The Österreichische Filmtage festival was founded in 1977 in Velden by a group of filmmakers (including Gerald Kargl and Horst Dieter Sihler) with the aim of giving the Austrian film scene a new direction and promoting the establishment of a national film funding regime. From 1984 to 1996, the Österreichische Filmtage took place in Wels under the leadership of Reinhard Pyrker. As of 1998, this most important festival for the Austrian film sector moved to Graz under the direction of Christine Dollhofer and Konstantin Wulff under its new name of Diagonale Festival des österreichischen Films. In 2003, when the successful leadership team was dismissed by the FPÖ-ÖVP coalition government, the entire Austrian film scene unanimously opposed the newly appointed heads and their programme. They had to withdraw, and the festival was continued in line with the intentions of the creative sector under the name of Gegen Diagonale in 2004. In recent years, under the leadership of Barbara Pichler and her ambitious programme, the Diagonale festival has opened up, transforming from an exclusive industry festival to one that includes the general audience.


In 1960, a group of committed film journalists initiated an Internationale Festwoche der interessantesten Filme der Jahres 1959 without any public funding, thus laying the foundation for the Viennale festival. In subsequent years the festival was held under the name Festival der Heiterkeit  - a name designed to help it garner recognition  - under the leadership of Sigmund Kennedy and Edwin Zbonek. In the late 1960s, film retrospectives organised by the Wiener Filmmuseum were integrated in the festival in order to extend the scope of funding and the programme. In the early 1980s, under the leadership of Helmut Dimko, the Viennale was given a novel, forward-looking format. Some temporary highlights in the festival programme were provided by the leadership of Werner Herzog, who organised under the leitmotif of ‘cinema as a magical place’ and particularly by Wolfgang Ainberger and Alexander Horwath, who opened the festival towards the USA and genre films. In 1999, Hans Hurch, the director of the festival since 1997, moved the central venue of the festival to the Gartenbaukino. This step further heightened the event character of the festival and established the Viennale as a major attraction in Vienna. With its ambitious programme, the Viennale has also managed to popularise documentaries in Vienna.


This queer film festival was set up in Vienna in 1994, initially within the context of Viennale. In 2004 the festival opened at three venues, receiving funding from the City of Vienna and the federal authorities. It has now secured its position as the second largest film event in Vienna under the leadership of Barbara Reumüller.


Christine Dollhofer has been directing this festival of European film in Linz since 2004. It is devoted to idiosyncratic, contemporary and socio-political auteur cinema from Europe. 

Over the last 10 years, a great number of smaller festivals have developed in all larger cities of the country. Their programmes are devoted to specific parts of national film culture, specific forms of film, social and political groups or thematic focal points: eg. Tricky Women, an international animation film festival for women in Vienna; FRAMEOUT a digital film festival in Vienna; Cine Latino Vienna; FrauenFilmTage Vienna; Jüdische Filmwoche Vienna; JOUKI, an international youth media festival in Wels, Bergfilmfestival Salzburg; Internationales Filmfestival der Menschenrechte Vienna; Politfilmfestival Innsbruck; K3 Crossing Border Film Festival Villach; Ethnocineca, an International documentary film Festival in Vienna.