Cinema and film in Austria

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The Apollo Kino in Mariahilf is the only multiplex cinema in Vienna that is located in the densely built-up inner-city area. With 2,160 seats in 12 halls, it is also one of the largest cinemas in the city.

The article Kino und Film in Österreich deals with the film industry as well as the film institutions , awards , archiving , film funding and other related aspects.



Main articles: Austrian film history , Austrian cinema history

Despite scientific and entrepreneurial pioneering achievements in the 19th century, to which some important developments in film technology can be traced back, the film industry in Austria developed only very slowly at first. The first cinemas opened after the turn of the century in the Habsburg monarchy, the first short films appeared in 1906. Production increased rapidly from 1910 and reached the Republic of German-Austria between 1918 and 1923, supported by the isolation of important film nations during the First World War by inflation, its peak. Austria, which, like the republican German Reich, represented the exceptional case of a strengthened film industry after the World War, was one of the leading film producers in the world during these years, with Sascha-Film being one of the largest producers in Europe.

From the 1920s onwards, the Weimar Republic and the up-and-coming film metropolis of Berlin became a popular attraction for filmmakers from Austria. Directors such as Max Reinhardt , Fritz Lang and GW Pabst celebrated their greatest successes there - many other filmmakers, such as Josef von Sternberg , Richard Oswald , Fritz Kortner and Peter Lorre , were only a little behind them. With the beginning of the Hitler dictatorship in 1933, many Jews and other persecuted Nazis emigrated first to Austria and from 1938, after Hitler's homeland was annexed to the German Reich, mostly indirectly to the USA . In addition to the aforementioned emigrants, there were other great German film stars from former Austria, such as Billy Wilder , Fred Zinnemann and Otto Preminger . During the Second World War , Vienna became the main production site for National Socialist feature and propaganda films, alongside Munich and Berlin . Attempts to avoid the National Socialist propaganda mandate largely through a strong reference to history and Vienna only succeeded to a limited extent.

After the Second World War in the re-established Republic of Austria, the focus was on homeland films and comedies that spread a positive atmosphere . It was not until the 1960s that when the traditional film industry declined, something new could emerge. The avant-garde film took on the role of paving the way for the new Austrian film . After many years of demands from filmmakers for state film funding , this wish was fulfilled in 1980. In the 1980s, a new film scene developed that was characterized by diversity and often by criticism of socio-political issues. At the same time, film comedy flourished with cabaret artists as the main characters and reached its peak in the 1990s. Alternative filmmaking, which is mostly focused on drama, is less popular in Germany than comedies, but has increasingly achieved presence and awards at international film festivals since the late 1990s.

Current development

Cinema premieres in Austria
year total
of which with Austrian
of which
mostly ö.
2000 219 k. A. 17th
2001 233 k. A. 12
2002 251 k. A. 26th
2003 269 k. A. 20th
2004 280 32 24
2005 300 30th 24
2006 296 33 33
2007 302 32 25th
2008 268 30th 27
2009 339 35 28
2010 425 46 35
2011 318 54 37
2012 360 54 42
2013 344 46 40

The time around the turn of the millennium brought with it an internationalization of film from Austria. In 1999 Barbara Albert marked the beginning of a new era of internationally acclaimed filmmaking with Nordrand . As the first Austrian production since 1948, the film was nominated for the main prize at the Venice Film Festival , and the leading actress Nina Proll received the Marcello Mastroianni Prize for “best young actress”. In view of the increasing festival presence and awards for Austrian films in the following years - for example Michael Haneke's Die Klavierspielerin (2001), Ulrich Seidl's Hundstage (2001), Virgil Widrichs Copy Shop (2002), to name some of the most internationally acclaimed films - Nordrand becomes a part of film studies often viewed as a turning point in Austrian filmmaking. The American film scholar Robert von Dassanowsky describes Nordrand as the film that follows the prophecy of the Hollywood Reporter from 1997 that Austrian films are ready to take on an international profile (“[...] Austrian film 'is ready to take on an international profile '"), fulfilled.

This turning point in filmmaking - i.e. the professionalization and style development of a predominantly younger section of filmmakers who bring German film productions from Austria also international attention - is partly due to Austrian film funding , partly to the good education, albeit only with the Vienna Film Academy there is a notable institution of this type in Austria. Last but not least, the successes are of course due to the existing creative potential, which can develop better in today's loose structure of the film production industry than in the past decades. Nevertheless, well-known filmmakers such as Franz Novotny or Virgil Widrich criticize Austrian film policy, which in their opinion produces many talents, but does not provide enough funding to exploit their potential. Many other personalities working in Austrian film also advocate an increase in film funding and often cite the example of Luxembourg , where the high film funding not only benefits Luxembourg film culture , but also promotes the national economy in multiple ways through the value chain and subsequently increased it Tax revenues also flow back to the state.

This is also one reason why many young filmmakers have founded their own film production companies - such as coop99 and Amour Fou , which have already produced internationally successful productions - since large producers are only willing to take a limited economic risk without sufficient funding. In terms of the number of visitors to domestic productions, Austria is one of the worst performers in Europe. Only around three percent of all cinema-goers in a year can be traced back to Austrian films, which is not least due to the low willingness - or in the case of smaller rentals or self-lending, to the financial ability - to do adequate advertising for domestic productions. Awareness of the spectrum of Austrian filmmaking is correspondingly low among the population - and so is the interest and acceptance. Numerous festival participations, which since the late 1990s have been honored more and more with awards (most recently there were Oscars for Die Fälscher and Amour ), however, ensured increased awareness of Austrian films.

Cinema visits in Austria
in millions
year total
( AKM )
Austrian films
2000 k. A. 15.19 0.27 (1.8%)
2001 18.98 17.66 0.38 (2.2%)
2002 19.25 18.24 0.65 (3.6%)
2003 17.74 16.57 0.25 (1.5%)
2004 19.38 18.30 0.50 (2.7%)
2005 15.68 15.07 0.41 (2.7%)
2006 17.34 16.71 0.45 (2.7%)
2007 15.69 14.88 0.30 (2%)
2008 15.63 14.83 0.97 (6.6%)
2009 18.42 18.07 1.39 (7.7%)
2010 17.32 16.45 0.73 (5.1%)
2011 16.78 15.75 0.45 (3.6%)
2012 16.74 16.40 0.58 (3.5%)
2013 15.84 15.18 0.52 (3.4%)

Since dramas, documentaries or stories about human abysses are often particularly well-known productions from Austria, the New York Times described Austria as, loosely translated, “world capital of bad-feeling cinema” on the occasion of a film series in New York's Lincoln Center. Barbara Alberts, among others, was shown there Nordrand (1999), Michael Hanekes Das Schloss (1997) and The Piano Player (2001), Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Elsewhere (2001), Ulrich Seidls Models (1999) and Michael Glawogger's Workingman’s Death (2005) and Slumming (2006). The “excellent quality of the new wave of Austrian cinema” is based on the “will to confront the contemptible and the emphasis on the negative”. Michael Haneke is also honored in the same article as the director from The Seventh Continent (1989) to to the present day, most of the credit goes to the international attention of Austrian film.


While only a few of the film actors regularly take leading roles in movies, which would make it difficult to identify the “stars” of the domestic cinema, there are numerous directors, often internationally renowned filmmakers. Many of the directors are often scriptwriters as well.

Other important filmmakers can be found among the cameramen, where Christian Berger is a successful representative.

See also: List of important Austrian filmmakers


Due to the greatest international film successes of the last few years with Die Klavierspielerin (2001), Caché (2005) and Amour (2012), Michael Haneke is considered the most important contemporary Austrian director. Ulrich Seidl's Austrian-critical productions such as Hundstage (2001) and the Paradies trilogy ( Liebe , Glaube , Hoffnung , 2012/2013) are also in the area of ​​socially critical drama . Erwin Wagenhofer ( We Feed the World , 2005) and Hubert Sauper ( Darwin's Nightmare , 2004) achieved box office successes and awards with socially critical documentaries . Robert Dornhelm , who worked mainly in the United States over the course of his career, also appeared in Europe from the mid-2010s with lavish documentaries and period films ( War and Peace , 2007), the majority of which were produced for television.

The most commercially important film genre within Austria, however, is that of comedy. Films of this type are usually the only ones able to achieve satisfactory audience numbers in Austria - but usually not beyond. Here is one of the most important representatives of Harald Sicherheitsitz , who with Roland Düringer as the main actor in Hinterholz 8 and Poppitz made the two most popular Austrian films. Reinhard Schwabenitzky is continuously responsible for romantic comedies, Xaver Schwarzenberger ensured success with critical, but also commercially successful Heimatfilms and Peter Payer is responsible for both excellent children's films and dramas. Likewise Michael Kreihsl , who was honored with the Caligari Film Award of the Berlin International Film Festival for Charm's incidents in 1996 .

In Austria, Wolfgang Murnberger ( Come, sweet death , 2002, Silentium , 2004 , The Bone Man , 2009, The Eternal Life , 2015), Michael Glawogger ( Nudibranchs , 2004, have managed the difficult balancing act between demanding and comic films in Austria . Slumming , 2006) and Hans Weingartner ( The fat years are over , 2004). Other successful directors in recent years include Barbara Albert ( Nordrand , 1999, Fallen , 2006) and Andrea Maria Dusl ( Blue Moon , 2002), Elisabeth Scharang , Mirjam Unger , Kurt Palm , Jessica Hausner , Virgil Widrich , Florian Flicker and Ruth Beckermann , who also attract attention at international festivals with films of different genres.

See also: List of Austrian film directors


The best-known Austrian film actors are undoubtedly those cabaret artists who were responsible for the leading roles in the cabaret films that are well represented in Austria. These are above all Roland Düringer and Alfred Dorfer as well as over a dozen other popular cabaret artists such as Reinhard Nowak , Andreas Vitasek , Andrea Händler and Eva Billisich . Only a few cabaret artists make a name for themselves through film roles in more profound films. For example Josef Hader , who most recently played the leading role in Komm, Süßer Tod (2002), Silentium (2004) and The Bone Man (2009) together with Simon Schwarz . Alongside Nina Proll , Michael Ostrowski , Birgit Minichmayr , Georg Friedrich , Arno Frisch and Robert Stadlober, Simon Schwarz is currently one of the most sought-after young Austrian film actors. Other well-established film actors who appear primarily in the cinema and television productions of the major Austrian film companies are Tobias Moretti , Karl Markovics , Sophie Rois , Harald Krassnitzer and others. Currently, the world's best-known, active Austrian actor is Christoph Waltz , who was awarded the Oscar for best male supporting role and many other international film awards for his two roles in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained . Many of the actors who have been active in film for many years still appear regularly in theaters.

See also: List of Austrian film actors

Film industry

Austrian film industry 2009
Economic sector Number of
in € million
Number of
Film production (cinema and TV) 1,389 338.7 3,025
movie theater 123 142.5 1.916
Film rental and distribution 81 68.2 243
Post-production, other
film technology
77 12.2 139
Business, image and
educational film production
110 24.0 259
Video stores 246 50.0 881
total 2.164 690.7 6,801

Economic importance

The exploitation of a film, the advertising, distribution and distribution to intermediaries and cinemas ensure a value chain that was put at 690.7 million euros in 2009 (total turnover in the film industry). Of this, 468 million euros go to purchases of goods and services outside the film industry. Adjusted for advance payments, subsidies, taxes and other levies, all of this results in gross value added of 237 million euros.

The Austrian Film Institute is assuming a tax payment of 120 million euros (2001), which will benefit the Austrian state from the film industry and thus more than cover the funds used for film funding .

In 2009 the Austrian film industry comprised 2,164 companies with 6,801 (annual average) employees. These include 1,389 film production companies with 3,025 employees - not including actors and other freelance service or work contractors . Around three quarters of the companies are sole proprietorships . Before the film industry was liberalized into a free trade in 1994, the Austrian film industry only had 618 companies.

Due to the lack of funding for decades and the low level of funding since 1981 compared to other countries, as well as only low tax incentives, both the production costs per film and the advertising expenditure and, as a result, the reach and box office results are below average in a European comparison.

Thanks to increased funding from the federal states and other public institutions in recent years, however, an improvement in the situation can be determined - the marketing of domestic productions is still low compared to international competition. Successful productions that attract numerous visitors and are also successful at film festivals are often created in cooperation with foreign production companies. Overall, the value chain, i.e. sales from theatrical distribution to the sale of DVDs, videos, soundtracks, etc., is dominated by US companies.

Film production

Annual production values
in million euros
branch 2009
Television films 97.3
cinemamovies 27.2
Commercials 21.7
Economic films 7.2
Other films 7.1
total 160.5

The film production value in Austria (not to be confused with company sales) has been declining since 2001 (250 million euros) and in 2009 comprised a production value of 160.5 million euros. 83% of the production value is accounted for by commissioned productions , 17% for in- house productions (cinema films). Independent film production in Austria, as in most other European countries, is hardly feasible without funding . As a rule, the self-produced film achieves its medium and long-term revenues from its use in the cinema and from the subsequent TV and video / DVD exploitation.

At the same time, the number of companies (due to the large number of EPUs ) but also the level of sales has risen sharply. In 2009 there were 2,164 film producers - mostly sole proprietorships - active in Austria. Around 3,000 people are directly employed in cinema and TV film production. The film industry as a whole employs around 6,800 people a year on average. The film manufacturers' sales rose from around EUR 200 million (2001) to EUR 417 million (2009).

The largest film production companies in Austria are Allegro , Dor , Epo , MR , Satel- , Star and Wega -Film . Most of the most successful cinema film productions in Austria such as We Feed the World (Allegro), Hinterholz 8 (Dor) or MA 2412 - Die Staatsdiener (MR) come from these . However, the majority of internationally acclaimed film productions come from the many smaller film companies, some of which were founded by the directors themselves - such as Coop99 and Amour Fou Filmproduktion .

Theatrical film production, which comprises an average of around 30 films a year, is made up of about half each of fiction and documentary films. In contrast to previous years, the majority of these films were made as sole Austrian productions, around a third are international co-productions. International co-productions are legally regulated by film agreements. The most frequent partner country is the Federal Republic of Germany because of the common German language, which is why the most important and detailed agreement is the co-production agreement between Austria and Germany .

Austria's only film copying plants and providers of post-production of films are Listo Videofilm and Synchro Film .

See also: List of Austrian film production companies

Film market - rental, distribution and exploitation

Largest film distributors in Austria
by market share (at least 1%) for cinema visits in 2013
(previous year)
rental country Movies Visits
in millions
in %
1 (1) Universal International United States 29 2.73 18th
2 (4) Constantin D / Ö 49 2.59 17th
3 (2) Warner bros. United States 23 2.34 15.4
4 (6) Sony International United States 19th 1.91 12.6
5 (6) Fox International United States 16 1.53 10.1
6 (3) Walt Disney Studios United States 11 1.29 8.5
7 (7) Movie store Ö 56 0.64 4.2
8 (4) Constantin / STCanal D /? 14th 0.6 4th
9 (11) Thim movie D / Ö 39 0.41 2.7
11 (12) Constantin / Senator D. 10 0.25 1.7
12 (10) Poly film Ö 32 0.2 1.3
8 (8) Luna movie Ö 9 0.18 1.2
Others 93 0.5 <1
total 400 15.2 100

The film distribution chain in Austria is dominated by US companies. These are responsible for around a third of the films shown for the first time in Austria, but at the same time achieve two thirds of all cinema visits. The ten most visited films in Austria, of which between 8 and 10 come from the USA each year, record an average of 30% of the annual audience. The largest distributor in Austria in recent years has mostly been Universal Pictures International , although the market shares among the top ranks change slightly every year.

The share of Austrian films in the number of admissions averaged between two and three percent until 2007 (one of the weakest values ​​in Europe), although the share of premieres a year is around eight percent. Since 2008, the proportion of films has increased to around ten percent and the proportion of cinema visits to three to eight percent. According to Roland Teichmann, the head of the Austrian Film Institute, this is not due to individual statistical outliers” as is so often the case , “but rather to a variety of films and topics that represent the entire spectrum of Austrian filmmaking ” . An average Austrian production rarely reaches more than 10,000 cinema visits and thus does not make it into the top 10 of a year. Only a few Austrian films have received more than 200,000 visits to their home market since the beginning of the 1980 count.

The exploitation of Austrian films is mostly carried out by Austrian or German distribution companies. Often there is a division between national and international exploitation, with the international exploitation rights being transferred to foreign companies and the national exploitation rights being handled by an Austrian distributor. Of the approximately 30 Austrian cinema films produced annually, around half are evaluated internationally, mainly in Germany - that is, at least in the cinemas there, and less often on DVDs. Nonetheless, exploitation abroad plays a major role, as on average half of all visits to the cinema for Austrian films are made abroad and thus cover production costs. In 2006, of the approximately 1.5 million visits to Austrian films, over one million were visited by foreign audiences, which was mainly due to the great success of We Feed the World and Caché . The years 2008 to 2010 were particularly successful due to the Oscar award for The Counterfeiters and the international awards for The White Ribbon .

In terms of sales, Hoanzl is the most important company for Austrian films and cabaret recordings. He is also responsible for the co-creation and distribution of the 125-part DVD series “ The Austrian Film ”, of which around 500,000 individual copies were sold by autumn 2008. This DVD series is largely responsible for the fact that the share of Austrian productions in the rapidly growing DVD market rose to around 6% (i.e. twice the percentage of what Austrian films achieve in the cinema) - Hoanzl is aiming for 12 to 15%.

Cinemas and attendance at the cinema

Cinemas in Austria 2008
state Cinemas Movie theaters Seats
Vienna 39 171 32,211
Lower Austria 29 90 14,366
Upper Austria 29 85 14,169
Styria 23 75 13,652
Tyrol 12 44 7,836
Salzburg 10 38 8,178
Carinthia 7th 30th 5,956
Vorarlberg 8th 25th 4,557
Burgenland 6th 17th 2,258
total 163 575 103.183

The 163 Austrian cinemas in 2008 (- / + 0 compared to the previous year) have 575 (+5) cinemas with 103,183 seats (+1,083). That is about half more than in 1994 and about the same as in the immediately preceding years. The largest cinema, the UCI Kinowelt Millennium City Wien, has 21 halls and 3,524 seats. The trend towards a decrease in the number of theaters with a simultaneous increase in the number of theaters and seats, which has been evident for many years, has continued in recent years. For example, the number of cinemas fell from 176 to 163 between 2004 and 2007, while the number of halls rose from 560 to 575 (2008) and the number of seats increased by around 2,000. This is due to the continuous extinction of single-room cinemas, whose share of the total number of cinemas decreased from 41% in 2004 to 35% in 2008. The international trend towards digital film screenings is hardly noticeable in Austria. In 2005, 12 halls had digital demonstration equipment .

According to a survey of the workplace by Statistics Austria, there were 1,980 full-time employees in the cinemas in 2001. With the increasing competition from the construction of large cinema centers, the average ticket price fell continuously from 6.18 euros in 2001 to 5.85 euros in 2004. With the subsequent relaxation of the competitive situation through the closure of some cinemas, the price rose again: First only slightly to 6.03 euros in 2004 and 2005, then skyrocketed in 2007 to 6.72 euros. Ticket sales in all Austrian cinemas totaled 105.5 million euros in 2007.

The largest cinema operator in Austria is Constantin Film-Holding ( Cineplexx chain) with around 37% market share (estimate, 2002 ). Another big cinema operator is the Hueber family with their Hollywood Megaplex chain. A formerly large cinema operator was the Vienna Kiba , whose cinemas were sold to various film companies in 1999 as part of the privatization.

In 2008 the Austrian cinemas recorded 15.63 million ( AKM ) visits, which is well below the average for previous years. These figures also include festival and special screenings, which are extrapolated by AKM on the basis of statistics from Nielsen EDI .

Film culture

Educational and cultural institutions

Entrance to the Urania during the Viennale .

In 1947 the Catholic Film Commission was set up, which in 1949 organized the 1st International Festival of Religious Film. This festival week was held every two years until 1963. For its part, the Protestant Church set up the “Filmstelle des Evangelischen Oberkirchenrat” in 1951. However, its activities were discontinued around 1990.

In 1952 Walter Kolm-Veltée was able to establish a special course in film design at the Vienna Academy for Music and Performing Arts . In 1960, a film class was added, led by film critic Hans Winge. The two courses were merged in 1963 and have since been called "Department of Film and Television at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna". Since 1998 it has been the "Department of Film and Television at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna", also known as the Vienna Film Academy . In addition to the Vienna Film Academy also offers the Viennese adult education center, the polycollege , one - but paid - training in film and television professions on movie college at. The Vienna Film School, which emerged from the First Vienna Screenwriting School and offers classes in film and acting, has also existed since 1997. In addition, the Austrian Study Center for Film at Danube University Krems has been devoting itself to advanced training in the field of film (TV and film production) since 2001.

1952 was the founding year of the "Austrian Society for Film Studies", later renamed "Austrian Society for Film Studies, Communication and Media Research". The tasks of this association include the announcement of the prizes for film and television research, the supervision of the state prize for the advertising film, the keeping of the film statistics of Austria and up to the closure in 1996 also the publication of the magazine "Filmkunst".

In 1955 the Austrian Film Archive was founded on the initiative of the “Gesellschaft der Filmfreunde”, the “Gesellschaft für Filmwissenschaft”, the National Library , the Vienna Urania, the “Federal Headquarters for Photography and Educational Film” and Ludwig Gesek. The purpose of this institution, which has been called Filmarchiv Austria since 1997 , is the administration, maintenance and retrieval of Austrian film productions and the associated literature and specialist journals.

The Austrian Film Museum was founded in 1964 in the Albertina in Vienna. Founders were Peter Konlechner and Peter Kubelka . Every year the Filmmuseum organizes a retrospective on the Viennale , the only film festival in Austria recognized by FIAPF .

Archives and Research

As early as 1900, the Vienna Academy of Sciences was the first scientific institute in Europe to set up a phonogram archive to collect, among other things, vocal portraits of artists and public figures. The Austrian Film Archive emerged from this institution in 1955. It is not only active in the discovery, reconstruction and archiving of Austrian films, but also in research and communication of film history to the public. Research focuses are regularly concluded with retrospectives consisting of film screenings and publications, and books on film history are published.

From 1970 to 1972 the ten-part television series "Filmgeschichte (n) aus Österreich" was produced and broadcast on ORF. An essential part of these programs were the interviews with a large number of Austrian actors, directors, producers and other filmmakers, in which the interviewees reported on their experiences with Austrian film from the silent film era through the Nazi era to the current situation at the time. This television series is therefore an important document on Austrian film history.

Important film historians are Walter Fritz , Ludwig Gesek, Herbert Holba , Alexander Horwath, Ernst Kieninger, Armin Loacker, Gertraud Steiner and, as the first and so far only English-speaking researcher to have written a comprehensive book on Austrian film history, Robert von Dassanowsky .

Film festivals and awards

The Wiener Stadtkino during the Viennale film festival .
Main article: Film festivals in Austria

There are around 20 annual film festivals and festivals in Austria. The largest of these and the only one accredited by the FIAPF film producers' association is the Viennale in Vienna.

The most important festival in the Austrian film industry is the Diagonale : since 1998 filmmakers from all departments have been meeting in Graz every year to see the work of their colleagues from the previous year together and to exchange ideas. The supporting program includes panel discussions, premiere celebrations and the presentation of the Diagonale prizes.

The " Golden Ticket " and the " Austrian Ticket " have existed since 1983 . The Golden Ticket is awarded to every film that can have over 300,000 visitors within 18 months. The Austrian Ticket was originally awarded to the most successful Austrian film of a year and, since 2008, every Austrian film that has reached over 75,000 visitors in Austrian cinemas.

The Academy of Austrian Films has been awarding the Austrian Film Prize since 2011 . Two of the following criteria must be met for a nomination:

  • the original version of the film is in German
  • the director comes from Austria or lives in Austria
  • the producer is Austrian or lives in Austria

Film policy

At the beginning of the silent film era, the State Federal Film Headquarters was founded in Austria , which was primarily active in the production of cultural , scientific and educational films and was internationally recognized, but ceased to exist in the 1920s. In 1945 the “Federal Headquarters Photo and Educational Film” (SHB) was founded. Since then, their task has been to procure or produce audiovisual media in order to forward them to the state and district picture offices for school use. Until the early 1970s, the SHB was also responsible for supervising scientific films for teaching and research.

Film funding and rating

Main article: Film funding in Austria

In 1962 the "Joint Film Rating Commission of the Austrian Federal States" (GFPK) was founded. This decides whether films shown in Austria receive the rating “particularly valuable”, “valuable”, “worth seeing” or none. This is combined with tax reductions for the cinemas showing such films.

The 'The Good Film' campaign was founded in 1965. True to its name, the purpose of this association was to promote the showing of good films in film clubs and schools. The main organizers for this project were Sigmund Kennedy and Ferdinand Kastner.

Since 1981 Austrian film producers have been able to apply for financial support from the “Austrian Film Funding Fund”, which was taken over in 1981 by the newly founded Austrian Film Institute . The film / television agreement to support domestic feature films has also existed since 1989 .

The majority of newly released Austrian films are now funded by the Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI). Since 2003, this has been provided with 9.6 million euros annually in federal contributions. Until 2003, the funding amount was increased almost annually, based on the equivalent of 1.92 million euros in 1981. Including funding from cities and federal states, the funding amount in 2003 reached around 43 million euros.

Between 1998 and 2001, 48 of the 74 Austrian cinema films produced were funded by the ÖFI. The share of all domestic films in relation to the total number of films screened in these years was 7.57%. In the case of visitors, however, the proportion is only 3.22%. However, if you only consider European films in terms of screening and attendance figures, the Austrian share is 15.1% of the number of films and 22.43% of the number of visits. On average, only 20% of Austrian productions reach more than 100,000 visitors in the cinemas.

A funded Austrian film receives an average of 0.8 million euros in subsidies. The production costs of an Austrian film amount to an average of 1.4 million euros. In an international comparison, this is very little, for example a German or a French film is funded with an average of more than 2 million euros.

Associations and advocacy groups

An umbrella association to represent the interests of the Austrian film scene was formed for the first time shortly after the height of Austrian film production in 1922. In order to be able to perform with a stronger, united voice, the Filmbund was founded at the end of 1922 . The time of National Socialism, however, later dissolved all structures and replaced them with associations subordinate to the state, which only served the control purpose of the film industry. It was only after 1945 that Austrian filmmakers were able to form interest groups again. Most Austrian associations and interest groups for filmmakers are grouped together in the umbrella organization of Austrian filmmakers . This is the only institution that represents the needs and interests of Austrian filmmakers with regard to topics such as film funding, labor and social law, copyright, ORF, Austria as a media location, infrastructure and working conditions vis-à-vis politicians, ministries, social insurance, unions and producers.

The professional associations currently organized in the umbrella organization of Austrian filmmakers are:

The associations of film producers are not represented in the umbrella association of Austrian filmmakers. These were all organized in the Association of Austrian Filmproducers (AAFP) until 2006 , until a second film producers association was established in April 2006 with Film Austria following the spin-off of the larger, more commercially oriented film production companies. The Association of Austrian Film Authors (VÖFA) is also not part of the umbrella organization.

The Austrian Film Commission (AFC) exists to promote Austrian films abroad, for example at film festivals and to support film export . This is also Austria's representative in the European network for promoting European films, the European Film Promotion . Location Austria has a similar function : it advertises Austria as a location for foreign film productions and supports their implementation.

Evaluation and reception of Austrian films

As far as the reception of Austrian films is concerned, a distinction must be made between national and international reactions. Because while in Austria almost exclusively comedies with well-known cabaret artists in the leading roles reach a large audience, the best-known and most successful films abroad are mostly those with more profound content such as dramas and documentaries. The most successful films in Austria are therefore comedies like Poppitz and Hinterholz 8 (both by director Harald Sicherheitsitz ) with up to 620,000 cinema visits in Austria, but practically without any response abroad. The most internationally successful films of the last few years are again dramas based on high-quality literature such as Die Klavierspielerin (based on Elfriede Jelinek ) or Caché (both by director Michael Haneke ), which reached up to 2.5 million visitors.

In Austria

Austrian films have averaged around three percent of all cinema visits in Austria in recent years - this is one of the lowest values ​​for national film productions in Europe. There are usually one to three films that can reach over 100,000 visits. Comedies starring Austrian cabaret artists have always proven to be the most successful films. More sophisticated films like dramas rarely reach over 100,000 visitors.

Since the introduction of film funding in Austria in 1981, film distributors have also been obliged to inform the Austrian Film Institute of the number of visitors. There has been no complete record of film visits in Austria over the previous decades.

The most watched Austrian films in Austrian cinemas since 1981
as of March 2, 2015
# Movie Ersch.-
production Director Visitors
1 Back wood 8 1998 Dor movie Harald Sicherheitsitz 617,558
2 Poppitz 2002 Dor movie Harald Sicherheitsitz 441.017
3 Müller's office 1986 Wega movie Niki List 441,000
4th Real Viennese - The Sackbauer Saga 2008 Bonus movie Kurt Ockermüller 372,788
5 Sleep brother 1995 Dor movie Joseph Vilsmaier 307.276
6th Eternal life 2015 Dor movie Wolfgang Murnberger 285,000
7th The bone man 2009 Dor movie Wolfgang Murnberger 280,462
8th MA 2412 - The civil servants 2003 MR film Harald Sicherheitsitz 272,849
9 The unintentional kidnapping of Mrs. Elfriede Ott 2010 Dor movie Andreas Prochaska 235.886
10 Come on, sweet death 2000 Dor movie Wolfgang Murnberger 230.743
11 India 1993 Dor movie Paul Harather 223,758
12 Be tender, penguin 1982 Head film Peter Hajek 210,000
13 Silentium 2004 Dor movie Wolfgang Murnberger 205,424
14th We Feed the World 2005 Allegro movie Erwin Wagenhofer 202.047
15th Let's make money 2008 Allegro movie Erwin Wagenhofer 197,348
16 The Fakers 2007 Aichholz film Stefan Ruzowitzky 190.975
17th Desert flower 2009 Dor Film (min.) * Sherry Hormann 189,328
18th Wanted 1999 MR film Harald Sicherheitsitz 187,542
19th Streif - One Hell of a Ride 2014 Planet watch Gerald Salmina 185.976
20th Witch Lilli - The Dragon and the Magic Book 2009 Dor Film (min.) * Stefan Ruzowitzky 181.416
* min. = as a minority partner; Hexe Lilli and Wüstenblume are mostly German productions with Dor Film as the Austrian partner

International awards

Balance sheet

Since the end of the 1990s, Austrian productions have received more and more awards. In addition to the talent and professionalism of the people and artists involved, this is also due to the increased funding of festival participation by the Austrian Film Institute . In 2003 8 films each received an international award, in 2004 15 domestic film productions received one or more awards and 2005 was a particularly successful year for Austrian film, as 13 domestic productions received several awards. The most successful of these were Darwin's Nightmare by director Hubert Sauper with 13 awards at 11 film festivals and Caché by Michael Haneke who received 7 awards at 5 film festivals, including a FIPRESCI award and the director's award at the Cannes film festival . In 2006, 12 Austrian films received a total of 43 foreign film awards. The most successful of these is the international co-production Esma's Secret - Grbavica and Michael Glawogger's documentary Workingman's Death . Of the Austrian sole productions, Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread was also very successful with several awards. Awards from Austrian film festivals or institutions are not included.


At the Oscar awards, Austrian filmmakers have been nominated 112 times and awarded one of the coveted trophies 35 times. With the exception of Maximilian Schell and Stefan Ruzowitzky, all of the 17 Austrian Oscar winners had emigrated to the United States , most of which they were also citizens of. Most of them were of Jewish faith, which, due to the spread of National Socialism in Europe from 1933, was also the reason for many of them to emigrate.

The most frequently awarded Oscar was Billy Wilder , who won six Oscars plus one for his life's work. The most frequently nominated was the film composer Max Steiner , who missed out a total of 21 times between 1935 and 1956. In January 2009 it was announced that revenge by Götz Spielmann in the category Best Foreign Language Film was nominated after last year Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters won an Oscar in the same category. In previous years, Darwin's Nightmare (2006) by Hubert Sauper had received nominations in the category Best Documentary , Copyshop (2002) by Virgil Widrich as Best Short Film and 38 - That Was Vienna (1987) in the category Best Foreign Language Film . In 2013 Michael Haneke's film Love was nominated in five categories. Love is only the eighth non-English language film to be nominated in the main Best Picture category. In addition, Haneke was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, while the French protagonist, Emmanuelle Riva , was nominated for Best Actress. In the Best Foreign Language Film category, love is the big favorite because of the nomination for best film. In the same year Christoph Waltz was also nominated in the category Best Supporting Actor, which he won in 2010.

The following is a list of all Austrian Oscar winners, although a national classification is often controversial or rejected in international careers. Those people who were born in Austria or who were German-speaking " old Austrians " are listed here as Austrians . Accordingly, you can find the Galicia- born, German-speaking, raised Billy Wilder , but not the Hungarian-speaking, Budapest-born Michael Curtiz . The list is alphabetical and sorted according to the year of the award:

  1. 1935 : Max Steiner - The Informer ( best film music )
  2. 1936 : Erich W. Korngold - Anthony Adverse (best film music)
  3. 1937 : Paul Muni - The Story of Louis Pasteur ( Best Actor )
  4. 1938 : Joseph Schildkraut - The Life of Emile Zola ( Best Supporting Actor )
  5. 1938: Karl Freund * - The Good Earth ( Best Cinematography )
  6. 1939 : Erich W. Korngold - The Adventures of Robin Hood (best film music)
  7. 1942 : Nathan Juran - How Green Was My Valley ( best production design )
  8. 1943 : George Froeschel - Mrs. Miniver ( Best Adapted Screenplay )
  9. 1943: Max Steiner - Now Voyager (best film music)
  10. 1945 : Max Steiner - Since You Went Away (Best Score)
  11. 1946 : Billy Wilder - Lost Weekend ( Best Director )
  12. 1946: Billy Wilder - The Lost Weekend (Best Adapted Screenplay)
  13. 1950 : Harry Horner - The Heiress (Best Production Design (black and white))
  14. 1951 : Billy Wilder - Sunset Boulevard (Best Original Screenplay)
  15. 1952 : Fred Zinnemann - Benjy ( best documentary short film )
  16. 1954 : Walter Reisch - Titanic ( Best Original Screenplay )
  17. 1954: Fred Zinnemann - From Here to Eternity (Best Director)
18. 1955 : Sam Spiegel - The fist in the neck ( best film )
19. 1958 : Sam Spiegel - The Bridge on the River Kwai (Best Film)
20. 1959 : Frederick Loewe - Gigi ( best song )
21st 1961 : Ernest Gold - Exodus (Best Score for a Drama)
22nd 1961: Billy Wilder - The Apartment (best film)
23rd 1961: Billy Wilder - The Apartment (Best Director)
24th 1961: Billy Wilder - The Apartment (Best Original Screenplay)
25th 1962 : Harry Horner - The Hustler (best production design (black and white))
26. 1962: Maximilian Schell - The verdict of Nuremberg (Best Actor)
27. 1963 : Sam Spiegel - Lawrence of Arabia (best film)
28th 1964 : Sam Spiegel ( Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award )
29. 1967 : Fred Zinnemann - A man for every season (best director)
30. 1967: Fred Zinnemann - A man for every season (best film)
31. 1979 : Peter Zinner - The Deer Hunter ( best editing )
32nd 1988 : Billy Wilder (Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award)
33. 2008 : Stefan Ruzowitzky - Die Fälscher ( Best Foreign Language Film )
34. 2010 : Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds ( Best Supporting Actor )
35th 2013 : Christoph Waltz - " Django Unchained " ( Best Supporting Actor )
36th 2013 : Michael Haneke - " Liebe " ( Best Foreign Language Film )

* Counted as Austrians in the definition of this list and its primary source


German speaking:

  • Christa Blümlinger, Gottfried Schlemmer: The new Austrian film. Waspennest, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-85458-510-1 .
  • Walter Fritz : In the cinema I experience the world - 100 years of cinema and film in Austria. Brandstätter, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-85447-661-2 .
  • Gustav Ernst, Gerhard Schedl: Close-ups: To the situation of the Austrian cinema. Europaverlag, Vienna 1992, ISBN 3-203-51148-7 .

English speaking:

Web links


  1. The statistics of all cinema visits by Austrian films since the founding of the Film Institute were discontinued with the renewal of the website design at the beginning of 2009. Since the number of visits to older films no longer increases due to a lack of theatrical exploitation and newer films, even if they were not funded by the ÖFI, are shown with cinema attendance numbers, this table is now updated with new results, while the status of the rest of the table with reference to the previous statistics is frozen.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Total number of first-time films and admissions according to Nielsen EDI 2000–2005, cf. Film Industry Report 2007, June, facts + figures 2005 (PDF) , p. 31
  2. Total number of films awarded for the first time and admissions to the cinema according to Nielsen EDI 2006–2009, cf. Film Industry Report 2010, Facts & Figures 2009 (PDF) , November 2010, p. 41
  3. Film Industry Report 2011, Facts & Figures 2010 (PDF) , pp. 9, 41
  4. Films with the participation of an Austrian production company, cf. Film business reports
  5. a b Number and production distribution of Austrian films for the first time 2004–2007, cf. Film Industry Report 2008, December 2008, facts + figures 2007 (p. 19)
  6. Films that were produced entirely or for the most part in Austrian production, cf. Film business reports
  7. Österreichisches Filminstitut: Film Industry Report 2012, Facts & Figures 2011 , p. 54 (link accessed on March 8, 2015)
  8. a b Austrian Film Institute: Film Industry Report 2013, Facts & Figures 2012 , p. 37 u. 42 (link accessed March 8, 2015)
  9. Austrian Film Institute: Film Industry Report 2014, Facts & Figures 2013 , p. 38 u. 44 (link accessed March 8, 2015)
  10. ^ Robert von Dassanowsky : Austrian Cinema: A history. McFarland & Company, Jefferson / North Carolina 2005, ISBN 0-7864-2078-2 , p. 268
  11. Discussion in Treffpunkt Kultur , ORF 2, November 27, 2006
  12. the AKM measures "all screenings, including special forms such as summer, seasonal cinema or closed or non-commercial screenings" , quoted from: Filmwirtschaftsbericht 2008, p. 23
  13. - Statistics and studies: visitor numbers (since 2001/2005) according to AKM 2011 (PDF) ( Memento of the original from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Professional association of movie theaters and audiovisual organizers (accessed on January 9, 2011) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Figures in the table from ACNielsen up to 2010 . These recorded “exclusively results of commercial evaluations” , quoted from: Filmwirtschaftsbericht 2008, p. 23; Since 2011, the numbers are Rentrak related
  15. Total number of films and admissions for the first time according to Nielsen EDI 2004–2008, cf. Film Industry Report 2010, Facts & Figures 2009 (PDF)
  16. for 2009: figures from Rentrak
  17. Share of visitors to films with Austrian production participation, share of the total number of visitors in a year according to Nielsen EDI; Percentage calculations relate to unrounded, complete numbers that can be found in the sources mentioned.
  18. ↑ Number of visitors to Austrian films 1997–2004, cf. Film Industry Report 2006, facts + figures 2004  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , P. 33@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  19. ↑ Number of visitors to Austrian films 2005–2008, cf. Film Industry Reports 2007 f + f 2005 (p. 44), 2007 f + f 2006  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (P. 9), 2008 (p. 9), 2009 (p. 34) and 2010 (p. 32)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  20. ^ The New York Times , Dennis Lim, Nov. 27, 2006; "World capital of feel-bad cinema"; ( Article online )
  21. The salient quality of Austrian film's new wave is its willingness to confront the abject and emphasize the negative.
  22. - advance payments, gross value added
  23. Austrian Film Industry Report 2007 (PDF), facts + figures 2005, Österreichisches Filminstitut , Nielsen EDI, June 2007, p. 31
  24. - companies, sales and employees
  25. cf. Film industry reports since 2007 , information on the film distributors in the chapter "Visiting films and cinema distributions", mostly on p. 33 or p. 34 (page accessed on August 11, 2015)
  26. a b Film Industry Report 2008, p. 23
  27. Roland Teichmann: The Austrian film breaks the million mark. ( Memento of the original from November 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Press release, Austrian Film Institute, October 28, 2009
  28. Isabella Reicher: A success story goes into the next round. Der Standard , September 17, 2008
  29. Professional association of movie theaters and audiovisual organizers: number of cinemas, as of December 30, 2008 (PDF)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Statistics compiled in January / February 2009; addition for Burgenland included)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  30. Professional association of movie theaters and audiovisual organizers: number of cinemas by cinema halls, as of December 30, 2008 (PDF)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  31. Austrian Film Industry Report 2007, p. 27
  32. Trade association of movie theaters and audiovisual organizers: - visitor numbers according to AKM 2009 (PDF)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , as of October 2009 (accessed November 8, 2009)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  33. Caché in the Lumière database on film attendance figures in Europe (accessed on September 23, 2008)
  34. The piano player in the Lumière database on film attendance figures in Europe (accessed on 23 September 2008)
  36. Österr. Film Institute: Statistics - Top 20 Films since 2000
  37., requested on January 22, 2009
  38. ^ Rudolf Ulrich: Austrians in Hollywood. Filmarchiv Austria Verlag , Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-901932-29-1 , p. 611