European countries are engulfed in a debate about whether the risk of Covid infections is too high to reopen ski resorts as winter returns. Germany, France and Italy have pledged to keep slopes closed until at least the New Year, with Germany calling for a Europe-wide closure.
Until Tuesday it seemed that Switzerland and Austria planned to reopen resorts with safety measures in place. But reports now suggest Austria could bow to German pressure.
The Austrian resort of Ischgl, so-called ‘Ibiza on ice’, is the epicentre of the debate. Regarded as the ground zero of Europe’s first Covid wave, at least 28 people who visited Ischgl between late February and early March have died of Covid-19, with thousands more infected.
In October an independent commission found local and national authorities had made “momentus miscalculations” in their response to the outbreak. The Austrian government is now being sued by four individuals in civil cases, led by the Consumer Protection Association (VSV). They are seeking damages of up to €100,000. The VSV says the cases are tests, and that over 6,000 more people have signed up for possible class action suits next year.
The key charge in these suits is that the authorities knew of the danger posed by the Covid outbreak but acted too slowly, prioritising economic interests over health concerns. The Tyrol authorities maintain that they responded appropriately given what they knew at the time.
An Adventure Uncovered film premiere
Last night, to launch our partnership with paus.tv, we hosted the world premiere of ISCHGL, a film by Simon Reichel and Alexander Tank, who's previous film Contraddiction was an Official Selection for our 2020 festival.
ISCHGL lays out the case against the Austrian authorities through the head of the VSV and a lawyer on the case, Peter Kolba. But it also argues that “Ischgl is the perfect metaphor for the fall out from capitalism and a hedonistic lifestyle,” as Simon and Alexander said in a Q&A with us earlier this week. “The system and attitude this town embodies are not specific to the Tyrolean Alps. Ultimately, we ask how much of Ischgl lies in all of us, and in our entire society.”
You can watch ISCHGL and the Q&A with Simon Reichel below. With no adverts, charges or subscriptions paus offers a unique way to watch films, where viewers are encouraged to give a donation or ‘tip’ after watching a film, supporting independent filmmaking directly. With many streaming platforms taking a big cut of the pie, this novel approach to supporting independent filmmaking is a key driver in our desire to partner with paus. So, after watching ISCHGL, don’t forget to leave a tip to express your appreciation.
Are you an adventure filmmaker advocating for social or environmental change? We’d love to collaborate.
For starters, the deadline for submissions to the Adventure Uncovered Film Festival 2021 - which we're taking outdoors for open-air screen experiences across five UK locations - has been extended to December 14th. Find all the info you need to submit here.
The ISCHGL Premiere, and our partnership with paus, indicate that we’re looking to collaborate with filmmakers in new ways.
Want to collaborate to feature your film? Host a live Q&A? Work together to premiere your film in the UK? Give Rosie a shout at [email protected]!