des Filmarchiv Austria

Das 1955 offiziell gegründete Filmarchiv Austria hat sich in den über 60 Jahren seines Bestehens zum größten audio-visuellen Archiv Österreichs entwickelt. Die untenstehende Chronologie zeigt die Geschichte des Hauses von den bescheidenen Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart.


Joseph Gregor, director of the ÖNB’s [the Austrian National Library’s] theater collection, establishes an Archive for Film Studies, which collects objects and documents relating to cinema.


Viktor Matejka founds the Gesellschaft der Filmfreunde Österreichs [Austrian Society of Friends of the Cinema]; its precursor, the Gesellschaft der Filmfreunde, had been established, also by Matejka, in 1934.


The journal Filmkunst is launched.


Ludwig Gesek, Adolf Hübl and Roman Herle found the Österreichische filmwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft, later to be renamed Österreichische Gesellschaft für Filmwissenschaft [Austrian Society for Film Scholarship].


On June 3, 1954, at the First International Week of Film Scholarship in Vienna,  participants in the conference call for the establishment of an Austrian film archive. On June 30, the board of the Austrian Society for Film Scholarship passes a resolution to that effect. In October, at the FIAF (Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film) conference in Lausanne, preliminary talks are held about the establishment of an Austrian film archive.


On October 17, the Österreichisches Filmarchiv is officially established as a society; Ludwig Geres is appointed executive secretary, Joseph Gregor named its first president. The ÖFA’s mission is to collect feature films, documentaries and newsreels as well as any materials pertaining to the medium of film. Founding members are the State Agency for Photography and Educational Films, the Austrian National Library, the Austrian Society for Film Scholarship, the Austrian Society of Friends of the Cinema, and the Volksbildungshaus Urania. Since its foundation, the archive has been a member of the FIAF.


October 9: The archive becomes a full member of the FIAF.


November 19: The ÖFA’s first screening takes place at the Albertina.


Reconstruction of Austrian silent movie DER ROSENKAVALIER with materials from the FAA’s holdings.


The Austrian Film Archive organizes the first Viennale retrospective, Festival der Heiterkeit [Festival of Good Cheer] at the Urania Theater.


The Austrian Film Archive loans movies for screenings to the Österreichisches Filmuseum [Austrian Film Museum], which at the time is still in the process of formation.


First safety-copies made of nitrate films.


After a long search for an adequate site, the Austrian Film Archive eventually takes possession of the grounds surrounding the forester’s house in Laxenburg as a location for a central film repository. A year later, parliament greenlights construction.


The ÖFA relocates to new offices at 5, Rauhensteingasse, in Vienna’s inner city.


Construction work commences on the film repository in Laxenburg.


The ÖFA acquires additional space at the Old Laxenburg Castle. After renovation work is completed, the new space hosts exhibitions and serves as a repository for films and documentary materials.


Opening of the first exhibition at the Old Laxenburg Castle, Wien – Berlin – Hollywood. Richard Oswald.


Austria’s first nitrate film repository opens in Laxenburg. Exhibition and retrospective dedicated to G.W. Pabst at the Old Laxenburg Castle.


Exhibition and retrospective Hans Moser at the Old Laxenburg Castle.


Exhibition and retrospective King of Musical – Fred Astaire at the Old Laxenburg Castle. Retrospective of Austrian films at the Cinémathèque Française, Paris.


Walter Fritz is appointed new executive secretary of the ÖFA.


FIAF conference in Vienna and Laxenburg.


International conference “Audio-visual memory. Film Archives in our society” in Vienna.


December 1: Ernst Kieninger is appointed new executive secretary of the ÖFA.


The Österreichisches Filmarchiv changes its name to Filmarchiv Austria (FAA). Establishment of new headquarters in Vienna’s Augarten. The Audio-Visual Center Augarten, conceived both as service center and central agency for collecting and documenting films, is inaugurated with a gala opening on October 9, 1997.


The AUSTRIA WOCHENSCHAU [Austrian Newsreels] is incorporated into the FAA. Numerous large-scale projects are initiated for the purpose of locating and repatriating Austrian films from international partner archives.


Launch of video/DVD series “Austria in Historical Film Documents.”


The FAA’s first retrospective at the Augarten location is dedicated to G.W. Pabst. First open-air festival (Laurel & Hardy) at the Augarten.


