Retrospective on the UNICA 99 Congress in Lappeenranta (FIN)

Zurich, in August 1999

To the national Federations, members of UNICA

Dear film friends,

UNICA 99 now belongs to the past.

The number of participants in this festival has been quite impressive, even if it was somewhat lower than last year‘s.

And once again it could be observed that each UNICA has an image of its own, a quality of its own.
Next to the main event - the projection of some 115 films - we had  two full-day excursions, one to attend an open air opera performance and one to Vyborg / Viipuri, RUS, both being very interesting days.

The expert technical team, both for the quality of image and of sound, raises deserved admiration among the spectators and, once again, main source of trouble for the technical team was the films in traditional format. Technology makes swift progress and it is now possible to have video projections in a format that could only be imagined some years ago.

After the discussion with the authors and spectators, it appeared that the evaluation made by the jury was to a large extent acceptable and the three videos films which were awarded a gold medal had deserved the highest distinction they received.

It was a great honour for us to see Mr. Robert Kalman, the Secretary-General of IFTC (UNESCO), in company of his wife, give suit to the invitation of UNlCA.
He showed great interest in all activities and took part in all events, including the General Assembly and all film projections.
He awarded the UNESCO Fellini Medal to a film belonging to the Luxembourg programme.

The UNICA General Assembly was held at the beginning of the Congress (Friday morning).
The various items on the agenda were promptly dealt with and all the reports submitted by the various Committee members were adopted without any vote against.
All rapporteurs were thanked for their task with loud applause.
This is also an opportunity for me to express my gratitude to all Committee members.
Werner Kaufmann, honorary member, was elected auditor to take over from Mrs Teich (DEU).

The national federations of Chad, Romania and the Principalty of Liechtenstein have been accepted as new members.
We bid these new members welcome and hope that they will participate with great motivation in our activities.
The new membership is however linked to the obligation of fulfilling the financial conditions (payment of the membership fees).

Two proposals have been submitted by Switzerland for examination by the General Assembly:

The proposal suggesting that there be a better "distribution" of national programmes and projection time was turned down and the former situation will be maintained: the order of projection will be determined by a drawing of lots.

The second proposal suggested that the films made in film schools be judged in a separate category, though screened as part of the national programme for discussion and evaluation by the jury.
The Committee had asked all national federations to express an opinion in the course of the year. Various federations did so in writing and tabled proposals; moreover, national delegates had the possibility of discussing the issue on the occasion of the General Assembly.
The proposal was unexpectedly accepted: the Committee was requested to set up some form of regulation to be enforced next year.
The important point in this innovation is undoubtedly the idea that films are to be ranked in a special list of awards and it will be up to the author to decide whether the work he/she produced, should be entered in this new category.

All Federations will be informed in due time.

As we all know, the next UNICA - in 2000 - will take place in Roermond (NLD).
Those who had come to Almelo (NLD) know that we can expect a Congress organised to perfection.

It will be Estonia’s turn in 2001 - the Festival will take place in Tallinn - and we will go to Luxembourg in 2002: an organising committee has already been set up in the Grand-Duchy.

We couId have the impression that we have no reason of concern. But this is not the case. The Committee has the task of drafting new regulations for recurring issues and this is regrettable.

The following questions are still pending:

As you can see, we are not short of work !

Please keep in mind that next year is an election year and all Committee members have to be elected anew.

For your information: all Committee members stand for re-election.

Many thanks to the organising committee of UNICA 99 in Lappeenranta. We hope that you too, in spite of the enormous workload, could have some good time in the circle of film friends from all over the world.

UNICA 99 now belongs to the past - Long live UNICA 2000 in Roermond.

Max Hänsli
UNICA President