The war of words between the Hungarian Film Fund and Bela Tarr, president of the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association, is continuing following the cancellation of Hungarian Film Week for the first time since 1965.

Tarr has released a statement confirming that the 44th Hungarian Film Week will not take place this year.

Instead, the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association is holding an extraordinary and public General Assembly Meeting on Saturday [Feb 2] in the Urania Cinema.

The meeting promises to be akin to a wake.

“Believe me, we would rather organise the traditional February film week, we would rather screen films, we would rather talk about them and we would rather appreciate and honour quality achievements,” Tarr’s statement reads.

“Because the Hungarian Film Week has always been the celebration of the Hungarian cinema. This is the very first year when we are not able to organise it.


Bellowing empty words

Hungarian Film Commissioner Andy Vajna has reacted with dismay to Tarr’s statement.

While acknowledging his respect for Tarr’s work as a filmmaker, Vajna told Screen Daily that he was “getting really tired of his bellowing empty words and thoughts with regards to the Hungarian film industry.”

Vajna said that Tarr “no longer participates” in that industry because he has been away teaching at a film school in Split.

“He (Tarr) hasn’t been in Hungary. He doesn’t know what is going on and frankly he doesn’t care. All he wants to hear is his own voice.”

Tarr’s statement claims that the Hungarian industry “has been crushed” and that film production has been in a standstill for two years, leaving many technicians unemployed and “practically on the brink of starvation.”

Active industry

Vajna countered that there is plenty of activity with five films backed by the Fund nearing completion and another six ready to start.

“The industry is very busy and very active with the foreign movies coming to shoot in Hungary one after the other,” he said, citing examples such as Paramount’s Hercules, The Borgias and a new version of Dracula.

“We are talking about many millions of dollars and hundreds of people being employed,” Vajna said. “As far as I am concerned, he (Tarr) is empty hot air and I am sorry to say that about him because I respect his work.”

The Film Fund boss insisted that the Hungarian industry was in good health.

“It (the industry) is well,” Vajna stated. “It is starting to do things that we will all be very surprised (by) in the next couple of years to come. Unfortunately, what he (Tarr) and his cronies have destroyed I have the responsibility in rebuilding – and we are doing really well.”