Hungarian Film Commissioner to Restructure Country's Ailing Film Industry

Hungarian government film commissioner Andrew Vajna revealed some of the main points in his plan to restructure the ailing Hungarian film industry on Sunday during a film forum for Eastern European filmmakers at the Collegium Hungaricum in Berlin.

Vajna said that the priorities would be to valuate existing film-industry assets, create a legal framework for the industry that would work within both Hungarian and EU law and glean experience from the Hungarian filmmaker milieu to create a workable system. Both Vajna and his colleague Attila Bokor, head of the Film Department at the Ministry of National Resources (one of the government ministries involved in the restructuring), said that the industry had been controlled by bureaucrats from Hungary's communist past, and this needed to change. Vajna also hoped that Hungarian filmmakers would lose a pervasive sense of entitlement and work with him more interactively in their own interests.

Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr and other Hungarian filmmakers have criticized Vajna's appointment, citing his Hollywood background and relative lack of experience with European film financing systems. Vajna refused to address this criticism, but when asked what he is doing to allay filmmakers' fears he said that he has an open-door policy in which filmmakers could address their concerns directly.

"We would like [Hungarian filmmakers'] assistance," he said. "We don't want a situation where they create uneasiness; we want them to have the patience and the wisdom to go forward."

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