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Hollywood comes to the Vienna Film Ball

By Samantha Mitchell,

A sense of Hollywood swept through the Vienna City hall at the weekend when film stars from around the world enjoyed food, drinks and dance at the Vienna Film Ball 2014.

The fifth instalment of the glamorous event was made even more enjoyable thanks to the warm spring breeze that made it easy for guests to enter the magnificent 19th century Neo-Gothic building in their splendid ball gowns and tuxedos.

Under the applause of more than 500 guests and the guidance of Eddie Finger Jr. and singer Missy May a number of actors were handed awards and presents for their cinematic achievements. Legendary grand dame of the Italian film Claudia Cardinale received loud ovations when she took the stage and managed to captivate the audience despite using an interpreter.

The equally warm reception clearly surprised producer Michael Biehn who is held in high regard thanks to his role as Arnold Schwarzenegger's antagonist Kyle Reese in 'The Terminator'.

Daryl Hannah of 'Kill Bill' fame was in for a surprise as well: Not only did she collect an award but she was presented with a painting of herself by Austrian artist Herbert Wallner. She would later joke about the problems having to take this extraordinary souvenir back home by plane.

The evening's highlight was no doubt a 30 minute performance by Austrian rock'n'roll legend Peter Kraus, who celebrated his 75th birthday. But he left the audience wondering whether the singer had found a fountain of youth, such was his empathic and impressive performance.

At the end of the award ceremony and gala dinner the ball was eventually opened by 16 debutante couples, performing a choreography by Viennese dancing school Rueff.

Until the early hours of the morning guests enjoyed a traditional Viennese ballroom, a cigar and cocktail lounge, live-music and a casino courtesy of Casino Austria.

The glamorous ball has attracted many Hollywood stars and film legends since 2010. Sir Christopher Lee’s appearance was a particular highlight of the ball in 2011, as were the joyous quips of Omar Sharif in 2013, when he told the ballroom that he didn't know who Austrian Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz is: "Who, who, Christoph who? I am 81 years old and live in Paris. I don’t hear much of what goes on in the world!"

Film legends from Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany and France have attended the ball over the course of the last four years and the event has firmly established itself in the Vienna society scene.

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