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.

From an exclusive industry festival, the Diagonale has developed in recent years, especially under the direction of Barbara Pichler and her ambitious program since 2008, simultaneously to a successful audience festival in Graz. Since 2015, Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber have been directing the Diagonale and setting innovative, cross-disciplinary priorities. The pandemic led to the cancellation of the Diagonale in March 2020 and subsequently to the postponement and re-promotion of the festival.


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. Festival director, 1997 – 2017, Hans Hurch switched the main festival cinema to the centrally located Gartenbaukino, lending it a more special event character, heightening the festival’s profile and popularity in Vienna, and establishing it as a “must” in Vienna’s cultural calendar. Since 2002 the Viennale, with support from the city, has turned the Gartenbaukino into the country’s premiere location for film openings. Since 2005 the yearly number of visitors to major and minor film showings and side events in various cinemas and venues has reached over 80.000. Hans Hurch and team were able to popularize political films and especially documentary film in the city. Eva Sangiorgi who took up the position of festival director upon Hans Hurch’s untimely death in 2018, focuses especially on the interaction of film and modern art.


This queer film festival was set up in Vienna in 1994, initially within the context of the Viennale. In 2004 “Identities” opened at three venues, receiving funding from the City of Vienna and the federal authorities. Under the successful and ambitious leadership of Barbara Reumüller, the festival became the second largest film event in Vienna. In 2019, the festival was forced to close its portals because of cuts in funding.

With the QUEERFILMFESTIVAL, the best non-heteronormative films of the year 2022 will be celebrated during one week in autumn 2022 at the Votivkino Vienna, as in many other cinemas in German cities. (Event of the Queer Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media). In 2019, for the first time, the festival QUEERTACTICS, conceived by Gabi Frimberger, Katja Widerspahn and Dagmar Fink. QUEER_FEMINIST FILMFESTIVAL VIENNA took place at Le Studio and Admiralkino. In 2022, the short film award GOLDENE MEDUSA was launched and QUEERTACTICS thus contributes to the presence of diverse trans perspectives in the city of Vienna.


Christine Gebetsreuther and Katharina Riedler have taken over the festival management in 2022 from Since 2004, Christine Dollhofer has been in charge of CROSSING EUROPE, the festival of European film in Linz since 2004 and has played a major role in shaping it.CROSSING EUROPE , is dedicated to socio-politically committed European filmmaking and. took place for the first time in 2022 as KlimaKultur GreenEvent OÖ. Film festivals in Austria are currently also increasingly oriented towards concepts of sustainability and climate awareness.
Christine Dollhofer has been directing this film festival in Linz since 2004. It is devoted to contemporary and socio-politically engaged European cinema.


30 years ago, the mobile VOLXkino and the KINO UNTER STERNEN became pioneers of the increasing importance of festivals in municipal culture and film exploitation during the last years. In all major cities and some municipalities, a large number of festivals and summer cinemas have been established, dedicated to national or regional film cultures, specific film forms, social and political groups or thematic focuses: among others. : "TRICKYricky WOMENWomen", International Animation Film Festival for Women Vienna, "FRAMEOUT" Digital Film Festival Vienna, "Cine Latino" Vienna, "FrauenFilmTage" Vienna, "Jewish Film Week" Vienna, "JOUKI" International Youth Media Festival Wels, "Bergfilmfestival" Salzburg, "Heimatfilmfestival" Freistadt, "Alpinale" Nenzing, "International Film Festival of Human Rights" Vienna, "Vienna Shorts" Vienna, "Politfilmfestival" Innsbruck, "K3 Crossing Border Film Festival" Villach, "ETHNOCINECA" International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, "dotdotdot". International Barrier Free Open Air Short Film Festival Vienna, "International Children's Film Festival" Vienna, "Let's CEE" Central and Eastern European Film Festival, Vienna.
,...At Karlsplatz has in 2019 after the discontinuation of the traditional festivals "Kino unter Sternen" with "Kaleidoskop" a new summer cinema under the leadership of a four-member curator:innen collective CineCollective positioned. In 2022, "Kaleidoscope. Film und Freiluft am Karlsplatz" successfully made the free, sophisticated and diverse film experience in the center of the city possible again after a two-year pandemic break.
In all major cities of the country, a multitude of smaller festivals established themselves in the last ten years, which are dedicated to national film cultures, specific film forms, social and political groupings or thematic focal points throughout the year, among others: "TRICKY WOMEN", International Animation Film Festival for Women Vienna, "FRAMEOUT" Digital Film Festival Vienna, "CINE LATINO" Vienna, "FRAUEN.FILM. TAGE" Vienna, "JÜDISCHES FILMFESTIVAL" Vienna, "JOUKI" International Youth Media Festival Wels, "BERGFILMFESTIVAL" Salzburg, "THIS HUMAN WORLD" International Film Festival for Human Rights Vienna, "POLITFILMFESTIVAL" Innsbruck, "K3 CROSSING BORDER Film Festival" Villach, "ETHNOCINECA" International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, "ARCHITEKTUR.FILM". Open Air Architecture Film Festival Vienna.
 The need to increase budgetary resources for the dense festival scene remains virulent, especially after the pandemic phase, which is about strengthening and revitalizing public and collective spaces.