The Treasury of the Archive

The Film Archive Austria is the custodian of Austria’s cinematic heritage. Its diverse archival holdings comprise a total of over three million items spanning the entire history of cinema from its beginnings to the present day. The film repository Laxenburg has in safe-keeping the country’s largest film collection (200,000 titles) as well as one of Europe’s most extensive collections of film and cinema technology, with exhibits from over one hundred years.


The Audio-Visual Center Augarten is home to substantial holdings of film-related objects and documents. Assembled there are an extensive library of film-related books (16,000); a film library with more than 25,000 titles on video, DVD or electronic file; the country’s largest collection of film photography (2,000,000); an important collection of film programs (48,000); a poster collection (15,500); as well as numerous dossiers of documentary materials and bequests.


Historical film cans, ca. 1900-1920


In Laxenburg, the FAA’s film collections are housed in Austria’s technically most advanced storage facilities. The collections‘ focus is on films either made in or thematically related to Austria. More than 85% of the movies in the collections were produced in Austria. Since our collections are meant to reflect Austrian filmmaking in all its breadth and depth, they include not only professional made-for-theatrical-release films of every conceiveable length and format, but also instructional, avant-garde, and amateur films. Committed to pursuing an active collecting policy, the FAA moreover maintains a database that keeps track of Austrian films and footage in archives across the world. The database is continually updated and thus forms an ideal basis on which to do further research or initiate repatriations.


The FAA’s various collections of film-related printed materials form an integral part of our cinematic heritage and testify to our institution’s broad and inclusive view of what defines a modern film archive. Important though it is to look at films in their own specific materiality and representational form, it is only by taking into account the political, social, economic and cultural contexts in which they were made that we can arrive at a fuller understanding of them. Film-related source materials such as photos, posters, film programs, production notes and company archives enable us to take a look behind the silver screen and deepen our knowledge about individual films and film-makers.

Filmprojektor Gaumont, Mod. Chrono CM, 1913


In shining a spot-light on the technological side of cinema, these collections offer valuable insights into how movies were historically produced, presented and perceived. Our internationally renowned special collection of early movie projectors (1896-1918) speaks to the high technical standards already achieved for silent-film projections. Virtually all of the important projectors used in Austrian silent-film theaters are represented in the collection, most of them still in working condition. Two further areas of interest documented in our holdings are the history of film laboratories and the development of camera technology. Among the most treasured items of the camera collection are cameras from the early silent era and the camera that recorded the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.


The FAA has made strenuous efforts to preserve the technology employed by analog film laboratories. The collection thus not only includes such rarities as a manually operated copy machine from the early silent era but also tools and equipment ‒ all still in working condition ‒ from German and Austrian film laboratories that went out of business in recent years. In 2015, the FAA acquired the entire black-and-white equipment of Listo-Film’s analog film laboratory.


Film projectors
Film cameras



Dr. Nikolaus Wostry
+43 (0)1 216 13 00