© Bill Plympton

114 Films from 31 Countries in Competition at VIS 2016

New York Rapper Zebra Katz Live with Florian Pochlatko – 70th Birthday Tribute to US Animation Star Bill Plympton

Now that we're six weeks away from the opening of Austria's largest festival for short films, animation, and music videos, VIS Vienna Independent Shorts would like to give some insight into this year's program: 114 films from 31 different countries were selected out of 3,500 submissions and will compete in four different categories. Two of the winning films at this year's festival will, for the first time, have the opportunity to go on the Oscars® long-list. 

In addition to the competing films, the 13th edition of the festival will also feature some high-profile international guests. On May 28th, at the METRO Theater, New York rap-icon Zebra Katz teams up with British DJ legend Leila and the Austrian filmmaker Florian Pochlatko to celebrate a new music video. And, in a special Spotlight Feature, the US animation-star Bill Plympton, who celebrates his 70th birthday this month, will be recognized for his work at the Austrian Film Museum.

From the 25th through 31st of May, VIS presents almost 350 Austrian and international short film highlights. Free accreditation for media representatives is possible for the 2016 festival. If you wish to report on VIS, you can find the appropriate accreditation form on our website starting May 5th.

A Variety of Short Films in Four Categories

3,500 – 114 – 4. Those are the numbers from VIS, 2016. More than 3,500 films were submitted to this year's festival, while a total of 114 were selected for our four different competition categories. The films highlight the wide variety of the Austrian and international short film landscape. The Austrian competition features some household names, including former jury prize winners, Sebastian Brameshuber and Christiana Perschon. The international competition for Experimental Film, Digital Media and Animation, and Animation Avant-garde boasts 40 films from 18 countries: an immense bandwidth of cinematic expression. Many international artists showcase the broad spectrum of technical and compositional innovation in film and media with their talents in a variety of different forms varying from painting, to 2D animation, to machinimas.

Equally captivating are the 28 different works in the international competition for documentaries and short films, Fiction and Documentary. The star-studded program includes, among other short films, works by Ben Russell, Ronny Trocker, Sandro Aguilar, and Nina Gantz. That good films can also function without dialogue is proven by our popular Austrian and International Music Video contest. Here you can find outstanding cinematic works set to music by Ogris Debris, Kids N Cats, blacksmith pulse, Flying Lotus, Björk, and Olli Schulz.

For a complete overview of the categories and their respective films click here.

American Rap-Icon Zebra Katz Live at the METRO Theater

Sensual, unconventional, provocative: Zebra Katz, the artistic alter ego of American rapper Ojay Morgan, knows what it means to get noticed. The queer style icon became front-page news in 2012  when Rick Owens used fragments from a Zebra Katz's single, "Ima Read," during his show at Paris Fashion Week. Since then, Zebra Katz has been on the tip of the music world's tongue and is often categorized under the label "Queer Rap" – a description that the artist doesn't necessarily agree with, as it only emphasizes, and therefore stigmatizes, the music's otherness. But with his extravagant appearances, deep voice paired with minimalist electronic beats and succinct bass, Zebra Katz's presence really is hard to grasp. An extraordinary artistic expression that challenges conventional viewing and listening perceptions.

VIS provides two ways to check out Zebra Katz. First, the impressive music video "Nu Renegade,” directed by Austrian filmmaker Florian Pochlatko, can be seen in the Austrian Music Video competition, and following this, one of the biggest highlights of this year's festival takes place at the Cinema Sessions. In an unusual live performance at the METRO Theater, Zebra Katz will share the stage with Warp Records DJ, Leila, and arrange and mix new songs and videos. A concert,   performance, and spectacle: an outstanding artist takes the stage and and delivers an evening the audience won't soon forget.

Zebra Katz Live - Saturday, 05/28/2016 – 8:30pm -- METRO Theater

70th Birthday Tribute to US Animation Star Bill Plympton

VIS once again welcomes an international guest star to the Austrian Film Museum: Bill Plympton is one of the most famous animation filmmakers worldwide. Born in Portland, Oregon, the director is celebrating his 70th birthday on April 30th. Plympton began his career as a cartoonist for various American newspapers including the New York Times. Starting with his first animated short film - "Lucas the Ear of Corn" in 1977, Plympton focused entirely on hand-drawn animation and grew rapidly  in popularity.

"We don't need any more children's stories," is the apt and bold premise of this exceptional  independent animation artist, who must be viewed as the formative precursor to the humor and form of series such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. At the same time, Plympton is the creative role model to other artists like David O'Reilly and Don Hertzfeldt, to whom, together with the Film Museum, VIS devoted detailed programs in recent years.

His humorful excesses are incredibly unique – his films always contain an extra pinch of sex and violence and therefore reach a more mature audience. However, since his collaboration with Kanye West in 2005 for the video "Heard 'Em Say," Plympton is also known in younger crowds.

Bill Plympton will guest during the festival week from the 25th through 29th of May, and, among other events, hold a master class.

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SAVE THE DATE: The official press conference for VIS Vienna Independent Shorts 2016, including the full program presentation, will be held on May 18, 2016. A separate invitation will be forthcoming.

For more press materials please visit  the press section of our website. For inquiries and interview requests please contact the press office.