21th Hungarian Film Festival , LA will be held from October 27th to November 2nd 2023 at Laemmle Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Four Souls of Coyote
2023, feature, animation, 104 minutes
Set in the present day, Native American teenagers confront the crew of an oil pipeline project, just down the hill from the land of their ancestors. The grandfather evokes the ancient tale of their Creation myth, reminding all of us that the challenges facing humanity are universal, and that we need to find our place in the great circle of creatures.
Director: Áron Gauder, Screenplay: Géza Bereményi, Áron Gauder, Producer: Réka Temple
Cast: Lorne Cardinal, Diontae Black, Danny Kramer, Stephanie Novak
2023, feature, drama, 124 minutes
1947, Vienna. Ignác Semmelweis, the short-tempered but passionate Hungarian doctor delivers babies and carries out autopsies on a daily basis whilst looking for the cause of puerperal fever, the mysterious epidemic that decimates patients in the hospital. His boss prohibits him from conducting research into the subject and sends his right-hand man to cross him at every turn. He also threatens a young midwife, Emma Hoffmann, to spy on him. After a rocky start, the relationship between Semmelweis and Emma develops into a romance. When Semmelweis’s friend gets wounded mid-autopsy and dies with the same symptoms as the women in labour, Semmelweis discovers the cause and prevention of childbed fever. Half of his peers discredit him, yet he carries on with the fight to prove his theory at all cost.
Director: Lajos Koltai, Screenplay: Balázs Maruszki, Director of photography: András Nagy, Editor: Zoltán Kovács
Music: Attila Pacsay, Visual design: Pater Sparrow, Costumes: Györgyi Szakács, Producer: Dr. Tamás Lajos, Joe Vida, Production company: Szupermodern Studio
Cast: Miklós Vecsei H., Katica Nagy, László Gálffi, Tamás Kovács, Ferenc Lengyel, Nelli Szűcs, Ferenc Elek
We Started Together
2022, feature, drama, 101 minutes
’We Started Together’ dramatizes the conflicts of the 2020’s youth through the stories of a group of highschool classmates: Marci, Franciska, Ádi, Juli, Renátó, Benett, Geri, Gigi and Nóri. At their high school prom they promise each other to keep in touch, but life leads them to separate ways. Ten years later two of them are getting married and the gang meets up again at their wedding. Each guest carries their own secrets. Marci and Franciska are still looking for a goal in their life, Nóri and Benett got stuck in a bad relationship, Ádi became an addict and still bullies Geri, Juli is keeping her pregnancy a secret from the father of the baby: Renátó. At first, the wedding starts as a masquerade, where all participants are trying to put on a perfect show, but when one of the friends suffers a near fatal accident, they realize, they all need to stop the act and reveal their real selves.
Director: Yvonne Kerékgyártó, Scriptwriter: Bálint Szentgyörgyi, István O. Boros, Producer: Judit Romwalter, Csaba Pék, Co-Scriptwriter: Balázs Maruszki, Cinematographer: Tamás Babos, Music Composer: Máté Felcser
Editor: Gábor Péter Duszka, Sound Designer: Attila Tőzsér, Art Director: Gábor Valcz, Costumes: Diana Oehler
2022, feature, animation, 104 minutes
Miklós Toldi, an impulsive stripling, commits a careless murder and is forced to go into hiding. He sets out for Buda to dazzle the king with his courage and daring, and he earns both the ruler’s mercy and a knighthood. The film follows him on a journey full of adventures and intrigue between brothers, until young Toldi finally faces the great test, when he wins the recognition he has so long craved before the king.
