Zsolt Pozsgai /1960/ writer, director. He began his career in the theatre and has written nearly a hundred dramas, most of them directed by himself. His works have been performed in theatres in Europe, Asia and America. He is the best-known Hungarian author in foreign theatres. In addition to his theatre activities, he has been writing screenplays and directing films for twenty years. His filmography includes scripts for TV series – meaning nearly two hundred completed scripts – as well as award-winning feature films. His feature film on Vilmos Zsolnay, THE LOVER OF THE SOIL debuted at the category “A” Goa International Film Festival /India/ – Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Foreign Language Film – and has since been screened at festivals around the world. He is currently working on the preparation of two Hungarian films, which he will shoot as writer and director in 2022.
The general director of the Pápa International Historical Film Festival www.pihff.com
His latest film work:
RED FAUST /2022/
The Bishop and the Actor. In the same prison cell in 1944. The Actor's task: to guide the Bishop through his tragic life until his death. Time travel. Will you take the role of Bishop Faust? Wouldn't it be better to give up now? A real life, an extraordinary fate. The passionate, constant struggle between Priest and Actor, which is in all of us.
DARKING WAY /2021/
A historical film, from April 2021 to 30 April, 2021, it won awards at 258 major international film festivals around the world, mainly in the United States. Its participation at festivals is ongoing.
THE DEVOTED /2020/
A feature film about the meeting between Calvin and Ignatius of Loyola. It is distributed in several countries. The film has won 86 awards at international film festivals around the world, including the top prize at two of the world’s Christian film festivals – Argentina, Florida, USA. /89 international Awards/
TO BE, OR…? / a short short documentary film, 2020/
An award-winning film of numerous short film festivals.
Other film work: scriptwriting for television series, writing and directing television films, writing and directing feature films. Writing scripts for German series.
Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
This time I have come up with a new script. My last three films have won a lot of awards all over the world, and they did well at this festival. Now I am curious to see how the script will perform. It's based on a real-life incident: a van carrying illegal migrants crashed into a tree while fleeing from the police. Everyone was killed except a pregnant black woman from Sudan, who was sitting in the front seat and was thrown out of the windscreen. She even dragged herself to a farm where a lone farmer lives. And there she gave birth to her child. That's reality, the rest is fantasy. In reality, the police found her and took her to a collection camp. But here, the owner of the farm thinks he can take the young woman in, defying the laws of the world. Her companion in this is the postman of the nearby village, her boyfriend. The smugglers are also looking for her, as she can provide information about them. And the police, too, because it turns out there is one survivor left...
What are your ambitions with your project?
I want refugees to be treated not as slaves, to understand that they are
human beings too, and most of them have fled war and horrors. I would like to
show that there are people who welcome them with understanding. Not criminals,
of course, but ordinary people. People who simply want a human life for
themselves. Hungary is said not to accept refugees. This is not true, we take
in those who come legally. There are hundreds, thousands of doctors and skilled
workers working in the country who have fled their country. Those who would
come illegally and with bad intentions are not welcome.
For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
Young and old, this script is for everyone, and if it can be made into a
film, so can the film.
Why should distributors buy your film?
Because this is a very topical issue. The media are producing a lot of news about migration, but the human-human link remains hidden. And there is a secret to this. It is this secret that should interest the viewer. Especially if the film manages to attract popular actors.
