UNICA logo


2012-3Report of the Committee by the Secretary-General

Portrait of Jan Essing

Jan Essing
Lente 33
+31 321 319529
essing.jan at hetnet.nl (at=@)


This report covers the period from the UNICA 2012 Congress till the UNICA 2013 Congress. It is written about one month before the UNICA Congress 2013 and sent to all Federations affiliated to UNICA. Reporting of occasional developments between the time of writing and the General Assembly 2013 will be added to next year’s Report of the Committee.
General Assembly 2012

The subjects and decisions of the General Assembly 2012 in Russe (BGR) have been put down in writing in the proceedings of this General Assembly.
UNICA Congress 2012

The UNICA Congress 2012

This was held from August 25th till September 1st in Ruse (BGR). 

Some statistics:

  • 234 visitors
  • Number of film entries: 135 from 30 countries, of which 33 UNICA Jeunesse and 21 Film Academy (‘School’) Films.
  •  Number of entries for the World Minute Movie Cup: 30.
  •  3 (3) Gold Medals, 8 (6) Silver Medals, 19 (3) Bronze Medals and 27 (5) Honorary Diplomas. Numbers between brackets for Film School section.

Participating countries:

Jury: president Kees Tervoort (NLD). Members: Julia Obraztsova (RUS), Art Hovanessian (ARM), Petre Chapovski (MKD), Alan Atkinson (GBR), Daniel Cartier (CHE) & Stanimir Trifonow (BGR)

UNICA Congresses in subsequent years
2013: Fieberbrunn (AUT), August 24th– 31st
2014: Slovakia;
2015: Russia

Meetings of the UNICA commitee
The UNICA Committee met three times and the executive Committee once during this period:

August 25th - 30th 2012 Ruse (BGR)
Present: Auda, Baca, Balog, Essing , Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Iliev and interpreter, De Jong (only 25th), Kräuchi, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Michel (only 25th), Puls, Schober and Urbanek.  Absent: Baca.

October 25th - 28th 2012 Heerlen (NLD)
Present: Auda, Balog, Chang (and translator Mira), Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Hovanessian, De Jong, Kräuchi, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Puls, and Urbanek.  Absent: Michel, Graber

April 18th – 21st Bratislava (SVK)
Present: Balog, Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Hovanessian, Kräuchi, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Puls, Schwaiger, Skoludová (organization UNICA 2013 and 2014) and Urbanek. absent: Auda, De Jong, Michel
Summary of topics and decisions:

(As some topics have been discussed at several meetings, they have been clustered in this report)

UNICA Congress 2013 (Korea/Austria)

The news from Korea on January 23rd 2013 struck us like a bombshell. For financial, organizational and other reasons they announced that they could not host our annual festival in its 75th jubilee year. We could not believe it, since we have for years seen and appreciated the assiduous work of our Korean friends led by Mr. Chan Joo Chang – especially in 2006, when we had the chance to attend a very busy and varied festival.  As late as November 2012, during our autumn meeting in Heerlen in the Netherlands, Mr. Chang came in person and submitted to the committee details of progress and the state of final preparations.

Once we recovered from this first shock, we had to find an alternative solution. After we announced that Korea could not organize the festival, many federations declared their readiness to come up with a plan B, or at least to analyze to what extent – knowing how tight the deadlines were – it might be possible to develop a strategy. It might even be a very basic festival, just so that the 75th anniversary of our organization would not end up in the worst case scenario as a fiasco. Once we spread the news, Armenia and Germany came forward as friends to us film-lovers. Some clubs, notably in Romania, the United Kingdom and Switzerland indicated that they were interested too. To all of them, thank you.

After an initial discussion, the Executive Committee decided to enter into negotiations with the BDFA (Germany), believing that in these exceptional circumstances, it would be better to organizse the congress in Central Europe. Many of our loyal supporters had already bought their plane tickets to Korea. Others had booked places on the trips organized by the Dutch and Austrian groups to spend some time in China in combination with the UNICA. Many of them faced substantial financial losses. An alternative solution at the heart of Old Europe was thus, the only way to cushion the costs for most of those "victims".  In spite of a promising start, those talks did not lead to a solution, mostly due to organizational and financial problems.

