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The Carl Mayer and Thomas Pluch Screenplay Awards were presented at a ceremony in cooperation with the Department of Culture of the City of Graz and drehbuchVERBAND Austria on Friday morning at the Grand Hôtel Wiesler, Salon Frühling. Source: press release.

The best stories

With a total value of EUR 44,500, the Carl Mayer and Thomas Pluch Screenplay Awards are among the country’s most important film prizes. They were awarded at a ceremony in cooperation with the Department of Culture of the City of Graz and drehbuchVERBAND Austria on Friday morning at the Grand Hôtel Wiesler, Salon Frühling.

With the historical special Aktion! Action! , the Diagonale and SYNEMA – Gesellschaft für Film und Medien are dedicating a multi-part film festival to the author, filmmaker and initiator of the Carl Mayer Screenplay Award, who was born in Graz in 1946 and died in 1999. As a tribute to Rainhard Jud’s many years of commitment as chairman of the Carl Mayer Screenplay Prize jury until 2023, the Austrian Film Festival will also screen his 1994 docudrama Kameni Grad – Stadt aus Stein this Friday.

Carl Mayer Screenplay Awards

For a fiction or documentary screenplay presented anonymously and intended for film.

Initiated, managed and donated by the Department of Culture of the City of Graz as part of the Diagonale, with a total value of 22,500 euros.

Theme 2023: ‘Domination’.

Main prize – € 15,000

Basta – treatment by Franziska Pflaum and Thomas Mraz

“Lifeguard Willi, constantly drunk, lives secretly in the basement of the indoor swimming pool. When he is discovered by Vesna, a Serbian cleaner, she confronts him with a choice: either marry her to obtain residency rights, or she will reveal his secret. Told at a good pace, it is about two characters who go far beyond their stereotypes and find a real human closeness”.

Special Prize – € 7.500

— “Perfect Match” – Treatment by Stefan Bohun

“As a recruiter in a temporary employment agency, Jan is the link between an increasingly flexible labour market and a group of jobseekers. When he is offered a promotion, he sees an opportunity to increase his market value. The story thrives on precise observation of the real conditions of work and dependency in an environment to which cinema rarely devotes so much attention.”

Carl Mayer Award Jury 2023

Bernhard Jarosch (author, journalist, DE), Reinhard Jud (director, writer, AT), Wolfgang Lehner (director of photography, USA), Cornelia Seitler (producer, CH) and Susanne Spellitz (ORF editor, AT).

Thomas Pluch Screenplay Awards

By the screenplay association DrehbuchVERBAND Austria in cooperation with the Diagonale

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Services and Sport with a total value of 22,000 euro.

Main prize – € 12,000

For the best screenplay for a feature film or television feature film

Corsage – Screenplay by Marie Kreutzer

“The main Thomas Pluch award goes to a very precise and clearly constructed cinematic narrative, which nevertheless leaves room for surprising and unexpected moments. The story of a liberation is told in a very elegant and intelligent way. The protagonist goes through a process at the end of which she forms an alter ego. The scenes are written in a very visual, even very physical way, which makes reading this script an almost sensual experience. Recurring motifs, such as water at the beginning and end, create a well-woven structure. The script succeeds in shedding new light on a character who is extremely historically and cinematically biased. One can identify with her without having to find her sympathetic. This supposedly dusty subject of the historical film is given new life’.

Special Jury Prize – € 7,000

For a screenplay for a feature-length film or television feature that has particularly effectively addressed the following aspects

Vera – Screenplay by Tizza Covi

“The Special Jury Prize goes to a script that captured us with its wildness and emotionality and whose protagonist enchants us and never leaves us indifferent. Sometimes you want to shake her, sometimes you want to take her in your arms, but you can never turn away from her. Despite her vulnerability, she is not completely devastated, she does not give up her will to live and in turn wants to help others. Despite all adversity, she is not deterred by her faith in the goodness of people. The book manages to combine documentary elements with narrative very skilfully and makes us part of a moving and compelling story. In this book, moments of great impact constantly occur, which affect us emotionally and bring us closer to the human chaos of the protagonist’.

Prize for the best short or medium-length film – € 3,000

For the best screenplay for a feature film with a minimum duration of 15 minutes and a maximum duration of 70 minutes.

Das andere Ende der Straße – Screenplay by Kálmán Nagy

“Something has happened. We do not yet know what, but we are led to the heart of the conflict through precisely established narrative steps – and finally sucked into a dilemma of existential meaning. At first, the participants seem to act according to clearly assigned roles, but soon they surprise us with extremely ambivalent and yet understandable actions. Instead of taking a morally favourable stance, the material invites us to consider issues such as responsibility, guilt, loyalty or the relationship to violence in their irritatingly multifaceted nature. When nine-year-old Ábel accuses a classmate of physically assaulting him, his father confronts the parents of the alleged perpetrator. But his intervention in the conflict has far-reaching consequences and the question of right or wrong action – who is the victim and who is the perpetrator – becomes less and less clear. In a haunting way, the story forces us to reflect and question our often limited perspective. A script that starts from the simple in an exemplary way and arrives at a breathtakingly composed complexity’.

Jury Thomas Pluch Award and Thomas Pluch Special Prize

Lillian Birnbaum (producer, FR/AT), Barbara Fränzen (film expert, AT) and Lars Hubrich (screenwriter, DE)

Jury Thomas Pluch Award for short or medium-length films

Robert Buchschwenter (screenwriter, playwright, AT), Catalina Molina (screenwriter, director, AT) and Judith Zdesar (screenwriter, playwright, director, AT).

The national jury nominates five screenplays from all those submitted, from which the international jury awards the main prize and the special prize. The short film prize is selected by the national jury.

Cinema Austriaco congratulates all winners!

Info: the page of the Carl Mayer Awards on the website of the Diagonale; the page of the Thomas Pluch Awards on the website of the Diagonale