History and Perspectives 1999

The JEWISH FILM WEEK is now nine years old. Right from the beginning our objective was and still is to fight against xenophobia, intolerance and anti-Semitism with film as a weapon.

In 1991 the first Jewish Film Week started in Vienna: 16 films which reflected Seventy Years of Jewish Film were shown. In the following three years there were special topics: Jews in European Post-War Films (1992; 18 films), The Jewish Woman in Film (1993; 34 films) and Jewish Humour in Film (1994; 23 films). Several guests were invited, such as Axel Corti, Erwin Leiser, Ronny Loewy and George Tabori.

In 1995 we tried to expand the programme, so three main topics were chosen: propaganda, migration and courage of one's convictions. Marek Halter and Jean Louis Lorenzi presented their films.

On October 3rd, 1996 the British film Anne Frank Remembered was shown as an Austrian Avant-premiere and was presented by its director Jon Blair who was awarded for it with the Oscar for best documentary film in March the same year.

As in the year before, the Jewish Film Week '96 was not exclusively dedicated to one topic. Most of the films dealt with the slogan Judaism and Politics. Jewish women and men were not be presented as victims but as human-beings who influence and create their lives and those of others, despite or because of their Jewish identity. 26 films were proposed: new films and "classic" productions from France, Great Britain, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and the USA. Among these films were: Shattered Dreams (GB), 119 Bullets + three (Israel), O Judeu (The Jew) (Portugal), Skokie (USA) and Kådisbellan/The Slinghot (Sweden).

Through the years it was our intention to show not only new productions but also old films which we requested and acquired from film archives, such as the Film Archive Austria, the German Film Archive in Koblenz and the British Film Institute or European films located in American archives, such as the Sony-Archive in New York or the National Center for Jewish Film at the Brandeis University.

According to the European Year against Racism, the Jewish Film Week 1997 screened 10 features and 14 documentary-films (23 of them were Austrian premieres) dealing with Jewish topics.

The Jewish Film Week 98 took place from June 6th to 18th during the Wiener Festwochen and right after the Jüdische Kulturwoche (Jewish Cultural Week) which was organised by the Jewish Community.

Israel's fiftieth birthday was celebrated in the two series "1896 - 1948: The Development of Film in Palestine" and "50 Years of Israel in Features and Documentary-Films".

Furthermore we present ed an international panorama of contemporary films from all over the world concerning Judaism.

This years' topic is dedicated to Jewish destinies in films from Eastern Europe and Central Europe. Our programme wants to give an inside how Jewish people and their destinies were shown and are shown in different ideologies. Because of the abundance of films we concentrate this year mainly on three countries - GDR, Poland and Hungary, and will present 18 documentaries and feature films.

Our plans for the coming years will be among others the presentation of films from European ex-Communist countries.