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DIAGONALE 2019

The Diagonale gears up to celebrate its 22nd edition

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- The rich programme of this year’s edition of one of the most important film gatherings in Austria unspools in Graz from 19-24 March

The Diagonale gears up to celebrate its 22nd edition
The Ground beneath My Feet by Marie Kreutzer

The Diagonale, Austria’s annual national film festival, is once again ready to kick off in Graz. Showcasing a fine selection of films every year, encompassing various genres, formats and lengths, the event, which shines a spotlight on the diversity of artistic expression in Austrian filmmaking, will hold its 22nd edition from 19-24 March.

“Diagonale 2019 will offer screen poems, high-speed pixel storms and slow-paced, precise observations, investigative documentaries and promising short films, unerring comedies and dreamy plays of light. The films take us from the Gulf of California to Café Florida in the Viennese neighbourhood of Ottakring, from Vierkanthof in Upper Austria to the innermost mechanisms of cinema apparatus. New voices and nuances, the traditional and the less appreciated. Austrian cinema proves to be imperviously self-assertive,” stated Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber, the co-directors of the festival.

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All of the movies included in the main programme will be enjoying either their world premiere or their first Austrian screening. The competition comprises 112 films that were hand-picked from among a total of 500 submissions. Altogether, the Diagonale is showing 180 titles at 143 screenings. Seventy-one competition films are celebrating their premiere in Graz, with 43 of these also celebrating their world premiere. 

The opening slot has been entrusted to The Ground beneath My Feet [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marie Kreutzer
film profile
]
by Graz-born Marie Kreutzer, which competed for the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and will be celebrating its Austrian premiere at the gathering. Other high-profile titles on the fiction-feature programme include The Children of the Dead [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kelly Copper and Pavol Liška
film profile
]
by Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska (which competed in the Forum section of this year’s Berlinale and scooped the FIPRESCI Award), Joy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sudabeh Mortezai
film profile
]
 by Sudabeh Mortezai (Max Ophüls Prize for Socially Relevant Film, and Golden Star at the Marrakech Film Festival), Markus Schleinzer’s Angelo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Markus Schleinzer
film profile
]
 and Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Wolfgang Fischer
film profile
]
, which have all already been released theatrically in Austria. Among the features celebrating their national premiere at the Diagonale are Kaviar by Elena Tikhonova, Garden [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Peter Schreiner, and Nevrland by Gregor Schmidinger.

The equally appealing documentary line-up includes Earth [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
film profile
]
by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, which competed in the Forum section of this year’s Berlin Film Festival and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Richard Ladkani’s Sea of Shadows [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, which celebrated its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and Welcome to Sodom [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Florian Weigensamer and Christian Krönes.

This edition’s historical special will focus on “projections of femininity(ies)”. Ten curators were invited to reflect on female role models as well as depictions of womanhood throughout the entire history of Austrian film, taking as a starting point an essay by Michelle Koch and Alexandra Zawia. Furthermore, Rose McGowan will attend the festival as part of this year’s “In Reference” section and will discuss her book Brave, the #MeToo movement, as well as her battle against sexual harassment in the film industry.

The “Spotlight On” section, dedicated to an individual of particular cinematic interest, focuses this year on Austrian actor Hanno Pöschl. Moreover, the Diagonale will also pay tribute to filmmaker, theatre director and woodworker Ludwig Wüst.

As part of the “Diagonale im Dialog” sidebar, the festival will once again bring illustrious personalities from the film scene to the festival’s cinemas for extended talks. Director Emily Atef, journalist Rüdiger Suchsland, director Mirjam Unger, and journalist and author Claus Philipp are just a few of the guests that will be participating in the talks this year.

Lastly, the Grand Diagonale Prize for Acting, for her lifetime contribution to Austrian film culture, will be presented to Birgit Minichmayr, who was seen recently in Emily Atef’s 3 Days in Quiberon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Emily Atef
film profile
]
 and also stars in Die Sünderinnen vom Höllfall, a new short film by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, which will enjoy its world premiere at the festival.

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