FNE interview with the President of Hungarian Motion PIcture Foundation. Zoltán Kőrösi


    Distribution is the weakest point of the Hungarian film industry - says the new president of the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation in his interview. Instead of 25-31 films per year only 15 will be financed by the state but - hopefully - under better conditions.

    What was the most important development in Hungary's film industry over the past year?

    The development can be mostly described by quantitative characteristics: quantitatively the the film industry is four or five times bigger than before. It is also important to mention that there has been development of the film infrastructure in Budapest and in its surroundings such that now we find here one of the most important studio and service concentrations in Europe. The reason for this is without any doubt the financial possibilities given by the cinema law and the well trained but cheap human resources available. The third would be the well organized logistics of these studios.

    In your opinion what is the biggest achievement of the past 5 years and what tasks do you still have ahead of you?

    {mosimage}The biggest achievement of the past 5 years is undoubtedly the application of the cinema law and through this the increase of the film industry in Hungary. Our tasks in fact comes from this situation. As now in the region several countries offer the same advantages to productions we have to think on the next steps of development. Beside we have to dedicate a lot of energy on the creation of a National Film Strategy. We have to systematically produce films which present the contents of the national cultural heritage and which by their quality create a good impression of Hungary. And of course films that are capable of bringing back Hungarian spectators into cinemas.

    We will have to radically change the public support of Hungarian films. Until now the state has financed 25-30 feature films a year which is - I have to state - financially unsustainable. We will now launch about 15 films a year, but hopefully with better conditions than previously.

    Do you plan to support more the distribution of films in Hungary and also of Hungarian films?

    Putting more money into the system is not a solution in itself and we are not in position to do this. The structure has to be changed radically based on digitalisation. Using the successful European examples we have to revive those communal places, cultural centres of villages and small towns, libraries where through the digital technique the films will be able to reach the Hungarian spectators again. This is the most urgent task. Personally I am also sure that the method of support of the distribution of Hungarian films has also to be changed.

    How important are in your view co-productions in the development of Hungary's film industry, and what collaboration opportunities do you see with neighbouring countries?

    There is only one path in front of the Hungarian film: the European co-production. I think that both those who try to implement overseas strategies in Europe and those who try to develop national film strategies which are based only on their own intellectual and financial capabilities are wrong. There is no question that on the European horizon lies the future of Hungarian film culture: those with national contents, specifically should be presented which can reach a European audience too.

    What changes do you plan in the support of co-productions?

    We consider very important the co-productions however we have to be more severe about this issue: I have to admit that we have discovered in the practice of previous years several unreal, fake co-productions. This will not be tolerated any more. On the other hand in my view Hungary has been intolerably passive in the past years on the European co-production market, this is why we plan to strengthen on a personal and conceptional level our functioning. We plan to develop a system based on collaboration which connects us more closely to the European regional film funds.

    What is the role of film in a country's cultural identity?

    Hungary is a country with a strong film tradition but this aspect has weakened in recent years. The taste of the Hungarian audience has changed due to changes in the traditional forms of distribution and due to the invasion of American films. All this is reflected in the film's prestige as an art and as an industry. We have to work here and now in a way to renew the connection between Hungarian films and their audience and to support such productions which are able to bring back the spectators to the cinemas.

    Can the success of Hungarian films help not only the film industry but also the country's reputation?

    Traditionally cinema is considered as part of a country's image - Hungary is no exception in this regard. Even more, I have to say that this has been overrated lately, as whilst the number of cinemagoers has decreased in the past years, the foreign festival successes made a lot of people in the Hungarian film industry think that the problem is not so big, that things will come back to normal by themselves. However our experience shows that film is still the channel through which people create very fast an image for themselves about a country, so we have to pay attention on this.