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Report 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 2013 Congress till the UNICA 2014 Congress. It is written about one month before the UNICA Congress 2014 and sent to all Federations affiliated to UNICA. Reporting of occasional developments between the time of writing and the General Assembly 2014 will be added to next year’s Report of the Committee.

General Assembly 2013

The subjects and decisions of the General Assembly 2013 in Fieberbrunn (AUT) have been put down in writing in the proceedings of this General Assembly. [The Minutes and associated papers can be seen here.]

UNICA Congress 2013

The UNICA Congress 2013 was held from August 24th till 31st in Fieberbrunn (AUT).  Some statistics:

  • 220 visitors
  • Number of film entries: 134 from 29 countries, of which 26 UNICA Jeunesse, 13 Young Professional and 18 Film Academy (‘School’) Films.
  • Number of entries for the World Minute Movie Cup: 33.
  • 4 (2) Gold Medals, 4 (1) Silver Medals, 15 (10) Bronze Medals and 14 (10) Honorary Diplomas. Numbers between brackets for Film School/Young professionals’ section.

Participating countries:

Jury: President Bernhard Lindner (DEU). Members: Wim Aertgeerts (BEL), Daniel Caracci (FRA), Greta Varts (EST), Ladislav Frantis (CZE), Reinhardt Steininger (AUT) & Wolfgang Allin (AUT)

UNICA Congresses in subsequent years

2014: Piešťany, (SVK)
2015: St.Petersburg (RUSS)

Meetings of the UNICA commitee

The UNICA Committee met three times:

August 24th - 31st 2013 Fieberbrunn (AUT)

Present: Auda, Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Hovanessian (partly), Kräuchi, Leuenberger,Mandolesi, Michel, Puls, Schörner (instead of Balog), Schwaiger (AUT) and Urbanek. Absent: Balog, De Jong.

October 17th-20th 2013 Nyon (CHE)

Present: Balog, Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Kräuchi, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Skoludova (SVK) and Tervoort. Absent: Auda, De Jong, Michel, Puls, Urbanek

June 4th– 8th St Petersburg (RUS)

Present: Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Kräuchi, Michel, Urbanek and members of the organization committee UNICA 2015;

absent: Auda, Balog, Glass, Graber, Hovanessian, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Tervoort and Watterson.

Summary of topics and decisions:

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

On 14 January 2014 Stanislaw Puls, known as Stani, passed away at the age of 84 years. He was buried in his home town of Bydgoszcz. Our whole small world of film, with UNICA at the top, is very sad at the loss of one of its best, most loyal and longest-standing representative. Throughout his life, Stani was closely connected with our movie hobby, and with the Polish Association, which he co-founded in the fifties and remained a colleague ever since. Throughout his life, he worked in support of non professional films, like no one else. He was an avid filmmaker himself and an internationally recognized juror at many competitions and festivals.

The Assembly confirmed the status of Kees Tervoort as a special adviser appointed by the Committee to collect all reform proposals submitted by national organisations when they returned the questionnaire. Kees Tervoort will examine and thoroughly analyse the proposals with a view to drafting a document with suggestions of reforms that will then be submitted to the Committee, possibly as early as the committee meeting in Spring 2014.

The Committee expressed regret when informed that Arie de Jong resigned from his position as the Webmaster of UNICA. We will pay homage to the merits of this staunch defender of the ideals of UNICA in due time. A worthy successor was identified: it will be none other than Dave Watterson. We thank him warmly and wish him all the best in this new position. The official UNICA website as well as unica-news will henceforth be in the hands of Kees Tervoort and Dave Watterson.

2014 Piešťany (SVK)

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 organising committee a number of current issues. In St. Petersburg Wolfgang Freier gave a presentation on the state of preparations for the 2014 event in Slovakia. Success here is already assured with more than 200 visitors signed-up so far. The jury is complete. To replace the Ukrainian juror who withdrew, Slovakia will be allowed to propose a second juror. Basically the organisation is done.

The Committee is pleased to hear that for the first time since 2011 there will be a new "UNICA Youth" programme.

Armenia meanwhile decided to boycott the Congress in 2014 according to correspondence between the president and board member Art Hovanessian. This is because of undemocratic procedures by the executive of UNICA.

2015 Saint Petersburg

A delegation of the committee went to St. Petersburg from 4th to 8th June 2014 to discuss on-the-spot 2015 with the organising committee the infrastructure and equipment provided and the arrangements for the 77th UNICA Congress, which will be from 5th– 12th September 2015. For a variety of reasons, at the last minute Jeanne Glass, Rolf Mandolesi and our interpreter Jean Claude Lejosne could not join us.

