Media Council: Boxi to be developed into a feature-length animated TV film

Published: 13 April 2018

The winners of the recent Attila Dargay, István Nemeskürty and Lajos Egri tenders were selected by the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority at this week's meeting: a total of 19 entries received funding in the amount of more than HUF 327 million. Draft calls for proposals for three local radio frequencies to expire this year have also been announced by the panel. The court has ruled in favour of the Media Council in the proceedings initiated in relation to the formal examination of the bids submitted for the national commercial radio tender.

The latest beneficiaries of the patronage programme

The Media Council awarded a total of HUF 191.9 million to continue the production of four animation series and to complete a feature animated TV film under the Attila Dargay tender, within the Hungarian Media Patronage programme. Katalin Glaser’s series, the surreal and mesmerizing Városi legendák (Urban Legends) will continue; Szabolcs Fazakas of Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely in Hungarian) in Transylvania may expand the relationship between man, nature and supernatural powers with new episodes of Székelyföldi Legendárium (Szeklerland Legends); Beáta Gurmai and László Nyikos may prepare new episodes of Borka és a varázsruha (Borka and the Magic Dress) targeting the youngest generations; and director Márton Kovács will continue the story of the central figure of the playwright Ervin Lázár’s wonderland in Bab Berci kalandjai (The Adventures of Berci Bean). Béla Klingl will have the possibility of creating a feature-length animated TV film based on Boxi, a 3D animated series produced using a paper clipping technique and previously sponsored by the Media Council, which relates the adventures of a paper boy and his cardboard dog.

The winners of the István Nemeskürty tender of the patronage programme sponsoring the production of historical documentary films will receive funding in the total amount of HUF 124.8 million to make films on four 20th-century and one medieval topic. Funding will be provided to Osztálytárs (Classmate), directed by Ágota Varga, an unusual history class telling the story of a teenager who wrote a letter to Radio Free Europe in the whirl of events of the Prague Spring of 1968 and therefore was declared an "anti-state conspirator”, as well as to Tisza István meggyilkolása (The Assassination of István Tisza), directed by Róbert Pajer, about Hungary’s one-time prime minister, the most respected statesman of his time, and about Hungary in the era of late dualism. A néphadsereg katonái (Soldiers of the People's Army), directed by Nóra Ivády, relates the story of four colonels serving in 1956, while Szigorúan Titkos (Top Secret), directed by Tamás Babos, ventures to the limits of sacrificing human lives for the Communist dictatorship and ideology. Mátyás: Mítosz és valóság (Matthias: Myth and Reality), directed by Balázs Eckhardt, plans to give an objective view of the Hungarian king generally considered as the “most just”.

The Media Council decided that eight draft screenplays and one film draft development would be eligible for a total of HUF 10.6 million under this year's Lajos Egri tender. Screenplays will be written for the short film Profán Passió (Profane Passion), a short film relating the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a peculiar setting, as well as to the absurd historic drama on Ignác Semmelweis entitled Szepsis (Sepsis) and to the short film 2 M about the tragedy of a Transylvanian gravedigger couple in 1956 (the title refers to the depth of the grave). Another winner is the historic drama-thriller Kihallgatás (Interrogation), evoking the domination of the Arrow Cross Party and then the Rákosi Era but mostly focused on love and penance. The winning entry for film draft development, A szabadság tébolya (Insanity of Freedom), will serve as the foundation for a historic drama set in the years immediately following the 1848–49 Revolution.

A screenplay will be written for a half-hour animated TV series based on Zsuzsa Tamás’ children’s book entitled A macskakirálylány (The Cat Princess). György Dragomán is writing the storyline for the TV film for young people entitled Az ikerkardok titka (The Secret of the Twin Swords) about two teenagers hunting for the treasures of György Szondi; and Miklós Mészöly’s novel Fekete gólya (Black Stork) will also serve as the basis for a screenplay of another TV film for the youth. Funding has been also awarded to the preparation of a modern short film version of Jancsi és Juliska (Hansel and Gretel), a tale of two lost young people.

Media supervisory decisions: broadcasting different from contractual obligations and surreptitious advertising

The investigation of a week’s programme in January revealed that the Siófok-based Radio Balaton broadcast less public service, local community life and local day-to-day life programmes compared to its contractual commitments, thus the authority imposed a fine of HUF 110,000 on the media service provider. The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 80,000 on the service provider of Gong Radio operating in the Kecel, Solt and Baja area and the Gong FM 87.6 in Csongrád County because an investigation of a week’s programme of the two radio stations early this year revealed that they broadcast less own transmission time, text, public service, local public life and local day-to-day life programmes and more replays (and fewer news programmes in the case of Gong Radio) than their contractual obligations.

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 40,000 on the service provider of the Budapest-based d1TV, because the programme Életmód Magazin aired surreptitious advertising about a make-up school four times in a single January show. When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the penalties with due consideration to all the circumstances of the specific case and employing the principle of progressiveness and proportionality.

Radio decisions

The Media Council adopted and published on its website the draft calls for proposals for three local commercial radio frequencies expiring in the second half of this year: Nyíregyháza 99.4 MHz, Nyíregyháza 103.9 MHz and Sopron 94.1 MHz.

Court proceedings

In all respects, the court ruled in favour of the Media Council in the proceedings initiated by Advenio Zrt., in which the company challenged the Media Council’s decision to reject the registration of the bid submitted by Advenio Zrt.’s in the national commercial radio media servicer tender on the grounds of formal defects, and objected to the registration of the other tenderer’s (Hold Rádiós és Televíziós Reklám Kft.) bid.

In the proceedings initiated by Advenio Zrt. challenging the Media Council’s decision to reject the registration of the bid submitted by Advenio Zrt. on the grounds of formal defects, the court confirmed that the Media Council had correctly interpreted the requirement related to the correct application of the formula needed for filing a business plan, which is one of the requirements for formal validity, and also stated that the Media Council had respected the statutory deadlines. The Court's order regarding the registration of the bid submitted by Hold Rádiós és Televíziós Reklám Kft. stated that the registration of the bid could not be challenged separately, because it is a procedural act that precedes and serves the future decision on the application. In addition, the applicable legislation clearly defines which decisions may be subject to legal remedy, and the registration of bids is not one of them.