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Hungarian Film Fund Helps Movie Newbies (EXCLUSIVE)

LONDON — The Hungarian National Film Fund has selected 12 projects to compete for a place on its Incubator Program, which provides financial and professional help for directors hoping to make their first feature film. The directors will pitch their projects to a professional audience in November, and five winners will be selected.

The fund has always been keen to support debut directors, with the best recent example being Laszlo Nemes’ Cannes Grand Prix winner “Son of Saul.” The last few years have seen Hungarian short films winning at international film festivals, but many of these young directors haven’t been able to go on to make their first feature films. The Incubator Program is designed to help them make that step.

The program was launched in July, when young film graduates were asked to apply with a treatment. Sixty-seven applications were received and a jury of five film professionals then chose the 12 projects that are moving forward to the pitching phase. The pitching forum will be followed by script development workshops, then five low-budget first feature films will be produced next year.

The jury members were Cannes Camera d’Or winner director Ildikó Enyedi (“My 20th Century,” 1988), SXSW Gamechanger award-winner young scriptwriter-director Yvonne Kerékgyártó (“Free Entry,” 2014) and three top producers: Ági Pataki of Filmpartners, Viktória Petrányi of Proton Cinema and Ferenc Pusztai of KMH Film.

The selected projects will be represented by Tibor Bánóczki, Sarolta Szabó, Doraya Bouandel, Zsófi Debreceni, László Csuja, Balázs Dudás, Csaba Vékes, Bálint Gelley, Cristina Grosan, Mihály Schwechtje, Balázs Simonyi, Zsófia Szilágyi, Petra Szőcs, Dorottya Zurbó and Zsófia Zsemberi, who will present their film ideas in front of professionals and students from the film industry. At the end of the day, five projects will be chosen (two by the mentors and three by the professional audience) to be the films that will go into production.

Each project will be able to apply for a maximum of 200,000 euros ($215,000) for a narrative feature, $75,300 if it is a feature documentary and $285,000 if it is an animation. With the 25% tax rebate, the budgets rise to $93,500 for documentary, $269,000 for a narrative feature, and $356,000 for animation.

As an extra prize, Prague-based university FAMU is offering a scholarship for one scriptwriter (or scriptwriter-director) to participate in two workshops: June 2016 in Slovakia and August 2016 in the Czech Republic.

The Film Fund will also provide professional help for the five projects to put together the movies’ distribution and marketing plans.

Ágnes Havas, CEO of the Hungarian National Film Fund, said: “The international success of ‘Son of Saul,’ ‘Liza the Fox-Fairy,’ ‘Land of Storms’ and ‘Afterlife’ proves that young talent gives inspiration and courage to all generations of Hungarian cinema.”

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