On the premises of BASIS Vinschgau Venosta in Schlanders/Silandro, the first short film conference of South Tyrol/Südtirol took place from 29 June to 2 July. The industry event was organised by the IDM Film Commission in cooperation with the Talents and Short Film Market (TSFM) Turin and supported by the three culture departments of South Tyrol, the ZeLIG Film School, and the BZ48H-short film contest. For one day, TAKE immersed itself in the crowd and talked to filmmakers from the local and international short film industry.
The BASIS venue in Schlanders is bustling with vibrant activity. Participants are engrossed in lively conversations about the first of two pitching sessions that just came to a close on the stage of the first edition of the TSFM Summer Event a short while ago. Under the title “What’s The Story”, the expert audience was introduced to six short film projects developed in the run-up to the conference during five-day workshops held at several locations across Europe, including Bolzano/Bozen.
One of the contributors to the pitch is young script writer Giuseppe Crudele with his project Henriette. Originally from Salerno in southern Italy, he graduated in 2019 from the ZeLIG School for Documentary and decided to stay on in South Tyrol. One of the reasons was that he was selected for the IDM Film Fund & Commission’s mentoring programme: “For me, South Tyrol is a place that allows me to believe in my own projects. There is not only support for major productions, but also a clear focus on searching for and empowering young talent.”
“Do your networking! Talk to as many people as you can, make sure that others talk about you, and always stay curious. Networking is hard work, but it definitely pays off.”
Irene Reiserer, an author and director born in Brixen/Bressanone, was also among the participants in the first pitch of the TSFM Summer Event, presenting her short film idea titled Wölfe am Wasser. In her opinion, there are two approaches to this genre. “You could interpret it as taking your first steps towards making feature-length films or as an art of its own. I’m interested in both perspectives.” Reiserer did not gather her experience in filmmaking in South Tyrol, but in Vienna, Austria, Paris, France, and Munich, Germany. Only recently did she decide to return to her home country. “It took me quite a while to figure out whether you can actually make a living in the film industry in South Tyrol. But the founding of new production companies and the support that the IDM Film Fund & Commission offers—also for fiction films—helped me make up my mind.” But what are the advantages of the local industry in the eyes of Reiserer, who is also a member of the Film Association of South Tyrol (FAS)? “Structures and institutions in South Tyrol have not yet become as stiff and rigid as they are abroad. This opens up completely new possibilities, in particular with regard to equal opportunities in the film industry.”
“I’m firmly convinced that short films are still underestimated. For many young creative talent, short films are no more than a means to an end, even though short films are perfect for establishing your own signature style.”
“Uncomplicated exchange between young talents in film and old hands in the industry in a family-like atmosphere without any pressure to perform or assert your role in the market.” This is Enrico Vannucci’s vision for this new industry conference. He is the co-founder and artistic director of TSFM and the TSFM Summer Event. “Sure, it’s not like we’re on vacation”, Vannucci says. “But I would like to offer everyone here the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere to learn more about the industry and come together for rather unconventional networking events such as hikes or city tours.” South Tyrol as a location was not picked by chance, but very carefully selected. “Schlanders with its village character and beautiful scenery is the complete opposite of Turin, where the short film industry meets every autumn. A key benefit of this region here, in my opinion, is its multilingualism and multiculturalism. In addition, the IDM Commission has been doing an excellent job supporting short films for many years now—including a short film support programme they launched in late 2021. But now it’s time to help the industry get to know South Tyrol and its local film sector even better to foster potential collaborations.” This is also the reason why Birgit Oberkofler, Head of the IDM Film Fund & Commission, is so happy that Schlanders hosts this international conference: “Short films are essential for the development of the (local) audiovisual sector—talents in all industry roles have the opportunity to unleash their creative potential, be innovative, and establish their footprint in the industry. The support, education, and networking of young filmmakers will continue to be at the core of our work in the years to come.”
“The IDM Film Commission has been doing an excellent job supporting short films for many years now. But now it’s time to help the industry get to know South Tyrol and its local film sector even better to foster potential collaborations.”
Marija Milovanovic, the Austrian culture manager, curator, and co-founder of “Lemonade Films”, an agency for festival strategies and distribution, is one of the international industry players who accepted Enrico Vannucci and IDM Film Fund & Commission’s invitation to Schlanders. During her panel, she discusses, among other things, the distribution of short films and the application for festivals. Could we speak of a revival of short films? “It’s been mainly down to digitisation and the new perspective adopted by the viewers that short films are now popular with a wider audience. However, I’m firmly convinced that short films are still underestimated. For many young creative talent, short films are no more than a means to an end, even though short films are perfect for establishing your own signature style.”
The buzz at the BASIS gradually settles down by late afternoon. Most attendees have joined one of the outdoor networking activities offered. In the evening, Daniel Hadenius-Ebner, director of the international short film festival “Vienna Shorts”, presents a programme with selected short films from 20 years of VIS. The screening is open for everyone to engage non-industry individuals interested in the short film genre. And what is it that fascinates Daniel Hadenius-Ebner himself about short films? “For me, short film is a genre that never ceases to surprise and challenge me, a format that breaks up classic mechanisms and explores innovative approaches to how things are done. And it is a highly political medium with its finger constantly on the pulse of time. Unfortunately, short film is still pretty underrepresented at film schools in Austria.” Just like most of the other participants, the former film critic came to Schlanders to search for new talent, learn about the latest trends, and enjoy an exchange of experience with other attendees from the industry. So what would he tell young aspiring filmmakers to do? “Do your networking! Talk to as many people as you can, make sure that others talk about you, and always stay curious. Networking is hard work, but it definitely pays off.”