The Diagonale, the festival of Austrian film, is the main platform for presentation and discussion of Austrian filmmaking. Every spring since 1998 the Graz festival has been a popular meeting place for both the public and the industry. The varied Diagonale film selection reflects the current trends in the Austrian production landscape and the diversity of its attitudes to aesthetics, theory, the individual and politics, and it relates them to the film culture of other European countries. This encounter with Austrian film in all its manifestations will excite, challenge, entertain and widen horizons. And in its engagement with sociopolitical and culturopolitical issues surrounding film it is also a critical assessment.
Every year during a packed festival week the Diagonale offers a unique overview of the current state of Austrian filmmaking. The most important domestic film prizes will also be awarded as part of the festival. The Austrianness of a selection is defined by either the origin or location of the filmmakers, or an Austrian production relationship.
The selected programme is assembled from over 500 submissions of all genres, formats and lengths – from feature and documentary films to experimental works. Many of these films are receiving their world premiere or Austrian premiere in Graz.
In addition the Show Case is presenting all full-length feature and documentary films given an Austria-wide release since the previous year. This allows an overview of the current domestic production and co-production landscape.
A special feature of the Diagonale is that a large proportion of the directors are in attendance during the festival to personally present their films. The direct contact this makes possible provides opportunities for exchange, debate and above all networking.
The engagement with current productions is complemented by many special programmes that give these works context and provide new perspectives. The Tribute presents and gives recognition to the work of an Austrian filmmaker. Historical Special Programmes connect with film heritage, each also paying attention to a theme or a certain period. International contributions help focus each programme and give an insight into filmmaking beyond our geographical borders, and at the same time place Austrian productions in a European context. Away from the cinema space the Diagonale also presents the perspectives of selected Austrian artists who in the Exhibition Space bring installation to the engagement with film and video.
With an extremely varied selection of discussion and presentation formats the additional programmes focus on current issues concerning the Diagonale programme, but also general questions of film aesthetics and culturopolitical issues. In addition the discursive interpretation of films is a corner stone of this process – for example in moderated talks taking place in the cinema after the performance, or within film talks which focus these debates and take them further. The filmmakers, their works and the opportunity for exchange with the audience, as well as the Austrian and International industry are at the heart of the Diagonale.
The Diagonale team believes that open discussion within an unrestricted and entertaining framework, which supports the passion for film and conversation, is very important. Therefore the extensive accompanying programmes, including the events and music of the Diagonale Nightline are a vital part of the festival.