How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
A drama, thriller and comedy all in one. Such is our life. In recent years,
tragedy and comedy have gone hand in hand. The script mixes tragedy and humour,
and this mix gives the story a kind of absurdity. It is not absurd enough that
a young black girl about to give birth appears on a Hungarian farm in the house
of a farmer who, until now, thought she had nothing to do with the events of
the world. And she gives birth to her child. From that moment on, the drama and
the absurd enter the film, as does the poetry. The poetic scenes. It turns out
that in today's world everyone is running away from something. Some people are
fleeing war, some are fleeing loneliness, some are fleeing the opposite,
excessive noise. Some for existential reasons, because of the crisis. Some are
persecuted for their faith. At the end of the film, the characters are at a
loss: where can they escape to together? The young black girl with her newborn
baby, the old farmer, the slightly mad postman, the priest disappointed in his
superiors, and others. They are going somewhere. But where they will go is a
question. It's like when the Jews fled Egypt. Plus, the young black woman
doesn't even know who the father of her child is. So they have a little Jesus
with them. And that's poetry. A poetic film. And very modern. I thought I'd
send it to the festival and see if I could find a producer who could see the
fantasy in it. It could probably be shot in Hungary, but I want this to be an
Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
I started my career in the theatre, as a playwright and theatre director. And as a writer, film found me. I was asked to write a lot of scripts for television series, feature films. There was a Hungarian television series that I wrote alone, 167 separate episodes alone. In the theatre, I usually directed my own drama. I like it when a drama or a script is realised as I imagined it. So I started directing films from my scripts. And it's been that way for seventeen years. I still direct theatre and make films today. Now as a director-producer. They are related genres, theatre and film. And the ancestor of both is poetry. Because poetry condenses a theme, just like theatre and film. It packs a whole world into two hours. I've always wondered how you can tell and portray whole lives in two hours.
Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Nagyon sok kedvenc filmem van. De általában a legkedvesebb az, ami fiatal korunkban talál meg, amiért fiatalként lelkesedünk. Én így voltam Bob Fosse ALL THAT JAZZ című filmjével. Miért? Mert az is vegyítette a drámát, a táncot, a humort, a költészetet, az abszurdot, és mindezt úgy, hogy valódi katarzist váltott ki bennem. És ami nagyon fontos számomra: rendkívül tehetséges színészek játszottak benne. Nálam ez a legfontosabb, hogy a színész felmutassa a tehetségét.
Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
No need to search, the story will find us. You just have to notice it and accept it. On the subway, on a journey, in our own family histories, the themes and stories are all there. You just have to be able to put them in a way that makes them interesting to as many people as possible. I have a lot of stories to write. In a fast-paced world, it's not hard to find them.
Which topics interest you the most?
In all my dramas and films, the woman, the representation of femininity, is a prominent role. Perhaps because I have two daughters and my wife and I have been together for thirty-six years. We have raised our two daughters, I have lived with three women. Anyway, I'm interested in all subjects if I can relate to them: historical, psychological, comedy, drama. The story itself, the subject, determines the genre of the film.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
I have had a lot of pleasure in my films so far. But perhaps the most memorable is one of my first films, which won the Goa International Film Festival in India. The festival director loved the film so much that he invited me to the entire festival, with travel, luxury hotel, everything. I got to meet fantastic people and that started an ongoing relationship with India and the Eastern world. That is the greatest achievement: to make a film that can have such an impact on a person. The other achievement is the 287 film festival awards my film DARKING WAY has won so far from all over the world. From Bhutan to Los Angeles. If so many nations appreciate my work, I have still managed to create something important.
What do you consider most important about filming?
Punctuality. The director has to be thoroughly prepared for the shoot, so that he can answer questions from the crew and actors. To know exactly what he wants, how he can achieve it and, above all, with what kind of partners. So that, despite the director's precise vision, the shoot is still a team effort. So that if anyone has a creative, good idea, it can be incorporated into the film. The other most important thing is the direction of the actors. Only if you have a talented actor, of course. But life is too short not to work with talented people.
Who supports you in your film career?
Many, but my first supporter was a great Hungarian director, Sándor Mihályfi. And from then on, the whole story is like a fairy tale. He asked me to write a script. And when I finished it, he really liked it. He said he thought I could direct this film best, even better than he could. And he gave the directing to me and he stayed on as producer. And he didn't interfere with my work, he let me make my first big budget film the way I wanted to make it. He's not alive now, but I'll never forget what he gave me then. It was a dream come true. And when dreams come true, there is a reason to live in this world. I still have many dreams. I hope they will come true. And also that this script that I submitted to the festival will find its way to filming.
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