Zagreb, June 3 – Controversial Austrian film director, screenwriter, producer, and a provocateur, Ulrich Seidl, the author of 'Dog Days', ' Jesus, You Know' and ' Import Export', is visiting this year's Motovun film festival! Seidl is the winner of festival's MOTOVUN MAVERICK AWARD, given to authors whose personality, free spirit and innovation have expanded the horizons of the art of film.
After Ken Russell (2008) and Terry Jones (2010), the third winner of this Motovun award that celebrates unconventionalityis the Austrian author Ulrich Seidl, who has completely erased the boundaries between documentary and feature film, fact and fiction, as well as generally accepted conventions of 'defined film genres'.
“I don't make any difference between feature films and documentaries, that's why the term 'staged reality' was coined. That means the people in my film are non-actors, but sometimes don't act that way “, says Seidl.
Werner Herzog has listed Seidl as one of his top ten favorite film directors, commenting his film Animal Love by saying: "Never have I looked so directly into hell".
Ulrich Seidl was born in Vienna in 1952, and grew up in Horn in Lower Austria. While studying journalism, history of art and drama in Vienna, he supported himself by doing various jobs, before enrolling into the prestigious Film Academy Vienna at the age of 26.
He made his first film – documentary Einsvierzig in 1980, and after the controversy of his following film, Der Ball (1982) – a satirical portrait of a prom night in his home town – Seidl was kindly asked to – leave the Academy.
In 1990 he returned to the scene with his feature-length documentary Good News, and carried on making seven more film and television documentaries over the following ten years, which brought him many awards and acknowledgments.
His Mit Verlust ist zu rechnen / Loss Is to Be Expected won Special July Prize at Amsterdam IDF in 1993, and his film Models received Audience Award at Sarajevo Film Festival in 1999..
Hundstage / Dog Days, his first feature film, won Leone d’Oro at Venice Mostra in 2001, and it was screened in Motovun the following year.
After that Seidl made Zur Lage / State of the Nation, a critical view of Austria under the extreme rightwing coalition, with certain episodes directed by u Barbara Albert, Michael Glawogger and Michael Sturminger.
In 2003 he made his controversial film Jesus, You Know, which was awarded best feature-length documentary film at Festival Karlovy Vary, and screened as part of the MFF program in 2004.
Import Export is the first film Seidl both directed and produced. It was nominated for Cannes Palme d’Or in 2007.
“I don’t seek to entertain people with my films, but to touch them, perhaps even disturb them. My films are critical not of individual people but of society….I want the people in the theatre to be confronted with themselves.”, says Ulrich Seidl.
The audience of the 13th/14th Motovun Film Festival will ‘confront’ Ulrich’s work through a special retrospect of his films, and the author himself will visit the festival July 25- 29.