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UNICA 2015
Committee Report
2014-2015 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 2014 Congress till the UNICA 2015 Congress. It is written about one month before the UNICA Congress 2015 and sent to all Federations affiliated to UNICA. Reporting of occasional developments between the time of writing and the General Assembly 2015 will be added to next year’s Report of the Committee.

General Assembly 2014

The subjects and decisions of the General Assembly 2014 in Piešťany(SVK) have been put down in writing in the proceedings of this General Assembly.

UNICA Congress 2014

The UNICA Congress 2014 was held August 23rd  till 30th in Piešťany(SVK).
Some statistics:
228 visitors
Number of film entries: 132 from 28 countries, of which 23 UNICA Jeunesse, 15 young professionals and 14 Film Academy (‘School’) Films.
Number of entries for the World Minute Movie Cup: 25.
2 (1) Gold Medals, 9 (4) Silver Medals, 15 (9) Bronze Medals and 27 (5) Honorary Diplomas. Numbers between brackets for Film School/Young professionals’ section.

Participating countries:

Jury: pres. Dave Watterson (GBR),members: Guido Haesen (LUX), Tomàs Hucko (SVK), Romy van Krieken (NLD), Josep Rota (ESP),Anton Szomolànyi (SVK), & Vjekoslav Zivkovic (HRV).

UNICA Congresses in the following years

2015: Russia
2016: Romania

Meetings of the UNICA committee

The UNICA Committee met three times:

August 23rd–30th 2014 Piešťany (SVK)

Present: Auda, Balog, Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Kräuchi, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Michel, Skoludova (OC UNICA 2014), Tervoort, Urbanek and Watterson. Absent: no-one

November 6th-9th 2015 Esslingen (DEU)

Present: Balog, Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Kräuchi, Lindner, Urbanek. Absent: Auda, Leuenberger, Mandolesi, Michel, Watterson, Zaytseva (OC UNICA 2015).

May 28th–31st 2015 Suceava (ROU)

Present: Essing, Fondeur, Freier, Glass, Graber, Kräuchi, Mandolesi, Urbanek, Watterson and members of the OC UNICA 2016. Absent: Auda, Balog, Leuenberger, Lindner, Michel, Zaytseva (OK UNICA 2015).

Extract of topics and decisions:

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


Kees Tervoort (NLD) was commissioned by the General Assembly to help the committee to draw up plans for the renewal of UNICA. Kees returned his mandate as an advisor. The comments on the distributed questionnaire did not give him the confidence he needed to bring his mission to a successful conclusion. Furthermore his professional occupations intensified and took all of his attention. Bernhard Lindner (DEU) was adopted to take the vacant place as advisor.

May 8th 2014 Hans Schober (hon. Film librarian) deceased at the age of 84. Hans has been serving UNICA as film librarian from 1994 to 2012 and was then honoured lifetime honorary film librarian. We will always remember his happiness and cheerful character.

2014 Piešťany (SVK)

The 76th World Festival of UNICA in Piešťany, Slovakia was a resounding success. 120 films have provided the show and 230 participants contributed to create a warm and friendly atmosphere. The town of Piešťany in turn was a real discovery with its spa facilities, wide open spaces, its river, its pedestrian area with inviting terraces and its spacious hotels.

The whole programme went according to plan. The only drawback was the absence of some countries without notice. Apart from some small organizational failures the Piešťany Congress took place to general satisfaction. Zuzana Skoludova and her small team on the spot, with the effective support of Wolfgang Freier, had much to do, to meet at least somewhat the high expectations raised during the jubilee edition of 2013 in Fieberbrunn. The accompanying programme with trips to Bratislava and in and around Piešťany, as well as the cultural program of the highest level at the closing night were much appreciated. A big thank you to the organizing committee.

2015 Saint Petersburg

To begin the committee discussed the difficulties in obtaining a visa for Russia. This formality will be undoubtedly be one of the major causes of reduced participation in UNICA 2015 in St Petersburg. Other reasons are probably of a financial nature in relation to obtaining a passport and a visa, as well as travel and living expenses, plus the congress card cost. Anyway, the team around Nina Zaitseva will do everything to make UNICA 2015 an unforgettable event for all participants. Programme details can be found on the official website. It is certain that the tours provided - first to the Peterhof Palace and second a half-day boat trip on the Neva - will be among the festival's high points.

