15-12-2011

The Hungarian National Film Fund is waiting for better scripts

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The Hungarian National Film Fund (MNF, www.filmalap.hu) discussed its first experiences with film professionals on an open debate in Budapest, on 13th December 2011. The new support body, that took the duties of the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation (www.mmka.hu, being under closure for half a year), made its call for grants at the end of September.

According to Andrew G. Vajna producer, government commissioner for the film industry and Ágnes Havas, CEO of the MNF, most of the scripts sent to the MNF were disappointing. Vajna was abroad at the time of the event, but he connected via Skype and said that they received some strong stories but almost all of them were underdeveloped and they haven’t met with really convincing projects yet.

Vajna and Havas stated several times in the media that the new Hungarian support system will emphasize much more the scripts and the script-development process than the previous system did. They are looking for films that would draw back the audience to the cinemas for the Hungarian movies and films that would win international recognition at festivals. The MNF accepts applications continuously, according to one of the script doctors they have read 60 screenplays already. The MNF has only supported the development of Kornél Mundruczó’s The Flying Man, but haven’t given away any money to production yet.

Ágnes Havas replied to the concerns that arose in the last few weeks about the MNF’s right for the final cut. Directors protested against the plan that MNF would have the right to alter the editing of the supported projects, Havas stated that the Fund will only have this right if they are financing at least 50% of the film, or if the film receives more than 150 million HUF (500.000 EUR) from them. László Kántor producer, member of the board of the European Film Academy proposed the decision makers of the MNF to make the Hungarian system more compatible with the European support systems. One of Kántor’s projects has won noted scriptwriting contests and was very well regarded at festivals and pitching forums, but the MNF found it unworthy to support. At the end of the debate Havas asked for patience and trust from the film professionals and she stated that they will polish the support system according to the requests of the film industry.