The Program of the 2023 Budapest Debut Film Forum Has Been Announced

The Program of the 2023 Budapest Debut Film Forum Has Been Announced

The event will be organized between 27 and 31 March at Kristály Színtér on Margaret Island and welcomes those interested in a pitching forum for series and film plans, professional presentations, and case studies of successful debut works.

The 2023 edition of the Budapest Debut Film Forum (BDFF) will start on March 27. At the event - between March 27 and 31 - first-time film directors and producers present their projects and exchange experiences with their European peers, mainly from the Visegrad region, to receive professional guidance from international mentors to successfully implement their upcoming project. Case studies of successful debut films, round table discussions, co-production opportunities, and film marketing will also be discussed, with the participation of internationally recognized film industry representatives. 

Under the title Together Is Better, the audience can hear a presentation about the co-production possibilities of the Central and Eastern European region, where filmmakers – from countries with relatively smaller markets – can get advice not only from a financial point of view but also from a distribution, marketing, and audience building point of view from the representatives of the region's film institutes. Among the speakers will be Csaba Bereczki, International Director of the National Film Institute Hungary, Peter Badač, head of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Gordan Matić, head of the Serbian Film Center, and Maja Vukić, Deputy CEO of Croatian Audiovisual Centre. The presentations can answer what strategies financiers use to help the international cooperation of local talents or how to prepare for a good co-production application. Balázs Lévai moderates the discussion.

Through case studies, the BDFF presents how the winning film projects achieved international success. Among the invited speakers are producer Jakub Viktorín, who won the first BDFF with their feature film Victim. Through their case study titled "How to Get to Venice with A Debut Feature?", we can discover how a debut film project can get to the Venice Film Festival and what difficulties are involved in creating a co-production. In addition to its BDFF success, the film was made in the Cinéfondation alumni program of the Cannes Film Festival. Before its premiere at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, it was featured in several other forums, labs, and development platforms.

Under the title "The Challenges of a Debut Feature Animation" we learn about the case history of the movie White Plastic Sky, the creation of which seemed like an impossible mission. The film, made with a low budget and unique animation technique, debuted at the Berlinale and was selected for many other prestigious festivals. From the presentation, we can learn about the project's most important milestones and challenges from the point of view of producer Orsolya Sipos and directors Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó.

The BDFF closes with the usual pitching forum of film and series projects on March 31. First-time filmmakers will present their projects in front of internationally recognized mentors, including film producer and screenwriter Geoffroy Grison from France, who has worked for the Arte television channel, and Kristoffer Rus, the head of the international production company Paprika Studios in Poland and director of several award-winning films, documentaries and drama series; Paul Tyler, founder of Handling Ideas, who has worked for years at BBC and with hundreds of partners, including the Venice Biennale College Cinema, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF); and Siniša Juričić, producer and member of the European Film Academy, who focuses on co-productions and production services with the Nukleus Films studio he founded. His films have been awarded at many festivals; the best known is the film Last Ambulance in Sofia with Ilian Metev, which was shown at the Critics' Week of the 51st Cannes Film Festival and won the main prize in Karlovy Vary. 

The programs of the event are free, but registration is required. You can register at this link. 

The location of the programs is the Kristály Színtér (Budapest, 1138, Margitsziget 23800) 

The Budapest Debut Film Forum is supported by the National Film Institute of Hungary and the International Visegrad Fund, the partners are the Visegrad Film Forum, the Pop Up Film Residency, New Europe Film Sales and iShorts


How to Get to Venice with A Debut Feature? - Case story of The Victim, the first BDFF winning project

28. 03. 2023 17:00 - Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island

Speaker: Jakub Viktorín, producer (The Victim)

Kids First! – Trends and Best Practices of Kid and Young Adult Content

29. 03. 2023 14:30 - Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island

The future of the audiovisual culture relies on the present audience of the children and young adult films and tv works. 

How to get started with your kid content idea? What are the most important platforms where you can develop it? What are the latest trends? How can a CEE film or tv series be competitive in the fierce competition of cinema distribution and streaming platforms? 

We ask Zofia Horszczaruk, head of Kids Kino Industry (Warsaw); Nóra Lakos (film director and festival director of Cinemira International Children’s and Youth Film Festival) and Réka Temple (producer, president of the Hungarian Animation Producers Association). 

