Hungarian Filmmakers Protest Restructuring

By FNE Staff

    Nine Hungarian film directors (Ildikó Enyedi, Benedek Fliegauf, Szabolcs Hajdu, Miklós Jancsó, Ágnes Kocsis, Márta Mészáros, Kornél Mundruczó, György Pálfi and Béla Tarr) published a statement protesting the centralization of the Hungarian filmindustry on 7 February 2011. The statement was also signed by dozens of international artists and filmstars, including Andrzej Wajda, Tilda Swinton, Atom Egoyan, Michael Haneke, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Aki Kaurismaki, and Gus Van Sant.

    The statement claims that by restructuring the film financing system the Hungarian goverment is ruining culture itself, with decisions made by a single agency demolishing the diversity of Hungarian film.

    For the last two decades a self-governing institution of film professionals was responsible for allocating funds (Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation - www.mmka.hu), but it became insolvent in mid-2010 and its budget for 2011 doesn't allow it to fulfil its duties. In January the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán appointed Andrew G. Vajna as the government commissioner for the film industry, to set a strategy to rebuild the financing system and the industry itself. Vajna's plans are not public yet but many expect that he will give some guidelines during the Berlinale as he will take part in a film/political round table on 13 February organized by the Collegium Hungaricum.