Dr. Rudolf Scholten is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Film Institute Austria (www.filminstitut.at) and member of the Board of Executive Directors of Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG.
He spoke with FNE about the major achievements of the Austrian film industry, why it’s essential for Austria to connect with its neighbours and what needs to be done in the future.
What was the most important development in your country's film industry over the past year?
To maintain and to increase the high level of success nationally and especially internationally.
How important are European coproductions for the development of your country's film industry and what opportunities do you see for cooperation with neighbouring countries in film production, education and distribution?
Being a country with a small national market, European coproductions are, regarding production as well as distribution, essential for our film industry. Outstanding examples for successful coproductions are films by directors Michael Haneke or Ulrich Seidl.
What is the role of film in your country's cultural identity?
Austrian films to a large extent are a brutally honest reflection of Austrian society. Therefore they are demanding and sometimes disturbing. Although Austrian cultural identity is more strongly associated with literature, performing arts, music and opera, film has in recent years claimed a much stronger role.
Looking back over the past five years what are the major achievements and what do you consider still needs to be done?
Major achievements include one Oscar and three nominations, two Golden Palms, one Golden Globe and 23 awards at A-Festivals. In addition, the consistently good reception in Austria with more than 4 million admissions and around 11.5 million admissions worldwide should also be considered notable achievements. To sustain these excellent achievements the financial support has to be flexibly adjusted. That concerns the volume as well as the structure.
Dr Rudolf Scholten is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Film Institute Austria and member of the Board of Executive Directors of Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG. He was Federal Minister of Education and the Arts between 1990 and 1994, Federal Minister of Science, Research and the Arts between 1994 and 1996, and Federal Minister of Science, Transport and the Arts between 1996 and 1997.