Budapest's new-look fest reflects on changes


BUDAPEST, Hungary -- As the Europe Film Month winds down here, organizers are setting out to determine if a number of "firsts" for the 17th annual Budapest end-of-year event have proven successful.

This year, the event was stretched from the one week of year's past to a full month in a move designed to give attendees and local film fans more time and more variety. Organizers also introduced an online screening component that opened viewing to a much wider audience throughout the region. Viewers were able to vote for their favorites online.

The selection for the festival was designed to encompass as much diversity on screen as possible, organizers said. Titles ranged from the U.K.'s "Hallam Foe" and "The Trial of Tony Blair" to Italy's "A Casa Nostra" to titles from Norway, Belgium, France, Germany and Russia among others.

The organizers claim that their idea to transform the festival into an online happening was motivated by the hope that more people, particularly those in the remote countryside areas that lack cinemas would have access to an increased number of new, European films.