This summer, we have to keep our distance. But not from art and culture. The 2020 Film Festival #soWIENie (#VIENNAlikeneverbefore) offers a safe setting for an impressive cultural experience.

Look forward to 65 days of music, entertainment and fine dining in comfortable and protected surroundings. Reserve your spectator box free of charge, enjoy operas and concerts under an open sky, and experience a summer on Rathausplatz “like never before”!

And one more request: We can all contribute to a good interconnection of entertainment and health by keeping to the necessary safe distance.

I wish you lots of pleasure

Dr. Michael Ludwig, Mayor and Governor of Vienna

2020 #soWIENie (#VIENNAlikeneverbefore)

For three decades now, the Film Festival at Vienna’s Rathausplatz has been one of the capital’s major attractions. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people from Vienna and across the globe visit the popular event in order to enjoy the incomparable mix of culture, catering and the city’s special flair, all with free admission. But this year, everything is different, and the Film Festival reflects this “like never before”.

The 2020 festival is launching with an innovative concept adapted to the modified general conditions for events, which is guaranteed to provide a relaxed, entertaining cultural and culinary experience under the open sky, all the while complying with the full range of safety measures necessary to protect public health.

Two events – a safe experience

This year, Rathausplatz will be divided into a clearly defined open-air cinema area in front of City Hall and an entirely separate dining area, each of which can accommodate 500 guests at a time. Arranging the event area like this makes it possible to implement the prescribed safety distances and protective measures in the best possible way.

The separate entrance and exit areas are also designed to ensure visitors’ safety. It will therefore only be possible to access the open-air cinema via Lichtenfelsgasse and only with a valid ticket during the stipulated admission times (2 hours before the film starts). At the end of the screening, visitors will be directed to leave through two exits (Felderstrasse and Lichtenfelsgasse).

Floor markings, signs and information displayed on LED walls and the large screen will all help guests to find their way. There will, of course, be plenty of stations for hand disinfection throughout the site, and protective masks will also be provided free of charge.

All of these measures are designed to make it as easy as possible for visitors to comply with the rules and guarantee maximum protection of the guests while simultaneously ensuring a high-quality experience.

Culture with comfort

The open-air cinema area exudes all the flair of a cosy lounge. In front of the impressive 300 m² screen, 500 seats will be grouped in attractively designed boxes for 2 or 4 people in compliance with the legally stipulated distance. This infrastructure is in place not just for safety reasons; it also gives the cultural experience an exclusive and comfortable feeling.

The spectator boxes can be reserved free of charge and without hassle via the website or directly at the information desk at Rathausplatz. Reservations are valid until 30 minutes before the film starts. After this, they will be given away at the information booth as spare seats.

Access to the open-air cinema is possible two hours before the film starts (July: 7 p.m., August: 6 p.m.) and is only possible with a valid reservation. The cinema area closes either one hour after the end of the film or at the latest at midnight.

Reservation of the boxes

Musical highlights

The musical programme of the 2020 Film Festival features diversity “like never before”.

Amongst the medley of anniversaries, it is only fitting that a large part of the event is dedicated to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Following the opening with the opera “Fidelio” staged by Christoph Waltz on 4 July, the wonderful compositions of the musical genius Beethoven, who adopted Vienna as his home, can be heard at least one evening per week at Rathausplatz; the schedule includes “Symphony No. 9”, the “Beethoven Project: Ballet by John Neumeier” and the exceptional pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, who will perform “Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas”.

The 150th birthday of Franz Lehar will be honoured with the operetta “The Land of Smiles”, while the 140th anniversary of Jacques Offenbach’s death will be commemorated with the production “Orpheus in the Underworld” from the 2019 Salzburg Festival. The musical legacies of great artists who have recently passed away will also be brought to life on screen once more for the audience. This includes the opera singers Jessye Norman and Mirella Freni, the director Franco Zeffirelli, the contemporary composer Krzysztof Penderecki and the exceptionally talented pop producer Avicii.

Fans of pop music can also look forward to further legendary concert evenings with stars ranging from Herbert Grönemeyer, Take That, and Parov Stelar to Mando Diao.

View the programme
Download the programme as a PDF

Protective measures against coronavirus

Due to the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, certain safety regulations must be taken into account at the 2020 Film Festival. The government’s health recommendations also apply to the Film Festival.

1. Please wash your hands frequently!
Free disinfectant stations are available on site.

2. Keep your distance!
Maintain a distance of at least one metre between yourself and all other people.

3. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth!
Our hands can pick up viruses and transfer the virus to the face.

4. Be careful when coughing or sneezing!
If you need to cough or sneeze, do so into the crook of your elbow or a tissue, making sure to cover your mouth and nose, and dispose of the tissue immediately.

5. If you feel ill or fear that you may have been infected, please stay home!