Bela Tarr Shuts Down Production Company TT Filmmuhely

Bela Tarr - P 2012
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The acclaimed art house director was a vocal opponent of recent reforms of Hungary’s film financing laws.

Cologne, Germany - Acclaimed Hungrian director Bela Tarr is shutting down his Budapest-based production house, TT Filmmuhely, after nine years in operation.

"We have no choice but to acknowledge that despite all our efforts our situation has become untenable," Tarr said in a statement. "We feel deeply sorry for not being able to support and realize projects we believed in and into which we have invested a lot of energy."

The firm, which produced several of Tarr's films, including 2007 Cannes Competition entry The Man From London and The Turin Horse, a Grand Jury prize winner at Berlin last year, will close down at the end of the month. In addition to producing his own  work, Tarr and TT also backed projects from other Hungarian filmmakers, including the omnibus feature Hungary 2011, which included short films from directors such as Benedek Fliegauf, Simon Szabo and Agnes Kocsis;  and Gyorgy Palfi's The Final Cut - Ladies And Gentleman, which is screening in The Cannes Classics section this year and which is billed as a love story cut together from scenes from 500 cinema classics.

"In the past nine years we have been working with responsibility and honor to the best of our knowledge and we have done our utmost to contribute to the development of the Hungarian and universal art of cinema" Tarr said. "We tried to support all initiatives and ambitions which – in a film industry shifting more and more toward show business – had little room and could not breathe."

Tarr has been an outspoken opponent to recent reforms of Hungary's film financing laws, reforms spearheaded by Hungarian-born Hollywood producer Andy Vajna (Die Hard With A Vengeance). Vajna and his team overhauled the indebted local funding body the MMKA and introduced new funding guidelines which also include commercial considerations.

In his statement, Tarr appeared to get in a final jab at Vajna and the reformers.

"Our films and all our manifestations were full of respect for human dignity. We have always stood by the side of humiliated and crippled people and we have defended them by using our own means," he said. "We are confident and convinced that the time will come when freedom of the arts and their independence of politics will be accepted and respected."