Festival History: 2020

Canceled, but active! - Facts and numbers on the festival year 2020

"Success has been achieved in a representative cross-section of ten different European countries and five programme actions in ten films, 'a small panorama from the festival'." 
Magdalena Miedl / orf.at (AT)

In 2020, many things were different. Usually, the annual review would focus on the festival week and facts, numbers and impressions of six lively Crossing Europe festival days. However, for well-known reasons, the 2020 review is different and includes the stages and alternative film programmes of this extraordinary festival year, whose special challenges will continue to have an impact in 2021.

After the official cancellation of CROSSING EUROPE 2020 on 18 March due to Corona, the first thing to do internally was to consolidate - on an organisational, financial and mental level. After the first moment of shock however, an alternative programme was quickly started. In keeping with the festival's spirit, Crossing Europe EXTRACTS was to provide a forum for selected filmmakers and their works, that had been confirmed for the cancelled 2020 festival edition. In addition, the festival catalogue and the festival newspaper were published online in digital form as PDFs on 8 April to document the original festival programme planned for 2020. The numerous programme cooperations, which have enriched the festival in many ways since the beginning, were also depicted in it.

Even during the first lockdown in Austria, on 21 April, the planned official Crossing Europe opening day, the first two parts of the alternative programme were successfully launched: Under the title "Crossing Europe EXTRACTS", a festival opening - modified according to the circumstances - ("An Opening") took place online, and from 21 April to 20 May, ten selected festival titles were available as VoD for one month via the two streaming platforms KINO VOD CLUB and Flimmit ("VoD Offer").Fortunately, both of these alternative EXTRACTS programme channels were well received by the audience.

After individual film screenings over the summer, Crossing Europe followed up with a series of physical film events in autumn 2020. Despite the prevailing framing conditions and Corona requirements in the cinema, the collective cinema experience including exchange with filmmakers was the focus of the third part of Crossing Europe EXTRACTS. "Festival feeling in stages!" was the leitmotif of the extensive autumn programme that was screened in Linz, Vienna, Salzburg, Dornbirn and Ebensee from September onwards. The new circumstances called for new formats that offered the audience film enjoyment, but without disregarding the hygiene and safety requirements necessary at the time.

The festival awards "CROSSING EUROPE Innovative Award - Local Artist" and the "CREATIVE REGION Music Video Award" were awarded to works by local filmmakers during the three-day "mini-festival" Local Artists Shorts at the OÖ Kulturquartier in October 2020: The collective TOTAL REFUSAL for HOW TO DISAPPEAR (AT 2020), Anna Spanlang for the music video AUTO - KLITCLIQUE (AT 2019) as well as Michael Heindl for STONES (BO/PE/CL/AT 2019) and HARD-HEADED HARMONY (GB/AT 2019).

The alternative programme EXTRACTS saw itself as a contribution to maintain film-culture in Austria and invited visitors from April to November 2020 (originally conceived until the end of December, ended prematurely by the second lockdown in Austria) on a journey across the film continent of Europe - digitally and physically.

Please note: Originally scheduled until the end of December, the second Lockdown in Austria unfortunately put an end to the "Festival Premieres at City-Kino" a little earlier than planned. The canceled film screenings can unfortunately not be rescheduled for organizational reasons.

Films: 157 (planned for the cancelled 2020 festival edition)
World premieres: 13 (planned for the cancelled 2020 festival edition)
Film countries: 47 (planned for the cancelled 2020 festival edition)
Film events of the alternative programme EXTRACTS: 69
Award Winners Local Artists 2020: HERE
Jury Local Artists 2020: HERE
Film archive 2020: HERE
Tribute 2020: HERE
Spotlight 2020: HERE

Conclusion: From April to November 2020, festival director Christine Dollhofer and the festival team succeeded in creating a Crossing Europe festival atmosphere on numerous occasions, albeit selectively and in an unusual form. The fact that we were able to stage parts of the programme planned for 2020 after all, as well as the positive feedback from the audience, our partners and the media, allow us to look forward with motivation and optimism to the festival year 2021, which will undoubtedly once again present unforeseeable challenges.

// 2019