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UNICA 2006 in KOREA - a great event for all participants

Portrait of Max Haensli.

To all Federations and Friends of UNICA .

Surely a retrospective is amply justified after an event which was truly extraordinary and we want to express our gratitude to all those responsible for this great success.

The story began when some 280 participants coming from 25 airports met in the halls of Amsterdam and Frankfurt Airports and embarked on the long flight to Seoul in South Korea. No one was missing ! We had tried to think of every contingency and made preparations in case some one had not found his/her way to one of these central airports. We had organised an emergency telephone number which - much to our surprise - remained silent ! And so, 12 hours later, all participants were there in Seoul Airport, right on time ! Unbelievable but true !

We were prepared for all sorts of eventualities but not for the participant who landed with a passport that had expired - a problem that caused some tribulations - and not for the other participant who lost his return ticket short after arriving ! But these mishaps were solved thanks to the intervention of Thomas and Ursula Kräuchi and it was possible to avoid "immediate repatriation" of the forgetful participant.

Max Haensli and Mr. Chang.The friendly reception offered by Mr. Chang surely contributed to making the atmosphere even more relaxed so that, after a city tour and a walk in Insadong shopping street, participants could check into their hotel rooms - with some (as anticipated) asking for a change ... The 5- day tour was a great opportunity to see various aspects of Korea and, much to the surprise of all visitors, we realised that the no-picture-or-video order imposed in nearly all places did not apply to us, following the special permissions that the Organising Committee had been granted. So we were all very pleased to have the chance to take films and videos that tourist groups are not normally allowed to capture. We are sure that this permission granted in all temples made it possible for many delegates to take very unusual pictures.

Many thanks to Mr. Chang who had made all the necessary arrangements.

The tour came to an end with the return flight from the Southern island of Jeju to the city of Daegu and the Interburgo hotel where the UNICA Congress and Film Competition were inaugurated with a highly original opening ceremony. Talented performers presented the true folklore of Korea in a high-quality performance and the applause that followed was so loud that, after some hesitation, the group decided to give an encore, something which is practically unknown in Korea. The projection of the first national programmes was also somewhat strange to us as the films were projected simultaneously on 3 screens (!). The reason was the very wide room and there was no alternative if we wanted all spectators, including those seated on the left and right sides to have a good view.

Two days later, the whole troop moved to Concorde Hotel in Gyeongju (Imperial city) where the technical equipment was set up for the second time; one screen being sufficient in this case. Projections were perfect at all times and indeed, to the great surprise of many a participant, there was not one single interruption. Congratulations to the technical crew ! The 3 half-day excursions ran smoothly and, once again, participants had many opportunities to take magnificent pictures and take shots that we will surely see in future contests. Mr. Chang was in charge of selecting the places to be visited and we thank him for a very good choice.

Portrait of Thomas Krauchi. Portrait of Wolfgang Freier. Portrait of Jeanne Glass.

Thomas Krauchi

Wolfgang Freier

Jeanne Glass

The main item on the agenda of the General Assembly - which took place on Thursday - was definitely the election of the new committee. The withdrawal of Serge Michel (France) - who was nominated honorary member in recognition of his brilliant work in previous years - made the position of vice-president vacant. France had appointed Jeanne Glass (France) - who chaired the UNICA jury - as a candidate and she was elected in the first round. Considering that Lauri Hirvonen (Finland) had also announced that he had to withdraw for professional reasons, it was necessary to hold another election. However two candidates had been nominated and were running for election : Jaak Järvine (Estonia) and Wolfgang Freier (Germany). In such a situation, one of the two was defeated. Jaak Järvine was the loser but we trust that his heart will go on beating for UNICA.

The team led by Jean-Claude Lejosne provided high-quality simultaneous translation. This is an opportunity for me to express our gratitude : you did a good job.

Some of the translation team. Traditional Korean dancer.

Anne-Laure Tixier, Christelle Duris and Jean-Claude Lejosne
from the translation team.

Korean dancer.

