Hungarian DunaDOCK Withdraws from Festival

The Jameson Cinefest International Film Festival in Miskolc, Hungary will not include the DunaDOCK masterclass as planned. On facebook, in the ScreenDaily, on Spiegel Online and of course in the Hungarian media, that I can not read, the matter has been dealt with: The festival (to take place in September) does not want a couple of Roma documentaries shown, critical to the society’s treatment of the minority, one of them being a film classic of Pál Schiffer from 1978. As a consequence the DunaDOCK has withdrawn from the festival.

On a personal note: In the early days of establishing the EDN (European Documentary Network) I had the pleasure of meeting the fine man Schiffer in the middle of the 1990’es, introduced to me by Diana Groó, who is one of the four filmmakers behind DunaDOCK, and who made me watch several of the master’s works.

Schiffer died in 2001, another master Bela Tarr backs the decision of DunaDock as does the Hungarian Filmmakers Association. Here follows the announcement of the DunaDOCK:

Dear Friends,

We regretfully announce that DunaDOCK will not present its MasterClass program at the Jameson CineFest International Film Festival in Miskolc this September.

To our greatest surprise we found out that CineFest can only host our professional program if it does not contain – contrary to our plans – any film dealing with the topic of Roma in Hungary, or if it does, the title, the description and the names of the creators of such films cannot be listed in the official program or in any other public forum.

This year – as previously – we selected internationally recognized Hungarian and foreign documentaries for our MasterClass, based on professional

criteria. We were planning to include a great Hungarian classic film – Pál Schiffer’s Cséplő Gyuri (1978) (photo) – , and a new Hungarian documentary, that was already shown at international festivals. So it happens that both deal with the Roma topic.

The explanation of the CineFest leadership is incomprehensible to us; according to them the film festival takes place at the time of local elections, thus to avoid political conflicts and for security reasons they cannot undertake the presentation of any film dealing with the topic of the Roma in Hungary; even their usual Roma workshop is canceled.

We believe that the documentary film is a medium that helps the empathy towards our fellow humans and we find it unacceptable that an independent filmmaker professional program’s freedom can be restricted by current politics.

Under these circumstances DunaDOCK will not be present at the CineFest and we have notified already the organizers about our decision.

We sincerely regret that such a situation can occur at an international film festival.

Our MasterClas series will continue at a different place and time, to be announced soon.

Budapest, August 2014

The DunaDOCK team

Agnes Böjte, Diana Groó, Klara Trencsényi, Julianna Ugrin

– and DunaDOCK on Facebook

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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