By Ray Pride

Andersen On Hurch

“Under Hans Hurch, the Vienna International Film Festival (VIENNALE) was the best there was. It was a festival for the people of Vienna, “a festival of festivals,” like Toronto originally, not a business-oriented commercial festival. It was the most hospitable of all the festivals. The festival team stayed together from year to year so they became like friends if you visited more than once or twice. The festival social events, including the nightly dinners, were open to all the guests. At other festivals, visiting film-makers get invited to one dinner with the director and are shut out of the others. And it was just the right size, not too big, not too small. Hans chose all the films with the assistance of Katja Wiederspahn.  Films didn’t get lost as they do in Toronto or Rotterdam. Short films were an important part of the program. If you were up for seeing five programs a day, you could see just about everything.

“And the curating was the best. He supported the work of many Los Angeles film-makers who are not part of the ‘industry,’ and many from Cal Arts, students, graduates and faculty members. But his choice of Hollywood films was inspired: for example, he was among the first to notice Christopher Nolan. It was at the VIENNALE that I discovered the work of Bahman Ghobodi (V2000), Apitchatpong Weerasethakul (V2000), Lisandro Alonso (V2001), Rithy Panh (V2000), Nuri Bilge Ceylon (V2003), Julie Bertuccelli (V2003), Alain Guiraudie (V2003), Miguel Gomes (V2008), when  they were still little-known, and of course all the Austrian film-makers whose work I have come to cherish.

“And Hans made it all look easy. He never complained about being overwhelmed and exhausted during the festival as most festival directors like to do. I can’t remember a single projection problem, a single film shown in the wrong aspect ratio. And we didn’t have to tolerate those witty advertisements from a festival sponsor that are fun the first time but become unendurable by the end of the festival (cf. Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles). So film-makers and film-lovers all over the world will miss Hans deeply.”
~ Thom Andersen Remembers Hans Hurch On Facebook

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Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas