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Portrait of Max Hansli.Dear UNICA film friends.

The UNICA 2003 Congress in Warsaw now belongs to the past. All the visitors privileged to take part in this event, whether as authors, delegates or simply participants, surely went home with a wealth of new pleasant memories. All the fears that some had about the difficulty of managing such a full programme in a shortened period of time proved unfounded. The organisers found ways, once again - after the great success of the 1997 congress - to offer cultural events of great value in the program and I am sure that the concert given in the Theatre by the Polish Army Orchestra will be remembered by everyone for a long time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organising committee chaired by Witold Kon and congratulate them for all the initiatives and actions taken to make sure that this event was a great success. Another positive point of major importance was the high number of participants in the Warsaw Congress, so that the large projection hall was nearly full all the time. The credit for that also goes to the organisers.

The General meeting examined all the items on the agenda. Here is a reminder of some of the decisions made during this meeting:

President: Max Hänsli

Vice-president: Serge Michel

Secretary-General: Jan Essing

Treasurer: Hansjoachim Stampehl

Advisors to the Committee: Jan Baca (ESP), Zeljko Balog (CRO), Rolf Mandolesi (ITA), Stanislaw Puls (POL), Franz Rienesl (AUT), Lauri Hirvonen (FIN)

We all regretted the absence of Franz Rienesl and - on behalf of all the members of the Committee - we wish him prompt recovery after this period of poor health.

With regard to the auditors, we had to part from Mrs. Teich (Germany). In line with our regulations she had to withdraw after three years in office. We thank her for all the work she has done. The newly elected auditor is Werner Kaufmann, honorary member and former UNICA Treasurer.

Wolfgang Freier has been appointed as the officer in charge of the "Patronage" department after Miette Verlinden's death. Fred Graber (Switzerland) will take care of the "Friends of UNICA". Best wishes to both of them in their new activities.

This year again, the Committee will provide an 80-minute video tape with a selection of works presented at UNICA 2003. Actually this action has two objectives:

The tape should be circulated to the clubs affiliated to each national federation and also to all organisations which are interested, via the federation.

We ask the presidents of all federations to provide their national programmes for the UNICA Competition in such a form that it can be retained for the UNICA Film Library or the composition of the film selection tape (80 minutes) It would obviously be ideal to have this national programme in DV/DVCAM or DVD format, as this would make duplication work much easier. However, we are aware that this is not possible for all Heartfelt thanks for all this hard work !

The UNICA 2003 Congress in Warsaw belongs to the past:


Faithfully yours

Max Hänsli, UNICA President

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Portrait of Filippo Lubiato.

Poland and my nerves * When we landed in Warsaw the Swiss delegation and I received the hospitality of the organising committee. We were warmly welcomed, quickly quartered and told about forthcoming events. As a juror I enjoyed a special status. I was given food and lodging and a female assistant handled secretarial work. Some nervousness made itself obvious, because I had only recently learned to talk in front of many people.

Films from (nearly) all the world * Things started right away after the opening celebration. As host nation Poland opened the Festival with their block of films and thereafter it was one block of films after another for the jury. Knowing the standard of work at the "Festival of Nations" in Ebensee, I was surprised that the level is, on average, lower at UNICA. On the one hand I missed great productions from film students, on the other I missed films from the USA. Then some country programmes looked a little bit filled up.

Expressing opinions about films * A novelty was that only three of the jury gave their opinion at the following discussion. I was so comfortable with this arrangement that I usually felt I could make statements in English and then try to translate them into German (which sometimes was not easy.) Although there was a time pressure, I could briefly report on the films we had just seen. It made me think about "live" reporting (film as experience). One or other of the jurors summarised the film story or he played one production off against another.

Seven, the magic number * During our private discussions the opinions of the seven jurors came together. Normally the jury at more fastidious Festivals has a balance of men and women and an average age of about 45. Once more UNICA was different. Only the Polish juror represented women and I was the only one representing under 45s. I soon noticed that it was easier to get through to some jurors than others - not for linguistic reasons, but because of their tastes. But after some days of intensive co-operation I even understood the humour of the humourless jurors!

Just before the final * On the evening before the public conclusion took place the jury's private discussion went on late into the night. Time forced us to decide which films were to be discussed in public and which films were to receive the special prizes. The stress gnawed at our concentration, but not at our sense of responsibility.

I spent that night with German friends who plied me with Vodka "to help me sleep." Later the British tried the same trick. But I slept badly, dreamed about tables and titles and at one point in the night woke up sitting on the bedside table!!!

UNICA and its stars * I recommend again and again to directors that in order to discover the real value of their films they must not just go to their own native festivals. Why? An example: In the final discussion I respectfully criticised a film by one UNICA star, who had made a film which (at least according to the title) was about sisters. It was a sensationally beautifully produced film. What I saw, however, was a film about the love of a man for one of the sisters, whose relationship was never deepened. Altogether it was not credible enough for a drama and too little overdone for a comedy. Some the fans of that director among the public murmured and a juror, a longstanding admirer of the author, suggested I had probably not understood the poetry of the film. Fortunately I was not completely alone in my opinion among the jury.

The Final * It was about 2 o'clock and no one thought about lunch. For the last films I lacked the strength to express myself clearly. Distributing the gold medals and the special prizes followed. Occasionally films were, in my judgement, rated rather too high than too low. Perhaps this was just a subconscious result of general tiredness. I had to have a siesta before the closing celebrations. Only that way was it possible for me to enjoy the evening gathering of authors, organisers and public. Then I stayed really late with my closest friends.

Result * What stayed with me? Everything! But one point should be of most interest to all amateurs: UNICA in Warsaw was presented as the "World Festival of Independent Films". We should note this:

  1. In a festival the term "championship" is omitted, as it would only try to apply the idea of competition to art. Festival has to do much more with festivities and celebration.
  2. The seemingly dilettante word "amateurs" is falling victim to the self-castrating term of "not professional". Instead in Poland we were described properly: Independent Film Makers.

- Filippo Lubiato (CHE), realisator, juror and supporter of independent films -

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After Maurice Blattner, Serge Michel, Gisela Schulze-Freier and Wolfgang Freier, I now have the privilege of forging a new link in the chain of presidents of the Friends of UNICA and trying to contribute to the well-being of this most important club representing the solid and stable core of UNICA.

UNICA is like a bonfire whose flames have to be fanned up again on the occasion of the annual Congress. In the intervening time, the power of the fire dwindles somewhat but the embers go on smouldering under cover. This glow is maintained primarily by the Committee as they take care of the maintenance of UNICA life. But the fire is also fed by the committee of the federation making preparations for the next congress, and all the film friends entering the date of the UNICA congress into their diary make up the third party keeping the fire alive.

To create bonds between friends - or to fuel the glow with new logs - the UNICA Committee set up in 1973 the "Amis de l'UNICA" (maybe we could call them for short AM-U?)

The term "sponsor" was not common at the time but the idea and objectives were already clearly defined.

The AM-Us are kept informed throughout the year about minor and major events concerning UNICA life, the latest "trends" and the current issues. They contribute to the life of the Union with their membership fees (30 EUR and 500 EUR for lifelong membership) and also with their ideas for a renewal of UNICA. Communication has become a trendy word and I would like to inaugurate my term-of-office with a contribution to this issue of languages at UNICA.

I had a dream in which a fairy called "Live" appeared. She was keeping a keen eye on UNICA from her mysterious and somewhat exotic abode. It could well be Veitshöchheim, or Ostend, or some place in South Korea or even St. Petersburg or Tunisia.

When registering for the Congress, all participants received a golden magic box, even smaller than a cell phone, together with an earpiece.

People were seen keeping this strange box in their pocket at all times, at the opening ceremony, at receptions or outings - whenever some authority gave an address or delivered a speech - in which case they would put the earphone in place and - lo and behold - they could hear their own language.

That was the missing link to unite the Belgians, Poles, Germans, etc. Some invisible interpreters were hidden among the visitors, providing the cement for bonding. And whenever somebody asked a question, the answer was provided immediately and came to listeners in their own language. All the UNICA people were happy.

But then I woke and I wanted to turn this dream into reality. But I immediately came across insuperable obstacles. The nice fairy had disappeared and when I wanted to buy the golden boxes, they wanted to charge 80 000 EUR for them.

One of my priority tasks as the person in charge of the Friends of UNICA will now be to find a realistic solution to translate the dream into reality. Is this utopian?

