25/04/2007 - Originally a manager, Ferenc Pusztai debuted on the film scene co-producing Gábor Fischer's Montecarlo! (2004) just before going on to produce Fresh Air [tráiler] by Ágnes Kocsis (see interview) for KMH Film, which won in 2006 won Best Feature Film at the Hungarian Film Week and screened in the Cannes sidebar section Critics Week.
Cineuropa: How was KMH Film created?
Ferenc Pusztai: I got acquainted with some students at the Hungarian Film Academy in 2002, we started to work on some films together and then, at the end of the Academy, I was the producer on their diploma films. It was a great experience, therefore we decided to stay together as a workshop, directors and producer together. We named this collaboration KMH Film. We focus on quality art films that are prepared as international co-productions.
Producing Fresh Air was very difficult (without any state funding, televisions or sponsors). How did you manage to see the project through to its successful end?
The hardest thing was to make decisions at each step of the way about whether I wanted to keep investing my private assets, after being continually turned down by [various] foundations. I decided to keep on sponsoring the film myself because I desperately believed in the director, the creative team and the power of the story.
What do you think of the current financing film system in Hungary?
The Hungarian system is based on one supporting institution (MMKA - Motion Picture Public Foundation). Sometimes they find it hard to make quick decisions, although they're absolutely committed to serving the Hungarian film industry.
Is it easy for young producers and filmmakers?
It is not easy at all. The major problem is that there are no applications for beginners. They have to compete with those filmmakers who have been in the business for a long time. It is obvious that those who have made several films and have more experience will have a much greater chance of winning.
Could European co-productions be a solution?
European co-productions are great for Hungary, and ever since the new film law was passed two and a half years ago filmmaking procedures have received more support. It is worth it for foreign producers to become partners in Hungarian productions.
What do you think of the "new wave" of young Hungarian filmmakers? Which directors would you like to work with?
I believe that the new wave of Hungarian filmmakers is extremely good. They have also recently become internationally renowned as well. I would like to work with many Hungarian directors. Currently, I’m working with four directors (Ágnes Kocsis, Réka Szabó, Attila Gigor and Balázs Krasznahorkai) and if I have to name somebody above them, it would be György Pálfy.
What are your upcoming projects?
Our next project under pre-production is Nyomozó (The Investigator) and we have also four feature films in development: Pál Adrienn, Egykéthá (Onetwothree), Nietzche’s Back and Team building.
What do you expect from the EFP Producers on the Move initiative?
I expect to continue building my professional network, which enables me to be more determined both in the Hungarian market and in the international co-production market. I participated in the last ACE workshop. And being a Hungarian producer with limited co-production experience, the theoretical knowledge I gained, setting up a network and the continuous availability of industry professionals for consulting purposes are very useful. Although I was focused on increasing my knowledge at the workshop, my skills also improved very much.