First FAA book publication, Elektrische Schatten [Electric Shadows].


The FAA organizes screenings at the Imperial Cinema, Vienna. The opening retrospective is dedicated to Otto Preminger.


The Filmdokumentationszentrum [Center for the Documentation of Film] is incorporated into the FAA.


Signing of a long-term contract of cooperation between the FAA and the ORF [Austrian Broadcast Corporation].


Attendance at screenings for the first time passes the 50,000 mark.


The FAA saves the bankrupt Metro Cinema by adopting the legendary movie house as its first permanent theater.


Launch of the journal filmarchiv.


The FAA’s new Study Center opens at the Audio-Visual Center Augarten.


Opening of the Studio Theater Augarten.


Start of a series of presentations entitled Fascinating Film Archival at the Metro Cinema. In May, cornerstone laying of the new Central Film Archive Laxenburg.


On May 25, the Central Film Archive Laxenburg, Austria’s technically most advanced film repository, opens. Its holdings comprise more than 200,000 films.


Foundation of the Verlag Filmarchiv Austria, the FAA’s publishing arm. More than one hundred publications, videos and DVDs have been produced to date.


Planning begins on a special new building for the storage of nitrate films. Designs for the structure provide for extensive use of renewable energy. The FAA purchases a fleet of electric mini-vans to reduce the ecological footprint caused by in-house mobility.


The FAA celebrates its 50th anniversary with programs on the history of Austrian cinema and a series of special events.


To optimize international distribution of its products, the FAA’s in-house press joins forces with Edition Text und Kritik, München.


First edition of the Prater Film Festival at the Kaiserwiese in Vienna’s Prater. The festival takes place again in 2006 and 2007.

Start of a new series of programs at the Metro Cinema, titled Filmhimmel Österreich [Movie Heaven Austria] and featuring 100 programs on the history of Austrian cinema.


The DVD edition “Österreichs Weg zum Staatsvertrag” [The Road to the Austrian State Treaty] sells 10,000 copies, making it the FAA’s most successful production to date. Launch of the FAA’s complete edition of Austrian newsreels, “Österreichische Wochenschauen.”


To mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, the FAA organizes a series of special programs.


The world premiere of the FAA’s reconstruction of DER ROSENKAVALIER takes place at the Semper Opera in Dresden. From there, the production embarks on a global tour with more than thirty stops to date. It is the FAA’s most successful production of a silent movie screened with live music to date. In Austria, the production is shown at the Wiener Konzerthaus (2008) and at the Theater an der Wien (2013).


Launch of DVD series “Der österreichische Film,” for which the FAA shares editorship with publisher Hoanzl and the daily newspaper Der Standard. Over the following years, new titles are continually added, and the series grows into the most successful DVD project ever undertaken in Austria.


The FAA and the Viennale present Project Augarten Cinema as an alternative to the planned new concert hall for the Vienna Boys Choir. The design proposed by architectural firm Delugan & Meissl attracts international attention. In addition, a private sponsor is enlisted, who is willing to completely finance construction work to the amount of € 6,000,000. Eventually, however, the federal government comes down in favour of the Boys Choir’s project.


At the Metro Cinema, the FAA for the first times pairs an Erich von Stroheim retrospective with a small exhibition dedicated to the famous director. At the Viennale, the FAA presents the results of its research project Proletarian Cinema in Austria in the form of a film program, a book publication and a DVD edition.


Construction work on the nitrate film repository Laxenburg begins. Its design and the choice of materials make this archival building the first of its kind to be completely sustainable and energy efficient. (Construction completed in 2010.)


Start of the project Digital Film Restoration at Krems and Laxenburg, for which the FAA partners up with the Österreichische Filmgalerie and the Österreichisches Filmmuseum. In 2013, the project’s infrastructure relocates from Krems to Vienna, where it is henceforth based at Synchro Film.


On the occasion of the European Football Championship, held in Vienna, the FAA publishes special DVD editions on the history of soccer in Austria. First release of a critical edition of the OSTMARK newsreels.


The eleventh edition of the FAA’s annual open-air film festival at the Augarten is the first to be organized in collaboration with the Viennale. Since then, Kino wie noch nie [Cinema like never before] has remained a fixture of Vienna’s cultural calendar.