Director: Marcell Jankovics, Lajos Csákovics, Scriptwriter: Marcell Jankovics (adaptation of the Hungarian epic tale Toldi by János Arany), Producer: Ferenc Mikulás, Cinematographer: László Wimmer, Music Composer: György Selmeczi, Editor: Marianna Jónás, Sound Designer: Imre Madácsi
MAIN CAST: Tamás Széles narrator
2022, feature, drama, 96 minutes
Zsófi, the rebellious teenager lives in a tiny flat with her little sister Mesi, and her unstable mother, Bea. Zsófi discovered late that she was pregnant and decided to give up her baby through open adoption to a couple. Bea cannot accept her daughter’s decision, but she does not realize that neither her, nor the circumstances are suitable to welcome a newborn. Zsófi always had to behave like a grownup, working and making sensible decisions instead of her mother and for her sister. She is still at high school and her only vantage point is her table tennis career for which she works assiduously. She plans the adoption thoroughly with the help of a social worker. Following the birth, she is given six weeks by law to change her mind and ask for her child back. She seems to be able to control her feelings ruthlessly and continue towards the goals she set. At the same time, her maternal feelings intensify, doubts arise, and she slowly begins to question her own decisions.
Director: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi, Scriptwriter: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi, Máté Artur Vincze, Co-Scriptwriter: Daniel Daoud’ Cinematographer: Zoltán Dévényi, Music Composer: Andor Sperling, Editor: László Hargittai H.S.E., Anna Vághy, Sound Designer: Attila Tőzsér H.S.A.S., Casting Director: Helga Mandel, Norbert Molvay
Production Designer: Gábor Valcz, Costume designer: Juli Szlavik, Producer: Judit Romwalter, Production Company: SPARKS Ltd.
(Amerika magyar grófja)
2022, documentary, 59 minutes
The Count founded a town in Wisconsin; In 1850 he made his mark in Southern California as the first sheriff of San Diego; he was one of the managers of the gold smelter and mint in San Francisco, and then he was sued – and came out of the suit victoriously, glorified – until he arrived in Sonoma, probably the most wonderful wine-growing valley on earth.
If today he is apostrophized as the father of California’s grape and wine culture, it is not by chance – this documentary novel, supplemented with rich images, commemorates this incomparably adventurous and fruitful life journey that ended in a Nicaraguan river, most likely in the stomach of a crocodile.
Director: Tamás Széles, Producer: László Lipcsei, Cinematographer: Ferenc Papp, Norbert Renyó, Péter Széles, Screenplay: Tamás Széles, Editorial assistant: Anikó Nádasdi, Editor, animation: Ferenc Papp, Inserts: József Kapusi, Sound engineer: László Csengeri, Musical director: László Elek, Hungarian sound: MaRecord Sound Studio, Narrator: Tamás Garay Nagy
2022, feature, TV movie, 111 minutes
The lives of three families are intertwined in connection with an old case. Árpád Sopsits’ personal film was inspired by the person and images of his friend, the photographer Balázs Telek, who died young. One of the main characters is Gábor Jászberényi, his partner is played by Edina Dömök, and Franciska Farkas forms a pair with the director, who this time also assigned himself the main role.
Director: Árpád Sopsits, Producer: Árpád Sopsits, Screenplay: Balázs Maruszki , Árpád Sopsits, Cinematographer: Gergely Tímár, Gergely Vajda, Music: Árpád Sopsits
2022, feature, historical drama, 106 minutes
Hungary, 1990. József Antall, only six months after his induction as Prime Minister, faces the most difficult test of his life. Taxi drivers protest against the drastic rise in petrol prices by the House of the National Assembly. Quickly disillusioned with democracy, they blockade the city of Budapest, and soon after the whole country. The opposition sides with them and prompt them to start a revolution. The reserved and thoughtful Antall goes head-to-head with the ever-so-popular President Árpád Göncz about how they think the situation could be resolved. Both the press and public opinion sympathize with the taxi drivers, and the police force abandons the government, now unpopular due to their disposition. József Antall, former participant of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, finds himself on the other side of the barricade. Left alone, just out of surgery, in a hospital ward. What should he do, what resources could he use to resolve the situation?
