The International Film Festival Rotterdam is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Hans Hurch, director of the Viennale. In the twenty years since 1997 that Hurch has been its director, the film festival of Vienna has taken its unique, and widely admired current form. Our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones, his colleagues and friends all around the world.
Hans Hurch, who lived in Rotterdam in the 1970's and remained an annual visitor of IFFR ever since, enjoyed - and excelled in - the old Viennese art of humorous provocation. More importantly, he was a generous and charming host, a versatile cinephile, and a pleasantly idiosyncratic storyteller. His remarkable personality and attitude towards the art of film were clearly evident in the programme of the Viennale of the last twenty years. He made the filmmakers and guests coming to present their work - old and new alike - feel as if they were understood and loved for the first time.
Before he became festival director Hurch worked as a film critic, as well as assistent director to Straub & Huillet in the 1980's, and later cooperated with filmmaker Astrid Ofner. He was a member of IFFR's Tiger Award jury in 2016.