The FAA’s reconstruction of the G.W. Pabst classic DIE FREUDLOSE GASSE [The Joyless Street] is screened with live music at the Wiener Konzerthaus.




First Austrian retrospective dedicated to Eric Pleskow at Vienna’s Metro Cinema.


As part of this year’s edition of the Viennale, the FAA presents Early Austrians, in which early Austrian silent films are screened to the accompaniment of experimental music by Austrian musicians.


At the Metro Cinema, the newly formed Jewish Film Club Vienna organizes monthly presentations on various aspects of Jewish film culture.


Start of new presentational format Cinema Sessions: Austrian and international films from the archive are combined with contemporary live music, resulting in a new art form. Selected Cinema Sessions are made available on DVD.


Release of the DVD edition “Österreich-Box,” a boxed set of six DVDs containing over sixteen hours’ worth of original footage documenting Austria’s history. Copious commentaries on the primary sources are included to facilitate use in classrooms.


September 28: Opening of the new nitrate film repository in Laxenburg, the world’s first archival edifice built entirely from wood and to passive-house standards. The project is awarded the Österreichische Solarpreis and the Lower Austrian prize for wooden buildings.


Publication of first installment (1896‒1918) of the Österreichische Filmografie.


The FAA’s contribution to this year’s Viennale is Silent Masters, a program pairing classics of Austrian silent cinema with experimental live music. The program is a favorite with audiences.


After renting the floor directly above the historical theater, plans are drawn up for an expansion of the Metro Cinema.


Release of DVD “Die Ära Kreisky” [The Kreisky Era], which contains extensive archival materials as well as newly recorded interviews with witnesses.



Launch of new book series “Taschenkino” (Pocket Cinema) with six productions by Austrian film artists.


The FAA acquires possession of the upper floors of the historical Metro Cinema. Plans for the Metro Cinema’s expansion and transformation into the METRO Kinokulturhaus include a studio theater as well as additional space for exhibitions and events.


Start of the touring program Kino der Orte [Cinema of places], which  presents films at historically charged sites in Vienna.


The FAA kicks off the project Audio-Visual Burgenland with a province-wide call asking the public to send in their amateur films, which are subsequently digitized.


The FAA retrospective on Russian movie emigrés, Vienna ‒ Moscow, is the surprise success of this year’s Viennale.


To mark the 90th anniversary of Austrian star actor Oskar Werner, the FAA produces an exhibition at Werner’s former home, the Herrengasse highrise in Vienna’s inner city.


The second edition of Kino der Orte [Cinema of Places] includes a special section organized in collaboration with the Jewish Museum.


Start of large-scale project Niederösterreich privat (The Private Side of Lower Austria). By early 2015, more than 60,000 amateur films have been submitted. Storage of the original materials in Laxenburg.


Digital film restoration of KAMPF MIT DEM BERG [Battle with the Mountain]. The restored version contains unique materials held by the FAA. The live music performance of Paul Hindemith’s original score is produced in collaboration with ZDF/ARTE.


Construction work at the Metro location begins. The architectural firm Dominik Aichinger is in charge of planning. By early 2014, complicated floor openings have been effected with the help of  intricate static support systems necessitated by damage caused by World-War-Two bombs. With the installation of an elevator the entire house is henceforth wheel-chair accessible.


For the third edition of Kino der Orte [Cinema of Places], the FAA screens films at seven defunct Viennese movie theaters, thus connecting urban history and film history. In 2015, Faro, the EU convention on cultural heritage, selects Kino der Orte as Austrian reference project.


Partial opening of the METRO Kinokulturhaus. On October 10, the FAA presents the renovated house to the public. More than 3,000 enthusiasts visit the new film center in Vienna’s inner city. Siegfried A. Fruhauf’s installation “Kino elementar” is the first in a series of artists’ interventions.


Peter Handke geht ins Kino [Peter Handke at the Movies] is the first program presented at the new METRO Kinokulturhaus. On October 11, the famous writer pays the house a visit.


The FAA’s contribution to this year’s Viennale is the retrospective Fritz Kortner ‒ Das Gedächtnis des Films [Fritz Kortner ‒ The Memory of Film]. Presentation of accompanying publication.


