Honorary President Martin Scorsese
Since 2005, acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese serves as Honorary President of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna.
Born in New York in 1942, Martin Scorsese has created more than 50 films since 1963 – among them several classics of modern cinema such as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas or Casino. His film The Departed won the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture in 2007. Apart from his legendary work as an artist, Martin Scorsese has been a vocal supporter of film preservation for almost three decades. His efforts to create a strong public awareness for the work of film archives include The Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation which he started together with other filmmakers. The Film Foundation regularly partners with the American film archives on the restoration of "lost" or endangered films.
His strong interest in the history of the medium has also led to a number of films that passionately deal with American or Italian film history (A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies; Il mio viaggio in Italia). He is also the owner of an impressive film print collection. In 2001, the International Federation of Film Archives presented its first FIAF Award to Scorsese for his efforts and achievements on behalf of preserving film as an essential part of global memory.
In 1995, Scorsese visited the Film Museum on the occasion of a complete retrospective of his work (> Photos). The relationship that has since developed led the Museum to propose the Honorary Presidency to the filmmaker. Accepting the invitation, Scorsese stated that "such institutions are rare in this world. The museum's remarkable collection, its wonderfully creative programming, and its unique sense of cinema's past as well as its future should serve as an inspiration to film lovers throughout the world."
"I am proud to serve in the post of Honorary President of the Vienna Film Museum. And I know that under the directorship of Alexander Horwath, one of the most passionate film scholars around, the museum will be in good hands."
In 2009 the Austrian Film Museum paid tribute to its Honorary President with a retrospective of his complete works, followed by American Cinema Restored. A Tribute to Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation in December 2014. In the fall of 2022, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, we dedicated to him again a comprehensive retrospective, which he thanked with the following message.
I will never forget my visit to the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna in 1995. Peter Kubelka and Peter Konlechner celebrated my work with a complete retrospective, and they invited me to curate a selection of films by other people that had inspired and excited me. I will never forget the extraordinary hospitality and generosity I was shown, and the museum itself amazed me – the collection, the atmosphere, the creativity of the programming, the passionate dedication of the people who worked there. Ten years later, Alexander Horwath invited me to become the Honorary President of the Museum, and I gladly accepted. I publicly expressed the opinion that the Film Museum could serve as a model for cinema lovers throughout the world, an institution that looked back to the past and forward to the future at the same time. I meant it. Now, almost thirty years later, I am delighted to see that the Austrian Film Museum is still fulfilling its mission to celebrate the cinema as a vital and essential art form. And I am deeply touched and honored to be celebrated, once again, by Michael Loebenstein and his team with a complete retrospective of my work. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.