Documentary Film: A film genre in which factual material and events are reproduced (usually without a plot, or semi-dramatic). In the early days of Films, filmmaking primarily consisted of documentaries, which later developed into discrete film genres, such as newsreels or informational, educational and cultural films.
First attempts at documentaries were made between 1904 and 1908: R. Poech filmed in New Guinea and in the Kalahari, J. Halbritter documented everyday events (flower parade, car racing on the Semmering). H. Theyer produced cultural films about glass blowers, tanners and carpenters. In 1912, his work led to the foundation of the "Zentralstelle der wissenschaftlichen und Schulkinematographie", a central agency of scientific and educational cinematography. In 1909, the first Austrian documentary, "Die Kaisermanoever in Maehren" was shown. Other film pioneers include Louise and Anton Kolm ("Der Faschingszug in Ober-St. Veit", "Der Trauerzug Seiner Exzellenz des Buergermeisters Dr. Karl Lueger", 1910) and S. Kolowrat ("Die Gewinnung des Erzes am steirischen Erzberg in Eisenerz", 1912); Alexander Kolowrat-Krakowsky) produced documentaries and feature films.
In 1918, the UFA studio in Berlin began to produce cultural films on popular scientific subjects, which were imitated by Austrian film makers, for example by K. Koefinger in his tourism films of the 1920s and later in the propaganda films of Wien-Film between 1938 and 1945. In the post-war years cultural films transformed into tourism and advertising films, while continually losing significance with the spread of television.
The newsreels, which for some time were even shown in their own news cinemas (in Vienna from 1936 as non-stop cinemas, and also in Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck), were chronicle-like documentaries reporting on a mixture of politics, sport and culture. In 1914 the Vienna "Kriegs-Journal" ("War Journal") of the Vienna Kunstfilm was shown for the first time. It was followed by the "Sascha-Messter-Wochenschau" from 1931 to 1933, by an international newsreel using the Austrian Selenophon process from 1934 to 1938, and by "Oesterreich in Bild und Ton", the "Oesterreichische Wochenschau" ("Austria in Pictures and Sound", the Austrian Newsreel"). In the post-war period: 1946-1949 "Welt im Film" ("World on Film", an Allied newsreel), from November 1949, "Austria-Wochenschau" and "Weltjournal", produced by "Austria Wochenschau", currently producing under the name "Austria Film and Video GmbH".
Literature#W. Fritz, Dokumentarfilme aus Oesterreich 1909-1914, 1980; H. Petschar and G. Schmid, Erinnerung und Vision, 1990.