This year's Hungarian Film Week underlines the overwhelming success of the Hungarian Motion Picture Act, which is now in its fourth year of operation. The system of support it introduced for the Hungarian film industry is obviously thriving both artistically and financially.
Gone are the days when Film Week, which annually screens all the new Hungarian productions, struggled to collect a dozen new features to present, and chronic underfunding forced many talented young directors such as Janos Szasz to flee the industry for the theatre and other opportunities. Szasz returned to the scene last year with his masterful Opium.
This year the HFW (Jan. 29-Feb. 5) was spoiled for choice, selecting 18 feature films for its competition programme and screening another 19 new features out of competition.Critics and festival selectors will get their first glimpse of new films by internationally acclaimed Peter Timar, whose Casting Minden features Hungarian star Andras Kern, and Kornel Mundruczo, with the strange and powerful Delta. The ever-popular Hungarian actor and director Robert Koltai rolls out a new comedy Train Keeps a Rollin'. Koltai's films don't always travel well - but with so much box office success at home, they don't need to.
Ferenc Torok's Overnight tracks the life of a high-rolling young Hungarian stock broker in a 24-hour race against time to pull off a multimillion-euro deal that takes us to Mumbai, Berlin and Budapest where high finance knows no borders. Director Gabor Dettre's Tableau takes us to the other end of the spectrum with a picture of social hopelessness in today's Hungary. Also screening in competition is Benedek Fliegauf's Milky Way, which has already won a Golden Leopard in Locarno. Debut director Erik Novak makes the cut with Nosedive, a romantic urban fairytale.
Following last year's event, winner Iska's Journey directed by Csaba Bollok went on to screen at 26 international festivals and won six awards. According to Eva Vezer, general manager of Hungarian Filmunio which organizes Film Week, in 2007 Hungarian films screened in competition 200 times at international festivals and received 80 awards. Festival selectors are already competing to be the first to screen the best of this year's new crop of Hungarian films.