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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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield