In the face of radicalized discourse after the humanitarian crisis and the horrific reactions to it in Europe we often tend to balance out the surrounding hot-headedness by being overy rational and overly didactical. But when people react emotionally to a situation perceived as potentially threatening, you cannot appeal wholly to pure reason but must still communicate to people’s humanness and emotional core.

This is what makes film in general and film festivals in particular an especially fruitful
context. What does cinema deal with if not with emotion, and what is one of its fundamental qualities if not empathy? And taking it one step forward, festivals give
room to retreat and reflect. In a cacophony of hysterical monologues, we want to open a space for dialogue.

So let’s truly gaze at ourselves and our fears, both individual and collective. By taking up as sujet Fear Is Not an Option we don’t want to condemn but to try to look for alternative ways to frame the conversation. We do this by trying to look at the bigger picture of what fear is or can be in certain contexts – and we try to attach a sense of curiosity in exploring it, even a sense of optimism (as in the triangle with Go Short and the Festival du nouveau cinéma).

Fear is a stubborn companion, and a poor advisor – especially when it comes to matters of coexistence. But it’s also a natural feeling, something that creeps into our being many times without our control. The real difference lays in whether or not we let this fear fuel our behaviour or if we instead acknowledge it as present but then act in spite of it.

(Diana Mereoiu, VIS Vienna Independent Shorts)

© Florencia Rovlich, Ygor Gama


Since 2013 we have invited two festivals every year to dedicate a program to our latest motto: This year, 'Go Short' from the Netherlands, and the Canadian 'Festival du nouveau cinéma' also have a focus on Fear Is Not an Option. Together with VIS' programming contributions, the selections are screened at all three festivals: the triangle-collaboration premiered in Nijmegen in April, screens in Vienna on May 29th, and in Montréal in October.

In cooperation with Go Short & Festival du nouveau cinéma