Eva Vezer Dead at 57: Tireless Promoter of Hungarian National Cinema

Eva Vezer

The former head of Hungary's Filmunio and president of European Film Promotion helped bring worldwide attention to a new generation of Hungarian directors.

Eva Vezer, the former head of Hungary's national film promotion body Magyar Filmunio, has died following a serious illness. She was 57.

An immensely likeable, humorous woman who helped publicize work a young generation of directors whose work has since gained worldwide recognition, including Gyorgy Palfi, Benedek Fliegauf, Kornel Mundruczo, Agnes Kocsis, Szabolcs Hajdu and Nimrod Antal, Vezer died Friday, European Film Promotion announced.

She headed Magyar Filmunio between 2001 and 2011, when, following a major shake-up in Hungarian public film funding, she lost her job.

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A fluent English speaker (along with other languages), she was tireless in her work on behalf of national cinema and was at the center of the now-defunct Hungarian Film Week that until the funding changes was held every February in Budapest.

She was the first Eastern European member of EFP, joining the network in 2001 and was also, until recently, a member of the board and committee of experts of Europa Cinemas, the EU body that encourages the distribution of European movies.

After losing her position at Filmunio, Vezer continued to work on behalf of Hungarian cinema as a consultant.

An extrovert who knew how to use charm, she also helped Hungarian art house director Bela Tarr in his activities as president of the Hungarian Filmmakers' Association.

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Last summer, she chaired the East of the West competition jury at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.

Her last film industry public appearance, before illness made her too ill to work or travel, was as a guest at Italy's Trieste International Film Festival in January.

A regular at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and other international festivals and markets, she was a member of the European Film Academy and Hungarian representative of the European Parliament's Lux Prize selection committee.  Before joining Filmunio she held senior positions in Hugarian film and television companies that included Budapest Film, UIP-Duna Film, Alfa TV and Duna Television.

Vezer, who was not married and had no children, will be remembered by family, friends and colleagues worldwide.

In a statement, EFP, which announced Vezer's death following what it termed "a difficult illness," said: "We will always remember Eva as a wonderful colleague and an extremely warm-hearted person with a great sense of humor. We are saddened by this news and our thoughts are with her family and her dearest friends."

Europa Cinemas also paid tribute, saying, "As a personality full of humor and warmth, Eva will be deeply missed. Our thoughts go to her family, friends and colleagues."