New film friends have joined the Club in Warsaw. They are:

- Ircne et Louis SCHMITZ, the president of the Luxembourg Federation

- Lauri HIRVONEN, the representative of the Finnish Federation and new UNICA Committee member

- Jeanne and Michel GLASS, the former being the president of Region France-Sud.

They are all welcome! I hope that you will meet them personally in Veitshöchheim.

And now I would like to thank Wolfgang Freier for his enormous contribution to the Friends of UNICA and for his great help at the time of the transfer. We will not forget.

Meanwhile, I would be very pleased to have your suggestions and share your good ideas: my e-mail address : video@triskel ch With best regards

- Ursula and Fred GRABER (CHE) -

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A short overview on the occasion of the meeting in Warsaw where 58 friends were present.

The pattern of international gatherings was established in 1966 at Marienbad (Czechoslovakia). It was started by Uli Biermann, who unfortunately died within two years. The so-called CCL - Cinematographic Circle of Lichtenstein saw itself as an assembly without rules, without ideology, without nationalism or racism, only trading nonsense and humour. Apart from fun, jokes and wit the CCL also had an influence on the fate of UNICA - one could call it a kind of shadow cabinet.

A group around the Secretary-General, at that time De Vandeleer, tried with intrigue and 100 page pamphlets to lampoon the UNICA committee. It also managed that in 1967 in San Feliu. You could say that thanks to the CCL, UNICA freed itself from revolutionary elements after three years in Sousse (Tunesien) and then under the legendary Jupp Walterscheidt became what it is today.

The UNICA committee wanted to work, however, against the allegedly elitist CCL and during 1973 in Ostend established a group of "bienfaiteurs = benefactors" under the name of the Friends of UNICA and under the direction of Maurice Blattner. In 1985 at Mar del Plate (Argentina), Serge Michel took over the leadership and ensured an explosive growth in membership - in a totally decent, non-sexual way! 1996 in Almelo we had the charming Gisela as our boss. After her sad, untimely loss, her husband Wolfgang took our fate in his hands for two years.

Oh today we are not an elite group. Anyone who supports the ideals of UNICA and looks for friendly contact with like-minded participants is welcome in the circle of Friends of UNICA.

The annual fee is CHF 50 or EUR 30. For CHF 500 or EUR 300 you get lifetime membership. Further information is available from Ursula and Fred Graber, EN Pralanet 24, CH - 1276 Gingins, Tel : + 41 (0) 22 3691644 <video@triskel ch>.

I wish the Friends of UNICA much more fun and success. Long live UNICA and its friends

- Werner "Gecko" Kaufmann (CHE) -

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Having just returned from UNICA 2003 in Warsaw I thought that I would contact you all. Those of you who I met will remember that I asked you to send me about 250 words about life in the amateur film world in your country, for publication in our International magazine. I have added your names to our mailing list and you should receive a copy of the magazine - "FILM & VIDEO MAKER" (at the moment, 6 issues each year).

I write a page in the magazine several times each year and report what is happening in other countries. It was good to meet many of you in Warsaw and I look forward to seeing you next year at UNICA in Germany. Do please write soon! All good wishes

- Gerald Mee, IAC International Relations -

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Guernsey in the Channel Islands, situated between England and France has for the past 12 years been the location for the Guernsey Lily International Amateur Film & Video Festival. The organisers of the event, which is known world wide, were pleased to welcome film makers from the Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom to this year's event. Also present was the President of the IAC - the Film & Video Institute, Valrie Ellis.

The award for the Best Film in the Festival was won by Michal Pandula of the Czech Republic for the film Mucholapka. Sonia Ashbee of France received the Best Youth Entry award of £500 from Guernsey Photographics Ltd., towards travel and accommodation. She also received the Guernsey Press Perpetual trophy. Her film Around the World is an animated visit to various countries. Other awards went to film makers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and USA.

Awards were presented by Kevin Banner of Channel Television, Deputy Mrs. Janine Le Sauvage of the Guernsey Tourist Board and the donors of individual trophies.

Of the 107 entries 41 films were screened during the weekend at the Carlton Hotel. Information about the 2004 Festival will be available shortly on the website www.guernseylily.comor by email <landjoz@guernsey.net>

- Joan Ozanne, La Geniesse, Forest, Guernsey, Channel Islands GY8 0AG

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