The Challenges of a Debut Feature Animation - Case story of White Plastic Sky

29. 03. 2023 15:45 - Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island


  • Orsolya Sipos, producer
  • Sarolta Szabó, director
  • Tibor Bánóczki director

General framework and functioning of international financing and co production in cooperation with the Fast Forward Program

29. 03. 2023 17:45 - Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island


  • Isabelle Wiegand, producer (The Square; Spencer)
  • Sarah Nagel producer (The Square; Spencer)

Together Is Better – Co-productions in the CEE region

30. 03. 2023. 17.00 - Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island


  • Csaba Bereczki, International Director of the National Film Institute Hungary
  • Peter Badač, Head of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund
  • Gordan Matić, Head of the Serbian Film Center
  • Maja Vukić, Deputy CEO of Croatian Audiovisual Centre

Moderator: Balázs Lévai

BDFF Pitching Forum

31. 03. 2023. - 10.00 AM Kristály Színtér / Budapest, Margaret Island


Lost Years / Slovenia

Director: Aron Horvath 

Producer: Andraž Jerič 

“A small-town clerk meets a girl and they embark on a quest to find her lost backpack. On their journey through the Serbian countryside, they realize the world is far larger than they have imagined."

Grammatik / Germany

Director: Popo Fan

Producer: Julia Cöllen

"Carefree young Chinese Qing meets earnest Syrian refugee Bassam in language school in Germany, they gradually fall in love with each other when learning German, but only when Bassam is suddenly gone without a trace, Qing is confronted with his real emotions."

Homeland / Czechia

Director: Marek Čermák 

Producer: Karolína Fránková + Hana Blaha Šilarová

"A group of Germans must spend the night in a Czech village after their bus breaks down nearby. All it takes is a little prejudice, a few small misunderstandings and a shared history for the peaceful atmosphere to turn into a nightmare."

Batallion Records / Romania

Director: Ștefan Bîtu-Tudoran

Producer: Diana Caravia, Ada Solomon

" A group of local cultural dissidents, outraged by the industry's poor conditions, storms into Romania's ex-communist music studios armed to their teeth to shoot a documentary about the role of propaganda in the Romanian communist era pop culture."

Lady Sunshine / Hungary 

Director: Anna Korom

Producer: Anna Szijártó

"Plastic surgery addict Mária (55) reunites with the love of her youth, Kálmán (60), who doesn't recognize her. Desperate to avoid exposure, she undergoes more and more surgeries, but it only brings her closer to being revealed."


As If Nothing Happened / Romania

Writers: Ioana Bogdana, Eva Todică

Producer: Ada Solomon

"Cristina and Nana, best friends of opposing social backgrounds, lead an illegal and bordering incestuous love story in the final decade of Ceausescu's regime in Romania, while a bleak and exhausted society unravels around them."

The Uneasy Life of Wondering Comedians / Slovakia

Writer: Peter Gärtner

Director: Samuel Spišák

Producer: Milan Vojtela

"Young girl Lara escapes from home with a theater company to avoid forced marriage, but rampant life with a bunch of comedians reveals more about who she really is and where her roots are."

Cold / Lithuania

Writer: Birute Kapustinskaite and Arturas Voinicius

Producer: Greta Akcijonaite

"In 1991 Lithuania, five people's fates become intertwined amid chaos as they each seek redemption while the nation resists Soviet oppression and uncover secrets from a 50-year-old story of treachery."

That's Why She Doesn't Ski Anymore / Poland

Writer: Sonja Orlewicz-Zakrzewska

Producer: Magdalena Sztorc

"On the eve of her wedding day Klaudia suffers a ski accident and as a result she loses an eye and gains a new identity. Together with hospital worker Stefania they steal the car of a hospital’s chief and hit the road, defying any consequences."

The Adventures of a Turbo-Folk Princess / North Macedonia

Writer: Andrej Volkashin, Petar Vlchev

Producers: Pece Taleski, Ilija Tiricovski

"After she accidentally poisons her gangster fiance, clumsy sweetheart Vaska runs away with his money to fulfill her biggest dream to become a pop star, mentored by the cunning, short-tempered prostitute Eboni."