Hungary’s ongoing financial crisis cuts part of budget for the festival.
Festival organisers announced today that the Ministry of National Resources, which handles cultural matters in Hungary, would not contribute to the event’s 18th edition. Festival director György Horváth told Screen he had expected 30% of the festival’s budget from the ministry.
“Two weeks ago I received a phone call,” Horváth said. “They told me we’d be getting zero.”
Festival programmers say they have been forced to cancel the ($14,000) €10,000 premium for the winner of the festival’s Breaking Waves competition. They have also shortened the festivals by two days, cut 13 films from the programme, and whittled down their guest list.
“We can’t even print the catalogue,” Horváth said.
Horváth emphasised that he was not canceling the festival.
The festival says no other public sources are stepping in to replace the lost funding. “For the time being neither the Municipality of Budapest nor the Ministry of National Resources is willing to support the festival either morally or financially,” Horváth said.
A funding crisis has plagued Hungary’s film industry since the government cut off funding last summer to the Hungarian Motion Picture Public Foundation, the body which supported local production, distribution, promotion and other film-related activities. Many local filmmakers have shelved projects due to lack of funding, while others are continuing to look for other backers.
Hungarian Film Week, the country’s national film showcase, was likewise hit by cuts. Organisers of that festival responded by moving the event to early May, just before Cannes.
The Breaking Waves Award of last year’s Titanic festival went to Dutch director Esther Rots’ film Can Go Through Skin. The Fantastic Mr. Fox received the festival’s Audience Award.
The 18th edition of the Titanic International Film Festival will be held April 8-16 in Budapest.