Legislators are thinking about introducing a “Hungarian quota” to help the distribution of Hungarian films, said Káel Csaba, the government commissioner responsible for developing Hungary’s motion picture industry on InfoRádió’s program.
20 new Hungarian films premiered at the Hungarian Motion Picture Festival at the beginning of the summer. These films are now making their debut in Hungarian cinemas week after week, which – according to Káel – is basically the proof that Hungarian film production is working.
Káel also mentioned, that since the National Film Institute of Hungary started to integrate film production since 1 January 2020, filmmaking presence in Hungary is no longer limited to feature films, but also includes television and streaming films and series, and “essentially also contract work, as the same people work on a Spielberg film shot in Hungary as on a Hungarian production,” he explained.
The government commissioner also pointed out that COVID has made a big mark in cinema distribution, not only in Hungary but also in Europe. Distribution has dropped by 60 percent, not to mention the competition that are the American blockbusters, aided by unmatchable marketing background, sometimes costing more than the production of a complete Hungarian film.
Káel said that the Hungarian feature films – not to mention documentaries – are not only starting with a handicap, they are not even competing with American productions in the multiplexes. Moreover, it is not in the interest of cinemas and distributors to step up their efforts. A solution could be some kind of quota for domestic films. “We are strongly thinking about this now,” said Csaba Káel, but this would also require amending the film law, integrating it with European laws that explicitly do not support this.
“We need to create our own cinemas in some way,” he said. In addition to this, the National Film Institute of Hungary wants to revive the “film club system”, a project now present at all Hungarian universities. Another medium-term plan includes a partnership with the National Institute for Culture, targeting municipalities where there are no cinemas at all, but where cultural centers or libraries can be used to screen movies.