Search Calls

Nowhere is a country’s culture and history as immediately and authentically accessible as in its audio-visual heritage. More than any other medium, film captures the flavors and textures of the everyday realities of the past. Privately made small-gauge films are a particularly important source of a nation’s audio-visual identity.


In recent years, enormous amounts of private film materials, many of them possibly valuable, have been discarded by their owners due to a lack of playback options. This painful loss gave the FAA the idea to launch a project aimed at systematically saving and preserving this ephemeral kind of filmmaking, which had been unjustly neglected far too long. The small-gauge films submitted to the FAA in response to its search calls were digitized, and the analog originals were put into long-term storage at the FAA’s Laxenburg location. The original owners were given free digital copies of their materials in the form of DVDs.


Dr. Anna Denk
+43 (0)1 216 13 00 – 254

“Your Movies Write History” was the FAA’s motto as it started its first search call for amateur films in the Austrian provinces. A successful pilot project in Burgenland (2012) was followed up with calls in Lower Austria (2013) and Salzburg (2016). By the end of 2017, Film Archive had assembled Europe’s largest collection of amateur films, comprising more than 100,000 items. These unique documents of everyday culture will be explored in the coming years by various scholarly and cultural projects. In 2018, the FAA, in collaboration with Salzburg’s Department for Culture and the state’s public libraries, will make available a selection of amateur films through its interactive digital archive.