The Diagonale is conceived as a forum for the presentation and discussion of Austrian cinematic production. The goal and task of the Diagonale is a nuanced, multifaceted and critical exploration of Austrian cinema as well as drawing the industry into the media spotlight and thereby into public discourse. Accordingly, it is the filmmakers and their works that lie at the heart of the festival, which, by means of a tailored program selection, offers the rare opportunity to become acquainted with Austrian film in all its diversity, to trace current artistic trends and, not least, to make some (re-)discoveries along the way.
Since 1998, the Diagonale has made the city of Graz the film capital of Austria and established it as a hub of the film industry and its spectators. Approximately 1,300 accredited industry professionals and 25,000 visitors, including a large number of young filmgoers, gather in the Styrian capital to enjoy the diverse selection of films, the unique festival atmosphere, as well as the talks with distinguished guests and the wide-ranging program features. The environmental sustainability initiative of the festival, known as Diagonale Goes Green and successfully launched in 2011, aims to offer an ecological contribution so that environmental awareness and cinematic pleasure go hand in hand.
Drawing on more than 500 submissions, the 2012 Diagonale presents a Main Program with a selection of films and documentaries, as well as short films, animations, experimental works and videos. Many of these productions will have their world premiere, or their first showing in Austria. In addition to this current selection, the Year’s Retrospective will show all feature-length Austrian films and documentaries that enjoyed regular cinematic releases in 2011. The Special Programs will expand on this perspective and will illustrate the range of Austrian film production and offer an exploration of its heritage. The highlights of the Diagonale include a Historical Program and a Spotlight Feature, which showcases the work of a particular Austrian filmmaker. In the spirit of transcending cultural differences, each year a tribute is made to an international filmmaker who is invited to present a selection of his/her work at the festival. In addition, the festival offers a comprehensive Support and Mediation Program, consisting of discussion groups on cultural and political topics, a film industry forum, as well as exhibitions and workshops. And when it comes to celebrating Austrian cinema, the festival never falls short. There are plenty of occasions to enjoy, including the Opening Gala, the presentation of awards for performance and screenplays, numerous receptions and the Nightline, where the stimulating festival days are celebrated late into the night. In the Diagonale Award Ceremony, the festival is brought to a close with Austria’s most prestigious film distinctions, including the main prize for Best Austrian Film and Best Austrian Documentary Film, each offering 21,000 Euros in prize money.