Andy Vajna Makes Cinema Great Again – Nationalist Film Funding in Illiberal Hungary

Gergely, Gabor (2018) Andy Vajna Makes Cinema Great Again – Nationalist Film Funding in Illiberal Hungary. In: British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies Conference, 12-13 April, 2018, University of Canterbury, Kent..

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Andy Vajna Makes Cinema Great Again – Nationalist Film Funding in Illiberal Hungary
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Abstract

Cigar-chomping Rambo producer Andy Vajna has led Hungary’s taxpayer-bankrolled Film Fund since 2011 with the remit to identify potentially profitable projects and, by funding them, to “rejuvenate” Hungarian cinema. His appointment forms part of a broader policy aimed at enhancing Hungary’s international reputation for excellence in the arts, signalled in the preamble to the 2011 constitution and the investment of the private nationalist initiative, the Hungarian Academy of the Arts, with the authority of the state.

Projects greenlit by Vajna include Coming Out (Orosz, 2013), about a gay celebrity knocked straight by a traffic collision, the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama Son of Saul (Nemes, 2015) and the cyberpunkish racehorse biopic Kincsem (Herendi, 2017). As this brief, eclectic list illustrates, the Film Fund’s favour seems independent of genre, theme, setting or explicit foregrounding of ideology.

This paper draws on Higson (1989; 2000) to trace articulations of the state’s vision for Hungarian arts through the practice of film funding. Further building on O’Reagan (1996) and Hayward (2000), it attempts to establish links between policy, its implementation, and the cinematic output that is their outcome. It argues that the community imagined in the Andersonian sense through Coming Out, Son of Saul and Kincsem is full of nostalgic longing for the fantasy of the ‘Golden Age’ of the Monarchy (1867-1918), fixated on the traumas that its collapse ushered in and asserts an inclusive and tolerant outlook put to the lie by political, media and other forms of public discourse around nation, state and sovereignty.

Keywords:Hungary, National cinema, Film funding, Film regulation, Andy Vajna
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:32302
Deposited On:20 Oct 2018 21:07

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