On Thursday, June 5th we visited the cinema centre "Rodina" (which translates as "Homeland") which will house most of the festival in 2015. The hall offers all the facilities and the necessary technical equipment. Then we had a conversation with Mr. Boris Illarionov, Vice-President of the Culture Committee of the city of Saint Petersburg and two of his employees. It was a very friendly discussion, even if no final commitment on financial assistance could be obtained.

Friday was devoted entirely to talks with the organising committee about practical issues for the 2015 festival.

The committee discussed an equally busy agenda for its own meeting although we did not have a quorum, so the delegation was unable to take a decision on certain points. These matters will therefore be raised again at a meeting in Piešťany.

For the congress in 2015 the framework of the schedule is already well developed. The actual programme will be presented in Piešťany. There are a few problems still to be resolved including the accommodation of participants since there are only a few, small hotels within walking distance of the Rodina centre. Another issue that concerns us is the need for a visa to enter the Russian Federation. We must find a solution for this, otherwise some potential delegates may be deterred by the cumbersome formalities and rather high cost.

UNICA 2015 will certainly be very different from the five previous ones, because it will be held in a city of over six million people, where distances are great and it will also be more expensive because of the city’s year-round appeal to millions of tourists. We were convinced that in any event St. Petersburg is a beautiful city that has much to offer visitors and is certainly worth the trip despite the higher prices than elsewhere.

Development UNICA structure and strategy

In the absence of Kees Tervoort we were unable to consider the reactions of national federations as given on the questionnaire about reform. A quick look at the responses received, just seven of them, showed at first sight that only a few countries want a sweeping reform of the current structures and organisation of UNICA. Some suggestions and proposals are considered quite positive.

Non authentic works

Modern media and advanced technology in post-production make it possible for unscrupulous persons to cheat and tamper with other people's work with such accuracy that the trick may escape the attention of the most vigilant observer. As a consequence, our Committee will have to decide in the near future and say to what extent the data provided on the film registration form should be modified and include - next to the signature of the president of the federation - a statement by which the author of the film solemnly warrants that he/she has all the rights relating to the film. In addition to this, we should consider whether, in cases of serious offenses, it would be inappropriate to introduce sanctions against the author or even his/her federation if the latter is held jointly liable for the fraud - in the form of e.g. temporary suspension.

Film categories

Another fact that may not remain hidden any longer relates to the more or less professional nature of some works entered for the Contest. It is no longer tolerable films that were produced in a top film school or those whose age professional filmmakers do not match the rules are not clearly marked as such on the registration forms. Fortunately, this kind of event concerns only a tiny minority of federations. Yet, due to the absence of clear indications, such federations may nurture doubts and sometimes cause resentment, especially among the federations and filmmakers advocating for hardcore amateurism. It might be necessary - for their sake - to review some relevant provisions among the competition rules, in particular by awarding to the jury more flexibility and discretionary power when evaluating films.

Film Library

Thanks to Thomas Kräuchi's sense of commitment, all the selected films arrived in perfect condition in Bern, Switzerland to be stored in the premises of the library of the Lichtspielassociation. The conditions for lending and copying films - that were set out in the president’s letter 3/13 issued November 2013 - have therefore come in force as of the day of publication.


See the separate report from the UNICA catalogue webmaster.


See the separate report on patronage.

Friends of UNICA

See the separate report on Friends of UNICA


See the separate report on IFTC


The membership application from the Norsk Selskap for Fotografi (NSFF) in Oslo, Norway as from January 1st 2014 was approved unanimously.

We were happy to see that the Hungarian Federation once more subscribed to Unica, thanks to initiatives taken by Horst Hubbauer.

We were also happy to see that the Iranian Young Cinema Society (IYCS) in Teheran, Iran, once more subscribed to Unica.

Iran, Hungary and Norway will be back in the UNICA family, which is more very good news, especially as Australia and Morocco are about to join our organisation.

UNICA website

See the separate report from the UNICA webmaster

Members of UNICA

By July 2014 the following 34 countries are a (candidate) member of UNICA:


Corresponding Members: none


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

Président Georges Fondeur
Vice-Présidente Jeanne Glass
Secrétaire-Général Jan Essing
Trésorier Thomas Kräuchi
Conseiller Zeljko Balog
Conseiller Wolfgang Freier
Conseiller Art Hovanessian
Conseiller Rolf Leuenberger
Conseiller Rolf Mandolesi
Conseiller Alois Urbanek
Amis de l’UNICA Fred Graber
Filmothèque Thomas Kräuchi
Liaison auprès CICT Serge Michel
Special Advisor Kees Tervoort
Technique Alois Urbanek
Traduction Claire Auda
UNICA Patronages Wolfgang Freier
UNICA Web & News Dave Watterson


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 2014
Jan Essing / Georges Fondeur

Translation Claire Auda