Zsolt Pozsgai

Writer, film and theatre director
Producer: Horatio Film Llc. /film production/

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.

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.

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.
TV series:

Other film work: scriptwriting for television series, writing and directing television films, writing and directing feature films. Writing scripts for German series.

1. Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
About one of the greatest ecclesiastical figures of the Hungarian history of the 20th century. Who remained true to himself and his principles throughout his life. For this he was imprisoned or humiliated by every social change. And yet, for the Hungarian people he was always the most important. It is about the fact that if we can commit ourselves to the values that we considered most important when we were young, then whatever the difficulties or tragedies, we will be happy at the end of life. I shot the film in one place, in one building, the world-famous Museum of Terror in Budapest. It's a modern exhibition space, several floors high, reminiscent of the communist dictatorship. Here, in these installations, I placed the stories of my protagonist. There are no realistic locations. Only brutal reality. Since the museum is constantly visited from abroad, we couldn't close it, we shot at night. It was a real directorial task to incorporate the attractions of this museum into the film. And to portray the life of my main character. I couldn't have done it without a fantastic cinematographer, Márk Győri.

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2. What are your ambitions with your project?
My previous film, DARKING WAY, has so far won 258 /!/ awards around the world. From Los Angeles to Bhutan. I guess you don't have to be Hungarian to understand this historical and human situation. It can be understood and experienced anywhere. That is my ambition for this film and it has already begun. I am very happy. And it's being shown in Hungary with great success.

3. Tell us somethng about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
The shooting was a great atmosphere. I try to prepare as much as possible for all my films. A real director doesn't just prepare by knowing what he wants. The hardest preparation is to prepare for the creative questions that the actor, the cinematographer and the others have to answer when they ask. To give convincing answers that they will accept. It's the only way I can work. And if I can do that, I'm guaranteed to work in a good atmosphere. It's not a job, it's a joint creation. For me, the cameraman, the lighting and everyone else are artists in their own right. Like an orchestra. I'm the conductor, I teach the music. but I can only do that if I work with talented musicians. One false note and everything is upset. I was pleasantly surprised to see that during the epidemic, in masks and under different rules, everyone worked just as well as they normally would.

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4. For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
The experience so far is that anyone from students to seniors can enjoy the film. Anyone who likes good acting, passionate, dramatic stories. And unusual directorial choices. There are still some out there. Lots of them.

5. Why should distributors buy your film?
Because they know that audiences are looking for actor-centric films again. They're tired of the huge visual elements, the alien visual world. The inner secrets of the soul will be important again. That's what I believe.

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6. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
Passion, inner human emotions and dilemmas. All accompanied by a sensitive visual world. I am very proud of the cinematographer and the whole crew. The conductor may bow at the end of a concert, but I couldn't have orchestrated the work myself.

7. Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
I am a writer, a playwright. It so happened that thirty years ago I was writing scripts for television series, hundreds of them. Then scripts for directors. And once a director said, "This script is such that only I can direct it well. And he gave me the director's job. It was one of the best days of my life. After that there was no stopping me, feature films, documentaries. And now everyone knows that when I make a film, I like to write the script and direct it. I am an army of one.

8. Who is your role model?
Twenty years ago, a fantastic director, István Gaál, died in Hungary. Very few people abroad know him, but his films are very much loved in my country. And there is another director who was a big influence in my life, the Hungarian Pál Sándor.

9. Which movies are your favorites? Why?
I love any film that creates a positive catharsis in the viewer. I love the Italian neorealism era and I really like classic English films. Back when you could tell which country a film was made in. Today, that is less and less the case.

10. Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
I write plays and scripts when something hurts. I mean, I see something, a human situation, a historical event, anything that shocks me - but at the same time can be an example to the audience of how they can make their own life and the lives of others better. For me, the film is a church prayer. If you believe in it and let the sacredness in, you can bear life's trials more easily. All art is sacral. Film is sacred. And in this day and age, there's subject matter, there's pain aplenty. You don't have to search too much.

11. Which topics interest you the most?
I'm most interested in historical subjects because they are closed stories and we can learn a lot from them. But I'm only interested in that if it has something valid to say for today's world, and then I'm not making a costume film, but I'm making history as a living thing, not a postcard. History is the past that is inside us. Through our fathers, our grandfathers. We can relive all the events of the past through film.

12. What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
One of our prizes. When another film of mine, THE DEVOTED, won Best Film in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, far away from everything, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I saw pictures: in a tent, people were lying on the ground almost naked, watching my film. And at the end they said: this is the best. I wouldn't trade it for any of the official big prizes. I wish I could have been there. Anyway, these people came to see my film RED FAUST and again said it was the best. I really should go to them now. Although they say you have to be careful with them, they don't like strangers. But they like my films.

13. What do you consider most important about filming?
I want talented people to work together. Creative people. People who can create together. Whether they are popular or not. They should be talented. That's the most important thing.

14. Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I think all kinds of techniques can be used to make a good film. I do not determine the technique, the story demands it. I just adapt.

15. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Many years ago, talented generations were replaced by talented generations. Because, everyone had a master, someone to learn from, someone to look up to. In the last twenty years, that's gone. The American film industry is still looking to the seventy to eighty year old stars to bring in the money, and producers have not bothered to nurture a new generation. America, in the film sense, is dead. It's no coincidence that Eastern films are winning more and more at festivals around the world, that they are coming to the fore. In Europe, the European Union is trying to break down barriers between nations, to make everyone the same. This will make national films disappear. And there is nothing else. I am very happy to live in a country where this is rejected. Today you can't tell the difference between Italian, Spanish, French or Danish films. Artists are wearing the same clothes. And that makes everything grey. If we let it. We have to find a master or masters for ourselves, not to copy, but to follow.

16. What can disappoint you in a movie?
If I see that the film was not born out of an inner artistic compulsion. If I see that it does not put the actor first. And if I see that the main role in writing the script was played by the computer, not by the talent of the creative person.

17. Who supports you in your film career?
My wife. That's the most important thing. And the viewers who love my films, and fortunately there are many. No one else. I'm not at the mercy of the state film industry, I don't get billions for a film like others. This encourages me to be an independent filmmaker. But independence means freedom. I am free to create, that is the biggest support.

18. What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Since anyone can write any kind of review on social networking sites, professional criticism has disappeared. It's not interesting. What is interesting is the opinion of the film crew, and the audience in particular.

19. Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
I regularly attend festivals, although here too I prefer independent film festivals. It doesn't matter what country, what city. Next week I'm going to Agropoli, in beautiful Agropoli, Italy, for an "honest" festival, and I'll be with Italian and international filmmakers and students. This means more to me than just a glitzy, fashionable festival. I am also a festival director, I founded an international historical film festival in Hungary three years ago. I really enjoy it.

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20. What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
Scenarios and plans abound. I'm working on pre-production for a new film, and then there's the next one. But what I'd really like to do: shoot a whole evening of contemporary dance film. With international dancers. It's an extremely exciting subject that hasn't been explored yet. Can you think of a good English producer?