Hungarian Film Week gets under way


    The 39th Hungarian Film Week opened this week during a time described as one of momentous change for the industry. Among the most important issues is the European Union's objections to the 20% tax break permitted on productions in Hungary under its highly successful film law

    Ferenc Grunwalsky, president of the Motion Picture Public Fund of Hungary, noted in his opening remarks on Wednesday that the EU is looking into the Hungarian funding system, which has attracted many foreign filmmakers. "The Hungarian film industry, however, cannot remain unprotected. There are limits," he cautioned in a statement on the Filmweek website (www.szemle.film.hu/english).

    State Secretary Károly Manhertz of the Ministry of Education and Culture recounted the successes of 2007, which included 335 completed Hungarian productions and 25 co-productions. He emphasized the economic effects of the film law by pointing out that every forint spent on Hungarian films from state funds attracted 5 forints from private sources. Total audience of Hungarian films was 1.4 million, which the under secretary described as "not that bad."

    Film Week Council President Gábor Herendi introduced the Golden Reel prize, the original of which is to be awarded to the makers of the best film. A miniature version of the statue will be handed to all prize winning filmmakers. Genre films this year will get a separate prize called Moziverzum (Movieverse) Award, instead of last year's system where the main prize was divided between genre and arthouse movies.

    Viewers can let their voices heard as well; continuing a tradition, szemle.film.hu will host the vote online for the best film. The audience award will also be presented at the closing ceremony.

    A total of 387 films will be screened during Film Week. In competition are 103 films of which 18 are features, 33 are documentaries, three are creative docs, 36 are experimental and/or short films and 13 are science and nature films.