Copenhagen festival crowns ‘East’

Von Trier's 'Boss of It All' opened this year's event

STOCKHOLM — Romanian drama “12:08 East of Bucharest,” helmed by Corneliu Porumboiu, bagged Golden Swans for best film and script at the Copenhagen Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Event, headed by festival director Janne Giese, is facing an uncertain future as coin from local authorities is likely to be chopped back next year.

This year’s fest opened with the world preem of Lars von Trier’s “The Boss of It All,” which — along with its 100% European program, competish and sidebar of industry-only screenings — bolstered the event’s profile.

But among local auds, the CIFF is considerably smaller than its main rival in the Danish capital, the 18-year-old noncompetitive NatFilm Festival, which takes place in early spring.

The fact that the CIFF has received more than $2.5 million from local authorities in the past three years has recently been heavily criticized in Danish media.

The CIFF counted 17,261 sold tickets last year, vs. the NatFilm fest’s 32,170 tickets. Copenhagen’s international documentary fest CPH:DOX, whose fourth edition unspools Nov. 10-19, sold 17,871 tickets in 2005.

But while the NatFilm Festival and CPH:DOX (both aimed at local auds) received $116,000 and $133,000, respectively, from local authorities in 2005, CIFF was allocated $908,000.

Funding for the CIFF was distributed by the Municipality of Copenhagen, the Ministry of Culture, the Danish Film Institute and Copenhagen’s Transport Society, with the municipality being the major economic contributor. Its funding of $342,000 for the CIFF was eight times higher than that for the NatFilm fest last year ($42,500).

Next year, the municipality’s budget for cultural events and film festivals will be reduced from $1.03 million to $736,000 annually. Moreover, the municipal politicians recently hinted they will start dividing its cash more equally between the local film festivals in the near future, which would mean considerably less funding for the CIFF.

The Danish Film Institute already decreased its allowance for the CIFF from $307,000 in 2005 to $239,000 in 2006. According to Anders Geertsen of the DFI, the allowance probably will stay at that level in 2007.

Local authorities — along with Danish media — are discussing a merger of the Copenhagen Film Festival and the NatFilm Festival.

“The plan is logical and reasonable,” wrote Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, suggesting state funding should be focused on one feature film festival in Copenhagen beginning next year.

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