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Viennale 2007 BR.jpg

The Viennale (Vienna International Film Festival ) has been a 14-day film festival since 1978 that takes place in Vienna in October . The venues are the Gartenbaukino , the Urania , the Metro-Kino , the Stadtkino , the Filmmuseum and the Künstlerhaus-Kino .


Tilda Swinton , guest of honor at the Viennale 2009, with festival director Hans Hurch
The Badeschiff on the Danube Canal, Festival Center 2009 to 2011, and Urania

In 1960, the Association of Austrian Film Journalists realized the idea of ​​holding an international film festival in Austria in Vienna. In addition to 18 foreign productions, Austrian films were shown in the Künstlerhaus under the title First Vienna Film Week . No prizes were awarded. In 1962 the young film festival, which had now been renamed Viennale , was integrated into the Wiener Festwochen for one year . Since the Viennale was unable to attract the attention it wanted in the dense cultural program of the festival week, it was spun off again in 1963 and repositioned as an eight-day festival of cheerfulness . For the first time a director was appointed: Sigmund Kennedy. The program now focused on high quality comedies that were shown in the Urania . In 1968 Otto Wladika became the new festival director and the festival was given a new direction. Under the motto Films That Never Reached Us, the focus was on Eastern European films. From now on a motto was chosen annually to mark the focus of the festival.

In 1970 the festival was all about New Austrian Film , programmed by the board of trustees of the same name, which presented a retrospective of independent Austrian filmmaking over the past ten years. From 1971 the Forum-Kino , then the largest cinema in town, was the new venue for the festival. Edwin Zbonek was appointed as the new festival director, who made the Viennale more international and achieved recognition as a B festival without competition. In 1973 the Viennale took place in the Gartenbaukino for the first time .

In 1978 the festival was moved to October and the duration was increased from eight to 15 days. In 1979, cinemas in the outskirts of Vienna were also included in the festival. Films from the Viennale were repeated there in order to reach more interested parties with the artistically valuable films. In 1981 the festival management was expanded to include film journalist and producer Helmuth Dimko . In 1983 the festival was canceled due to financial problems. In 1984 it took place again in the Gartenbaukino. In 1987 a prize was awarded at the Viennale for the first time: the Vienna Film Prize . After the first award it took until 1991 for the next award. It has been awarded annually since then.

In 1988 Helmuth Dimko and Veronika Haschka took over the management of the festival. The main program was expanded to include a few special shows, which resulted in a strong increase in visitor numbers. In 1989 Dimko resigned from the festival management.

In 1991 the Viennale experienced a large budget increase. The new management consisted of the renowned film director Werner Herzog and one of the main actors of the New Austrian Cinema movement , Reinhard Pyrker , who further professionalized and internationalized the festival. Work shows and retrospectives were dedicated to film greats John Carpenter , Billy Wilder , Jon Jost and Gina Lollobrigida as well as to Chinese filmmaking .

In 1992 the new directorate, consisting of Alexander Horwath and Wolfgang Ainberger, was able to greatly expand the range of films. In addition to author and avant-garde films, the main program also included major Hollywood productions and action films . In 1993, the Viennale was distributed over four cinemas for the first time: Urania, Metro and Künstlerhaus cinema in the city center and the city cinema on Schwarzenbergplatz.

In 1994 Wolfgang Ainberger took over the programming of the festival, while Alexander Horwath prepared the American filmmaking of the 1960s in a retrospective for the Viennale in the Filmmuseum . In 1995 and 1996 Horwath was finally responsible for the programming of the Viennale and, despite major budget cuts, was able to carry out a festival that was leaner but nevertheless positively received by the public and critics. In addition to the Vienna Film Prize and the New Cinema Prize, a new prize was also introduced. Since 1995 Vienna has been one of those cities at which a jury of the international film critics and journalists association FIPRESCI has awarded a prize to a first or second feature film by a director: the FIPRESCI Prize .

Conversation in the festival center, Armin Thurnher with festival president Eric Pleskow (2015)

Festival director Hans Hurch (1997-2017)

In 1997, Hans Hurch took over the festival management, which he held after several contract extensions until his death in July 2017. Eric Pleskow has been president of the Viennale since 1998 . In 1999, a sponsored short film prize was awarded for the first time.

In 2005 85,200 visitors were counted. In 2006, 313 performances, 114 of which were sold out, had 88,900 visitors and an occupancy rate of 78.4 percent. The Viennale 2007 ended with a new record audience of 91,700 visitors with 321 performances - 126 of which were sold out - and an occupancy rate of around 79.2 percent.

