With the METRO Kinokulturhaus the Film Archive Austria has created a new venue for the promotion of film culture right in the heart of Vienna. The large Historic Theater, built in the 19th century, provides the perfect setting for a contemporary presentation of film history from its pioneering days to the present: a venue not only for big retrospectives and premieres, but also smaller events, such as tributes and specials exploring various aspects of Austrian film production.
The new studio theater is named after the legendary Austrian-born film producer Eric Pleskow, who was present at its gala opening on October 18th, 2015. It is the first theater in Austria that bears the name of a famous Hollywood emigré. The new exhibition spaces at the Kinokulturhaus extend over three floors and host shows that are thematically related to current retrospectives and film programs.
Located in Vienna’s inner city, these are the first permanent exhibition spaces in Austria exclusively devoted to cinema. The combination of movie theaters and exhibition spaces in one house moreover opens up new curatorial fields of action.
All floors can be reached by elevator. The Historical Theater and the Eric-Pleskow Theater have one wheelchair seat each.
With the opening of the Audio-Visual Center Augarten in 1997, Film Archive has created a new service center at a top location and taken a significant step toward making its institutional work more visible to the public. The adapted farm buildings of the Chateau Augarten accommodate cutting-edge facilities that make the multi-layered cinematic heritage and the many special collections accessible to a broader audience. The Film Archive’s Audio-Visual Center, surrounded by beautiful, natural marshlands, gives anyone interested in films – from cinéphiles to TV producers – an opportunity to directly plug into more than one hundred years of film and contemporary history.
The Study Center includes a multi-media equipped reading room with an open-air lounge. Film scholars can use the in-house studio theater for projection viewings and special screenings The technical department, which was thoroughly overhauled in 2015, boasts state-of-the-art film scanners and other equipment for digital film restoration and regularly supplies the Study Center with digital user copies of newly documented and restored material from the archival holdings. The Audio-Visual Center’s customer service handles requests from professional film and TV productions as well as exhibitions. Every year, more than 500 international projects are supplied with archival materials relating to the history of Austria and Austrian cinema.
During the summer months, the Audio-Visual Center’s romantic nature garden is annually transformed into what is arguably Vienna’s most beautiful open-air cinema. There, the FAA in cooperation with the Viennale organizes the festival KINO WIE NOCH NIE [Cinema like never before], where audiences can enjoy classics, revivals, silent movies with live music as well as film premieres. For many years, the festival has been a fixture of Vienna’s cultural calender.
The study center and the library are barrier-free accessible.
In Laxenburg, the Film Archive administers Austria’s largest film collection. The repositories (as of October 2017) hold about 205,000 titles (520,000 reels or approximately 65 million meters of film). About 85% of the films are Austrian productions. Recent years have seen the addition of two new archival buildings equipped with the latest archival technology.
In 2004, the FAA opened the Central Film Archive Laxenburg (design by Michael Embacher), an innovative safety-film repository with an overall capacity of 300,000 reels. Soon afterward, planning began on a second archival structure for the storage of the FAA’s fast-growing collection of nitrate films.
In 2010, the new nitrate film repository Laxenburg (design by Ernst Michael Jordan) opened. Made entirely from wood, it is the world’s first archival structure built to passive-house specifications. Today, the Central Film Archive Laxenburg has at its disposal an internationally acclaimed archival infrastructure. Within a relatively brief time-span, the FAA has thus succeeded in establishing just outside Vienna a competence center for the preservation of Austria’s cinematic heritage.
The work being done at the FAA’s Laxenburg location covers a wide spectrum of tasks, from cataloging and assessing the material condition of the holdings to the reconstruction of historical films and the restoration of digital as well as analog films. Housed in a separate wing is our important collection of film technology, which comprises film cameras, film projectors, historical film laboratories as well as numerous exhibits from the pre-history of cinema.