Archive: 2005-2009

Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles


Showing the Filmex badge in Budapest, July 1985
Showing the Filmex badge in Budapest, July 1985

Hungarian Film Festival, November 2009

The annual gala film event created by Bela Bunyik brings these vital new films to Hollywood under the greatly changed conditions of today's world. In commemoration of the 25th year of his first film curating trip to Budapest, Bela invited Gary McVey to be on the film jury in this special edition marking twenty years since the fall of the old regime in Hungary.


Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition, Fall 2007—2008—2009

The Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition had an unwieldy name, but an important worldwide theme that transcended political boundaries. An experimental departure for the ACF, this unusual environmental film festival embraced market solutions and advanced technology. It was a natural for southern California. The third edition took place at the Getty Center. But the Great Recession that began in the festival's first year eventually caught up with it. As times changed after 2007, sponsors (even nicer ones) assumed greater decision-making power over quality issues that had been considered up to the presenting arts organizations, making fair curating trickier.

Gary McVey - IUOW Jury
Gary McVey and other film IUOW jury members puzzle over a tough selection.

In its second year, the 2008 "Water Festival" was already a stylish event.


Cleveland International Film Festival, March 2008

For decades, both during and after the Cold War, eastern and central Europeans have considered Cleveland's film festival to be the United States' most loyal, dedicated big city showcase of their finest screen work. The 32nd edition of CIFF was considered one of the best of the new century. Gary McVey served on that film jury, along with AFI FEST's Nancy Collet, and Howard Feinstein of Screen International and Variety, the programmer of the Sarajevo film festival. The festival headquarters is part of a redeveloped railway complex and transportation hub, and has led the way in making film festivals accessible to urban audiences.


Over the Air Multichannel TV 2006-2007

Our CPB-sponsored "Finding the Future of Public Television" conference in 2005 was followed up with a second television roundtable concerning the creative, business, and even the political implications of the new ability of broadcast TV stations to send, and make money from, multiple digital channels. We conducted a web conversation and a series of lectures about the new phenomenon, focused on a case study of Los Angeles Channel Eight, which managed to turn a license for a discarded PBS desert relay station into a six-pack of varied family TV, all on barter, operating six viable "stations" across the nation's second largest market.


Finding the Future of Public Television

Presented by the American Cinema Foundation
Sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Friday, October 14, 2005 - Saturday, October 15, 2005

AFI Mark Goodson Screening Room
2021 N. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027


Participants are television creators, executives, and journalists, including Lionel Chetwynd, Frank Price, Mel Stuart, Rob Long, Matt Welch, Cathy Seipp, Ray Richmond, and others (see complete schedule and list of panelists below).

Public television broadcasting has been, for 40 years, one of the most visible expressions of our sense of the common good in arts and education. We're concerned that this sense of a shared culture may be lost in today's partisanship. This series of panels will focus on identifying cultural biases that might limit public television's ability to carry out its mandate to represent American culture in all its diversity.

Finding ways to remedy this situation will take much public involvement, and this is the first of a continuing series of presentations. The panelists hold a variety of viewpoints, some of which are not often expressed. Each panel will attempt to identify an area of consensus about the future of the public television system.

The American Cinema Foundation (ACF) is a non-profit arts organization. Its film and television presentations seek to connect today's audience with idealistic visions of America's common culture-past, present, and future.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967. The mission of CPB is to facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, non-commercial high-quality programming and telecommunications services. It does this in conjunction with non-commercial educational telecommunications licensees across America.

AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media.



Friday, October 14, 8pm

Welcome Addresses
Nick De Martino, Senior Vice President for Information and Technology, American Film Institute; Michael Pack, Sr. Vice President, Television Programming, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Program introduction: Gary McVey, Executive Director, American Cinema Foundation

Opening panel
A gaggle of imaginative producer/writers consider why they and others like them don't produce more for public television. Why do shows that take on the hot topics of the day (from Bill Maher to Dennis Miller), and shows whose genres originated on public TV, end up on cable? What part does politics play? How can public broadcasting hold its ground?

Moderator: Rob Long (writer/producer, "Cheers," "George and Leo;" columnist, National Review; commentator, "Martini Shot" on KCRW)

Panelists: Luca Bentivoglio (executive director, Latino Public Broadcasting), Harry Shearer (writer/performer, "The Simpsons," "This Is Spinal Tap"), Peter Robinson (presidential speechwriter; Hoover Inst. research fellow; host of public TV's "Uncommon Knowledge")


Saturday, October 15, 2pm

Will You, Won't You Join the Dance: The Experience of Producing for Public Television
We hear from veteran producers who feel that their programming has been marginalized because they hold viewpoints that fall outside the mainstream of current PBS culture. How should stewards of a national trust go about the business of funding and distributing programs that represent a wide spectrum of positions, while maintaining their own personal and political views?

