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HMD Report: Vienna, Austria 2006


Brigitte Paulowitz sends news of HMD Vienna:

We did have pretty good pre-press announcements, and one of the local TV stations came by for a report. Even though the event was not curated, the TV people wanted to film some “representative” footage, so we started the program with a touristic walk to the major attractions of Vienna in 1958. A few stop motion images of flowers finished the film which was in great shape and beautiful colors (Kodachrome 8mm).

Next we screened a swimming pool scene from the 70s, in which kids forced a woman to swim the lengths over and over again. Our third entry was brought by an art history student who is investigating Zombie appearances worldwide and brought two of the filmic manifestations, which were wildly entertaining. Also, the gentleman introduced them well and explained the dangers of such an undertaking, which were visible in the often shaky camera and dangerously close approach of the zombies. He brought two films, one was – according to his information – shot in Arizona, the
other was evidently shot in the Vienna Prater, even though he was trying to convince us that it was once again somewhere in the US.

This was followed by the film of a 12 year old, now in his 30s, who shot some footage in a Safari Park in Gänserndorf, outside Vienna. Next came a more artistic attempt to capture Venice and Vienna, both black and white and colour images of flowers, staircases, objects of daily use, all in all not your typical home movie, from 2002.

After this we attempted to screen a VHS, a great example of MTV VHS aesthetics, but due to its length of 40 minutes did not keep the attention of the audience well so that I interrupted after 25 minutes to a round of applause. I thought it was interesting to a certain degree but as it was mainly footage of 3 guys with a strong sense of self importance on Italian beaches, 25 minutes was probably more than enough of it.
We switched back to 1958 – the world exhibit in Brussels which was probably my personal favorite as it showed lots of futuristic architecture, atom models and opened with great footage of the opening fireworks.

The secret highlight for most other people was probably a 16mm b&w film that opened with footage of the Anschluss in a village called Hadersdorf, everbody swore they saw Hitler passing by, but since I was organizing, I really didn’t see that much of any of the films, so can’t confirm. The film had been bought at a local fleamarket, given to a filmenthusiast and preserved by an archive in Vienna, so that what we saw was a brand new 16mm print. The seconds of Nazi footage were followed by shots of a woman in the garden, a woman that seemed to smoke all the time and had short black hair, both things were relativley uncommon in the 30s in Austrian countryside. The reel was probably all that was shot by the family as it continued on into the fifties, always with the woman smoking.

Our bonus track was a film from the early 80s which showed the same Safari Park we had seen before, and even though it was shot by a more professional filmer and a grown up person, it showed the exact same animals doing pretty much the same things.

I did ask somebody to take pictures, but I believe he was so happy just watching films, that he forgot. All in all I’d say the turn up was good considering the space we had. More films would have meant choosing. However, nobody was really happy with the venue (even though the beer was very cheap), so we will definitely have to find something else for next year. Liz’ 101 is right: a bar/pub is not a good place for this. Besides this, I have many more things to do better next year and lots more Zombie films to look forward to! (Somehow maybe the Nazi footage does fall into the same category!!!)

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