As the custodian of Austria’s audio-visual heritage, Film Archive Austria is the country’s central institution for collecting and documenting film. The diversified holdings span a period of more than one hundred years, from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The FAA currently owns 200,000 films, 2,000,000 photographs and film stills, 50,000 film programs, 16,000 film posters and more than 40,000 books and journals. At its three main locations – the Film Repository Laxenburg, the Audio-Visual Center Augarten, and the METRO Kinokulturhaus – the FAA attends to its varied tasks of preserving, documenting, communicating and presenting the cinematic heritage.
However, an archive is only really alive to the extent that it is used. It is therefore one of the FAA’s main objectives to make its extensive holdings visible to the public. True to its motto “to preserve and to show,” the FAA considers communicating the archive a logical and necessary extension of an archive’s traditional core competences ‒ collecting, preserving, restoring. In recent years, the FAA has initiated a number of strategic projects that underscore its commitment to being an active, productive archive. Besides making its collections accessible to the public with the establishment of a Study Center at its Augarten location, the FAA has continually broadened its publishing activities. Intense in-house research has resulted in countless publications and editions. Today, the Verlag Filmarchiv Austria ‒ established in 2001 ‒ is Austria’s largest publisher of film-related books. Since 2006, the FAA has also been increasingly active as a purveyor of audio-visual content, authoring a number of internationally noticed and commercially successful DVD editions. Currently, the FAA is working on a strategy for making its holdings accessible to the public through the internet.
In 2002, the FAA adopted the old Metro Cinema as its first permanent theater and a prominent showcase for the house’s educational and presentational programs. From 2012 to 2015, the Metro was substantially expanded through the inclusion of additional floors. With the new Metro Kinokulturhaus, which now accommodates two theaters as well as spaces for exhibitions and events, the FAA has created a venue for the multi-media presentation of Austrian film culture from its beginnings to the present day. The exhibition spaces ‒ the first ones in Austria exclusively devoted to cinema ‒ allow the FAA to extend the conversation about film beyond the silver screen. Over the last years, the METRO Kinokulturhaus has developed into an excellence center and a meeting place for the Austrian film industry.
In the coming years, the FAA will continue in its efforts to share the riches of its holdings with the public at large. With participation one of the watchwords of our digital age, it will be necessary to devise new participatory models in order to make the most of the unprecedented opportunities afforded by the internet. The digital archive will be an innovative low-threshold space where people can tap into the national cinematic heritage and thereby breathe new life into the moving images from the past. The archive of the future will be less a passive repository than a builder of bridges between the treasures of the past and today’s new media reality.
The 19th-century building, which houses the Historic Theater of the former Metro Cinema, has been transformed by the FAA into the METRO Kinokulturhaus. Completely renovated and substantially expanded through the inclusion of additional floors, the new Kinokulturhaus, situated right in the heart of Vienna, boasts two theaters and extensive spaces for exhbitions and events, making it the perfect venue for presenting Austrian film culture from its pioneering days to the present. Locally sourced snacks and refreshments are provided by our in-house Grünstern garden kitchen.
The Film Archive Austria is the custodian of Austria’s cinematic heritage. Its diverse archival holdings comprise a total of o ver 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.
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.
Among the most important of the Film Archive Austria’s holdings is its extensive collection of feature films. The focus is on Austrian productions, from the pioneering films dating to the first years of the twentieth century to the present day. The survival rate of Austrian feature films has improved considerably in recent years. For silent and early sound movies, the number of available titles has doubled since the turn of the millenium.