The film is not only the chronicle of the four days of the taxi blockade. It shows the battles and bargains behind the scenes, and the private life of a Prime Minister dealing with crisis, fighting for democracy.
Director: Ádám Tősér, Screenplay: Norbert Köbli, Producer: Tamás Lajos, Creative Producer: Norbert Köbli
Editor: Lili Makk, Cinematographer: András Nagy, Music Composer: Márk Moldvai, Sound Designer: Máté Péterffy, Art Director: Tamás Pataki, Costumes: Tünde Kemenesi
Be my Dad!
2022, feature, HD, 115 minutes
Be my Dad! is a comedy about becoming a parent, and how a childless man can turn into a responsible adult that looks out for others.
Our protagonist is an ex-university professor (BARNA KESERŰ, 55) who got expelled from the university and forbidden to teach again after his involvement with one his students. He feels defeated, however after a nudge from a friend, he starts to write novel but he is faced with a 10-day deadline from his publisher. Fate plays its hand – or more accurately the mother of their child – when she leaves their child to his care. Barna has to care for his pre-teen child whom he has never even met before.
Director: Gábor Rohonyi, Co-Director: Csaba Vékes, Scriptwriter: Csaba Vékes, Producers: István Major, Péter Geszti, Edit Ditz Péter Roskó, Cinematographer: Péter Szatmári H.C.A., Music Composer: Gábor Madarász
Editor: Áron Mezei H.S.E., Sound Designer: Gábor Balázs, Production Designer: Balázs Hujber, Costume Designer: Emese Pirityi, Make-Up Artist: Ernella Hortobágyi
We Never Die
(Sose halunk meg)
1993, feature, comedy, satira, 95 minutes
Set in ’60s socialist Hungary, an introverted and somewhat inhibited teenage boy has a life-changing experience as he spends a few days with his uncle full of zest, a love for earthly pleasures, and a weakness for horse racing and betting.
Directed by Róbert Koltai, Writing Credits (in alphabetical order) Róbert Koltai, Gabor Nógrádi
1977, feature, drama, 90 minutes
A yellow tram lies overturned on the riverbank at the end of the war. Tattered, ragged, homeless men huddle together in a group, load it on rails trying to take it to the remise. Their journey is not easy, they have many difficulties to overcome. Each one has its own drama, yet they are united by a common will to reach their goal.
Daniel Takes a Train
1982, feature, drama, 1h 29 min
In December 1956 there is a chaotic situation in Hungary. The revolution is put down by the Soviet army. People leave the country in large numbers for fear of revenge. A young soldier (György Angeli) who also took a part in the revolution, takes a train to Vienna together with his friend (Dániel Szerencsés).
It won the main prize at the 1983 Film Review and the critics’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival (FIPRESCI prize). Afterwards, in the eighties, films about 1956 or about the revolution could be made one after the other:Whooping cough,The other person,Eldorado. Although ’56, along with the Soviet occupation, was a taboo subject in Hungarian film, censorship eased from the eighties and directors were able to tell their personal stories about the revolution.
Director: Pál Sándor, Writer: András Mezei, Screenwriter: Zsuzsa Tóth, Cinematographer: Elemér Ragályi, Editor: Éva Kármentő, Music: György Selmeczi
Deliver Us from Evil
(Szabadíts meg a gonosztól!)
1979, feature, drama, 96 minutes
In the fascist terror of 1944, a Budapest cloak-room attendant and her family embark on a tragicomic journey to find a missing coat. Because honour is honour.
Director: Pal Sandor, Screenplay: Ivan Mandy, Zsuzsa Toth
1976, feature, comedy, 96 minutes
Varjú is a young guy who lives in Köbánya and is dating a girl named Zsozsó. He is a truck driver. He is delivering material for the construction of the nuclear power plant in Paks when a hitchhiker gets in. She is a real stunner, and she doesn’t want to go to Paks, but to Boglár.
