As a nonprofit, Hungarian distrib Cirko Film has a different agenda than many of its competitors, explains the company’s Linda Potyondi, though its challenges are just as great.
“We like to distribute the so-called ‘difficult’ film, the ones that attract small audiences — we think it is important to show them in Hungary.”
Even so, Cirko Film managed admissions of 6,000 in the first eight months of 2008 — an impressive number these days in Hungary for arthouse pics — with a slate including laffer “Adam’s Apples,” “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” “Persepolis” and “After the Wedding.” (A high-water mark was set by Manuel Gomez Pereira’s steamy 1999 thriller about sex addicts, “Between Your Legs,” with 13,000 tickets sold.)
Aside from a knack for backing praiseworthy niche pics, Cirko Film sets the bar for efficiency: With just three full-time employees, aided by volunteers, says Potyondi, “We do programming, festival organizing, press, national and international media tenders — literally everything!”
The Open Society Institute and Budapest Autumn Festival help financially, with a bit more coin from the National Cultural Fund and the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, but, Potyondi says, “It isn’t a question of money, but human resources.”
What keeps morale high, she says, is Cirko Film’s rewarding agenda of helping promote understanding for what she calls “disadvantaged groups.” Pics must have artistic merit but will often focus on gay issues and struggles by Roma, religious minorities, disabled people and victims of domestic violence.