Hungarian Film Week Revived Two Years After Dispute Closed Event

New Budapest-based event opens with classic 1914 film by Michael Curtiz, who later directed 'Casablanca'

Two years after a dispute between a new funding body and the head of the Hungarian filmmakers' association caused the cancelation of the country's annual film showcase, a new event is due to launch next week.

The Hungarian Film Week, organized in Budapest by the Hungarian National Film Fund, the national media and communications authority and the Hungarian Film Academy, revives an annual tradition going back to 1965 when the original showcase began.

The event's cancelation, in February 2012, was caused by a bitter rift between internationally lauded art house director, Bela Tarr and the head of the then newly reconstituted film fund, Budapest-born Hollywood producer Andy Vajna.

The appointment of Vajna by Hungary's right-wing prime minister Viktor Orban to shake up film funding after an audit had revealed financial irregularities in a predecessor body, prompted fears among Hungarian producers and directors that national film support would be switched to more commercial projects. Those fears proved unfounded, but Tarr, whose organization owned the rights to the old film week, refused to work with Vajna and the event was closed down.

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The new incarnation of the film week will screen 332 works produced since Vajna took charge as Hungary's film commissioner, include publicly and privately funded films. The showcase, which runs Oct. 13-19, opens with restored version of silent Hungarian classic of 1914, The Undesirable -- directed by Mihaly Kertesz, better known to the world as Casablanca director Michael Curtiz.

The program also includes 26 feature, 16 TV movies, 87 short fictions, 62 animated films, 36 nature films and 105 documentaries that were screened in Hungarian cinemas, broadcast on Hungarian TV channels or shown at international film festivals over the past three years.

It includes the world premiere of Ferenc Torok's new film, No Man's Island and national premieres of features by Gabor N Forgacs (Butterflies); Szabolcs Tolnai's Serbian-Hungarian coproduction Strange Forest and Reka Kincses' debut, German-Hungarian coproduction, Homeland, Sex and Further Inconveniences.

“It is an exceptional occasion when the results of three years are presented to the viewers," said Agnes Havas, CEO of the Hungarian National Film Fund.

"The Film Week’ motto is 'Come, sit beside me,' because we believe that Hungarian film deserves fondness from the audience and that an increasing number of moviegoers will visit cinemas to see Hungarian films."

Also next week, in Moscow, European Film Promotion's window on the west, the Westwind film festival, opens. The event, which runs October 15-19, has screenings that include Olivier Assayas' star-studded film Clouds Of Sils Maria. The French-US co-production has Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in the leads.

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