Above all, the Film Museum is a place for encountering images and stories that can, ideally, change how we see the world. Film is the most important new art form of the 20th century and perhaps the most vivid and influential documentary record of contemporary history.
As a globally networked nonprofit funded by the City of Vienna and the Republic of Austria along with significant member support, it fulfills the role of a museum for the art and history of film in Austria. The Film Museum's exhibitions take place on screen.
As a full member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) and the Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques (ACE), the Film Museum is committed to the mutual preservation and ongoing exhibition of the medium of film on a global scale through its collection and a variety of related activities.
"Seeing films is a way of thinking." (Amos Vogel)
The heart of the Film Museum is the "Invisible Cinema." Its unique architecture offers the ideal environment for concentrated and intense cinematic experiences. With few exceptions, films are always shown in their original formats from the best available prints and projected with utmost care. As film prints become increasingly rare (and ever more valuable), we continue to source them from our own collection as well as the collections of our international FIAF partners.
The Film Museum believes the history of cinema is still being written: Curated programs and retrospectives provide opportunities for constantly rediscovering the medium's wide array of expressive forms and traditions, from the mainstream to the margins. Talks with filmmakers and experts, introductions, lectures, and symposiums provide a space for public discussion as well as critical, aesthetic and social reflection.
Collection, Preservation, Restoration and ExhibitionA collection alone does not make a museum. Only by cataloguing, researching, and exhibiting our holdings are we able to transform archival assets into cultural assets. Since 1964, the Film Museum has maintained an ever-growing exhibition and research collection of important works from international film history, which are cared for by our archivists so that they remain accessible to the public.
The film collection's main emphasis is on cinema as an art form since 1895 and encompasses all genres and production stages. In addition to prints, the Film Museum also holds preservation elements (camera negatives, reversal originals, and unique prints) by independent filmmakers such as James Benning, Lav Diaz, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, VALIE EXPORT, Maria Lassnig, Peter Kubelka, and Gregory Markopoulos. The collection's further focus on amateur and small-gauge filmmaking as well as non-theatrical and actuality films emphasizes the medium's significance as an essential witness to both social and cultural history.
We also collect and preserve paper materials including photographs, posters, writings, and other contextual records that allow cinema to be understood in all of its cultural dimensions. These include the archives of Dziga Vertov, Gustav Deutsch, and Michael Haneke.
Film Museum screenings are complimented by educational programs for a variety of audiences. It is part of our mission to contextualize and foster an understanding of film and cinema as an art form, social practice, and contemporary document so that the medium can be considered critically and in all its diversity.
Events for students and teachers allow the Film Museum to pass on a passion for film and cinema as well as promote improved media literacy in youth education from childhood on up.
Research and LearningThe Film Museum is a research and educational facility. We support research projects in academic and non-academic fields and cultivate collaborations with international research institutions and universities. We believe all of the historical and contemporary dimensions of film should be explored in both scholarly and artistic manners.
We provide researchers and artists access to films and film-related materials and use our know-how to support their projects. The results of this (often transdisciplinary and internationally networked) work often form the basis of academic events focusing on such topics as film history and memory, experimental cinema and the avant-garde, the materiality of film, and digital humanities.
PublishingThe Film Museum has been involved in publishing since its foundation and, since 2005, we have complimented our German and English-language books on film history with DVD releases of select films.
The Film Museum helps provide access to materials in our collection by digitizing, restoring, and publishing them on online research and social media platforms as well as our own website. Since 2009, we have gradually made a number of films in our collection available online. Upon request, our archive of program notes can also be accessed digitally for research.
A Center for ResearchComplimenting the research possibilities offered by the collection, the Film Museum also houses Austria's most comprehensive reference library for film, which can be consulted for free. With a large selection of books and periodicals, it covers an enormous range of topics, subject areas, and eras. Ongoing new acquisitions enable us to track the current state of discussion in the different subdisciplines of film studies.
The library is also home to another significant collection: the Amos Vogel Library, the private library of the influential author and curator, which we were able to acquire and bring to Vienna in 2012.
As part of our "On Location" program, the Film Museum is regularly present at partner institutions through exhibitions, film programs, and lectures. Works from our film collection are also available for international retrospectives and festival screenings. Likewise, Viennese audiences encounter films and guests from around the world in the "Invisible Cinema."
On Location Worldwide
The Film Museum's staff is made up of experts in their respective specialized fields. They are driven by a thirst for knowledge and a passion for cinema, art, culture, and history. Continuing professional development and active exchanges with international colleagues play an important part in our goal of providing excellent work in the service of the common good and civil society.
Professional and Engaged
Because of their expertise, Film Museum staff hold volunteer positions in a variety of nonprofit scholarly and cultural organizations and contribute to advances in research, education, and cultural work.