What you need to know about Vienna's free summer film festival

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
What you need to know about Vienna's free summer film festival
A view of the Film Festival at Rahausplatz in Vienna in July 2022. Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing/Theresa Wey

Every year, Vienna hosts a film festival outside the Rathaus that showcases culture, food and community.


What is it? 

The City of Vienna's Film Festival at Rathausplatz has been a fixture on the cultural calendar for more than 30 years. 

Whether it's ballet, opera or pop concerts, the event showcases a host of films showing stunning musical performances. It runs right through from the beginning of July until September 3rd, sometimes with multiple films in one evening. 

And the best thing is that it's completely free of charge. 

What's on this year?

For the 33rd year of the fest, the city has arranged a diverse programme with multiple music genres shown on a big screen right in the centre of Vienna. 

Highlights include singer Rita Ora's stunning performance against a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which is showing at the festival on July 6th. 

A screening of world-renowned Jamaican guitarist and reggae singer Bob Marley's Uprising concert from 1980 takes place on July 8th.

Then there's Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi's Baloise session, being shown on July 10th.

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On July 12th a screening of the Vienna State Opera's "La Traviata” takes place. The story is given a modern twist by focusing on a Parisian It-girl trapped in an Instagram bubble.

For Queen fans, on July 15th there's a showing of the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert from April 20th 1992. The aim of the concert was to celebrate Freddie’s life and work and to increase awareness of AIDS, which prematurely ended his life.

Meanwhile, on July 21st, there's a series of children's opera showings from 5pm. 

For the full list of showings and times, check out the programme.

Visitors at Vienna's Film Festival in 2022.

Visitors to Vienna's Film Festival in 2022. Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing/Theresa Wey


How many people attend?

People from Vienna, across Austria and beyond flock to the festival.

In 2022 the event attracted around 635,000 guests.

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig (of the Social Democrats/SPÖ) said after last year's festival: "Anyone who wants to enjoy first-class entertainment with free admission and experience the high quality of life in our city is always in good hands at the film festival.

"With the film festival, the City of Vienna offers its residents and guests a unique offer that is unparalleled internationally. I am delighted that so many people have responded to this call and have been able to spend wonderful hours in summer at the film festival."

City councillor Peter Hanke said: "The film festival is an important flagship for Vienna, and enjoys great popularity not only nationally but also beyond Austria's borders."


What else is on offer?

Aside from the film showings, there are also musical performances. Plus on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there are live DJ performances, so you can sip a cocktail, dance and get into the weekend.

You should also make sure to have room in your stomach for some delicious food. 

Stalls sell food from all over the world, whether it's Croatian cuisine, Korean food or Austrian classics like Kaiserschmarrn.

Friends and families flock to the square just in front of the beautiful Rathaus building in the first district of Vienna to meet up, share dishes (from Mexican to Thai, Indian and sausages) and drinks (there are stalls with local beers, different cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks as well) and enjoy the long summer days.


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