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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Austria

Great Freedom wins big at the Austrian Film Awards

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- Sebastian Meise’s drama about a homosexual man in Germany, who is locked up repeatedly owing to paragraph 175, has snatched eight gongs

Great Freedom wins big at the Austrian Film Awards
The winners of this year's Austrian Film Awards (© eSeL.at/Lorenz Seidler)

The Austrian Film Awards were handed out for the 12th time on 30 June at the Auditorium Grafenegg in Lower Austria, and the night saw the triumph of Great Freedom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastian Meise
film profile
]
and Fox in a Hole [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arman T Riahi
film profile
]
. With COVID-19 regulations at their most relaxed in two years, around 1,000 guests chose to attend the event. Under the banner “All Together Now”, the ceremony, which was hosted by Austrian filmmaker Clara Stern, aimed to evoke feelings of optimism and solidarity.

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The big winner of the evening was the festival darling Great Freedom by Sebastian Meise, a drama set in the mid-20th century, during which a German man is repeatedly imprisoned because of his violations of paragraph 175, a law forbidding homosexuality. The movie won Best Feature Film, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Make-up and Best Film Editing. The runner-up in terms of the number of prizes won was Arman T Riahi’s Fox in a Hole, which scooped Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Score and Best Sound Editing.

Further winners were Notes from the Underworld [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel
film profile
]
by Rainer Frimmel and Tizza Covi for Best Documentary Feature, Genosse Tito, ich erbe by Olga Kosanović for Best Short Film, The Royal Game by Philipp Stölzl for Best Costume Design and Hinterland [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stefan Ruzowitzky
film profile
]
by Stefan Ruzowitzky for Best Production Design. The Viewers’ Choice Award for the most popular film went to Snotty Boy [+see also:
trailer
interview: Marcus H Rosenmüller and Sa…
film profile
]
, which notched up 95,000 viewers.

Another focal point of this year’s ceremony was the topic of sexual harassment in the Austrian film industry, which has been discussed intensively of late. Academy of Austrian Film presidents Verena Altenberger and Arash T Riahi noted, “Our work often brings us into situations that encourage sexualised power abuse.” There are, however, ways to improve conditions for everyone: diverse sets, the employment of trustworthy people, special training before a shoot and providing better protection for employees would be some of the more prominent options. Starting this coming autumn, a contact point for survivors will be set up at the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport.

The evening’s special guest was Alik Shpilyuk, artistic director of the Ukrainian Film Academy. Shpilyuk praised the cooperation between Austrian and Ukrainian filmmakers, and spoke of the great sorrow that the war is currently causing in his home country.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Best Feature Film
Great Freedom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastian Meise
film profile
]
- Sebastian Meise (Austria/Germany)

Best Documentary
Notes from the Underworld [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel
film profile
]
- Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel

Best Short Film
Genosse Tito, ich erbe – Olga Kosanović (Austria/Germany)

Best Director
Sebastian Meise - Great Freedom

Best Leading Actress
Maria Hofstätter – Fox in a Hole [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arman T Riahi
film profile
]

Best Leading Actor
Georg Friedrich – Great Freedom

Best Supporting Actress
Lunda Jordan – Fox in a Hole

Best Supporting Actor
Thomas Prenn – Great Freedom

Best Screenplay
Sebastian Meise, Thomas Reider – Great Freedom

Best Cinematography
Crystel Fournier – Great Freedom

Best Costume Design
Tanja Hausner – The Royal Game (Germany/Austria)

Best Make-up
Heiko Schmidt, Roman Braunhofer, Kerstin Gaecklein – Great Freedom

Best Score
Karwan Marouf – Fox in a Hole

Best Film Editing
Joana Scrinzi – Great Freedom

Best Production Design
Oleg Prodeus, Andreas Sobotka, Martin Reiter – Hinterland [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stefan Ruzowitzky
film profile
]
(Austria/Luxembourg)

Best Sound Editing
Atanas Tcholakov, Atanas Tcholakov, Manuel Meichsner - Fox in a Hole

Viewers’ Choice
Snotty Boy [+see also:
trailer
interview: Marcus H Rosenmüller and Sa…
film profile
]
- Marcus H Rosenmüller, Santiago López Jover (Germany/Austria)

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