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 As a consequence the DunaDOCK has withdrawn from the festival.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:
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