New festival directors beginning June 2023: Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh

Dominik Kamalzadeh and Claudia Slanar © eSeL.at/Lorenz Seidler

The Diagonale is pleased to announce the Festival of Austrian Film’s new directorial team. In an unanimous decision by the general assembly, Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh have been selected to succeed Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber as commercial and artistic directorship beginning in June 2023 and will be responsible for the festivals from 2024 to 2027.

“Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh see the Diagonale ‘as a site of artistic and political practice’. In their submitted concept and at the hearing, they won over the general assembly with their astute and carefully considered vision for the Festival of Austrian Film – we are looking forward to the realization of their promising ‘festival dramaturgy’. Both have curatorial experience, know the branch in its great diversity, and are well-connected internationally. The decision was unanimous, although there were other very interesting applications and hearings, for which we would like to express our sincere thanks. The general assembly would also like to thank Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber for the successful past few years and especially for maneuvering the festival so proficiently and prudently through the Covid-19 pandemic. We wish them a successful Diagonale’23 and are looking forward to the Diagonale’24 with Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh.”
——— Dagmar Streicher and Johannes Rosenberger for the general assembly of the Diagonale support organization

“We are looking forward to the challenge of steering the course of the Diagonale and thus of the most important festival of Austrian filmmaking. Events such as the Diagonale serve as a vital compass through local film culture, especially at times of cultural rupture, and likewise offer the chance to question what exists and dare to experiment! Together with a motivated team, we aim to further develop the Diagonale as a central point for confrontation with cinematic forms and the associated political dynamics, while also intensifying dialogue with (industry) guests from abroad and local partners. Our thanks go to all predecessors who have made the Diagonale what it is today: a site for fascination with film and the collective experience of cinema. We want this enthusiasm to carry on.”
——— Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh, Festival directors beginning June 2023


Dominik Kamalzadeh, born 1973 in Vienna, studied theater and film studies. A film critic since 1998, he was later also a cultural journalist at the Austrian daily paper Der Standard and on the editorial staff of the film journal kolik.film. Diverse curatorial film programs and series (among others at Crossing Europe, at Arsenal in Berlin, and in cooperation with the Viennale), member of the Duisburger Filmwoche selection committee since 2022. He has written contributions for numerous publications, most recently “Österreich real” (edited by Michelle Koch and Alejandro Bachmann) and “Picturing Austrian Cinema” (edited by Claus Philipp and Katharina Müller), and co-authored “Terrence Malick” together with Michael Pekler in 2013.

Claudia Slanar, born 1972 in Vienna, studied art history in Vienna as well as aesthetics and politics and creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts. She has been curator of the Ursula Blickle Video Archive since 2014 and responsible for the programming and administration of the Blickle Cinema/Belvedere 21, Museum of Contemporary Art Vienna, since 2017. She has taught at various universities in Austria and abroad and is author and co-editor of publications on contemporary art, film, and video. As an experimental scholar, she has been concerned time and again with spatial theories, fictocriticism, and feminist biography writing as well as with reenactment as an artistic-scientific practice.


The Diagonale directorship position was announced in June 2022 and is appointed for a period of four years (with possible reappointment). After the application deadline in September, the selection committee, made up of members of the Diagonale general assembly, chose three applications to make a presentation as part of a personal hearing. From this point on, the entire general assembly of the Diagonale support organization was involved in the decision making process: Dagmar Streicher (chairwoman) and Johannes Rosenberger (chairman) as well as Andrea Maria Dusl, Gustav Ernst, Mathias Forberg, Ernst Kieninger, Gabriele Kranzelbinder, Walter Mika, and Thomas Angermair (non-voting legal advisor).

All applicants were from Austria and Germany. The current director duo did not apply for reappointment.

The Diagonale’23, which will take place from March 21 to 26, will be Sebastian Höglinger’s and Peter Schernhuber’s last festival. They will have presided over the Diagonale from 2015 to 2023. The new festival directors, Claudia Slanar and Dominik Kamalzadeh, will start work in June 2023 to prepare for their first festival edition in March 2024. The designated co-director Claudia Slanar has already served on the selection committee for the Diagonale film competition for Innovative Cinema since 2015. She will remain in this function through Diagonale’23.




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