Is it anthing that could help Hungarian documenary filmmakers?
For sure. Co-productions would open new perspectives for Hungarian filmmakers. But as far I see, till now the Hungarian financing system was concentrating more on specific Hungarian subjects (which are very important as well) made in Hungarian production, but the financing system for international co-productions is not enough developed yet. It is, in case of feature films, but not in case of the documentaries. I hope that the documentarists will achieve some changes in this matter, so that co-productions will be more encouraged. But first of all, the filmmakers have to organize themselves, and than apply for changing, regarding their interests. Participation at such a forum it is very helpful to find out what can be your interest.
What are documentary filmmakers lacking in East Europe in your opinion?
I think that one of the problems is, that producers are not enough interested yet in producing documentaries. It is of course, because it is much less money for documentaries, comparing to feature films. Another thing is that documentaries have no good distribution and market in East Europe. A lot of good subjects are made with cheep technique, which makes harder to show those films on many important international festivals. And I also think that we are lacking contacts with the western filmmakers and production companies. This last thing started to change, because pitching forums, and other events, but the process is still quite slow. I hope that in a certain moment it will speed up, and the eastern filmmakers will have the ability to change the financing system in their countries for their advantage.
Why should a producer and director work internationally?
First of all, they can probably organise more money for their production, so they can make more expensive projects, which is good for the quality of the films, and for the people who are working on the project. I believe that financial possibilities can increase the quality of the product. Second: I think that the main problem of the documentaries is that they don’t have enough distribution. If you work internationally, you can get pre-buys or contacts for later acquisition, and of course co-producers, which make that your film, will be shown in all those countries, and that is good for everybody.
What will make your film internationally attractive?
A film is internationally attractive either if it is about universal human problems, or if it deals with international problems. My project deals with cultural, social and economical differences, that1s why I think it is interesting for an international audience. I want to treat those problems in a funny way, and it seems that this is something quite rare. But of course “internationally attractive” it is not the synonym of “good”. Are a lot of projects, which are important for a certain culture but not attractive internationally. Those films also need to be made, although they can count only on a local audience, and can be misunderstood by an international one.
What can Eastern European producers and directors especially offer?
Mainly a different point of view - based on different life experience, a quite small financial participation (compared to what is normal in the west), and some talent “for sale”. But I do not believe (like some people do) that east has bigger artistic talent than west, and west should buy the eastern talent. Talent is everywhere.
What are their problems and obstacles?
The main problem is that Easters have less financial possibilities. If I would say at a meeting of Hungarian documentarists, that at the pitching forum in Jihlava you could hardly find budgets under 100.000 EURO, and 200.000 Euro was normal, they would be very surprised, because for them are familiar budgets around 20.000 Euro. The financing system is giving money to more productions, but for each of them not big money. The obstacle is not always the amount of money. I do not want to blame the financing system from Hungary for example, because a lot of good changes happened already and I think that things are not going in bad direction, so I just want to say that are still some things to do on the subject of encouraging international documentary co-productions.
How can these problems be solved?
I think that international experience is very important for that. First of all you need to know what you need to do international co-productions. That you have to have the courage to make a higher budget, than it is enough for the beginning to have from your country about 30% of the budget to can start to look for foreign partners. Than, when you have already important international participation (which I’ve seen that is not too difficult to get), than you need a co-production found in your country to which you can apply for the rest.
How can you survive internationally?
If it is enough attractive what you can offer internationally. Pre-sales, and sales of your films are very important, but the main thing is to make co-productions. But of course it works really well, only if you can be an equal partner.
How can we become an equal partner?
If you’re intellectual, plus professional, plus financial contribution, minus the need to have the film done is equal with the intellectual, plus professional, plus financial contribution, minus the need to have the film done, of the other side. Of course, to can keep those things easily in balance, your financial contribution has to be comparable - because generally the rest is comparable as well.
How did you find about the East European Forum that you participated on in 2005?
I visited homepage of Institute of Documentary Film, but I am not used to, really take seriously opportunities which I can find in this way, I mean on the web and similar – though only a personal contact decided that I have applied for the EEF in the end.
It happened that, last year I started to work on my project with a French producer Christian Popp, and when we started to look for finances, he told me that I should go to Jihlava for the Forum, because in year 2004, he was there as a commissioning editor.
What did you gained or learned there?
At the Ex Oriente and East European Forum in Jihlava, I have learned how to pitch, in the same time I made contacts which seems to be very important for the future. And of course I had some pleasant time with nice people. Thanks to East European Forum I was lucky to be invited to the Amsterdam pitching forum as well - for which I didn't applied before, but I was selected directly from Jihlava, by the director IDFA Forum in Amsterdem, Fleur Knopperts.
How and did it help in developing of your project?
Actually my project was developed, so it didn't change much.
Is there something specific and original about it comparing to other Forums and programs you participated in?
I've been only on two pitching forums, so I have no big experience. Pitching is pitching. No difference. Both of them were very pleasant. If they were useful, we will see when we will have the results. But my participation at those forums seems to mark a nice beginning.
Is there something that you particularly did not like?
Well I wouldn’t say that I didn't like. But I wished to have a little bit more time for "socialization" without missing any program. There were too many interesting programs