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.

Filmarchiv Austria

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

SYNEMA - Society for Film and Media "Synema" has become a central communicator and network node of the Austrian film scene during the last 30 years. Founded in 1984 by Gottfried Schlemmer, Synema has been directed for many years by film scholar Brigitte Mayer and is an institution - funded by Section IV: Art and Culture / Dept. 3: Film of the Federal Ministry of Art, Culture, Civil Service and Sport. . SYNEMAynema has co-organized legendary international symposia in the fields of film history and film semiotics, organized international film festivals (including Screrenwise) in Vienna, and self-publishes profound scholarly publications on film, history and theory.

Akademie des Österreichischen Films

Founded in 2009, the "Academy of Austrian Film" has more than 550400 members from the entire film industry. The Academy's goal is to promote the achievements of the domestic film industry and to honor them accordingly. The Academy has been awarding the "Austrian Film Prize" since 2011. Actress Ursula Strauss and director Stefan Ruzowitzky were the current presidents of the Academy from 2013-2021, following Barbara Albert and Karl Markovits. In 2021, actress Verena Altenberger and producer and director Arash T. Riahi took over the presidency of the Academy.


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.

The Austrian Film Comission provides an overview of the distributors operating in Austria in 2022:

Medienwerkstatt Wien

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.

Cinema culture

Instead of presenting the diverse cinema culture in Vienna, but also in the provinces, in detail, we warmly recommend exploring the country's many traditional and experimental program cinema forms. The catalog accompanying the anniversary exhibition at the METRO Kinokulturhaus is particularly suitable for this purpose: Martina Zerovnik (ed.) Kino Welt Wien. Eine Kulturgeschichte städtischer Traumorte, verlag filmarchiv austria 2021.