Österreichisches Filmmuseum (Austrian Film Museum)
There can be no doubt that the Austrian Film Museum is one of the country's most important cineaste venues. The museum's founders, Peter Kronlechner und Peter Kubelka have been screening films in the film auditorium of the Albertina Museum since 1965. The Film Museum's retrospectives and programmes have since their inception, garnered international recognition. In 1989, the auditorium was redesigned as an “invisible cinema” in line with the vision of Peter Kubelka. The Film Museum is a specific exhibition and screening room for film, functioning also as an archive, a collection, a library and a venue of public discussion and reflection. The collection focuses, inter alia, on the international heritage of independent film, Austrian avant-garde films post-1950 or transnational films made by emigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. As of 2002, the film journalist and curator Alexander Horvath was appointed director of the Film Museum. Ever since, the programme and profile of the institution has been reaching a growing young, film-loving audience interested in the international history of film.
Michael Loebenstein, former director of the “National Film and Sound Archive”, took over the position of director of the Austrian Film Museum in 2017. He hopes to continue the successful work of his predecessor in setting new programming, research and new cooperations.
Ludwig Gesek was one of the founders of the Österreichisches Filmarchiv which was set up in 1955 as a collection site for Austrian feature films, documentaries and newsreels. Today the Filmarchiv has three venues, the newly renovated Metro cinema at the city centre serves as screening venue, storage facilities and a “central film archive” can be found in Laxenburg (Lower Austria) and the third venue is the Audiovisuelles Zentrum im Augarten. Ernst Kieninger has been the director of the Filmarchiv since 1996. As of 2004, the institution set up its own publishing facilities, the Verlag Filmarchiv, producing some excellent scientific publications on the history of Austrian film and television. Because of the publishing structure, these publications only reach a small readership. The lion’s share of Austrian film before 1945 is preserved, documented and restored in the Austrian Film Archive.
Since 2015, Metro-Kino, renovated and restored to its former glory, is the city’s new working cultural cinema. Safe keeping and film preservation remain the tasks of the Film Archive and Film Museum’s analogue film preservation centers and the consequential digitalization strategies are a current topic of discussions for future perspectives.
SYNEMA. Gesellschaft für Film und Medien
In the last 30 years, Synema has become a central communicator of the Austrian film scene. Founded by Gottfried Schlemmer in 1984, Synema has been directed by the film scholar Brigitte Mayer for many years. Synema was the co-organiser of legendary international conferences on the topics of film history and film semiotics, organised international film festivals (such as Screenwise) in Vienna and self-publishes profound scientific publications on film, film history and theory.
Akademie des Österreichischen Films
Founded in 2009, the Akademie des Österreichischen Films has more than 400 members from the entire film industry. The mission of this institution is to promote and honour the achievements of the Austrian film sector. As of 2011, the institution has been awarding the Österreichischer Filmpreis. The current presidents of the institution are the actress Ursula Strauss and the director Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Constantin Film, Filmladen, Polyfilm, Sixpackfilm
„Polyfilm“ and „Stadtkino distributor“ were both established in the 1980’s as outposts of traditional Viennese cultural grassroots and public educational institutions (Volkshochschulen, KIBA) and run Filmcasino and Stadtkino, the best known art film houses in Vienna. Programming focuses on international auteur films, Austrian cinema and short films. The “Filmladen” distributor and cinema operator was founded in 1978 by filmmakers Ruth Beckermann, Josef Aichholzer and Franz Grafl in Vienna. Today “Filmladen” is one of Austria’s largest distributors of feature and documentary films. The enterprise is also the largest producer independent provider of international films in the US dominated Austrian market. The Filmladen led by Michael Steiskal runs the Votivkino since 1996 which has become the favorite program cinema of audiences in Vienna. In 2019 Jessica Hausner’s new film (Filmladen) was invited to Cannes.
Founded in 1990 as an association, Sixpackfilm - headed by Brigitta Burger-Utzer - focuses on the distribution and sale of Austrian film productions. The association also publicises Austrian films at international festivals and advertises national film productions through an ambitious, continuous programme of events.
Medienwerkstatt Wien was established in 1978 as a non-commercial video studio and artists’ collective. The institution has always focused on linking the production, mediation and archiving of multimedia productions from Austria. Since 2004, the Medienwerkstatt has collaborated with Sixpackfilm in the release of the DVD Edition “INDEX” which showcases artistic films and videos created in Austria.
Rather than providing a detailed overview of the great diversity of cinema culture in Vienna and in the Austrian federal states, we would recommend readers to go out and explore the wide range of traditional and experimental art house cinemas in the country.