The history and current practices of Hungarian participatory film culture, with an emphasis on the self-representation of vulnerable minority groups

The core subject of our research is the history and present practices of participatory and community-based film culture in Hungary (including both filmmaking practice and film consumption), with special emphasis on ethnic and other vulnerable minority groups. The research covers what we call minor visual culture, often overlooked and isolated in the shadow of canonical author-centered film culture. In line with this, we focus on visual artworks created on a community basis or those created with the help of community-produced films.

Our research plan outlines the examination of participatory film culture in its contextual (social and cultural) embeddedness, which is significantly broader than other current research frameworks. This terminology, the preferred term being participatory film culture, informs the directions of our research, which aims to integrate numerous trends and activities that can be defined through the participatory use of the moving image. To the extent that participatory film has been characteristically relegated to the margins of contemporary mainstream media, it can be identified as a form of critique or opposition to it. Consequently, it often functions as community representation or it offers such an experience.

This is why the term participatory video is insufficient, since all pre-video filmic forms are potential subjects of our research; and for the same reason, the term participatory filmmaking is insufficient, since marginalized communities were excluded from actual filmmaking during most of film history, while they participated in the consumption of moving images, which was often an act of identity politics on their part. No large-scale study of participatory film culture has even been undertaken in Hungary in such a framework, and the fundamental research outlined in our proposal fills this gap. The substantive part of the grant proposal was published as a study in the journal Jel-Kép, and the principal researcher discussed the research objectives in an interview on the ELTE Media webpage.

András Müllner: A magyarországi részvételi film története és jelenlegi helyzete. Vázlat egy kutatásról a Minor Média/Kultúra Kutatóközpontban [The history and current situation of Hungarian participatory film], Jel-Kép, 2020/2. (A Nyilvánosságok – részvétel, hozzáférés, társadalmi megosztottság c. különszám [Special issue on Publics – participation, access and social divisions]),

„Mertünk nagyot álmodni, és megcéloztuk a 48 millió forintot” – Cseh László interjúja Müllner Andrással [“We dared to dream big and aimed at 48 million Forints – András Müllner interviewed by László Cseh], 2019. december 23,

Hungarian Scientific Research Fund grant no. 131868 is supported by the National Research Development and Innovation Office,