‘The people are the festival‘

The dotdotdot short film festival will take place from 25 July to 24 August 2021 at the Volkskundemuseum in the 8th district. We spoke with festival director Lisa Mai about accessibility, strong partners and a mission.

The open-air festival in the museum’s cosy garden has been a fixture on the Josefstadt’s cultural calendar for years, and neither the pandemic nor financial cutbacks have dampened the organizers’ enthusiasm. 

Programmes have a runtime of 75 to 80 minutes, with films varying in length from ten minutes to an hour. There are no formal limits. ‘It is quite liberating, and even a luxury, to not have to restrain ourselves here,’ says Mai. There also is an annual audience award: Last year, it went to Josefstadt resident Leni Gruber and her film ‘Snowman’.

Every year there is an overarching theme but the individual film nights stand for themselves. ‘We see it as our curatorial mission to define an annual focus. However, every night should offer its own specific experience.’ This year’s theme is science fiction. ‘We need to develop scenarios for possible futures, and these are very much tied in with our present. We are the creators of our individual future and the collective future,’ says Mai. Accessibility also is a key issue. Thanks to special funding the festival is able to offer its first workshop for deaf people this year. 

Tickets are available on a pay-as-you-can basis in three categories. ‘Ultimately, I would like to make the programme accessible for absolutely everyone, and that would mean: free entry for all,’ Mai continues. This is not possible at the moment but ‘we do have free tickets to give away every night.’

The Volkskundemuseum has been a strong partner since 2010. ‘The museum is not only our venue but also our partner. We collaborate on overall themes and exchange ideas. And we are very happy to be able to use the museum’s garden rent-free.’

After every screening there is a discussion, and you can also get creative at the festival’s workshops: short and compact format of two to three hours that are free and open to all. Besides, the tireless team has set up a film archive: Information about 800 shorts from six festival years is now available online, and more than 450 of these films can be streamed directly via the festival website.