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November 2013

Portrait of Georges Fondeur.

Dear Friends,

I will start by conveying warm compliments to the team of the Fieberbrunn club headed by its President, Gerhard Hengl and its Secretary Wolfgang Schwaiger, who took on the roles of Director and Head of Communication for the 2013  UNICA Festival and managed the event in a very impressive way. More than 200 participants from numerous countries enjoyed a well organised congress that met their expectations in an atmosphere of great cordiality and unique charm.

The exterior of the UNICA 2013 venue in Fieberbrunn (AUT).

The perfectly staged official opening organised outdoors, followed by the traditional banquet set the tone for the following days. This also applied to the closing ceremony with the awards, the banquet and the handing over of the flag.

We had the chance to enjoy a display of the local culture with a fanfare, a shooting club performance and two "yodlers" who shared the stage with a modern music band. The sightseeing tour of Innsbruck including its ski-jump arena, the cathedral, the castle and the old town was delightful. All the participants really enjoyed this full-day excursion which climaxed in Rosenegg Castle hotel in Fieberbrunn. The half-day excursion filled all participants with enthusiasm when we travelled in the cable cars up to the alpine pastureland above Fieberbrunn, enjoyed the cheese and beer tasting sessions, enhanced with some 'obstler' (fruit brandy) and finished the day in a typically Tyrolian atmosphere up in the mountains.

The opening ceremony of UNICA 2013.From a technical point of view, the projections - pictures and sound -were of excellent quality. However there was a hitch: the ceiling in the projection hall was rather low so that subtitles at the bottom of the screen could not be seen by everyone.

A large majority of the films selected for the national programmes were of admirable quality. It was a hard task for the jury, chaired by Bernard Lindner, to identify the best films; they opted for severity and preferred to award fewer prizes so that even film-makers who were awarded Diplomas of Honour could feel proud of their achievement.

The World Minute Movie Cup was - once again - one of the highlights of the festival; obviously all members of the audience were delighted to play the role of the jury panel and adored viewing these films that are mostly comedies. Dr Georg Schörner, the Secretary General of the Austrian Federation was a brilliant master of ceremonies, when he substituted for Zeljko Balog, who could not attend the Congress.

The General Assembly of the Delegates took place in a very pleasant atmosphere and almost all resolutions were accepted unanimously. The Assembly also 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 Assembly was pleased to see that a new "UNICA Committee” has come into being in Korea and that country in the Far East was well represented in Fieberbrunn with many Korean friends attending the Congress.

On invitation by Ursula and Fred Graber, the Committee held its autumn meeting in Nyon (CH) from October 17 to 20. We were welcomed with open arms and our hosts spared no efforts to offer great hospitality. Thank you very much.

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

Zuzana Skoludova, who joined us for the Nyon meeting, reported about the latest preparations for our 2014 Congress which will be held in Pieštany, in Slovakia. The UNICA 2014 website is already online and everyone can already register and book a hotel room.

The UNICA 2013 jury team.

Some proposals for reform have already been submitted, not from federations which can respond to the call up to the November 30th deadline, but from some individuals worried about the future of our organisation. The proposals have been forwarded to Kees Tervoort and will be examined as individual contributions. It already appears that opinions may be fundamentally opposed.

The Committee devoted much time and attention to a complaint lodged by a federation that expressed serious accusations, mainly concerning plagiarism, against a film-maker and his federation with reference to a film that was awarded a medal in Fieberbrunn.

The committee examined the options for circumventing the data protection restrictions when a list of UNICA Congress participants is established. A possible solution could be to invite each participant to indicate on the registration form whether he/she consents to having his/her name and address on the list provided the sole purpose of this list is to make it possible for the organizer to dispatch invitations for targeted events.
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.

On Sunday morning we travelled to Bern, where we were warmly welcomed by David Landolf, the president of Lichtspiel (Bern Film Library). After an extensive tour of the premises, an important step forward was made on the way to developing the archiving and preservation process for the UNICA Archive. An agreement to this effect was concluded and signed in the Library. Among the provisions of the agreement, we note:
  1. the archiving procedure of the UNICA films and videos is delegated as a loan to Lichtspiel - free of charge;
  2. a new data bank will be created and items will be available to the public via the Lichtspiel site;
  3. the films and videos remains UNICA property;
  4. all film items will be verified, packed and labelled before being properly archived by entering all the relevant data and details into the data bank;
  5. the films and videos stored in the UNICA archive may be digitized be professionals working and then dispatched in the form of DVDs or downloaded straight away from the ftp server. A flat-rate contribution will be charged for each digitized film or video. This amount will be charged directly to the applicant federation that will have to pay into the UNICA bank account. The rates are as follows:
1st film/video :

2nd film/video :


3rd film/video :


4th and 5th film/video /each:


Orders are limited to 5 items. Please contact Thomas Kräuchi (kraeuchi@rcm.ch) for further information.

The Spring 2014 meeting of the UNICA Committee will be held in St Petersburg, Russia, following Nina Zaitseva's and Vyacheslav Zaytsev's invitation. This will be an opportunity to meet the organizing committee and collect information about the preparations for the 2015 Congress. The Committee will visit the venue for the Congress and also the possible accommodations. Arrangements have been made to meet the political authorities of the city of St Petersburg.

With best regards
Luxembourg, November 2013
Georges Fondeur, President 

Photos by Franka Stas.