Introduction: Michael Pack (Sr. Vice President, Television Programming, Corporation for Public Broadcasting)

Moderator: Cathy Seipp (journalist, Independent Women's Forum, National Review Online)

Panelists: Lionel Chetwynd (writer/director/producer, "Ike: Countdown to D-Day," "Varian's War," "National Desk"), Frank Price (former studio chief of Universal, Columbia; producer, "The Tuskegee Airmen" etc.), Ted Steinberg (co-executive producer, "Reverse Angle," "National Desk")


Saturday, October 15, 4pm

New Formats/New Thinking from the AFI Digital Content Lab
PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are technological innovators, who have often led the commercial TV industry-from satellite distribution in the '70s, to added content in the '90s. Over seven years, the AFI Digital Content Lab, funded in part by CPB, has produced more than 50 prototypes-from wireless, to set-top boxes, to game consoles. This session showcases examples created for PBS programs, suppliers and stations, including KCET, POV and ITVS.

Presenter: Anna Marie Piersimoni, Director, Internet Communications, Media and Technology, American Film Institute

Guest: Jackie Kain, Vice President, New Media, KCET


Saturday, October 15, 8pm

Public Television Confidential: A Look at Basic Premises
The question is whether publicly funded programming meets its own high standards, and whether we ask enough of the system that spends our dollars. Is "Sesame Street" still the utlimate in quality educational programming? Is it fair to ask producers to treat more of the country's widely held values as legitimate?

Introduction: John Prizer (Vice President, Television Program Development, Corporation for Public Broadcasting)

Moderator: Cathy Seipp (journalist, Independent Women's Forum, National Review Online)

Panelists: Ray Richmond (television critic, The Hollywood Reporter) , Mel Stuart (director, "The Hobart Shakespeareans," "American Masters: Billy Wilder," "The Making of the President 1960"), Matt Welch (associate editor, Reason Magazine; blogger,


Freedom Film Festival 2005 »

Eighth Annual Freedom Film Festival
Los Angeles

May 19-21, 2005

The American Cinema Foundation, in cooperation with GILA, presented the eighth edition of its yearly festival celebrating cinema from central and eastern Europe. The Andrzej Wajda Freedom Prize, given annually by the ACF during the Berlin International Film Festival each February, recognizes European talent and celebrates the relationship between two great film cities, Berlin and Los Angeles. FFF 2005 highlights two winners of this prize ? Andreas Dresen and Jan Svankmajer ? and looks back on a quarter century of dramatic change in Europe. All films are presented in their original language with English subtitles. The festival took place May 19-21 at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.


Freedom Film Festival Pre-Event: OSTALGIA
(Goethe Institute-Los Angeles)

March 2005

The American Cinema Foundation has presented the Freedom Film Festival since 1997; it is one of Hollywood's best-known showcases for films from the formerly socialist countries of central and eastern Europe. The festival has presented prizes in Berlin, Moscow, Baku (Azerbaijan), and the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic. Its highest award was given to Andrzej Wajda in Berlin in 1999.


How some TV writers manage to keep their distinctive viewpoints,
moderated by Cathy Seipp. With: Tim Minear (co-executive producer: "The Inside", "Wonderfalls", "Angel", "Firefly")

Paul Feig (creator and executive producer: "Freaks & Geeks"; director: "Arrested Development"; director and writer, the feature film "I Am David"; author of the essay collection "Kick Me: Adventures In Adolescence")

Rob Long (co-creator and co-executive producer: "Men, Women & Dogs", "Love & Money", "George & Leo". Co-executive producer: "Cheers". Author: "Conversations With My Agent". Columnist: National Review. Radio commentator: KCRW)

Scott Kaufer (co-executive producer: "Boston Legal". writer: "Gilmore Girls", "Chris Isaak Show", "Beggars & Choosers". Editor-in-chief: California magazine)


Mass Market, Smart Content

Presented at the AFI Campus, March 19, 2005, by the American Cinema Foundation. Moderated by Cathy Seipp


The Andrzej Wajda Freedom Award

February 6, 2005

The Prize is named after world artist Andrzej Wajda, Poland's great filmmaker, winner of a special Academy Award in 2000. His powerful collection of works includes Ashes and Diamonds (1958), The Demons (1987), Doctor Korczak (1990) and Pan Tadeusz (1999). Mr. Wajda agreed to become the artistic patron and final judge of the new annual award, recognizing filmmakers from the former socialist countries of eastern and central Europe, in 1999. It has been presented to Kira Muratova (Ukraine, 2000) Jan Svankmajer (Czech Republic, 2001), Andreas Dresen (eastern Germany, 2002), Alexander Sokurov (Russia, 2003) and Marcel Lozinski (Poland, 2004). This year's prize recipient is Hungarian director Bela Tarr. The Friends of the German Cinematheque (FDK) will screen a selection of Bela Tarr films at the Arsenal Kino from 4 to 6 February, concluding with the prize ceremony on Sunday, the sixth.

"It is an honor for us to be able to pay tribute to Bela Tarr, one of Hungary's gifts to world cinema," said Gary McVey, executive director of the American Cinema Foundation. "We are especially honored to be presenting the award in collaboration with Ulrich and Erika Gregor, curators of one of the world's great cinematheques."