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Change of legislation favours companies linked to government comissioner of film subsidies

It is a unique situation when a state official modifies the regulation of the market supervised by him in a way that favours enterprises close to him, moreover, using a method in which state financial assets reserved for a given purpose (that means, Hungarian citizens’ collective tax revenues) are spent or ordered to be spent on purposes difficult to justify.

On December 3, 2012 Members of the Parliament voted on the fairly comprehensive modification of the Act on Films that had been in effect for only a year. The film financing system set up just a year ago is already being restructured by significant modifications. These include  complementing the national film assets by copies of the films, which will result in the seizure and takeover of all property from the state-owned Mokép, channeling it into the state owned National Film Fund led by Andrew Vajna, government comissioner for the film industry, leading to the eventual termination of the company.

Probably the most important new changes in the Act on Films, is that besides films, it will be the task of the Film Fund to provide subsidies to the production of animations in video games. It is quite a surprising development, not only because there is no such an example in any other European country that these entertaining though scarcely artistic creations are supported by state, but also because the Hungarian budget is about to support an industry which is not in need of any subsidy. The companies in this sector are selling their products to an international market, mainly to the US, thus obtaining high profits.

Andrew Vajna, Government Commissioner for the Hungarian Film Industry is connected in numerous  ways to this so far out-of-focus industry. The government commissioner told Index.hu one year ago, that he “had given up” his interests in the film industry. Black Hole Kft., which earlier reportedly belonged to Vajna is now being liquidated, while the only remaining serious actor on the hungarian video game animation market is Digic Pictures, also a former interest of Vajna, which is disconnected from the Commissioner as of its trade register status, though in other terms it is still seems to be connected to him.

Full text in Hungarian.

Translated by Atlatszo.hu’s volunteers.

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