Andy Vajna promises greater transparency in funding process.
After a turbulent year, the Hungarian film industry looks finally to achieved stability.
The amendments to the Film Law announced this week have confirmed the Hungarian National Film Fund as the main funding body of the national film sector.
Around €13.3 million will now be set aside for the Film Fund for 2012. This money comes from the number 6 National Lottery revenues.
Hungarian film commissioner Andy Vajna has overseen the restructuring of the sector after the debacle
at Hungarian Motion Picture Public Foundation (MMKA), the old state film body which imploded with huge debts.
Speaking to Screen on Tuesday, Vajna was relieved and upbeat about future prospects for the industry.
“We are very happy with the results. We have managed to ensure that the Film Fund is the major
corporation that will be supporting the film industry and we are very happy that we managed to get the
independent financing from the 6 Lottery.”
Vajna claimed that state funding had now been “solidified.” He also promised that there would be far
greater transparency in the application process. A new computer system has been put in place to ensure
“There is never enough money obviously,” Vajna said when asked if the €13.3 million will enable the
Fund to achieve all its goals but he added pointedly: “but this is a small country and they have never had
this much money to support films.”
The documentary division is not now the responsibility of the Film Fund. (Docs will be taken care of by
Over the last month, the Fund has already been sifting through its first batch of applications for development and production. The Fund is able to provide as much 90% of budgets for Hungarian art
films and as high as 50% for coproductions.
“There is still a lot of grumbling going on but that is OK. We’ve managed to resolve the debt of the old
(State) company,” Vajna said. “We’ve negotiated a settlement with the banks. We are now going to
negotiate a settlement with the producers. Everybody kind of hates us because nobody is getting it all
but at least we are putting order to the wreck and nobody is going bankrupt. Banks aren’t closing down
the producers so I think we’ve accomplished quite a bit.”
Vajna is now promising an added emphasis on marketing and distribution of Hungarian cinema. “We can
act as a sales agent if the producers desire us to do so because Hungarian films have traditionally not
had very good representation worldwide,” he said. “We hope to improve that by offering this service.
We’re going to be spending some of our money on marketing because there’s no point in making the
movies and then not being able to sell them.”
Asked whether there would be a Hungarian Film Week, Vajna replied: “that’s not under our auspices.
That is handled by the cultural ministry if they wish to have that kind of situation. I am not sure
whether we have enough productions at the moment to justify it but I think there will be some kind of
‘honour thy films’ kind of festival in Hungary so that producers can show each other what they’ve done
– some kind of celebratory procedure.”
The Fund’s tasks are as follows: granting moneys for the various film productions, supervising and
supporting these productions with a see through accounting system and granting marketing support. It
will also be representing Hungarian films abroad, handling worldwide distribution rights of national
films produced before 1989 and of those films newly supported by the Film Fund.
According to the new regulations the Film Office, responsible for film classification, registration of film
production companies and issuing certificates entitling for the tax benefit, will be placed under the
National Media and Communications Authority.
The Film Office has more effective means to supervise financial matters of the film productions. These
tasks will be carried out jointly with the Film Fund, saving producers from double reporting.
The Film Fund will also manage the distribution activities of the National Film Archive.