Viennale, Vienna's international film festival, kicks off. To be directed by Italian Eva Sangiorgi

From Oct. 20 to Nov. 1, 2022, Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival, Austria's most important international film festival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, will be held in the Austrian capital. At the direction is the Italian Eva Sangiorgi.

Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival, Austria’s most important international film festival, turns sixty this year. In October, the festival takes place annually in the cinemas of Vienna ’s historic city center and features a careful selection of new films from around the world and Austria, including some international premieres. A total of about three hundred films offer audiences a cross-section of a type of cinema that breaks away from the mainstream and is politically relevant. The program always includes great titles of various genres and lengths. It is a high-quality event that attracts many visitors each year (before the pandemic over 92,000) and especially many young people, and in addition to gala screenings, special events, and parties it also includes interviews, discussions with the audience, and opportunities to meet with the festival’s international guests. Every year the Viennale also organizes a major retrospective on relevant aspects of film history in cooperation with theAustrian Filmmuseum, monographs, cinematographies and historiographies, and for these it often wins international awards. At the end of the festival it is then awarded the FIPRESCI Prize of the International Association of Film Critics, the Vienna Film Prize of the City of Vienna, the Erste Bank More VALUE Filmaward and the DER STANDARD-Viennale-Audience-Award.

Founded in 1960 by a group of Austrian film journalists formed around journalist Sigmund Kennedy (who would become the first director of the Viennale) who believed in the importance of film as an art form, at a “lead time” when Austria was attempting to reinvent itself as a cultural power and cinema was instead considered an activity of leisure for lower classes or otherwise an inferior artistic phenomenon, the festival, overcoming times of crisis, has increasingly increased its standing, coming today to be considered Austria’s most important film event with an international orientation and an urban style that characterizes it at the same time, as well as one of the oldest and best-known festivals in the German-speaking world. Although it is currently confronted with new difficulties, not least the pandemic, and therefore seeks to address the demands of the present.

This year the Viennale will run from October 20 to November 1, 2022 under the direction of Eva Sangiorgi, the first woman to direct the Viennale and the first Italian to hold that position. Born in Faenza, with a degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Bologna and a passion for cinema, she began her career in Mexico City where, in addition to earning a second degree in Art History at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, she founded the international film festival FICUNAM, for which she was artistic and commercial director until early 2018. It was in that year that she was called to serve as creative director of the Viennale and still holds this important role today. Thus, a new professional career, as well as a new personal experience, kicks off for her in the Austrian capital; Vienna is an open,cosmopolitan city and here she finds her heartlands.

© Viennale
Eva Sangiorgi © Viennale

For this 2022 edition, a majestic, roaring lion was chosen as the guiding image in which various artistic techniques are combined: the brushstroke highlights the sinuous form and suggests agility and power, while the print emphasizes vibrant, iridescent color and refers to the pictorial symbolism of Eastern art. It is a depiction from the early 19th century that has crossed cultures and traditions and still has a mysterious effect today. In fact, the original work was created by Katsushika Hokusai, who combined woodcut and painting. Hokusai created a dynamic figure full of temperament, reminiscent of the movement also expressed in the famous Wave. A roaring lion awakening from its slumber and announcing a festival in which everyone participates passionately. Like the shishi (i.e., the guardian lion) that is supposed to protect from misfortunes, this feline is the most suitable talisman for the festival; it represents not only the courage of the cinema proposed in the theaters, but also the deep, cultural and social bridge-building to which it aspires; it represents the history of a festival that has lasted for sixty years now (except for the only three years when the Viennale was not held, namely 1961, 1983 and 1990).

To celebrate the festival’s 60th anniversary, short trailers were commissioned from authors from different parts of the world, each with their own traditions. Each thus has his or her own different perception of the cinematic world, thus reflecting the diversity and richness of contemporary cinema. “The authors whose trailers we are presenting represent for me different points of view of contemporary cinema,” says Eva Sangiorgi. “They are authors whom I deeply respect and admire. Their short films show different approaches and sensibilities, yet they all speak about cinema, its history and the world around us.” They are Claire Denis, Nina Menkes, Sergei Loznitsa, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Narcisa Hirsch. Filmmakers all established, award-winning and widely acclaimed filmmakers who have experimented through documentary, political or more narrative form.

Alongside the main program, Viennale 2022 includes monographs devoted to Med Hondo, the founder of African cinema, and Elaine May, the queen of comedy. Of the former, nine films from European and American archives, which have recently been restored, are presented, including his directorial debut, SOLEIL Ô (1970), a significant example of the creativity and uniqueness that distinguishes African cinema from the American and European film traditions. Hondo’s works explore various styles and genres, from melodrama and documentary to music. Of the second will instead be presented four films she directed that make one laugh but also reflect. This year she received the prestigious Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Also planned as always are programs on cinematography (short and feature films made between 1972 and 2017 on times of crisis, in its various aspects) and historiography (dedicated to Argentine film noir).

There will, of course, be no shortage of international guests, and in addition, on Oct. 28, in collaboration with the Volkstheater in Vienna, the Viennale will organize a performance evening with readings and musical performances to celebrate Werner Herzog’s 80th birthday and his invaluable contribution to an ever-provocative cinema, considered among the most important exponents of the so-called new German cinema and one of the greatest living filmmakers.

For all info and to see the full program, you can visit the official festival website and

© Viennale | Rainer Dempf
© Viennale | Rainer Dempf

Viennale, Vienna's international film festival, kicks off. To be directed by Italian Eva Sangiorgi
Viennale, Vienna's international film festival, kicks off. To be directed by Italian Eva Sangiorgi

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