Virgil Widrich

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Virgil Widrich (* 16 May 1967 in Salzburg) is an Austrian director, screenwriter, filmmaker and multimedia artist.

Widrich works on a large number of films and multimedia projects, sometimes as part of a creative team. He is known especially for his numerous short films and multimedia works.

Biography[edit]

Born in Salzburg, Virgil Widrich spent his childhood in a house that is over 500 years old and stands on the Mönchsberg. While there he became acquainted with artists such as Peter Handke, who was his neighbour, and Wim Wenders, a frequent visitor. He gained his first experience with film at a very young age and was given his first camera, a Super-8, at the age of 13. That same year (1980) he made three films, "My Homelife", "Gebratenes Fleisch" and 3 mal Ulf. He followed that with an animated cartoon titled Auch Farbe kann träumen. At the age of 15 he made Monster in Salzburg, on which he worked with actors for the first time. He created the rampaging monster using stop-motion photography. In 1983 he began work on Vom Geist der Zeit (Spirit of Time). Even bad grades at school were not enough to prevent him finishing his first feature-length movie, which took him 14 months. During this time he also took on a job as an extra and props manager at the Salzburg Festival to finance his films. In 1984 he began to take an interest in computers and programmed a number of simple games.

After passing his school-leaving exams at the Akademisches Gymnasium in Salzburg he entered the Vienna Film Academy, only to leave again after a matter of weeks to work on the script for a science fiction film which, in the end, he never made. In 1987 he founded the film distributing company Classic Films with two partners with the aim of distributing mainly artistic films. Later on he became assistant to John Bailey, a camera man and director, and in 1990 he went to Hollywood to work with Bailey on the science fiction comedy The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe. After selling Classic Films in 1991 Widrich again turned his attention to the computer and the possibilities it offered for creating art. His next major project, which saw him working as production manager, was a new festival for Austrian film, held for the first time in 1993 under the name Diagonale. In the second year he also compiled a film database. More databases relating to film followed, and he was also involved in the creation of an interactive CD-ROM.

In 1997 Widrich started concentrating more on making his own films again, producing the short film "tx-transform", which was a great success at the Ars Electronica festival. He also returned to his script for "Heller als der Mond" ("Brighter than the Moon"), which he filmed in 1999. The film premiered in 2000 in Rotterdam. "Copy Shop" was his next project, and one of his most successful to date. Following its premiere in 2001 the film won 35 awards, was nominated for the Oscar and was shown on television and on over 200 film festivals. His next short, "Fast Film", was likewise very successful, won 36 international awards and was shown on over 300 film festivals. A large number of multimedia projects for companies followed (in 2001 he founded the company, checkpointmedia AG, and is its CEO) and he continued producing films with his company Virgil Widrich Film- und Multimediaproduktionen G.m.b.H. Together with other filmmakers he also co-founded the production company Amour Fou Film in 2001, focusing on arthouse movies from young directors.

In 2004 Widrich was a member of the jury for Ars Electronica and became chairman of the Austrian Film Directors’ Association until 2007. He is also a member of the Academy of Austrian Film. From 2007 to 2010 Virgil Widrich taught as Professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, teaching the class of “digital arts”. Since 2010 he is the leading Professor of the post-graduate Master Programme "Art & Science".

Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2006: Virgil Widrich created computer-animated installations for the refurbished Mozarthaus Vienna.
  • 2008: 13 works by Virgil Widrich and his students of “digital arts” were displayed at the “Essence08” in the Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien.
  • 2009: Virgil Widrich took on the role as art director for the exhibition "Linz. City in Luck" at the museum Nordico, that formed part of the city's year as European Capital of Culture.
  • 2009: "Alias in Wonderland" took place from 25 June to 12 July in the Freiraum/quartier 21 in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, a project carried out with his students.
  • 2009: 10 works by his students of “digital arts” were displayed at the “Essence09” in the Expositur Vordere Zollamtsstraße Vienna.
  • 2010: 15 works by his students of “digital arts” were displayed at the “Essence10” in the Vienna Künstlerhaus.
  • 2010: Widrich was artistic director of the exhibition “90 Jahre Salzburger Festspiele” (90 years of the Salzburg Festival) at the Salzburg Museum.
  • 2011: Artistic director for the exhibition “parameter{world} - parameters for every or no thing” of the master “Art and Science” at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
  • 2012: Works by his students of “Art & Science” were displayed at the “Essence12” in the Vienna Künstlerhaus.

Stage works[edit]

  • 2012: Concept (in collaboration with Martin Haselböck and Frank Hoffmann), stage, visuals and film projections for "New Angels", which premiered on November 19, 2012 at the Théâtre National du Luxembourg.

