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Still from Margaret at the Spinning Wheel  


AASFF 2017 DAY 2

THURSDAY, MAR 23 2017, 07:00 PM

The Austrian Cultural Forum is pleased to present the 2nd edition of the Austrian American Short Film Festival (AASFF). Initiated and co-founded by ACFNY Director Christine Moser and AASFF Festival Curator Stephanie Falkeis, the festival runs from March 22 to 24, 2017 at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.



Margaret at the Spinning Wheel by Magdalena Chmielewska, 7 min, (Film Academy Vienna)
Save the Presidents by Tal Keren & Alex Strada, 13 min (Columbia University)
The Art of Not Appearing by Pernille Rivedal Hellevik, 15 min (Columbia University)
Q&A with Filmmakers


Conscience by Avishai Weinberger, 8 min (NYU)
And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow's Eye by Francisca Alegria, 19 min (Columbia University)
Wartezeit by Clara Stern, 10 min (Film Academy Vienna)
Q&A with Filmmakers

Click here for day 1 and day 3.


Margaret at the Spinning Wheel 
What is pure imagination and what is reality? The dream-like portrayals of Gretchen’s spinning and brooding in her love to Faust make it nearly impossible to differentiate. Her love is a constant toing and froing between pure passion and panic desperation, between slowing down and accelerating – the principle upon which Schubert’s masterpiece rests. Gretchen am Spinnrade is a cooperation between Filmakademie Wien, Felix Breisach Medienwerkstatt and the Austrian State Broadcaster ORF. It was made under the auspices of Michael Haneke and won the Audience Award at the SONGBOOK online competition on the European Culture Chanel ARTE.

Save the Presidents
Save the Presidents details the eroding materiality of the presidential figures, such as cracks in their decaying faces and the discoloration of their white stone. The film is structured over the course of a day. It begins with the presidents sitting drenched in sunlight as manual laborers arrive at the field. By the end, the presidents are left alone to watch the sunset fade to black. The project raises questions about representations of race, gender, democracy, and national fantasy in this critical political moment.

The Art of Not Appearing
After years of solitude and obsession, two ghosts cross paths and are forced to question their reasons for haunting.

A serial killer has a conversation with his latest victim after murdering her.

And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow's Eye
A visual and deeply moving journey of a mother trying to save her son's life. Magical realism filmed in rural and rugged Chile as a backdrop that shows the long walk of a hard working woman giving her life for her son when death comes to town.

Anna is on her way home; waiting for the last bus. But someone is waiting with her. The streets are quiet. Too quiet. Her heart is beating fast.



The Austrian American Short Film Festival is an annual three-day festival presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. The festival features short films in all forms and genres by promising young artists and filmmakers from Austria and the United States. The mission of the AASFF is to increase intercultural dialogue and to foster interconnectivity and the exchange of ideas between Austria and the U.S. by providing a platform for young, emerging filmmakers. The festival also aims at introducing emerging Austrian talent to the U.S. film community as well as showcasing work by American filmmakers in Austria. Austrian and American films will be presented together, with prizes awarded in three categories: Best Narrative Short Film, Best Experimental/Conceptual Short Film, and Best Documentary/Hybrid Short Film.


Virgil Widrich, born 1967 in Salzburg, works on numerous multimedia and film productions. He is one of the founders and Managing Directors of the multimedia company checkpointmedia GmbH, University Professor of Art & Science at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and owner and Managing Director of  Virgil Widrich Film- und Multimediaproduktions G.m.b.H. His first feature film is Heller als der Mond (Brighter than the Moon). His short film Copy Shop won 35 international awards and was nominated for the Oscar. Fast Film premiered in Cannes 2003 and won 36 awards until today. His newest film is Night of a 1000 Hours. Virgil Widrich lives in Vienna.

David Schwartz is Chief Curator of Museum of the Moving Image, where he has worked since 1985. He oversees the Museum's wide-ranging film programs and changing exhibitions. He is a visiting professor at Purchase College, the host of the Westchester Cinema Club and the Cinema Arts Centre Preview Club. He is also the programming director of First Time Fest, a New York-based film festival devoted to the first films of emerging and established directors. He has been on numerous juries, including the international competition jury at BAFICI (in Buenos Aires) and FIDLab (in Marseille, France) in 2015.

Marisa Mazria-Katz is a NY-based journalist/editor born and raised in Los Angeles. She has contributed to numerous publications and television channels on culture, politics and design on prestigious and highly regarded Newspapers and Magazines, such as The New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Forbes, just to name a few. In 2009, Marisa was the recipient of a US State Department grant that helped to establish a program that teaches citizen journalism in a severely marginalized district of Casablanca, Morocco. In December 2011, she began a new chapter of the program. Today, Marisa is the editor of Creative Time initiative called Creative Time Reports. Under Marisa’s tenure, the website has partnered to co-publish Creative Time Reports content with The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, Slate, Salon, The Intercept and many more.


Stephanie Falkeis is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and filmmaker based in Vienna, Austria. She is currently a magistra candidate at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the class of Transmedia Art (Studio Brigitte Kowanz) having studied Directing and Screenwriting at Harvard University (Harvard Summer Program 2011) and Fine Art and Critical Theory at Newcastle University (2014). Her art installations were shown at Lenikus Gallery, Vienna and Broadacre House, Newcastle, among others, while her filmic work screened at Festivals such as the XWRA Video and Media Art Festival in Greece and the Vienna Content Award. Her short film 100 Years of Votiv Cinema was selected to screen in cinemas for several weeks in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Vienna Arthouse Cinema Votivkino. 

The Prize Winning films will be shown on March 27th at the Anthology Film Archives. More information here.


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