Director: Janos Zsombolyai, Screenplay: Bulcsu Bertha, Janos Zsombolyai
Salamon & Stock Show
1981, feature, Comedy, 94 minutes
Stock and Salamon have been partners for a while now. Their cabaret performance is a great success night after night. Being broadcasted on TV at New Years Eve is very important for both of them, too. Finally they can sing their song for the whole country: Nobody can do it alone.
Director: Pal Sandor, Screenwriter: Pal Sandor, Zsuzsa Toth, Cinematographer: Elemer Ragalyi, Music: Gabor Presser
Footbal of the Good Old Days
(Régi idők focija)
1973, feature, Comedy, 85 minutes
The laundryman only lives for one thing: soccer. His dream is to have his team in the premier league, but for that he needs money and the only way he can do that is by selling some of his players.
Director: Pál Sándor, Screenwriter: Iván Mándy, Zsuzsa Tóth, Cinematographer: Elemér Ragályi
(A nemzet aranyai)
2023, documentary, sport, family, 149 minutes
The Hungarian men’s national water polo team, led by Dr. Dénes Kemény became Olympic champions for three consecutive Olympics. This is something no one has ever achieved before!
In 23 world tournaments, they have been on the podium 22 times, and have won 18 finals, including 10 gold and 8 silver medals. Dénes and six of them are water polo legends who, as three-time Olympic champions, have joined the ranks of Hungarian legends and international aquatic sport immortals.
They have shown that TALENT, WORK, MODESTY, WILL, HUMILITY, HUMOR and LOVE is what makes a man! They have achieved their world-renowned success while remaining human, retaining the light, intelligent, witty, typically Hungarian swimming style that has always characterized them and Hungarian water polo!
Director: Tamás S. Zákonyi, Co-director: Ottó Elek, Scriptwriter: Ottó Elek, Gergely Csurka, Tamás S. Zákonyi, Balázs Eckhardt, Cinematographer: Tamás Babos, István Bánhegyi, Music Composer: Dániel Csengery, Editor: Áron Mezei, Sound Designer: Attila Tőzsér, Producer: Tamás S. Zákonyi, Co-producer: Ottó Elek
2023, feature, historical, adventure, drama, 109 minutes
Hadik is an action-packed adventure film set in 18th-century Europe. Hussar General Andras Hadik leads his fearless riders on a mission to raid Berlin, facing treacherous terrain and fierce battles, eventually taking the city where he meets his arch-nemesis General Von Bock in a deadly sword duel.
Director: János Szikora, Scriptwriter: Márk Kis-Szabó, Cinematographer: Márk Győri HCA, Music Composer: Róbert Gulya, Editor: Júlia Hack HSE, Béla Barsi HSE, Sound Designer: Béla Jankai, Art Director: Alex Nemetz, Costumes: Györgyi Szakács, Producer: Endre Nagy, Boglárka Barathy , Béla Jankai, Dávid Somlai, Gergely Takács (B&Line Ltd)
Heights and Depths
(Magasságok és mélységek)
2022, feature, drama, 96 minutes
The protagonist of the story is Hilda Sterczer, the widow of the internationally renowned mountaineer, Zsolt Erőss. Through her eyes we get a glimpse into the events of the next few days by following Zsolt’s unsuccessful conquest of the mountain, resulting in a tragedy. Hilda is forced to follow helplessly, thousands of miles away, as her husband, participating in the Kancsendzönga expedition, becomes extremely exhausted and then ultimately dies during the descent from the mountain peak. She remains alone with their two children. Having been a supporter of Zsolt throughout his life, even after his death, Hilda tries to cope with the expectations of the public and the attacks of the media, with the same attitude the deceased had. However, precisely this compliance constraint that delays the mourning process. It takes time for her to admit that she needs help in dealing with the tragedy, and that she can’t handle all the obstacles alone. She has to find her own identity to start laying down the foundations of her new life.
