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Dave’s Notebook

April 2016

Portrait of Dave Watterson.Sometimes I want to scream, sometimes to cheer.

 Working for UNICA is a roller-coaster. There are huge problems and tricky issues. And there are wonderful people with clever solutions.
The six of us who are new to the committee often find unexpected traditions and unwritten rules.  We will recommend to the General Assembly various changes.

UNICA 2016

The final plans for Suceava are being perfected. It promises to be a couthy event. (That is a Scots word meaning cosy and comfortable.) The prices are good. Even the travel is getting easier. As I write comes news that Wizz Air is starting a London-Suceava service on 19th August.

We hope, that many young authors will come. The youth programme will be fun and useful. For the workshops we are extending the age range up to and including age 19. If there are places left then authors up to and including 25 may join in.

You must bring cameras on the excursions! One includes visits to some amazing painted monasteries and beautiful mountains. Forget your diets: Romanian meals will tempt us all to overeat.

Suceava food.

UNICA 2017

At our March meeting we were taken round the colliery where UNICA Dortmund will be held. Honestly!

This colliery, The Zeche Zollern II/IV, was the head office of a giant company in the days when coal was king. It is an imposing building. Think of an industrial palace. It is now an industrial museum and conference centre. The theatre, meeting rooms, restaurant and bar are all in the same complex.

There is a range of hotels and other accommodation and Dortmund is providing a shuttle bus to connect the main hotels with the venue. The Dortmund team are full of exciting plans – some of which they will share with us in Suceava.

Grand doorway at the Zeche Zollern in Dortmund.
Formal door of the Zeche Zollern.


We now know of two cases – in different UNICA Member countries – where someone has copied a television programme, replaced the credits with their own name and entered it in competition. The federations concerned were threatened with huge lawsuits.

To protect UNICA and our Members we must take every precaution. So we insist that for each film submitted to UNICA, we have a form signed by the author, stating that the author has, so far as they know all the relevant rights in the film.

We have always expected, that films in our competition are original works and legally made. Now we must ask authors  to confirm it.


The UNICA 2016 is organised by a small group. If information  arrives late, then preparation of the programme book is harder. If the films arrive late, then the technical team have problems. So we are being strict about deadlines.


It is not so easy to get to Suceava as some other venues. But many of us have already booked. The higher travel cost is offset by the lower cost of hotels and meals.

Painting eggshells in Suceava.
Typical craft creating souvenir painted eggs.


UNICA’s scheme of patronage promises that a festival is fair and honest. Many of the best international festivals are already members. Each festival in the scheme receives a special award to be presented by the jury to a film which promotes solidarity between nations or uses new forms of expression.

If you go to such a festival it is likely that you will meet Wolfgang Freier our Patronage Officer, one of the UNICA Vice-Presidents ... or me.

The brochure cover of East-West Festival.So far I have had excellent weekends at the East-West: Neighbours and Friends event in Berlin and the British International festival. There are more festivals in my diary too. They are a chance to see super films and to meet some of the good-natured, hard-working people who make our world of non-professional film such fun.

I look forward to seeing you at UNICA 2016 in Suceava and at some of the Patronage Festivals.

–    Dave Watterson, Bath, April 2016

The interior of the cinema at Suceava.
Our cinema in Suceava