Film on Slovenian language in Austria wins audience award in Graz

Graz, 11 April - Verschwinden (Vanishing), a documentary by Andrina Mračnikar, the Austrian director and screenwriter of Slovenian descent, about the Slovenian language disappearing from everyday life in Carinthia, has won the audience award at the Diagonale film festival in Graz.

Klagenfurt, Austria
A bilingual place name in Austria's Carinthia.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

The director of the feature-length documentary also received a EUR 3,000 cheque awarded by the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung.

The film, featured at the festival on Saturday and Sunday, is a "call against resignation and for courageous political action", says the presentation of the film in the festival's catalogue.

It is noted that before 1910, about 90% of the population of what is now the Austrian state of Carinthia spoke Slovenian, and most of them exclusively Slovenian. For instance, only 5% of people in Keutschach/Hodiše speak Slovenian today.

"This decline is a consequence of more than a century of discrimination fuelled by nationalism ... and ignorance of the German-speaking society and politics."

In interviews with Slovenian families in the area, the director presents an image of "persecution, deportations, violence, insidious hostility and bureaucratic obstacles" that have led many Carinthian Slovenians to give up their own language.

Born in 1981 in Hallein, Mračnikar grew up in Carinthia and studied at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana and directing and screenwriting at the Vienna Film Academy. She has lived in Vienna for the past 20 years.

She has made two other documentaries - Andri 1924-1944 (2003) and Der Kärntner spricht Deutsch (2007), and one feature film - Ma Folie (2015) to receive a number of awards and recognitions.

The best film award at the Diagonale festival was conferred to Austrian director Ulrich Seidl for Rimini, while Sabine Derflinger received the award for best documentary for her film on German journalist and feminist Alice Schwarzer.

© STA, 2022