The eight 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 the representative character of UNICA in the world of non-professional cinema.
The afternoon was reserved for the actual committee meeting, which took place in a conference room at our hotel. Our colleague Dave Watterson had unfortunately not yet arrived, due to a technical failure which the day before had paralyzed all air traffic over Belgium. Fortunately he was able to join us in the early evening.
Briefly, here are the most important points discussed during the meeting. For more detail please refer to the official minutes of the meeting:
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 jury is almost complete. In fact we lonely lack the name of the Russian candidate. The committee decided to entrust the chairmanship of the jury to the German Bernhard Lindner. Also part of the jury will be Wolfgang Allin (Austria), Danielle Vioux (France), Sandor Buglya (Hungary), Tarmo Hotanen (Finland) and Pavel Leski (Poland).
After the meeting the name of Peter Pleshanov (RUS) was added.
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.
The committee also discussed the problems of formats, electronic transmission and film media.
2015 is an election Congress. All members of the committee have to face new elections. Three are no longer candidates: the President, the Secretary-General, and Alois Urbanek. That UNICA thrives is best shown by the fact that already there are several applications for the posts of President, Vice-President and advisors. Thus a profound (partial) renovation will take place in the Committee.
The committee, after interviews and visits to convention facilities, hotels and banquet facilities, decided in favour of the bid by Suceava. Moreover the region of Bucavina with its splendid monasteries, and the mountainous region close to Transylvania in the Eastern Carpathians, will excite participants.
The congress will take place from Friday to Friday, from 19 to 26 August 2016
Finally the committee decided on certain amendments to the annual competition regulations and its annex mainly:
On Sunday morning, at the end of our meeting in Suceava we made one more visit to the annual National Video Competition for students. This was a pleasant surprise and clearly demonstrates that Romanian youth knows very well how to use the latest technology and can stand comparison with anyone in terms of creativity and originality.
A special thank you goes to Emil Mateias who opened all the doors
for us, to Viorel Ieremie, the essential prime mover on site
and to the Mayor Ion Lungu who actively supports the organization
and throughout our visit was an excessively generous and friendly
host to us all.
Luxembourg June 2015
Georges Fondeur, President
Image credits: left Seat Castle in Suceava by Danut Carp. right Voronet Monastery by Alexnica both from Wikimedia Commons