Later on, the VÖFA (Austria) took over under the leadership of its president, who is a member of our committee, Alois Urbanek. He told us that the Fieberbrunn club was interested in organising the 75th festival. From then on, everything moved quickly. Four of us travelled to Tyrol and on February 19th, 2013 had two hours of intense negotiations with the people in charge of the local club. When we saw the reactions of the committee members, representatives of the local authorities and the tourist office who attended the discussions, we felt a great weight lift from our shoulders. It was clear that UNICA was welcome and that everything would be done to ensure Fieberbrunn offered us, not a basic alternative, but a real festival with all the traditional ingredients we all appreciate. A general assembly of the club taking place two days later unanimously approved the project and the budget presented by the committee. The dates are now known, the festival will take place from August 24th to August 31st, 2013. All the information is – as of now – online on the http://www.unica2013.com website.

As we visited the place where the festival will take place, we realized how good the quality and the suitability of the infrastructure were.

For now, let us celebrate the fact that, from an almost impossible situation caused by Korea's cancellation, it has been possible to find a good alternative for the anniversary of our organization. Many thanks to our Austrian friends and, above all, to Alois Urbanek who dedicated himself to bring about this solution. After Vienna in 1938 and 1962, Baden near Vienna in 1976, Graz in 1987 and Zillertal in 1998, this will be the sixth time that the UNICA festival has taken place in Austria.

2014 Piešťany (Slovakia)

The committee has also considered the progress of preparations for UNICA 2014 which will take place in the spa town of Piešťany. Having received confirmation that the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic will support us, we have discussed with the organizing committee a number of current issues and we went to Piešťany to assess the suitability and the availability of places such as the congress centre and the hotels.

2015 Saint Petersburg (Russia)

Letters have been written to the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Governor of St. Petersburg asking to confirm the possibility of holding the International Non-professional Filmmakers Festival in St. Petersburg and to provide municipal backup and cooperation with our representative - St. Petersburg Union of Non-professional Filmmakers - in preparations for the festival.

Development UNICA's structure and strategy

The committee has also started some other important issues in Heerlen and Bratislava. Here we examined and discussed changes that might be made to the structure and strategy of UNICA as well as its impact on the affiliated national organizations. Of course we will have to study the measures that might be taken, in order to renew the position of our organization in the middle term and to ensure its survival in the long term. This brainstorming session will keep us busy for quite some time and will have to be progressed through dialogue with all of the affiliated national organisations. Defining a new strategy based on a new concept is the main issue to be discussed in the future, at a general assembly of the delegates, perhaps even next year in Piešťany.

Film Library

The UNICA Film archive has been hosted in the house of Thomas Kräuchi since the abdication of Hans Schober as librarian. A more definitive solution was discussed and negotiations have started with an organization in Switzerland to accommodate the film archive under optimal conditions.

Film Library Catalogue

See the separate report from the UNICA webmaster.


See the separate report on patronage.

Friends of UNICA

See the separate report on Friends of UNICA


See the separate report on IFTC.


Lauri Hirvonen (former member of the committee) made contact with Norway and the Norwegian Photographic Society (Norsk Selskap For Fotografi) intends to become member of UNICA. Other colleagues of existing affiliated members have applied for membership as well. This is still under negotiation.

UNICA website

See the separate report from the UNICA webmaster.

Members of UNICA

At July 2013 the following 31 countries are members of UNICA:


The names and functions of the current members of and advisers to the Committee:

    President  Georges Fondeur
    Vice-President  Jeanne Glass
    General Secretary  Jan Essing
    Treasurer  Thomas Kräuchi
    Zeljko Balog
    Wolfgang Freier
    Art Hovanessian
    Rolf Leuenberger
    Rolf Mandolesi
    Stanislaw Puls
    Alois Urbanek

    Friends of UNICA  Fred Graber
    Technical  Alois Urbanek
    Translation  Claire Auda
    UNICA-Patronage  WolfgangFreier
    UNICA News/Webmaster  Arie de Jong

The Committee noted with great regret the resignation of long-time member Jan Baca and also from the film librarian Hans Schober. Both have earned great merits in service to the goals and ideals of UNICA. Jan Baca became honorary member of the committee for lifetime and Hans Schober honorary film librarian.


The UNICA Committee considers communication with the member Federations to be very important. New and urgent developments are reported immediately to the member Federations by e-mail. The President has sent various letters with current developments and decisions to the member Federations.

Dronten (NLD), VIII 2012

Jan Essing/Georges Fondeur