Hungary Slashes State Film Funding Budget

Annual festival The Hungarian Film Week likely to be cancelled.


MOSCOW -- The Hungarian government has dramatically cut state funding to the film industry for 2011, putting local production and annual fest the Hungarian film week in jeopardy.

The possibility of cutting the budget of the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary (MMKA), which administers all state funding for the film industry, was first mentioned last month. The local film industry responded with an open letter to prime minister Viktor Orban, asking him to reconsider the move, which was to come as part of the government's austerity measures.

However, the filmmakers' call was not heard, and this week, the government announced its final decision, under which MMKA's budget is to be cut from 6 billion forint ($29 million) in 2010 to just 1 billion forint ($4.8 million) in 2011.

"We don't know so far what part of our responsibilities we can fulfill from this small amount," Kata Olah, MMKA's spokesperson, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Another 2 billion forint ($9.6 million) earmarked for the film industry is to be administered through the ministry of the economy, but it is not yet clear how it is going to work.

Meanwhile, the cut in funding also put a stop to the plan to turn the local film festival The Hungarian Film Week, which has been annually held in late January/early February, into an international event -- an idea revealed earlier this year by Zoltan Korosi, MMKA's new president.

Moreover, the event is unlikely to be held even in its old format now. "We can say right now that [the Hungarian Film Week] will not be organized by MMKA in February," Olah said.