The Viennale 2009, which was extended by one day, offered visitors two major focal points dedicated to people, State of Grace as a tribute to guest of honor Tilda Swinton and Fight for Us with films by Lino Brockas . Among the filmmakers who also came to speak to the audience were Shirin Neshat , Shoja Azari , Guo Xiaolu , Nobuhiro Suwa , Asghar Farhadi and others. v. a. Jonathan Rosenbaum curated the series The unquiet American - Transgressive Comedies from the US as a cooperation between the Viennale and the Austrian Film Museum . The Austrian film was represented by the opening film La Pivellina by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel and Lourdes by Jessica Hausner , both as Austrian premieres, as well as the world premieres of Peter Kern's Blutsfreundschaft and Bock for President von Houchang and Tom-Dariusch Allahyari . As a sign of solidarity with the protests at Austrian universities, the documentary about Ute Bock was shown as a preview on October 31st in the student auditorium of the University of Vienna . In 2009, the Viennale presented around 300 feature, documentary, short and experimental films.

The opening film of the 2010 Viennale was Von Menschen und Göttern by Xavier Beauvois , which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival . The festival's main focus this year was on the films by Larry Cohen and William Lubtchansky , while the Special Programs presented works by Denis Côté and Siegfried A. Fruhauf , among others . Evenings were dedicated to the films by Lou Reed , Klaus Lemke , Merv Bloch and Günther Straschek and the retrospective showed films by Eric Rohmer . The trailer for the Viennale 2010 was designed by the Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul , whose film Uncle Boonmee Remembers His Past Lives , which won the Cannes Golden Palm , was also featured in the festival's program. A total of 96,300 viewers attended the 351 performances this year, 123 of which were sold out.

Harry Belafonte as guest at the Viennale 2011

Tribute programs at the Viennale 2011 were dedicated to Harry Belafonte and producer Jeremy Thomas , the retrospective to the work of Chantal Akerman . The focus of special programs was on artist Lee Ann Schmitt and, in “Between Inner and Outer Space”, short films by David Lamelas , Mark Leckey and others that deal with art spaces (museums, galleries) as presentation locations and studios as production facilities. David Lynch designed the trailer for the Viennale 2011 (“The 3 Rs”) .

Olivier Assayas presents Après May (2012)

In 2012 the Viennale celebrated its 50th edition, with a total of around 140 current feature films as well as more than 100 short films and older works on the program in various special programs. The festival was opened with Argo by Ben Affleck . The tribute program was dedicated to Michael Caine , ten of whom will be shown and who was also present as a guest. The retrospective in cooperation with the Filmmuseum showed works by Fritz Lang , including two versions of Metropolis and M - Eine Stadt sucht ein Murderer . The photographer and cameraman Wolfgang Suschitzky ( Get Carter ) was honored with That's Wolf on his 100th birthday. Peter Kubelka showed his films Arnulf Rainer (1960) and Antiphon (2012) in a one-time screening with two parallel 35 mm projectors and was portrayed in Martina Kudláček's Fragments Of Kubelka (2012, 232 min). In the special program They wanted to see something different , a selection of films curated by Jörg Buttgereit in the genre of the uncanny and monstrous ( Alien , The Angry Red , Fantastic Voyage , Deliverance, etc.) was shown. Five Women showed works by Coleen Fitzgibbon , Narcisa Hirsch , Mati Diop , Kurdwin Ayub and Amy Seimetz . The In Focus program was a new addition to the festival's program , in order to make the audience aware of rather unknown filmmakers. It all started in 2012 with the Portuguese Manuel Mozos and the Italian Alberto Grifi . Another Viennale guest was Patti Smith , who presented the Jem Cohen film Museum Hours , which she produced , and gave a concert in the Metro cinema.

In 2015, portrayed a number of long-serving Viennale hall directors, i.e. those employees who are responsible for the smooth running of the cinema halls - including Manfred Schwaba, Birgit Baldasti and Magda Tothova.

In 2015 the film One of Us, the first feature-length film by Stephan Richter (* 1980), was shown, which is based on the fatal shot in a supermarket near Krems in 2009. A 14 year old burglar was shot from behind by a police officer. Describes the dreariness of the suburb, the life of the young people. Jack Hofer , young layman, plays the main role of Julius.

As of 2017

Eva Sangiorgi (2018)

After the death of Hans Hurch in July 2017, Franz Schwartz, member of the board of trustees and former director of the Stadtkinos am Schwarzenbergplatz, was appointed interim director of the Viennale in August 2017. For the Viennale 2017 in October 2017, fourteen artistic companions of Hurch, including Ed Lachman and Tilda Swinton , were asked to each name a film that they would like to dedicate to the deceased. Around 70 percent of the works at the Viennale 2017 were still selected by Hurch himself.

