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Eastern European directors at Friss Hús Festival! | Part 1

Thanks to the Friss Hús Short Film Festival, Budapest’s Toldi Cinema will once again be filled with life between May 27 and June 2. Now we asked a few directors of movies related to Eastern Europe in one way or another about their thoughts of Budapest, what they would like to do in the Hungarian capital and which movies influenced them the most. 

Izabela Plucinska

She is busily working at her own production company, ClayTraces, along with her associates. Owing to the reputation as an artist, she frequently leads workshops and teaches film animation at universities internationally. At Friss Hús, we can see her short ”Portrait of Suzanne”, a dark but humorous love story.

Have you ever been to Budapest before?

Yes, I have visited Budapest a few times, it is a beautiful, interesting city with great architecture and food. I remember a lot of creasy bars, places like Szimpla…something like we have in Berlin. I would like to visit these artistic places again. 

What was your most important or most inspiring film experience in your childhood or in the recent past?

All movies by Jan Svankmajer! He is my big inspiration. I love his imagination, his world full of surrealism and all absurd reality. I was also really impressed by the animation of Bruce Bickford and his collaboration with Frank Zappa. If you see movies of Bruce Bickford you can’t forget his disturbing and shocking imagery.

Apoorva Satish

She was born in the city of Chennai, India, but has been to many places from Jordan to the UK. Finally she graduated in Prague, at FAMU (Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze). Her short movie „Kanya” debuted at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea in 2020. 

Have you ever been to Budapest before? If no, what would you like to do in the Hungarian capital?

There are a lot of things I want to do but my top priorities include watching a movie at Kino cafe cinema and Puskin cinema, visiting Szimpla Kert, going to the Sziget Festival, have a summer picnic on Liberty Bridge, and check out the colorful firewalls in downtown Budapest.

What was your most important or most inspiring film experience in your childhood or in the recent past?

At times, cinema has literally and figuratively saved my life. I think back often to that time when I first saw a rocket being intercepted by the Iron Dome in Israel, over my head, when I had just finished shooting a short film as part of a film workshop. Or that time when I was writing a script cooped up inside a backpacker hostel’s bomb shelter, as rockets rained on Tel Aviv. Or that other time when I narrowly escaped arrest in Jordan by simply naming Bollywood and striking a chord with the immigration officer who happened to be a fan of actor Amitabh Bachchan. From threatening to arrest me for unknowingly entering Jordan through an entry point reserved for Palestinians a few minutes ago, here he was offering me chocolate and chatting away merrily after I told him I was a filmmaker. Such has been the profound impact of cinema on my life.

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David Semler

He is a screenwriter and recently also a director, his short film ”Must Be Painful” has already been presented at eleven international film festivals around the world, from Mexico to Sydney. The film tells the story of Danny and his Spanish boyfriend who must wait in an empty train station with two homophobic Czechs, who do not realize that Danny understands their every word.

Have you ever been to Budapest before?

I was in Budapest only once, ten years ago and it was quite an adventurous trip! I was on the train making a trip with my friends to Montenegro, but in Serbia they wouldn’t let me pass the border because I had forgotten my passport and my ID was expired (student years), so they kicked me out of the train and sent me back home to the Czech Republic. However, as I was passing through Budapest I had this spontaneous idea to have my own private holiday in the capital. And it was wonderful! It was my first time abroad totally by myself and I loved every second of it. I was walking through the whole city, climbed up the castle and visited some bars.

What was your most important or most inspiring film experience in your childhood or in the recent past?

I think it is impossible to limit the entire history of cinema to just one important film, there are so many! From recent years most inspiring films for me were made by Yorgos Lanthimos, Bong Joon Ho and Martin McDonagh.


Alexandra Májová

Alexandra is a Czech illustrator, animator and director. She studied animation at FAMU and she spent time at the animation department of the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. With her shorts ”Swimming Pool” and ”Mythopolis” (2013) she won a number of significant awards, both domestic and international. She currently illustrates children’s books, and creates films and animations with Martin Máj in Májovi studio. At Friss Hús we can see her film ”Washing Machine”—a short about love and washing.

Have you ever been to Budapest before?

I have been to Budapest four times. My first impression was that the city’s architecture is quite similar to that of Prague, so I immediately felt at home. I like Budapest a lot. That’s why I’m always happy to go back there. For the first time I visited mainly the most famous tourist attractions, such as the Castle as well as spas, and markets. But then I enjoyed exploring the city and visiting places where locals go, too.

What was your most important or most inspiring film experience in your childhood or in the recent past?

I don’t know, it’s constantly changing, I’m still looking for films that would inspire me. As a child, I loved The Never Ending Story” and recently, I really liked the animated short film “Betty” by Will Anderson. It’s a simple breakup story presented in a funny and imaginative form with a great design and a clever emotional and originally constructed narrative structure.


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