The closing and prize-giving ceremony started with a performance of great folkloric and cultural value and the event came to an end with addresses on behalf of the organisers, by the Mayor and by the author of this report. All speakers rightly stressed the quality and variety of the events that had been offered in the course of the past two weeks. The organising committee - numbering 20 people - bade all participants farewell amid a standing ovation. The prize award ceremony was conducted along the usual lines. The final event to close the UNICA 2006 Festival was a beer party in the open air - with the surprise of a fireworks show - which took participants into the small hours of the morning.

The UNICA Congress in Korea has shown that even distance does not represent an obstacle for many participants. There were 4 visitors who had at times to use a wheelchair. But our Korean friends found a solution for that problem every time. Thank you very much.

Of course we also had to overcome the problem of the Korean language but here again the organisers had found highly qualified translators and interpreters who made sure that mutual understanding was guaranteed. Finally, I would like to thank all the participants who adapted so readily to Korean cuisine. Naturally, it was somewhat different from what we are used to ... but we were, after all, some 7,000 miles away from the home cooker!

The UNICA 2006 Congress in Korea has indeed been a great success. Many thank-you letters have arrived, confirming that participants enjoyed this great event and were very pleased that the event lived up to expectations. I am of course very happy to see that the multi faceted programme, both for the tour and the congress, was found adequate and interesting.

In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to Thomas Kräuchi for the tremendous work he did before and during the congress. He is the person who made the whole thing possible as he managed the administration and found a solution to all problems. But the greatest cause of satisfaction is surely the fact that we did not record any accident, any case of illness or injury, nothing for approximately 280 participants ! The Tourasia tour operator confirmed to me that that is really unusual for such a large group of travellers. I am so very pleased that all participants returned home in excellent health and mood … to start the preparations for the UNICA 2007 Congress in Slovakia.

Those who - unfortunately - could not participate in this UNICA 2006 Congress missed an event of extraordinary dimension. But maybe another Korean UNICA will be organised some time in the next future. In the mean time we have an appointment with Slovakia for the UNICA 2007 Festival !

Sincerely yours, Max Hänsli

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Portrait of Mr. & Mrs. Hänsli at a dinner in Korea. To the Federations Affiliated to UNICA

I hope that you all had a safe home trip, with some of you taking the most direct route, and others via various excursions around the world. It is incredible what a UNICA Congress of this kind can lead people to do !

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the determination and energy you showed tackling all the causes of "stress" involved in this long journey. I am aware that, here and there, we were very close to the limits of the possible, but surely those who embark on such a long trip are willing to see and enjoy as much as they can? That was the guiding principle Mr. Chang followed when he made preparations and selected the places to be visited. As I told you in my intermediate reports, he also made changes and adapted the programme to circumstances. But looking back at it now, I think all the changes made were justified. I suppose that we may also claim without too much self-congratulation that the UNICA 2006 Korea Congress was a real cultural experience. When I say that, I am not thinking only of the visits we paid to various temples, but also of the performances staged for us at the opening and closing ceremonies. It was absolutely superb and an unforgettable experience, even for the somewhat spoiled Europeans.

We are very pleased to report that we received over 50 thank-you letters in which participants recalled this or that specific experience that they had enjoyed in particular. The sentence "we had some idea of what we would see but we were very surprised by the wide range of things offered in the programme" was, of course, for us a cause of great satisfaction. I will be happy to transmit this expression of gratitude to Mr. Chang who made it possible for us to enjoy this experience and such a wealth of exciting events. I was myself astonished when I was informed about the numerous authorizations for filming and taking pictures that Mr. Chang had been able to obtain, in particular at temples, as such permissions are not only exceptional but also unprecedented for a party of the size of UNICA.

Thank you very much Mr. Chan Joo CHANG.

And now we say: see you in Slovakia for the 2007 UNICA. I am already looking forward to greeting you there.

Yours sincerely,
Max Hänsli (CHE), President of UNICA

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Portrait of Stanislaw Puls. UNICA Committee Meeting in Warsaw (POL) - November 09 to 12, 2006

Following an invitation by Stanislaw Puls (POL) the first meeting of the new UNICA Committee after Korea 2006 was held in Warsaw (POL). The numerous items on the agenda were carefully examined. We had a retrospective on the latest UNICA Congress and discussed the prospects for the future. I would like to submit the following summary of the proceedings of this meeting.

