Media Council: two hundred million forints for the further development of contemporary animation series

Published: 12 November 2018

Applications can be submitted until 6 December for the Attila Dargay tender, having a total budget of HUF 200 million, through which the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) finances the expansion of previously funded animation series as well as the adaptation of such series as feature-length films. According to the Media Council’s decision, thirteen new documentaries will receive funding under the Judit Ember tender, whilst nine popular science films and episodes will be produced with funding received under the Ágoston Kollányi tender. The board offered prize money for the top filmmakers of the Budapest International Documentary Festival and approved the results of the latest official review on the accessibility of television programmes: the channels continue to show a nearly 100 percent compliance with statutory provisions.

The Dargay tender announced for this year again

Grants can be requested for the production of new episodes for previously funded child, youth and family-oriented animation series, as well as for their adaptation as feature-length animation films under the 2018 Attila Dargay tender – with a total budget of HUF 200 million –, which has been announced for yet another year. Synopses are to be submitted by 12 noon on 6 December, and successful applicants will be charged with the task of expanding the series – in accordance with the previously supported episodes – to 13 episodes, expanding the previous 13-episode series to 26 episodes or linking up previously produced series into a feature-length film with a running time of at least 52, yet no more than 90 minutes.

Thirteen new documentaries to be produced with patronage grants

At its last session, the board decided to award grants in the total value of HUF 108.5 million through the Hungarian Media Patronage Programme, in the second round of this year’s Judit Ember tender for the production of documentaries, to a total of thirteen artists. Winners include Gábor Xantus, who is set produce a biopic about Hungarian poet Sándor Kányádi, who passed away this year; Judit Simon, who will shoot a biographic film about general of the 1848 revolution György Klapka; Gábor Szabó, making a biopic about aerobatics pilot Péter Besenyei; and Zsolt Pap, shooting a biopic on animation genius and sci-fi pioneer George Pal. Ferenc Vojkó will present the troubled ‘path’ of the Hungarian Holy Crown between 1945 and 1978, whilst Ádám Tősér will relate how those who fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution were received and integrated abroad. László Pesty will recall the twenty-five-year period since the establishment of Duna Televízió, featuring key persons working for that channel; László Krisk will present the past, the successes and plans of the Józsefváros district and the MTK Sports Association; Fruzsina Skrabski will relate the traumatic life of four people and the near-impossible challenge of recovery; whilst Adrian Neagu will shoot a film on how the Csango people of Western Moldavia were forced to move to Székely Land. Levente Jamrik will shoot a documentary on the terrorist organizations active in Hungary over the eighties; Csaba Káel will introduce viewers to the world of the Budapest Opera House in the 19th century, including the figure of Mahler, who used to work there; while Mariann Mezősi-Nagy and Tamás Mezősi will give the peace negotiations of Trianon a treatment based on the recently discovered diary of embassy advisor János Wettstein.

Nine artists awarded in the second round of this year’s tender for popular science films

In the second round of this year’s Ágoston Kollányi tender for the production of popular science films and series, the Media Council awarded grants in a total of HUF 74.4 million to eight Hungarian filmmakers living in Hungary and one living in one of the neighbouring countries. Attila Szabó – an artist living in a neighbouring country, who had already submitted numerous successful applications – will recall the traditions, heyday and present of the Transylvanian tradition of polishing aragonite, a semi-precious stone, which is considered rare throughout the world. Hungary-based winners include Csongor Szász, who will shoot a film on the community and cultural phenomenon of ‘wedding rock’ music created in the lethargic atmosphere of the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina after World War II, as well as Simon Broughton, who will seek to capture the history of the Hungarian folk dance house movement. Ferenc Varsányi will focus on the crusaders in the setting of the 21st-century Christian-Islamic conflict, whilst Rita Takács will shoot a film about the communication of plants. Grants were also provided for three planned biopics: one about Unitarian Renaissance theologian, teacher, writer and cultural manager Ferenc Balázs (dir.: János Dénes Orbán), another about aristocratic social democratic activist Mária Potoczky, who worked close to Imre Nagy (dir.: János Bozsogi), as well as the first biopic about the great storyteller Elek Benedek (dir.: László Szögi). A further 16 episodes will be produced for the Vallás és szabadság (Religion and Freedom) series on the sessions of the Transylvanian National Assembly held in 1568, which was the first to codify freedom of religion in the world (dir.: Zoltán Hevér).

The Media Council also decided on providing ad hoc grants and support for festival prizes

Under the Media Patronage Programme’s Károly Escher tender, providing funding for immediate on-site filming costs, the Media Council will provide a grant of HUF 2 million for capturing the series of centenary celebrations planned for 1 December on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the unification of Transylvania and Romania, in view of the resonance of EU statements made in the subject in the last few days. The director receiving the grant, Anita Major, must commit to submitting a valid application, based on the raw footage, in the next round of the tender process for grants for the production of documentaries and popular science films.

The Media Council will continue to provide grants to the successful filmmakers of the Budapest International Documentary Festival to be hosted from 28 January to 3 February 2019. The board offers a total of HUF 2.2 million for the first prizes of the competition section, the prize of the best short film and the public choice award.

The accessibility of television programmes defined by the Media Act continues to show a 99.9 percent compliance

The Media Council adopted and published on its website the NMHH’s latest assessment of how and to what extent the seven national public service channels and the two major commercial channels made their programmes accessible to hearing-impaired viewers in the first half of 2018. Overall and on average, compared to the previous six months and during the over five thousand programme hours reviewed, nearly 83% of the programmes offered were accessible to the hearing-impaired, with 86.3% for public service channels and 71.1% for commercial channels. In the six-month period covered by the review, the accessibility obligation as required by the Media Act was actually met for 99.9% of the transmission time, yet anomalies (a lack of subtitles, inaccuracies in terms of content or timing) still occurred. Service providers continue to primarily use subtitles (99.6 percent), and the proportion of programmes with sign language interpretation was still at a negligible level (0.4 percent). The Media Act requires all public service announcements, political advertisements, news programmes (including traffic news, sports news and weather forecasts), as well as political information programmes, programmes about people with disabilities and equal opportunities, films, game shows and programmes with public service purposes to be made audibly accessible.

Frequency tender and media supervisory decisions

The Media Council finalized and published on its website the call for bids for the use for community purposes of the currently unused Tardos 95.5 MHz local radio frequency. Bids may be submitted on 21 January 2019. The board called upon both bidders of the tender for the Budapest 99.5 MHz regional radio frequency – Zene Rádió Kft. and Média Depo Kft. – to submit missing documents. In the procedure for the Paks 96.3 MHz local radio frequency, the Council has registered the sole bidder, Paks FM Kft. During the content-based examination of the bids submitted for the Zalaegerszeg 88.9 MHz local radio frequency tender, the Media Council requested further information from both bidders, Egerszeg Média Kft. and LB Rádió Kft.

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 20 thousand on the service provider of Hír TV after the review of a broadcast day in late August revealed that it had failed to use the appropriate pictograms to indicate the age rating of its self-produced programmes on its teletext page.