Supporting the development and production of Hungarian cinema is just one of several missions of the Hungarian National Film Fund. Finding international audiences and fostering commercial success is also among its most important goals. The person in charge of this is Klaudia Androsovits, who has led the HNFF World Sales (the sales department of the Hungarian National Film Fund) for 4 years now. We asked her about sales activities and her personal approach to Hungarian films.
How did you become the sales manager of Hungarian films?
I was approached in 2011 and was asked if I would be interested in joining the international division of HNFF. I worked at HBO Central Europe for 15 years as an ac- quisition manager, so I was already familiar with the international market, the companies, and have even at- tended the major film and TV markets. My experience was a key factor in landing the sales position.
What is the main mission of HNFF World sales?
We act as a sales agent – under the wings of the HNFF – with the goal of building new business relationships, establishing good communication with buyers and film companies, and bringing Hungarian film back into public awareness. We represent the majority of the films that are funded by the HNFF, but independently financed movies can also be found in our catalogue.
We also offer a separate, extensive library catalogue for the domestic market.
We use the new name HNFF World Sales to emphasize that our division within HNFF only deals with international and domestic sales and shouldn’t be confused with the other activities of the film fund, in fact this is its sales arm.
On many occasions, we cooperate with the Hungarian National Digital Archive and Film Institute, as they own the rights to the majority of the Hungarian Classics. The Undesirable by Michael Curtiz, the director of the legendary Casablanca, is a silent black-and-white classic that we first brought to the market at AFM last year.
What type of programs can we find in your line-up?
Our line-up is diverse and offers award-winning indie and mainstream feature films, animated short films like the Academy Award shortlisted Symphony No. 42, live action shorts, animation series, and feature films.
What markets do you usually attend?
We exhibit at major markets like EFM, FILMART, Cannes Film Festival, MIPCOM, AFM. We come up with one or two new titles for every market.
What was the most surprising Hungarian success story in recent years? Can you describe the typical buyer of Hungarian films?
Selling Hungarian films is not easy and finding our buyers is very challenging. Buyers who have bought from us before keep coming back to check what’s new in our line-up. We sell to major territories on every continent. Just to name a few: The Exam was sold to Australia/New-Zealand; In The Name of Sherlock Holmes to Brazil, Germany, and Japan; Coming Out to India; and Chameleon to North, Central, and South America.
I am very confident that the success of the previous years’ films – such as Just the Wind, The Notebook, White God, and now Son of Saul (which is in the main competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival) – will help draw attention back to the Hungarian film industry.
What do you concentrate on when you’re watching a film?
Practically everything. The production quality, the act- ing, the story, and the characters and their develop- ment throughout the film.
if you could ask for a specific Hungarian film, what would that be? Which would be easy to sell? There’s always a need for quality films geared towards family and children, so they would be my first choice. Otherwise, I’d say a sexy, funny, and witty comedy. Equally sellable are feature films with high artistic value, for buyers representing art film distributors or cultural TV channels.
Cinema, Television, dVd, VOd? Which platform is the best fit for Hungarian films?
Hungarian films can be sold to all platforms.
What field has developed the most in the past few year?
There is a new generation of young, talented, and brave Hungarian directors worth keeping an eye on.
What are the upcoming Hungarian films we should keep our eye on?
Definitely Home Guards from director Krisztina Goda. Her previous credits include Hungarian box office hits like Just Sex and Nothing Else and Children of Glory. These films have been sold globally. I can also mention Weekend, which has me very excited and will be the first Hungarian thriller of the year. Kills on Wheels, the new film of Attila Till (who had his short film Beast selected at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2011) is a promising second full length feature film of the director, focusing on a hit man in a wheelchair. We also have high hopes for Fever at Dawn, which is a beautiful love story based on the true story of two Holocaust survivors. The original novel, from which the script is adapted, will be published throughout the world.