19th Titanic Filmfestival

Festival Films Programs Press News

"Where are the festivals on the Hungarian film industry map?"

On April 4th, Saturday, Titanic International Film Festival hosted a professional discussion where the leaders of different Hungarian film festivals gave account of the current situation of their organisations.

The roundtable participants were Tibor Bíró and Péter Madaras as the representatives of the Miskolc Cinefest (Young Filmmakers’ International Film Festival), Kinga Gyimesi, Managing Director of the Pécs Moveast International Film Festival, Jenő Hartyándi, Tamás Liszka, Ferenc Mikulás, directors of the Győr Mediawave International Film and Music Festival, Anilogue, and the Kecskemét Animation Film Festival (KAFF) respectively. The programme was led by host and Titanic festival director György Horváth, and Balázs Varga moderator.

First, the representatives shortly introduced their organisations, and then went on to discussing the recent phenomenon that consists of the decrease in the number of cinema goers showing a sharp contrast to festivals that have sprung up like mushrooms lately. How do these latter relate to the field of exhibition and distribution and should they reflect on the fall of the number of viewers?

Festivals tend to have two types: some aim to get those movies to the audience that would otherwise never be shown in Hungary (KAFF, Titanic). Others (Cinefest) are keen to encourage the creation of a local group of film-gourmets by trying to lure people who were not interested in movie specialities earlier. Anilogue, among others, aspires to achieve an “inner expansion”: those viewers who fancy a certain type of animation film are often open to others that the festival introduces to them, and so inspiring them to participate in more and more programmes. In some cases, local colour is an important feature: Cinefest relies heavily on the audience going for movies related to the town of Miskolc. Anilogue, however, is now organised in two scenes: besides Budapest it takes place in Vienna as well.  

The most serious of all the problems arising during the discussion is undeniably the question of financing, including issues like the crisis of the distribution companies as well as the subsidies coming from the hosting cities, the MMK (Hungarian Motion Picture Public Foundation) and the NKA (National Cultural Fund). During the roundtable, festival directors agreed on the intolerability of the fact that the national advisory boards still question the importance of film festivals, and that the struggle for the subvention is getting harder.

Ferenc Mikulás said that the KAFF enjoyed municipal support that was much more important than the professional contribution, although it was anyway a primordial feature of the original concept to help the town by organising the event. Kinga Gyimesi, on the other hand, said that Moveast relied mostly on local communities, having relatively few guests and not getting enough support from the town. This is all the more of a serious problem, because if an event is not sponsored by its own town, then how can it expect other forums to do so. According to  Jenő Hartyándi, however, it is basically the festival that supports the town and not the other way around. Mediawave was brought about by a civil initiative, but of course the organisers were happy to receive municipal sponsorship.

György Horváth drew the participants’ attention to the fact that more and more distributors were going bankrupt, and a part of their tasks fell on the festivals. These events can make excellent publicity for a film soon to be distributed, especially if they can invite foreign guests, in this case the movie is advertised by the festival instead of the distributor.

According to the director of Mediawave, festivals tend to have the dominant role of a ‘border castle’; the biggest problem is that the young “have a ‘sampling’ relationship with culture”: the most important characteristic of party and Internet culture is that a music or motion picture product is not supposed to have a beginning, middle or end, as people only want to take a sip of everything. Hartyándi says that culture in general is as much in a severe crisis as cinema and only the highly educated young and middle generation audience can be counted on.

Horváth György added that on no occasion could culture consumption have such solemn and profound form today as on a festival programme. The ‘border castle’ role is therefore more and more predominant, and in order to reinforce this, local, media and professional support is needed. The question is how this need can be better communicated.

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