EXCLUSIVE: A major new film festival and market is being launched in Budapest, Hungary, with the first event scheduled to take place Sept 22-30, 2012.

The event, the first international film festival to take place in Budapest, is an initiative of the Hungarian Audiovisual Producers Association (HAPA) and the Hungarian Ministry Of Culture.

 An artistic director for the festival will be announced later this year.

The winner of the best feature film - being dubbed the Golden Chain-bridge - will be voted on by a jury of five local and international experts and comes with a €20,000 prize attached. The festival is only open to films with at least one co-producer from an EU member state.

There are ten prizes in addition to the best feature film - directing, actor, actress, cinematography, documentary, short film, Hungarian film, animation, audience award and Best Visegrad Film Prize for a film from a Visegrad country.

While the festival will encourage international film-makers to show their films to Hungarian audiences, the market will focus on the value of co-productions in Europe, fostering international film co-production opportunities especially from countries will a low volume of production.

The festival will also host a series of forums and panels about common international concerns of film financing, distribution and sales as well as concerns pertinent to European artists.

HAPA’s official delegates Adam Nemenyi and Peter Barbalics are in Cannes along with minister of culture Geza Szocs to launch the festival and market.

 “It is a very exciting time to launch a new film festival and film market in Europe when, clearly, the models of film financing, marketing and distribution continue to be reinvented,” said Szocs. “As we see the co-production world constantly develop itself and plug-in new cultural energies, we are working hard with the creation of the festival to be an active part of that world and hope that BIFF will become a thriving venue for filmmakers and filmmaking.”

 The event is not related to Hungarian Film Week, which is the long-established showcase for local films that recently moved to May, or Andy Vajna’s Hungarian National Film Fund, which subsidises local production.
The festival will initially be government supported but plans to operate independently from public funds within a couple of years of existence.