize winners will be announced in the context of a locally recorded broadcast: The Große Diagonale-Preisrevue was broadcast at 8.15 p.m. on FM4 and at 00.10 a.m. on ORF III.

Honored as the best Austrian feature film of the Diagonale’21 is Why not you by Evi Romen. The editor and script writer’s feature film debut describes the painful highs and lows of a young man in search of meaning: “With big pictures, outstanding acting, and a fine knack for observation, the narrow cosmos of a tight village community merges to a complex social portrait,” commented the Diagonale’21 feature film jury composed of Thorsten Schaumann (artistic director of the Hof International Film Festival, DE), Alexandra Seibel (film critic Kurier, author, AT), and Sandra Wollner (filmmaker, AT). The jury additionally honored the “carefully composed anti-Heimatfilm” with the prize for best costume design (Cinzia Cioffi). This is the second time Romen, born in 1967, has won an award at the Festival of Austrian Film, following the prize for best artistic editing in 2011 for My best Enemy (D: Wolfgang Murnberger, AT/LU 2010), and the first time she has won a prize as director. Why not you had its world premiere at the Zurich Film Festival where it won the Golden Eye award.

The Grand Diagonale Prize Documentary Film goes to Notes from the Underworld by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel. In the words of the documentary film jury composed of Rebecca De Pas (film programmer Visions du Réel, CH/IT), Ansgar Frerich (re-recording artist, producer Basis Berlin, DE), and Lisa Weber (filmmaker, AT): “A film that makes tangible a life that perhaps never occurred as such. A journey in time to a world that supposedly never existed. People who tell what they forgot while the hand in the ashtray fills in the rest. Permission to listen and sense proximity. In good Viennese, there’s no romantic element to nostalgia.” Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel thus receive already their fourth award in one of the Diagonale’s main categories following 2006 ( Babooska, AT/IT 2005, Grand Diagonale Prize Documentary Film ex aequo with Arash T. Riahi’s Exile Family Movie ), 2010 (La Pivellina, AT/IT 2009, Grand Diagonale Prize Feature Film), and 2013 (The Shine of Day, AT 2012, Grand Diagonale Prize Feature Film). Notes from the Underworld had its world premiere at the Berlinale 2020 where it received an honorary mention.

Tizza Covi’s and Rainer Frimmel’s Notes from the Underworld, also honored at the Diagonale with the Kodak Analogue Film Prize, revolves around two old friends from Vienna’s criminal milieu of the 1960s. Long talks at the pub with Alois Schmutzer, “King of the Underworld”, and the Wienerlied legend Kurt Girk bring to light memories of days gone by, of gambling, gang rivalries, authorities, and legal scandals, which condense to a genre picture of Austrian post-war history(ies). In between are the camera and several rolls of Super16-Film, on which in static, perfectly framed takes, the subjective memories of the charismatic men are captured in high-contrast black-and-white. Personal stories supplemented with heterogeneous narratives through archive material and accounts by agreeable and disagreeable companions.

The Diagonale Prize for Innovative Cinema by the City of Graz has been awarded to a collective this year, The Golden Pixel Cooperative (for Half of the Sky). The jury thereby honors, “at the same time, the fact that the members of this alliance of artists and activists have appeared at this festival also as individual directors with powerful works.” Christoph Gurk (curator, dramaturgist, author, AT/DE), Séamus Kealy (director Salzburger Kunstverein, AT/IE), and Constanze Ruhm (artist, filmmaker, author, AT) define Half of the Sky in this sense “as a blueprint, as a programmatic construction plan, as a manifesto of a queer-feminist group,” in which the members “demonstrate their joint appearance in a way that is complex and multifaceted, concise and plausible.”

The Diagonale Acting Prizes for an outstanding appearance in one of the competition films at the Diagonale’21, given in cooperation with the VdFS, go to Hilde Dalik for her performance in Sargnagel and to Lukas Miko for his in Me, We. “One brilliant performance, no: two at once, in one film”, which likewise shows “how greatly nuanced satire must be”, states the acting jury about Dalik’s performance. On the other hand, “with reserved acting and profound character depiction,” Lukas Miko lends “poignant humaneness” to the character of the director of a home for asylum seekers in Me, we.