Two large-scale retrospectives dedicated to Gustav Ucicky and Oskar Werner, each supplemented by extensive publications, are warmly received by the public.


For the first time, the FAA presents an in-house restoration at the Berlinale. The world premiere of VARIETÉ with live music by the Tiger Lillies is one of the highlights of the section Berlinale Classics and attracts world-wide acclaim.


At the end of March, Nikolaus Wostry is appointed second executive secretary. The internationally renowned expert on film archives has headed the film depository Laxenburg since 1998.


Renovation work on the Metro Cinema enters its final stage. With support from the Bundesdenkmalamt [Federal Agency for the Preservation of Monuments], the FAA coordinates the renovation of the entire façade. The refurbished interiors by Gregor Eichinger are a convincing reinterpretation of classic movie-house architecture, scoring points with a specially designed carpet and lavish furniture in the lobby.


In the course of a beautiful summer season, more than 30,000 visitors – a new record attendance – enjoy the cineastic and culinary delights on offer at this year’s edition of Cinema Like Never Before.


October 6: Opening at the METRO Kinokulturhaus of the exhibition “Kinomagie” [Cinema Magic] on cinema’s pre- and early history. Present at the gala opening are minister Ostermayer, German philosopher Bazon Brock and collector Werner Nekes. The entire house is now fully operational.


18 October: Official opening of the Eric Pleskow Theater with the great Austrian-born film producer present in person. The Pleskow Theater is the first theater in Austria to be named after a Hollywood emigré.


The FAA retrospective Aus Fleisch und Blut [Of Flesh and Blood], curated by Paul Poet, is the most successful special of this year’s Viennale in terms of attendance.


The FAA gradually broadens the spectrum of its programs at the Kinokulturhaus. From January 2016, the monthly program is published in the shape of a new pocket guide.


The educational programs on offer for the show “Kinomagie” are avidly taken up by schools, with guided tours and special educational events provided on a near-daily basis.


October sees the opening of the FAA’s second large-scale exhibition, “Archiv der Schaulust – eine Geschichte des frühen Kinos in der k. u. k. Ära 1896–1918“ [Archive of Visual Pleasure – A History of Early Cinema in the Hapsburg Era 1896–1918].


At the Viennale, the FAA presents a retrospective dedicated to Hollywood emigré Robert Land.


At this year’s Viennale, the FAA launches a crowdfunding campaign to finance restoration of the Austrian silent film DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN [The City Without Jews]. The recent discovery of missing reels in France means that for the first time the film can be almost entirely reconstructed.


The crowdfunding campaign for DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN closes with a record-breaking € 80,000 in contributions. The sensational find and the unconventional financing of the restoration are extensively covered by international media outlets.


The FAA submits to the Chancellery a detailed proposal including an architectural rendering for a Film Preservation Center Laxenburg. The building is to house a film repository for analog and digital films as well as a film laboratory.


In January, the first integral Werner Herzog retrospective opens at the METRO Kinokulturhaus. The director is present at some of the screenings.


In March, the FAA starts its third province-wide search call for amateur films, this time in Salzburg. Receiving offices are installed in public libraries across Salzburg. The project has 60 such offices at its disposal.


With the restoration of DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN well under way, preparations are made for large-scale exhibition dealing with the movie, its historical background and how it relates to present-day concerns. The show will mark the hundredth anniversary of the First Republic.


On July 23, Hans Hurch, a long-time board member of the FAA, unexpectedly dies of heart failure.


The open-air festival Cinema Like Never Before, of which Hans Hurch had been a co-founder, closes in early September with a new visitor record.


The FAA-organized retrospective Velden 1977 – Die ersten österreichischen Filmtage [Velden 1977 – The First Austrian Film Days] is accompanied by a book publication, the first in a new series titled “Film Geschichte Österreich” [Film History Austria].


“ANALOG_DIGITAL,” the FAA’s third exhibition opens at the METRO Kinokulturhaus. The change from analog to digital is addressed from a variety of artistic perspectives. A film program, panel discussions and numerous educational events supplement the show.


The FAA’s contribution to this year’s Viennale is a retrospective of movies, most of them newly restored, starring the Austrian silent-film actress Carmen Cartellieri.


At the beginning of the year, the FAA presents the re-launch of its website.