Interview with the director of the festival, Zsolt Pozsgai

The starting of a festival is great work and great joy. Where did the idea come from and why do you expect the nomination especially of historical films?

For the last ten years I have had the opportunity of observing many international film festivals as film director, member of the jury, or sometimes president of the jury. I have gathered experiences from India to Alaska, and according to that I could see that it is worth organising a new international film festival here, in Hungary too. My last work of art, which has won many awards to my great pleasure at different festivals, can be called historical. I noticed that there are only few festivals with this theme. Yet, film-makers are interested in history, its periods and fascinating events – and the audience welcome them gladly. In Hungary also only few historical films are shot, maybe this festival will inspire the Hungarian film-makers too.  The further east we go from Hungary, the more film-makers are interested in the history of their nation, or the history of the world. In Bulgaria, Poland, India, Japan and in many other countries, even the cultural government supports this topic.

By historical films we usually mean period films with lots of action and romance…

Yes, but it can be seen in the announcement of our festival as well that we seek more than that. For example, we announced an ‘Experimental’ category, meaning we also expect such art films which do not necessarily fit into the picture we generally think about historical films.  Or short films. There are only very few short films of this nature, at least they cannot be seen.  We especially evaluate people participating in film studies, university students, art students, so as to address the young generation as well. According to all these efforts, it can be noticed that we expect mainly modern films.  Such ones, which not only depict a historical period or event, but also have something to say, a message for the contemporary audience.

Why was precisely the town of Pápa chosen in Hungary?

I have noticed in my career so far that when I took part in a festival which was organised in a relatively smaller town then the invited film-makers spent considerably more time with each other and many more vital relationships were born.  Pápa is one of the most beautiful baroque towns in Hungary and it was chosen because of its historical atmosphere too. Besides, everything is situated very close – along the Main street one can walk to the Esterházy castle, where the evening parties will be located. The hotels are very close to each other too. We will rent a café, a sort of hangout, a meeting place. That is to say the film-makers can occupy the town for four days.

What should be known about the trophy?

Andrew László /1926-2011/, the world-famous cinematographer, who took part in the making of many already classical films in America, was born in the town of Pápa.  We dedicate the festival to his memory, and the trophy is a small bronze statuette, which depicts him with a camera.

Any other events apart from the official program?

There will be a Day Zero, when in the evening we will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to a Hungarian artist, and we will screen one of his films as well.  I already know who he is, and which film is in question, but this should remain a secret for the time being.  Moreover, what is really important: the festival will not be finished with the screenings and distribution of awards. On Monday we will give the opportunity to the film-makers to negotiate with Hungarian professionals of film distribution. Concerning the business of cinema and television distribution. We would like if the films shown here would be taken by Hungarian cinemas and television channels for further screenings. But the associate of co-production from the Hungarian Film Institute will be also present, if a plan of co-production emerges.

What opportunity will the guest have of getting to know Hungary?

We arranged the programs in a way that there remains some time for excursions. The nearby Balaton highlands have a beautiful landscape. But Győr, one of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque towns, is also close. Moreover, there is an opportunity if somebody would like to stay some days longer, have a rest, get to know the neighbourhood more, we can offer a considerable hotel discount.

How many film-maker guests are expected?

We can invite two people from every film-maker of the films which got into the final providing them with accommodation and full board with VIP card free of charge.  But we also ensure discount accreditation to other film-makers, Hungarian film professionals, journalists, visitors. The information about the exact conditions of accreditation will be available on our website from mid-August. Naturally, we will inform particularly the film-makers who get into the final.