The committee also decided to change the registration form so that the authors of films that are part of national programmes, are registered with their names, addresses and email addresses and signatures. In doing so they attest that they possess all the rights to their films. The authors of youth films, graduate students of film schools, as well as the Young Professionals will mark their age on the registration form. The president of the federation attesting by his signature the accuracy of the personal data of the authors.

2016 Suceava (ROU)

It had long been known that the city of Suceava was a candidate for 2016 and a formal and unanimous promise had been granted to Romania to this effect. Against all expectations we recorded a few weeks before the conference another application from the city of Blansko in the Czech Republic which emphatically implored to be awarded the organization of UNICA in 2016. After a longish break in the meeting, which saw some fierce talking at times between the candidates, the honorary president Max Hänsli having unsuccessfully tried to mediate, it was decided to apply our rules to the letter and to give preference to Romania.

The nine committee members who undertook the (still) difficult trip to Suceava on Thursday, May 28, 2015, in order to examine at first hand the competence of the local organizers and the possibilities for UNICA 2016, had very high expectations. It seems that the airport at Suceava will be ready to host international airlines next Autumn. Thus the detour via Iaşi Airport with a bonus three-hour bus ride will be unnecessary.

The reception by the local leaders was extremely warm and the organising team that was brought together under the impetus of Dr Ing. Emil Mateias seems up to all requirements. The local arrangements are in the steady hands of Prof. Viorel Ieremie. The city government under Mayor Ion Lungu, and at the top of the University the Vice-Rectors, support the project wholeheartedly. Alongside plan A, in which the festival takes place in a new convention centre, that is almost complete, there is a plan B, namely a large university lecture theatre, and if required there is a plan C. The hotel industry in the city has rooms that meet the usual standards at modest prices

On the first night we had the opportunity to meet with the mayor and the organizing committee team at a joint dinner. Immediately, we felt a strong team spirit and a strong motivation on the part of all stakeholders. UNICA 2016 is already eagerly awaited and will be welcomed with open arms.

On Friday, May 29, the morning was devoted to a wide exchange of views at the city hall, where, besides those mentioned above, we noted the participation of several deputy mayors, and a member of the Romanian Senate. This meeting was followed by a press conference during which the Romanian representatives presented their plans, while the president of UNICA referred in particular to the origins, objectives and goals of our organization, while emphasizing therepresentative character of UNICA in the world of non professional cinema.

The conference will take place from Friday to Friday, from 19 to 26 August 2016.

New competition rules

Finally the committee decided on certain amendments to the annual competition regulations and its annex mainly:

1. Attaching new age limits to the authors of youth films, film academies and Young Professionals. These changes will come into force on 1 January 2016.

2. To prevent fraud through copying or plagiarism of existing productions, by making authors and federations aware of their responsibilities and that, if necessary, to expect sanctions. The changes to the relevant texts come into force with immediate effect.

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.

UNICA Renewal

Regarding the paper from Art Hovanessian, which proposes structural and organizational reforms, the Assembly requested the Committee to try to find answers to some proposals for improvement. A paper and synthesis likely to find a consensus should be developed in order to prepare UNICA to face the future with confidence. Unfortunately the attempt to achieve a broader opinion on this by asking the individual associations, did not have the hoped-for result. This has resulted in our project manager, Kees Tervoort, deciding to resign his office. Indeed only France and Italy, although to a lesser extent, were of the opinion that UNICA should be rebuilt on a fundamentally different basis, while responses from other countries were in parts diametrically opposed. In its last year of office the committee decided this work should be carried further by the new elected team.

Film Library - See the separate report of the Film Librarian
Catalogue - See the separate report from the UNICA webmaster
Patronage - See the separate report on patronage.
Friends of UNICA - See the separate report on Friends of UNICA
IFTC - See the separate report on IFTC


Last year we were happy to see that the Iranian Young Cinema Society (IYCS) in Teheran, Iran, once more subscribed to Unica, but a month ago new directors in Iran made clear that membership of UNICA is not a priority. Other organizations in Iran might be interested to take over membership of UNICA. Furthermore membership of Argentine and Uzbekistan have been cancelled automatically according to UNICA Statutes par. 3.6.3

UNICA website - See the separate report from the UNICA webmaster

Members of UNICA

By August 2015 the following 31 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 Bernhard Lindner
Conseiller Rolf Mandolesi
Conseiller Alois Urbanek
Amis de l’UNICA Fred Graber
Filmothèque Thomas Kräuchi
Liaison auprès CICT Serge Michel
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 2015
Jan Essing/Georges Fondeur
Trad. Claire Auda