Filmography[edit]

  • 1980: My Homelife (A) 6 mins. (Documentary about an old house)
  • 1980: Gebratenes Fleisch (A) 11 mins. (Crime thriller about the murder of a woman in a restaurant)
  • 1980: 3 mal Ulf (A) 12 mins. (Documentary about Arnulf Komposch)
  • 1981: Auch Farbe kann träumen (A) 12 mins. (Animated cartoon in which a worm and a little man flee from the destruction of the environment)
  • 1982: Monster in Salzburg (A) 12 mins. (Animated film in which a monster goes on the rampage in Salzburg)
  • 1983-85: Vom Geist der Zeit (A) 112 mins. (An assortment of many different genres)
  • 1998: tx-transform (A) 5 mins. (Experimental animated film using intriguing techniques)
  • 2000: Heller als der Mond (Brighter than the Moon) (Europe) 88 mins. (Comedy about being a foreigner in Vienna)
  • 2001: Copy Shop (A) 12 mins. (A man copies himself until he fills the entire world)
  • 2001: LinksRechts (A, F) 4 mins. (Interviews on the subject of "Left and right in film and politics")
  • 2003: Fast Film (A, LUX) 14 mins. (animated film with printed scraps of other films telling the story of a chase)
  • 2010: make/real (A), 5 mins. (Found-footage film for the exhibition "Robot Dreams" which was being staged at the Museum Tinguely in Basel and the Kunsthaus Graz
  • 2011: warning triangle (A), 6 mins. (Found-footage Film for the exhibition “Fetisch Auto. Ich fahre, also bin ich.” which was being staged at the Museum Tinguely in Basel

Since 2008: Project development of Virgil Virgil Widrich's next feature film "Die Nacht der tausend Stunden" ("The Night of a Thousand Hours"). Since 2011 project development for a feature length animated film titles "Micromeo", screenplay in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carrière).

Awards (selection)[edit]

for Heller als der Mond (Brighter than the Moon) (Europe 2000):

  • Scriptwriting prize of the City of Salzburg for the best script (1997)
  • Jean Carment Award for Lars Rudolph — Angers European First Film Festival (2000)
  • Laser Vidéo Titres Award — Angers European First Film Festival (2000)

for Copy Shop (A 2001):

  • Oscar nomination in 2002 in the category "live action short" by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Prix de la meilleure création sonore / Best Music and Sound Design — Festival du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand (26 January 2001 - 3 February 2001)
  • Best Experimental Short — Toronto — International Short Film Festival (6 June 2001–10 June 2001)
  • Kodak Award — Jury's choice for short film — Puchon 2001 - Int. Fantastic Film Festival (12 July 2001–20 July 2001)
  • Jury Prize — IMAGO 2001 - Covilha, Portugal (25 September 2001–30 September 2001)
  • Silberne Taube — Leipzig 2001 – 44th International Film Festival (16 October 2001–21 October 2001)
  • Best Short film — Lleida 2001 - inCurt (7 November 2001–11 November 2001)
  • Best Experimental — Shorts International Film Festival New York 2001 (12 November 2001–15 November 2001)
  • 1st Comunidad de Madrid Award — Best Film — Madrid — Semana de Cine Experimental (16 November 2001–23 November 2001)
  • Best Short film — Barcelona L'alternativa 01 (16 November 2001–24 November 2001)
  • Jury Prize — Leuven Kort 2001 - International Short Film Festival (23 November 2001 - 2 December 2001)
  • Best Of Festival — Boston Underground Film Festival (20 February 2002–24 February 2002)
  • Prix des télévisions européennes — Brussels 02 - Festival of Fantasy, Thriller and Science Fiction (15 March 2002–30 March 2002)
  • Special Prize — Hiroshima 2002 - International Animation Festival (22 August 2002–26 August 2002)
  • Best Experimental Film — Thessaloniki 02 - Panorama of Ind. Film and Video Makers (14 October 2002–21 October 2002)
  • Jury's special prize — Tehran International Animation Festival (23 February 2003–27 February 2003)

for Fast Film (A, LUX 2003):

  • Official selection Festival de Cannes (2003) (nomination)
  • Best Animated Short (C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures Award) - Worldwide Short Film Festival, Toronto (2003)
  • Grand Prix for Animation (Grande Prémio Animação) - Festival Internacional de Curtas Metragens de Vila do Conde, Portugal (2003)
  • Best Experimental Short Film – 52nd Int. Film Festival, Melbourne (2003)
  • Audience Award — Bearded Child Film Festival, Grand Rapids, MN / Boulder, CO USA (2003)
  • Most Imaginative Film — Odense Film Festival, Odense (2003)
  • High Risk Award — Fantoche – 4th International Festival for Animated Film, Zürich (2003)
  • Best Experimental Film — Panorama of Independent Film & Video Makers, Thessaloniki (2003)
  • Most innovative short — Leipzig International Festival for Documentaries and Animated Film (2003)
  • Grand Prix — Uppsala Short Film Festival (2003)
  • Premio de la Comunidad de Madrid a la Mejor Película — Semana de Cine Experimental de Madrid (2003)
  • Onda Curta, 2nd prize and jury's special mention — Cinanima Portugal (2003)
  • Innova Award — Animadrid, Spanien (2003)
  • Film Critics Award — Animafest Zagreb (2004)
  • ASIFA Korea Prize for best Experimental SICAF (2004)
  • Cartoon d'or — best animated cartoon Forum Galicia (2004)
  • It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows.

for checkpointmedia AG:

  • September 2006: National Award for the “Mozarthouse Vienna” in the category "culture and entertainment" and an award in the category "Public information and services" for the “Visitor Center of the Austrian Parliament”.

External links[edit]