Niederösterreich privately - Collecting amateur films in Lower Austria

A pilot project for indexing and cataloging amateur films as sources for rural contemporary history

In 2013, the Province of Lower Austria and the Filmarchiv Austria initiated a call for the inclusion of short films under the motto "Niederösterreich privately - your films make history". In the following years, more than 63,000 film rolls were handed over, digitized and archived by the Filmarchiv Austria. This extensive archive stock is now to be opened up by a finding aid, in order to make it accessible for future research and exhibition projects. First sightings of excerpts from the huge collection show that the footage provides a broad basis for different issues in rural contemporary history. So far barely tangible aspects of the arrival of modern consumption and leisure culture in small-town and rural areas, changes in family images and households in the second half of the 20th century, but also the changes in village structures and the importance of excursions and vacations appear from the perspective of this source in a new light.

A characteristic of the amateur films / home movies is also the recurring choice of motifs. Thus, series of similar motifs can be formed, such as for Christmas in the family. Such series sensitize for the subtle differences in the representations as well as for challenges especially with regard to the often still to be developed source criticism of this genus. In this pilot project, a concept for the content development of the collections will be developed and a first part of the films will be cataloged accordingly. At the same time, in small case studies, potentials of the material for historical research on rural areas are explored: from serial images of banquets to representations of the Cold War era from a Lower Austrian point of view to agricultural activities in moving images. Another goal of the project is to initiate a networking and exchange process with national and international experts in the collection and research of amateur films / home movies.

Project manager: |Ulrich Schwarz-Gräber|
Co-workers:
|Almut Hufnagl| (Zentrum für Migrationsforschung)
|Florian Ribisch| (Injoest)
|Brigitte Semanek| (IGLR)

General Information:|http://www.noe-privat.at/| und |https://www.filmarchiv.at/sammlung/film/amateurfilme/
A project of the |Forschungsnetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien| (first)
November 2018 – October 2019
Coordination: Johanna Zechner
Cooperation: Filmarchiv Austria