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Viennale: Vienna International Film Festival

Every autumn, Vienna transforms into a cultural stronghold of national and international film.

The Viennale — short for Vienna International Film Festival — is Austria’s biggest film festival, showing feature films, short films and documentaries from all over the world. Around 300 films are shown in various Viennese cinemas over a fortnight every October.

Viennale first took place in 1960. Back then it was still called “First Vienna Film Week”. The name Viennale was first used in 1962.

The festival as it exists today started in 1978. It takes place every October and lasts for 14 days. Every year since 1991, the Vienna Film Award is conferred at the festival as well.

A varied festival programme

Every year, Viennale film festival focuses on a new motto. The programming includes films from various genres, created all over the world. Auteur and avant-garde films are shown next to big Hollywood productions and action movies.

Additionally, there are various retrospective exhibitions, gala performances, special events and audience discussions throughout the festival. International guests and premiere parties further attract audiences.

© Hellmut Goebl

Coveted festival tickets

Without a doubt, the festival’s highlights are its national and international film premieres. For many filmmakers, Viennale is often the only chance they get to show their work in Austria because only a few festival films make it into the general Austrian cinema programme. Consequently, it’s often also the only chance for Austrian cinema lovers to see those films in Austria.

It’s no surprise then that Viennale tickets are highly coveted. Once the catalogue for the upcoming festival is published, you can spot movie buffs all over Vienna hurriedly leafing through it to plan their festival visit.

And once the tickets are released, long lines begin to form in front of the pre-sales offices. Tickets can also be bought online. The most popular films can sell out rather quickly.

The Viennale cult bag

Also sought after is the Viennale messenger bag. The bag was first released in 2000 by the festival’s sponsor A1. It’s been getting a new design each year since.

Since the Viennale bag isn’t sold commercially, it has turned into a veritable It Bag. The bags can usually only be won in competitions, as well as in raffles during festival events. But they often show up on online auctions as well.

The Viennale festival undoubtedly turns Vienna into a popular travel destination for film fans. Just as long as they make sure to get their Viennale tickets early enough.

© Robert Newald
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