MMKA Fund's credit point system grants €146,000 to filmmakers

By Laszlo Kriston

    On May 23, the Hungarian film fund MMKA announced it had assigned credit points to several dozen filmmakers, totalling HUF 36 million (€146,000). Animation films received €63,000, €43,000 was granted for documentaries, €41,000 for scientific-educational films, and €42,000 for shorts.

    The Hungarian film industry, traditionally an auteurist one, has been seeing some of the advantages of a credit scheme, also called the "normative" system, established as part of the 2004 film law. In this framework, Hungary's main state film fund, the MMKA (www.mmka.hu) automatically grants filmmakers certain credit points based on awards and festival presences, the number of Hungarian ticket admissions, and foreign releases of their latest work. Each point equals a set amount of money that can be withdrawn from the Fund for the filmmaker's upcoming project. One animation credit point counts for €42, and one point on documentaries amounts for €50. Filmmakers of these genres normally receive 15-35 credit points.

    A system that can easily serve as a role model for other national film industries in the region, this "normative" method functions in addition to the long held (and in Europe most commonly practiced) jury-led "selective" system at MMKA. The credit system was designed to counterbalance the inherent subjectivity of juries: instead of letting a film project's future prospects depend solely on committee decisions, it allows the filmmakers to earn monetary rewards on the factual and quantitative accomplishments of their latest work.

    Even commercial movies that have not received any subsidy from the Fund's juries can get credit points, and turn them into monetary means, once they reach a pre-designated number of admissions at local cinemas. In one instance, film director Peter Bacso received funding of €324,000 on the basis of his whole body of work to make his latest movie, the €810,000 Almost Virgin that holds its international premiere at the 30th Moscow Film Festival next week.

    Within the "selective" system the next grants, due to be allocated by June 30, amounting to €1.4 million will be given for television series and TV movies.