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From Dave’s Notebook
October 2017

The best bits were:

  • the choir at the opening ceremony
  • climbing the mine’s winding tower to look out over the city
  • eating curry-wurst on the grass with friends
  • visiting the stadium where Borussia play
  • when the fire-alarm went off and we thought it was part of the film.

More than 240 enthusiasts attended the UNICA Congress 2017 in Dortmund. Each will have her or his own favourite memory. The venue, an industrial museum created from the headquarters of the Zollern Coal Mining company, was a star in itself. The team from IMD (Initiative Multimedia Dortmund) led by Eric Jaeger, had prepared meticulously. Their care showed in all sorts of details. We are extremely grateful to them and to BDFA


We apologise to our Francophone friends. All three UNICA official languages should be used in publications and announcements, but something went wrong. French was often missing. We will try to ensure, that it never happens again. The simultaneous translation used for jury discussions and the General Assembly did offer the melodic French of Claire Auda and the beefy tones of Odilon Dubost. The translation team this year was joined by Romy Van Krieken and Denise Gierczuk. Thank you all.


What happened on the last Saturday?  A firework show arranged by the city meant roads would be busy and closed, just when we were due to arrive at the venue for the gala night. We had to get there earlier. That meant, the carefully planned timetable for the day was shortened. Everything was rushed. The awards ceremony was embarrassing. Thank goodness for a lovely evening buffet at the end of it all and a chance to congratulate BDFA on its 90th jubilee.


27 National Organisations took part this year with 137 films in the main contest and 27 in the WMMC (World Minute Movie Cup). We were able to present 8 Gold, 11 Silver and 23 Bronze medals plus 21 Diplômes d’honneur.

The five jury members worked hard to offer enlightenment on every film and to reward the best. We thank Bernhard Lindner, Aase Högfeld, Sunčica Fradelić, Georges Fondeur, and Darko Basheski for their hard work as jurors.

Among the added extras this year were:

  • a small Young UNICA workshop led by Finn-Halvar Peters and Amiria Herrmann;
  • a fascinating and entertaining seminar on Plagiarism organised by Vladimir Murtin with a panel of Helmut Ludwig, Jan Watterson, Philippe Sevestre, Georg Schörner and a filmed contribution from Jean-Marc Chateau ;
  • the World Minute Movie Cup hosted this time by Nico Sauber with help from Zvonimir Karakatic.


What ideas do you have for future UNICA Congresses?

Some people want the return of the public jury vote. Others want a shorter UNICA Congress. There are suggestions for changing the contest rules and indeed changing the role of UNICA. The Committee will discuss all suggestions at our meeting in November. We want to hear from Member Organisations and from individuals – if you have ideas let us know. Contact our Secretary-General, Jacqueline Pante, on gensecr@unica-web.com as soon as you can.


The Congress in 2018 will be in Blansko, near Brno in the Czech Republic on the first week in September.  Hotel deals start Friday August 31 and end Sunday September 9 for those who want to arrive early or leave late. The Congress itself runs Saturday to Saturday as usual.

We will watch films in a comfortable cinema and have meals and meetings in the community halls across the road. The hotels range from 4+ star to a fine Youth Hostel. Most are a short journey away and shuttle buses will be provided.

There will be Young UNICA workshops on animation with two leading Czech specialists.

The town is on the edge of the Moravian Karst district with beautiful countryside and some spectacular caves to visit. Keep watching www.unica2018.cz for  more information week by week.

We look forward to more excellent films from all our Members, but do respect the closing dates for forms and films. Tunisia were very late this year, so in 2018 have only 45 minutes to show off their work instead of the usual 60 minutes.


A few people urge us to devise rules and controls in case someone cheats.

It baffles me. There is no cash to be won. The honours mean a lot to us, but not outside our group. In our world of non-commercial film why should anyone cheat? But sadly some do.

I am no innocent. I have been cheated, robbed, lied to and let down. But I will not live my life as if that were the norm. The vast majority of people are kind, decent and honest. I refuse to be polluted by the actions of a few bad guys. I hope that UNICA can take the same positive attitude.


In 2018 we must elect a fresh committee, who are willing to devote some time and energy to serving UNICA. Let me know if you might be interested or if you know a likely candidate: president@unica-web.com

Often I want to give up the presidency of UNICA. It is stressful, tiring, involves too much expensive travel and more diplomacy than comes easily to me. But each UNICA Congress gives me strength. There are always superb films, which touch us, teach us, scare us, amuse us or make us think. Above all there are open-hearted, generous, lovely people from around the world, who share their love of films and film-making. They are my inspiration and reward.

Portrait of Dave Watterson opening UNICA 2017.

- Dave Watterson, Bath UK, August 2017

UNICA Jury 2017

Portrait of Bernhard Lindner.
Bernhard Lindner
Portrait of Darko Basheski.
Darko Basheski
Portrait of Georges Fondeur.
Georges Fondeur
Portrait of Suncica Fradelic.
Sunčica Fradelić
Portrait of Aase Hoegfeld.
Aase Högfeldt