Director: Sándor Csoma, Scriptwriter: Sándor Csoma, Cinematographer: Levente Tóth, Music Composer: Ádám Balázs, Editor: Dániel Márton, Sound Designer: Vajda D. Bodnár, Art Director / Production design: Anna Nyitrai, Réka Kakas, Costume design: Karola Nyitrai, Producer: Claudia Sümeghy, Tamás Yvan Topolánszky
Paying a Visit to Fortuna
2022, documentary, 74 minutes
Anikó and Laci lived in deep poverty in a small town in Hungary until they won the lottery in 2013.
Suddenly, their dreams of luxury become a reality as they move into a new house with a pool and a garden and hire a driver. For Anikó, who suffers from panic disorder and almost never left her flat for 25 years, the jackpot provides a newfound sense of power and purpose. She sees it as an opportunity
to invest and start her own business, while Laci simply wants to enjoy the luxury of not working and traveling the world.
But as they adjust to their new life, their relationship becomes strained. Laci struggles with alcoholism resurface, threatening to tear them apart. This intimate documentary follows their journey as they navigate the ups and downs of their newfound wealth and try to find the balance in their relationship. Will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to tear them apart?
Director: Mátyás Kálmán, Screenplay: Mátyás Kálmán, Director of Photography: Mátyás Kálmán, Bence Szemerey, Csaba Banto, Zoltan Lovasi, Julia Halasz, Main Editor: Ivor Šonje, Peter Sass, Agnes Mogor, Music: Matej Merlić
Jury of the festival:
Anna Donlon is the SVP and studio head on the character-based tactical shooter video game, VALORANT, developed and published by Riot Games. Leading a team of veterans, over 150 engineers, coders, artists and publishers, she steers the direction and production of the recently launched title. Donlon honed her expertise in the industry at the renowned FPS studio Treyarch, working as a senior producer on titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 and 2. Today, she leverages over 20 years of game development experience to lead Riot Games’ foray into the tactical FPS genre.
Arati Misro brings 20 years of experience in the Entertainment, Tech, Education & lifestyle business from a global perspective. Her expertise includes Feature films, TV, Culinary, Wine product sales & startups. She thrives on recognizing & prioritizing short and long-term goals to greenlight a show or scale a business from a holistic approach. Passionate about developing a good story with writers and envisioning our characters who bring authenticity to voice.
Arati’s love of Entertainment is producing from script to screen or stream. Her experience in foreign and domestic sales allows her to have a mindset of a businesswoman while having a strong sensitivity to good storytelling.
She thrives on leadership and self-development to do and be better. Her experience chairing Women in Film International has allowed her to home in on her passion for mentoring and giving voice to countless women worldwide who strive to pursue their goals. Chairing is one of her most meaningful accomplishments. She has programmed and produced multiple events for the Los Angeles film community and was recognized by President Obama.
She thrives on being a part of building a vision via startups. Project Management, Operations, and business strategy are skills she learned that cross over from Producing Film & TV. She loves working in collaborative environments & connecting the dots between art, commerce, education & technology with leaders. She founded a podcast and women’s platform called EkWomen, also has developed an animation IP for children in developing countries. She was a juror for the Asian World festival and various international Film Festivals in Los Angeles.
Arati is currently pursuing an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Finance. She holds an MFA in Producing from the prestigious American Film Inst.
Dr. Attila Beres is a successful structural engineer, with graduate degrees from Technical University of Budapest and Cornell University, living in the Los Angeles area for close to 30 years with a carrier spanning research, design-consulting, and education. His personal interest goes well beyond science and engineering, being an avid lover of music, films, and decorative arts.
Upon completing his dissertation, he joined at a prominent LA consulting firm, where he was involved in the seismic design of many major commercial and institutional project, including such landmarks as the Getty Center, the Kodak/Dolby Entertainment/Retail Center home to the Oscars, the California ScienceCenter and a variety of projects ranging from post-earthquake evaluations, new building design, to seismic retrofits. During the last decade his own development firm created beautiful homes in the Westside and he served as expert witness and consultant on diverse array of projects.