In January 2018 Eva Sangiorgi was introduced as artistic director of the Viennale. She was responsible for the 56th Viennale from October 25 to November 8, 2018 for the first time. Among other things, it abolished the distinction between documentary and feature films in both the program and the awards.

The 58th Viennale is scheduled to take place from October 22nd to November 1st, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the film market has thinned out due to the coronavirus, three days shorter than originally planned. With more repetitions of projections and a higher number of venues, one would like to meet a smaller number of permitted viewers. In cooperation with the Diagonale , which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic , a focus on Austria is to be set. A series of works that would have premiered in Graz will be shown at the Viennale.


  • 1960–1968: Sigmund Kennedy
  • 1968–1973: Otto Wladika
  • 1973–1981: Edwin Zbonek
  • 1981–1986: Edwin Zbonek and Helmuth Dimko
  • 1986–1988: Helmuth Dimko
  • 1988–1990: Helmuth Dimko and Veronika Haschka
  • 1990–1993: Werner Herzog and Reinhard Pyrker
  • 1993–1995: Wolfgang Ainberger and Alexander Horwath
  • 1995–1997: Alexander Horwath
  • 1997–2017: Hans Hurch
  • 2017–2018: Franz Schwartz (interim)
  • from 2018: Eva Sangiorgi


A selection of new cinematic works from around the world as well as national and international premieres will be shown .

In addition to current feature film productions in all their forms, genres and narrative styles, the festival pays particular attention to documentary films , international short films and experimental works and works from the crossover area.

The annual historical retrospectives in cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum as well as the various special programs, tributes and homages dedicated to important personalities and institutions of international filmmaking within the framework of the festival are particularly well received internationally.

The festival program also includes gala performances, special events and celebrations, as well as discussions, public discussions and encounters between international guests and local visitors.


During the Viennale, the FIPRESCI Prize of the International Association of Film Critics will be awarded, as well as, at the end of the festival, the highly endowed Vienna Film Prize of the City of Vienna and the Prize of the Readers' Jury of the Daily newspaper Der Standard .

Since 2016, the VIENNALE METEORIT has been awarded to personalities who are particularly connected to the festival. So far the American filmmaker Jem Cohen, the musician Patti Smith and the former festival director Werner Herzog have been honored.

See also


  • Catalog retrospective Viennale 2005 . Edition Selene, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85266-282-6 .
  • Paolo Calamita: A cultural institution as a political actor. Content analysis of daily newspaper reports about the Viennale with special attention to cultural-political dimensions . Diploma thesis, University of Vienna 2009.
  • Julia Fabrick: The (cultural) political forms of a film festival using the example of the Viennale . Diploma thesis, University of Vienna 2012 ( online version ; PDF; 1.9 MB).
  • Rita Hochwimmer: Trends and breaks in the development of the Viennale film festival from 1960 to 1972 and their public reception . Dissertation, University of Vienna 2008 ( online version ; PDF; 1.8 MB).

Web links

Commons : Viennale  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Viennale  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Der Standard : Hans Hurch will remain Viennale Director until 2016 , June 20, 2012
  2. Viennale reports new visitor record. The Standard , October 30, 2007
  3. ^ Viennale Newsletter 8/2010
  4. ^ Viennale trailer 2011
  5. “I owe my family to the Viennale”. October 28, 2015, accessed November 29, 2017
  6. Viennale 2015: “One of us”: Death shot from Krems,, November 2, 2015, accessed on November 2, 2015
  7. appointed interim director for Viennale . Article dated August 18, 2017, accessed August 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Viennale program: 14 films for the late Hans Hurch . Article dated August 25, 2017, accessed August 26, 2017.
  9. Viennale management advertised . Article dated November 3, 2017, accessed November 3, 2017.
  10. Eva Sangiorgi new director of the Viennale . Article dated January 11, 2018, accessed January 11, 2018.
  11. Viennale 2018: rain of prizes and good occupancy . Article dated November 8, 2018, accessed November 8, 2018.
  12. 58th Viennale can take place. In: July 3, 2020, accessed July 4, 2020 .
  13. The Viennale 2020 is to be shorter and more Austrian. In: . July 3, 2020, accessed July 4, 2020 .
  14. a b Eva Sangiorgi is the new director of the Viennale . Article from January 11, 2018, accessed on January 11, 2018.
  15. "VIENNALE METEORIT" awarded to Werner Herzog . OTS report from January 20, 2017, accessed on January 21, 2017