Funding woes blamed for annual event's no-show

LONDON — Hungarian Film Week, held annually in February in Budapest, will not take place in 2011.

The head of Hungary’s international film promotion body sent an email to bizzers worldwide to express her regret over the cancellation. Eva Vezer, general manager of Magyar Filmunio, which invites international guests to the festival said in an email Thursday, Dec. 16, that she had been “optimistic till the very last moment that I can send you the official invitation to Budapest.”

The decision to postpone the 42nd edition of the film week was made last week by its funder, the Hungarian Motion Picture Public Foundation, after the org learned that its budget had been slashed in a government austerity drive.

Vezer, a well-known figure on the international festival circuit from film events such as Berlin and Cannes, added that the foundation “and the whole film support system in Hungary are facing structural changes on which no further details are available for the time being.”

Filmunio had been attempting to secure backing to organize a smaller event, the Budapest Screening, to allow film pros to see the latest Hungarian features, documentaries and shorts but had failed to find the funding.

“We know how much the traditional timing is important for new Hungarian films to start their international career,” she added.

“Hopefully, by 2012, it will be realized by the competent decisionmakers as well how important the event and the timing of our showcase is.”

The level of uncertainty at publicly funded film bodies in Hungary was underscored by Vezer’s final words: “I also hope that the new structure is going to shape up in the near future and Magyar Filmunio will be part of it.”

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