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Hungarian Film Commissioner Andy Vajna Takes Lead in Debt Negotiations

FNE Staff 2011-04-25

BUDAPEST: Hungarian film producers who are in trouble with the banks after the financial collapse of Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation (www.mmka.hu) are pinning their hopes on Hungary film commissioner Andy Vajna. Although no official statement has been issued from Vajna's office industry insiders say Vajna has taken on the lead in negotiating with the banks who are demanding producers now repay to the banks the money that MMKA owes. Some producers have already had their bank accounts closed and are threatened with eviction from their homes.

Under the previous system producers had to act as guarantors to the banks for contracts for film financing made with the MMK. Many used their personal property as collateral. The MMK became insolvent after the government withdrew 20% of its budget in 2010 and only provided 4 million EUR to fulfill its obligations in 2011. MMKA has about 20 million EUR in bank debts from previous years; according to its officials the 2011 budget doesn't even cover the interest on these debts.

In January the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice (http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-public-administration-and-justice) stated that they were negotiating with the banks that MMKA owes money to, but there has been no news since then. Film professionals have high expectations about Vajna's plan to reorganize the Hungarian film industry, which is due to go public in a few weeks, possibly during the upcoming Hungarian Film Week.

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