EUFCN Spotlight on: Vienna Film Commission

The rich cultural heritage of Vienna is reflected in an elegant combination of historic buildings and contemporary architecture that has attracted numerous film productions from all over the world and throughout history.

The Vienna Film Commission was founded in February of 2009, through the initiative of the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna, the Vienna Film Fund, the Vienna Tourist Board, the Vienna Business Agency, the Vienna Economic Chamber and the Press and Information Services.

In this week’s interview, Film Commissioner Marijana Stoisits describes the current situation of the film industry in Vienna, emphasizing the opportunities that the capital of Austria has to offer.

Which main productions were shot recently in Vienna, which ones are set to be shooting in the future or were postponed due to the global emergency? 

“Every year, we have at least four big domestic TV series filmed in Vienna – luckily, this didn’t change this year. British-Austrian co-production Vienna Blood  had to postpone the shooting of its second season, but fortunately they are back on set since September 1st. Austrian-German co-production Ich und die anderen  by David Schalko (Sky Original) just finished shooting. They shot all summer long after a 12-week break due to Covid-19 restrictions. A documentary about Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, co-produced by ARTE and ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation), is also in the making.
We have a lot of exciting projects ahead of us, such as the domestic box office hit sequel Love Machine 2, Marie Kreutzer’s next cinema feature film Corsage  about empress Sisi, and Valeska, a Belgian-German-Austrian feature co-production.”

What’s the biggest production you have ever supported in the city of Vienna?  

“That was by far Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation, which also had its world premiere at the Vienna State Opera. The State Opera as well as the city center played a major role in the movie – Tom Cruise jumped off the State Opera’s rooftop – and the city itself provided several original locations including the subway system. Another memorable production was Woman in Gold  with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, featuring locations all over the city like the Belvedere Palace and Vienna’s city hall. Another one to be named is spy thriller Red Sparrow  by Francis Lawrence.”

What do you think are the advantages of filming in Vienna?

“Vienna is extremely film friendly, as you can shoot actually everywhere on location and it’s full of unique and diverse locations: from classical and imperial buildings to postmodern architecture, from natural areas like rivers and vineyards to urban spaces. The domestic film crews are very experienced in international productions and English is widely spoken. The city administration is well organized, enabling good communication with the industry, supported by the Vienna Film Commission.
Vienna is not too big and provides a well-functioning infrastructure, making it easy to move through the city. These advantages of filming in Vienna are supported by soft factors such as great food, a huge cultural life and a very enhanced medical system.”

Do you have any particular anecdote related to your experience as film commissioner?

“In my role as CEO, I was able to guide the commission’s work since its beginning, in 2009. I have accompanied and supported a vast number of productions, domestic as well as international ones. One of our greatest moments was for sure when Chris McQuarrie, the director of the Mission: Impossible -Rogue Nation , thanked the Vienna Film Commission for its perfect support on stage, right before the world premiere of the film at the Vienna State Opera.”

How are you handling the gradual restart of production in your country? Has your job changed during this challenging time?

“Production resumed completely on June 6, 2020, led by a comeback work concept with safety guidelines for secure shooting, created by the Austrian film industry. A week later, Austria was one of the first countries to secure international service productions with a state guarantee system, financially covering local and international productions if shoots have to be delayed or interrupted because of coronavirus infections.

My job has remained the same as we are back at work with full power and already provided two location tours for international producers and script writers.
The Vienna Film Commission used the lockdown to produce two new showreels, showcasing Vienna in all its beauty.”

Are you interested in filming in Vienna?

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 97 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.