After the elections in Korea, the committee was pleased to welcome the new members attending: Jeanne Glass (FR - Vice-president) and Wolfgang Freier (DEU- patronages). We have in Jeanne Glass another person who has excellent understanding of the 3 UNICA languages, which will make discussions much easier. Jeanne Glass will pay special attention to the problems arising in the Francophone countries.

The president submitted a report about the way it had been possible to "bus" the 300 participants or so who attended the UNICA 2006 event, the problems that emerged and the way they were solved, and about the financial dimension of this great event that called for transactions amounting to a total of about € 700.000 ! Due homage was paid to Mr. Chang - the president of the organising Committee - for all the support and assistance provided and this gratitude was also expressed in more than 75 letters that came from participants. The most pleasant thing to say is obviously the fact that there was no accident or case of sickness to deplore. Thanks to this very happy situation, we had the great pleasure of transferring € 3500 to the UNICA Treasury and this amount will be allocated to reserves for exceptional events.

Closing the accounts with the Korean organiser - which was managed before departure - went without a hitch and, here again, Mr. Chang was very generous and showed full trust in Thomas Kräuchi and his work as treasurer. It is always difficult to do full justice to such performances in the field of organisation. In this case it stimulated the Committee to design and develop a Certificate of Merit to pay due homage to such meritorious service. More information about this will be supplied in one of the forthcoming issues of UNICA News.

This Committee meeting was a time of open discussion on various points which will be of major importance for the future of UNICA. I thank all the UNICA Committee members as well as the hosts of the meeting, the Polish Federation and Stanislaw Puls. The next meeting will be held in Thun/Thoune (CHE, near Bern) in association with a Friends of UNICA meeting.

On behalf of the UNICA Committee, Max Hänsli, President

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Portrait of Rolf Mandolesi. UNICA: growing inflation in medals

Please don't get me wrong: I offer sincere congratulations to all awardees of a medal! However, if we look back on the past seven UNICA Film competitions, we see that the number of works selected for the final jury discussion has remained pretty stable whereas there has been a steady rise in the number of medals awarded, despite the fact that the quality of films entered may be considered a constant. This is why I think this discrepancy is worth some consideration. See the following table:



medals %




























All of us know that inflation leads to devaluation and this development would be a bad sign for the UNICA film contest as the worldwide competition for the best non commercial films.

We have to bear in mind that having your work selected to be shown as part of the national program during the UNICA Competition should be considered as a form of recognition and having it later on in the list of films submitted to public jury discussion is another achievement. Nevertheless, appearing on the latter list should certainly not be understood as a guarantee of obtaining a medal. And yet this is the situation we had in 2005 and 2006 (with just one exception).

In my opinion the most problematic element, detrimental to the high reputation of the UNICA competition (remembering that it is a film festival of international scope organised by a member of IFTC and therefore of UNESCO) is the provision in the regulations allowing each jury member the chance to recommend promoting up to the next rank one film which has already been examined and submitted to the vote.

I have already pleaded at committee meetings for an abolition of this regulation on the grounds that all jury members should come to an opinion after eight days of reflection and several internal jury meetings. Now, looking at this year's results, we can see that two gold and two silver medals have been awarded through this process, and in all cases with two more votes than in the first round of voting! That is why I plead for a stricter procedure, in particular as far as the bronze medals are concerned. I am sure that this would contribute to bolstering the image of this film festival of international repute.

If, on the contrary, the idea is to have a "please-all" policy, it would be in my opinion preferable to organise -a UNICA Film-show of the world best non commercial films, without any ranking or medal award, rather than a UNICA Film Competition

- Rolf Mandolesi (ITA)

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A Message from Serge Michel

Portrait of Serge Michel.My dear friends members of the committee of the UNICA 2003-2006,

I have just seen my parents who gave me an enthusiastic account of the UNICA congress 2006 in Korea and handed me the present that you had asked them to pass on.

I am deeply touched by your decision, approved by the general assembly, to name me an Honorary Member of UNICA. It is a surprise for me and really an honor for which I thank you very heartily.

Thank you also for the magnificent vase etched with the badge of UNICA.

I am very happy that the UNICA 2006 was a great success and look forward to seeing you all later.

With my very friendly greetings, Serge Michel

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