Hungarian Film Week puts a spotlight on local filmmaking

"So Much for Justice!"


When the 41st Hungarian Film Week gets under way Feb. 2 in Budapest, festgoers will be offered a veritable feast of local cinema. The event will feature 16 new feature films competing for the Golden Reel Award, the festival's top accolade, culled from the 356 Hungarian productions completed in the past 12 months.

With 13 world premieres among the competition films and five directorial debuts, the festival's various competitions will exhibit a total of 95 films competing in five categories: features, shorts, documentaries, scientific films and films made for television.

As if that weren't enough, the HFW will also hold out-of-competition screenings of the latest works from renowned Hungarian filmmakers such as Miklos Jancso and Marta Meszaros. The fest opener is Jancso's latest film, "So Much for Justice!" a Hungarian-Austrian-Polish co-production that explores 15th century Hungarian history.

"We try to provide an overview of the Hungarian films produced in a given year," says HFW president Emil Novak, a cinematographer. "This is a special feature and tradition of HFW."

The HFW is organized by the Magyar Filmunio and the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, the event's main financier. Magyar Filmunio, the promotional body of the MPPF, is responsible for organizing screenings and professional programs for the fest's foreign guests, who number about 100 every year.

HFW provides the main pool of Hungarian submissions to annual international film festivals, especially Berlin, which kicks off Feb. 11.

"The Berlinale is a very important festival for us, and holding the event one week before Berlinale is a longtime tradition that has proved to be very useful," says Eva Vezer, GM of Magyar Filmunio.

Showing films to the assembled international film professionals early in the year provides an opportunity for Magyar Filmunio to plan for its subsequent international promotion.

"We get immediate feedback from our partners on the potential and value of the films," Vezer says. "Right after HFW, we start working on the promotion strategy for films to be shown at EFM (the European Film Market) in Berlin. It also helps that many HFW reports and film reviews are published in the Berlin dailies of the main trade publications."