"and action" at the 1st film festival in Zell am See
POPCORN, SNUGGLING UP & CINEASTIC TREATS AT THE LEGENDARY ZELL CINEMA ON 13TH & 14TH OCTOBER 2017
“The world out there is not much different than our world here in the Innergebirg. People around the world have the same problems, hopes and dreams. In fact, the world is a village and to highlight this, we bring films from Europe, Africa, America and Asia to the cinema in Zell am See ...”
His statement got my full attention and I am getting the feeling that the Zell Film Festival is an absolute must. But who is he? His name is Johannes Schwaninger, one of the two initiators of the Zell Film Festival and driving force behind cultural activities in and around Zell am See. Johannes and I met at one of the Film Festival’s highlights - the legendary Zell Cinema - a few days ago, and he made time to answer some key questions I had. And I had many questions to which I received some quite surprising and interesting answers.
Hello JOHANNES, thank you for meeting me and welcoming me in this cult LOCATION. to begin with, is there actually a more suitable location for a FILM FESTIVAL?
Well, I wouldn’t think so. Like many of the locals of Zell am See and the Pinzgau who are the same age as me, I feel that the Zell am See Cinema is something very special. It is one of Salzburg’s oldest cinemas and opened at the beginning of the 30s already. Did you know that Zell am See was a town of filmmakers after the war? But there is another reason why I choose this location. I take a very critical view on the development of modern cinema centres. Mega and cineplexes spare no efforts to achieve a uniform and identical appearance of their interiors and to function almost like small towns. It doesn’t matter where they are located; the inside always looks the same. There is hardly any reference to regional culture.
The Zell am See Cinema is different. The cinema is and has always been a centre of regional and international cinematic art. Film and cinema are the gates to an active cultural live for many young people in their teens. I am pretty sure that many young Pinzgau locals don’t even know that the Zell am See Cinema exists. This was different in the past. Cinematic art and culture in and around Zell am See took only place at the cinema. I wonder how many Pinzgau locals had their first kiss in the dim light during various cinema shows (he smiles). This cultural status must be preserved, and how could we do that better than by staging a renowned Film Festival in Zell am See.
I absolutely agree. how exactly did the idea for the zELL film festival come about? WAS IT JUST YOUR IDEA?
No, Andreas Schöpp and I have been very active in the Zell cultural scene for many years. We run a cultural association through which we have been able to realise many great events already. We screened the surfer film Zen & Zero of the Austrian film director Phillipp Manderla once and I was deeply impressed by this film. That is when we had the idea to stage a film festival. Phillipp even came to the screening of his film. This was also the start of a wonderful friendship. Phillipp has become Head of Cinema of the Red Bull Media House in the meantime and has immensely and actively supported our idea of a film festival by helping us with the selection of films, providing us with various master DVDs.
GOOD POINT. THIS WOULD BE MY NEXT QUESTION. HOW DO YOU SELECT THE FILMS FOR THE FILM FESTIVAL?
First of all, we want to be a festival of premieres. We show films before they are screened in the cinemas and we claim regional exclusivity. A film shown at the festival should not have been screened anywhere else in the Pinzgau before. For example, none of our films has been shown at the Diesel Cinema before the festival. We offer an alternative to the standard programme, we do not duplicate existing programmes at all. This was not easy because the programme of the Diesel Cinema offers really fantastic films which we would have loved to screen but we followed through with the high standard of exclusivity in our programme.
DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR THE SELECTION OF FILMS?
Yes, we do. There are three criteria: INTERNATIONALITY: We are not a festival of local films, we go beyond borders. We humans fight the same problems all around the world. This is what we want to show. The world is in fact a village and there is so much we have in common with people living on different continents, even if this is often forgotten nowadays. We don’t want regional reclusiveness. There is a world out there and this world must be brought to us in the Innergebirg. We have already talked about EXCLUSIVITY. The films we show at the Zell Cinema are exclusive and must not have been screened anywhere else in the region before. RELEVANCE is a further criterion. We are interested in the specific life models of our protagonists. Main topics are the various life concepts away from the mainstream. Questioning yourself as a person and a certain withdrawal from society which also lets this happen, a collision with social standards so to speak, is, in our opinion, of great social relevance.
THIS REALLY SOUNDS WELL THOUGHT THROUGH. WHAT IS ON THE AGENDA OF THE ZELL FILM FESTIVAL?
The programme is clearly shown on our website filmfestzell.at. We show a total of ten films during the two days of the festival. Friday is premiere evening. Starting at around 6:00 pm, we show highlights of "Turn it loose", "Die Liebhaberin" and "Am Berg". Between the films, we focus on information. There will be talks with film directors, filmmakers and fans. We have confirmations from film directors and producers who will appear in person to answer questions and participate in discussions during the film festival – this alone is quite special. Saturday’s programme starts at 10:00 am with a morning matinee and the focus is on family. Films like "Captain Fantastic", "Ernest & Celestine" or "Alles steht Kopf" can be watched by everyone until 8:00 pm, and visitors of all ages can be inspired by the Zell am See Film Festival. With the top-class programme, we aim to exercise but not overexert the minds of our audience. The objective is to create a dialogue about important topics whereby the audience becomes further refined, thus visitors will start counting the days until the next film festival from 15th October onwards.
THIS MEANS THAT YOU HAVE AMBITIOUS PLANS TO STAGE THE ZELL FILM FESTIVAL AGAIN IN 2018.
Of course, we do. The exclusivity of the festival will work. We have big plans and we believe that many people appreciate the atmosphere of a festival. When culture offers quality and builds trust, then can culture become an integrative part of the quality of life. This applies to urban as well as rural life. We also plan to bring a more integrative character to the film festival. Film as a medium is very diverse, it is more than just a constant stream of images and sounds. People are invited to actively take part. Thus, we have many ideas about how to further develop the festival in the coming years. But for now, we look forward to the first edition of the Zell am See Film Festival.
THESE ARE EXCELLENT CLOSING WORDS. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW AND THE MANY GREAT DETAILS ABOUT THE ZELL FILM FESTIVAL AND THE CULTURE HERE, JOHANNES.
You are welcome. I am delighted about the opportunity to talk about my ideas and visions. I assume that we see each other again at the Zell am See Film Festival on 13th & 14th October?
YOU CAN BE SURE OF THAT. I REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THE FILMS AND THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE FESTIVAL.
Who knows, you might even get a kiss in the dim light of the Zell am See Cinema. You sure wouldn’t be the first!
Talking to Johannes Schwaninger, we now have plenty of great information about the Zell Film Festival’s background and organisation. If you want to attend the festival, visit the filmestzell.at website. There you can take a look at the programme and purchase tickets online. Don’t miss this cultural highlight in the Pinzgau.