You can add Vienna to such names as Cannes, Venice, and Berlin in the big book of European cities with film festivals.
Mind you, there is no “Vienna Film Festival” as such.
There are, however, a lot of film festivals in Vienna.
- See also: English-language cinemas
This is the big one. The behemoth. The star-studded tiara on the head of the Viennese film scene.
The Viennale is the Vienna International Film Festival and screens around 300 (pre-release) films from around the world. It’s a festival in the truest gala, awards, premieres, and guest stars sense of the concept.
Next dates: October 22 – November 1, 2020
Vienna Shorts Festival
The Vienna Shorts Festival is another prestigious international film festival, one that dedicates itself to the short-form in cinematic creativity.
Films of all flavours participate and there’s an extensive programme of surrounding events.
Next dates: TBA
/slash film festival
Now we’re edging away from Hollywood-style red carpet extravagance to the more offbeat side of the filmmaker’s craft.
The /slash film festival is about “fantastic” films in both senses of the word…excellent movies, but also ones that play havoc with the concept of reality, poking at the possibilities available to an active imagination, and having a lot of fun while doing so.
Next dates: TBA (probably late September, 2021)
Festival du Film Francophone
Light up a Gauloise and make a pithy comment about philosophy while drinking a full-bodied red. Then abandon ridiculous stereotypes and enjoy the diversity and brilliance of French-speaking cinema.
The Festival du Film Francophone brings together films of all sorts of styles, united by a common language.
Next dates: Sept 29 – Oct 8, 2020
Jewish Film Festival
A specialist film festival featuring those productions that tackle issues related to Jewish life. The Jewish Film Festival draws on both Israeli cinema and filmmaking from elsewhere, with supporting talks and events.
Next dates: Oct 7-21, 2020
Rathaus Film Festival
Not a film festival in the true sense of the word, but a worthy addition to the list since it has a theme and is immensely popular.
The Rathaus Film Festival is roughly two months of daily open-air evening screenings of music and dance performances on the Rathausplatz square. Think opera and ballet, but with plenty of other genres thrown into the mix.
Equally, the festival comes with an open-air international gourmet paradise attached to it, so you get a treat for both the eyes, ears, and stomach.
Next dates: TBA (likely July and August, 2021)
Vienna Independent Film Festival
This one does what it says on the box. A festival to showcase independent films and filmmakers across various genres (short films, documentaries, music videos, feature films, etc.).
The event runs in a spirit of progressive creativity, seeking to reward the new, the individual, the visionary, and the talented, rather than the well-financed.
Next dates: October 1-4, 2020
A longstanding film festival that gives recognition to the work of female filmmakers, as well as showcasing those films and documentaries that address such topics as gender equality.
An important element in FrauenFilmTage is the public discussions that often accompany film screenings, featuring those who worked in the film and often using the opportunity to explore and highlight issues raised by their work.
Next dates: The festival is going through a restructuring phase, so won’t return in its full glory until 2021. At the time of writing, a small edition is planned for autumn 2020
An international documentary film festival, typically with various world and Austrian premieres, as well as a distinct emphasis on critical examination of social, political and cultural structures through film.
Various awards and events round off the festival, with screenings in the Votiv and DeFrance cinemas.
Next dates: TBA
An open-air festival of short films, dotdotdot features screenings and talks at Vienna’s Volkskundemuseum. The ambiance is delightful.
The event places special emphasis on inclusiveness and accessibility in the widest sense of the words. For example, the visitor determines how much to pay for admission.
Next dates: TBA (probably July and August, 2021)
Tricky Women / Tricky Realities
Another well-established event, Tricky Women / Tricky Realities focuses on animated films made by women, thus occupying a rather unique spot in the pantheon of film festivals.
As with so many of its colleagues in Vienna, the festival has an international scope and complements screenings and the competition with workshops, talks and discussions around relevant themes.
Next dates: March 10-14, 2021
2 Days Animation Festival
The festival title says it all, really. The event centres around the ASIFA AUSTRIA Award/Best Austrian Animation competition, with (obviously) a clear focus on Austrian animation.
Next dates: November 25-26, 2020
The following are, like the Rathaus example above, not festivals in the classic sense of the term, but themed annual events that might interest you as a visitor:
- Frameout: open-air summer cinema in the Museumsquartier
- Kino im Kammergarten: ditto, but in the historical surroundings of the privy garden at Lower Belvedere Palace