Maximilian Conway received the prize for the festival’s best short feature for Liebe, Pflicht & Hoffnung. Honored as best young talent film, awarded by the youth jury of the Province of Styria, was Eva-Maria by Lukas Ladner. The Diagonale Prize for Short Documentary Film from KULTUM goes to Sophie Gmeiner for Frauenfragmente: Gini und Resi.

The best short feature was selected by Peter Fässlacher (responsible for programming and also host of KulturHeute, ORF III, AT), Katharina Riedler (curator Crossing Europe and Festival Der neue Heimatfilm, AT), Raphaela Schmid (filmmaker, AT), and Patrick Zwerger (journalist and host KulturHeute, ORF III, AT). The jury for the short documentary film category was composed of Teresa Guggenberger (filmmaker and journalist Kleine Zeitung, AT), Robin Klengel (filmmaker, cultural anthropologist, management of the collective Forum Stadtpark, AT), and Markus Leniger (historian, chair of the Catholic Film Commission for Germany, DE).

In the context of the Diagonale, filmmakers were awarded prizes valuing roughly € 180.000. All prize winners also received an artwork designed and realized by the artist Anna Paul.

Grand Diagonale Prize of the Province of Styria (€ 19,000)

Best Feature Film

– Evi Romen for Why not you

Grand Diagonale Prize of the Province of Styria (€ 19,000)

Best Documentary Film

– Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel for Notes from the Underworld

Diagonale Prize for Innovative Cinema by the City of Graz (€ 8,500)

Best Innovative, Experimental, or Animation Film

– The Golden Pixel Cooperative for Half of a Sky

Diagonale Prize for Short Feature (€ 5,500)

Best Short Feature Film

– Maximilian Conway for Liebe, Pflicht & Hoffnung

Diagonale Prize for Short Documentary from KULTUM (€ 4,000)

Best Short Documentary Film

– Sophie Gmeiner for Frauenfragmente: Gini und Resi

Diagonale Prize from the Youth Jury of the Province of Styria (€ 5,500)

Best Young Talent Film

– Lukas Ladner for Eva-Maria

Diagonale Prizes for Editing from the Verband Filmschnitt aea

(€ 3,000 each, sponsored by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden)

Best Artistic Editing Feature Film

– Karina Ressler and Joana Scrinzi for Fox in a Hole

Best Artistic Editing Documentary Film

– Yves Deschamps and Hubert Sauper for Epicentro

Diagonale Cinematography Prizes from the Verband Österreichischer Kameraleute aac

(€ 3,000 each, sponsored by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden)

Best Artistic Cinematography Feature Film

– Ludwig Wüst for 3.30PM

Best Artistic Cinematography Documentary Film

– Jordane Chouzenoux for Wenn es Liebe wäre

Diagonale Prize for Sound Design from the Berufsvereinigung der Filmtonschaffenden Österreichs – Filmton Austria

(€ 3,000 each, sponsored by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden)

Best Sound Design Feature Film

– Vinzenz Schwab for Another Coin for the Merry-Go-Round

Best Sound Design Documentary Film

– Benedikt Palier for Soldat Ahmet

Diagonale Prize for Production Design and Costume Design from the Verband Österreichischer Filmausstatter*innen VÖF

(€ 3,000 each, sponsored by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden)

Best Production Design

– Renate Martin and Andreas Donhauser for Sargnagel

Best Costume Design

– Cinzia Cioffi for Why not you

Diagonale Acting Prizes in cooperation with the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden

(€ 3,000 each, sponsored by the VdFS – Verwertungsgesellschaft der Filmschaffenden)

for outstanding acting by an Austrian actress as well as an Austrian actor in a Diagonale’21 competition film

– Hilde Dalik for Sargnagel

– Lukas Miko for Me, We

Prize for Outstanding Production Services from the VAM – Verwertungsgesellschaft für audiovisuelle Medien (€ 20,000)

for outstanding production services in the area of film

The prize has been awarded jointly and goes ex aequo to:

– Film AG for What we wanted

– PANAMA Film for The Trouble With Being Born

Kodak Analogue Film Prize (€ 1,500)

Awarded in the context of the Diagonale’21

– Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel for Notes from the Underworld

Kleine Zeitung Audience Prize (€ 3.000)

The most popular film at the Diagonale’21

– Fabian Eder for Der schönste Tag

Cinema Austriaco sincerely congratulates all the winners!

Info: the website of the Diagonale