His lifelong interest in education is demonstrated by many years he has served as a Lecturer at UCLA, Cal. State LA, and Cal. Poly Pomona, where he taught complete senior/graduate level quarter-length courses and authored numerous technical papers and books. As the dedicated representative of his industry he has been giving countless continuing education seminars to his peers to elevate his profession.
With his wife, Susan Pekarovics MD, they have been ardent supporters of various cultural events over the last 3 decades. They organized numerous successful charity galas to support organizations that foster Hungarian-American relations and for many years have been devoted sponsors of our Film Festival.
Bijan Tehrani is an award winning filmmaker, writer, film critic, film historian, Editor in Chief of Cinema Without Borders and President of Cinema Without Borders Foundation. Bijan has dedicated his life to promoting international and independent cinema. Cinema Without Borders will celebrate its 18th anniversary on January 7th 2024.
For the tenth anniversary of Cinema Without Borders, Bijan has received Ambassador of International Cinema Award from South east European Film Festival, Friend of the Festival Award from Polish Film Festival, LA and Gateway to International Cinema Award from Hungarian Film festival. Bijan Tehrani is recently working on a few new children books, a screenplay for a feature film and organizing an international film festival on immigration.
Dennis Frigyes Fredricks is managing attorney of the Los Angeles law firm of Fredricks & von der Horst, where a sizeable portion of his practice is film, television and music. He has been production counsel for several independent feature films and documentaries, and he has represented writers, actors and composers in negotiations with studios and major production companies. In the music area he has represented well-known recording talent. Speaking Hungarian and German, and having native French and Polish speakers in his firm, part of his work has been as legal counsel to US-European co-productions.
Mr. Fredricks is special counsel or reference lawyer to eight Consulates General and Trade Commissions. Since 2001, he has conducted seminars for members of the diplomatic missions in Los Angeles and has authored several articles and publications, appeared in television and radio interviews and participated in symposia on copyrighting intellectual property, film and television co-production, business formation, and comparative legal systems. Since 1990, through his firm, Mr. Fredricks has sponsored a legal internship program that has hosted now more than 140 lawyers from six countries.
He has been awarded national honors by the governments of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland, and by the City of Cologne. He is a board member, legal advisor, donor or patron to several foundations and charities.
For the 2019 Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards he was a member of the Nominating Committee, and he has served as juror for other film festivals.
He is a member of SAG since 1987, for television and commercials, appearing as on-screen lawyers and business executives, in the years before becoming eligible to practice law in California.
Catherine Portuges is founding director of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies and founding curator of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and professor emerita, Program in Comparative Literature/Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. She is a frequent lecturer at international conferences, an invited programmer, curator, juror and consultant for film festivals and colloquia, and a delegate to international film festivals. Her books include Cinemas in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 (Temple, 2013); Gendered Subjects (Routledge, 2012); and Screen Memories: the Hungarian Cinema of Márta Mészáros (Indiana, 1993). Her essays have appeared in Cinematic Homecomings: Exile and Return in Transnational Cinema; Cinema, State Socialism and Society in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1917-1989: Re-Visions; Bringing the Dark Past to Light: the Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe; Projected Shadows: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Representation of Loss in European Cinema, and A Companion to Eastern European Cinemas. Prof. Portuges serves on the editorial board of Studies in Eastern European Cinema (UK), Jewish Film and New Media, and Hungarian Cultural Studies; she is associate editor for film for American Imago. She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, and Film Consultant for Eastern Europe, European Psychoanalytic Film Festival (UK). She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for “The Subjective Lens,” the Pro Cultura Hungarica Medal from the Republic of Hungary for her contributions to Hungarian Cinema, and the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching.