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Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 8.44.53 PM
On Friday and Saturday, November 2nd and 3rd, the popular Hungarian Film Festival will return for its fifth year to the comfortable environment of the August Coppola Theater at San Francisco State University. Lovers of Hungarian cinema will have a chance to view seven outstanding feature films made last year. The festival is unique in the United States, bringing together American-Hungarians with young budding filmmakers in the appreciation of some of the best movies from Hungary. The festival is organized by documentary filmmaker Reka Pigniczky and producer Eva Karafiath-Homor. The course is led by Professor Steven Kovacs, writer-director, with a thorough knowledge of Hungarian history and film.
The showcase of films is traditionally sponsored by the Central European California Cultural Institute and the School of Cinema of San Francisco State University. This year the festival has received additional support from The Hungarian Initiative Foundation and the Hungarian National Film Institute.
Three directors will be appearing in person to present their films. Kristof Deak will talk about his Academy Award film SING.
Director-cinematographer Zsuzsanne Geller-Varga will discuss her film ANGEL BUSINESS about Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. And the winner of the Best Director award in the Montreal Film Festival, Attila Szasz, will be presenting his dramatic feature ETERNAL WINTER about the Soviet gulag.
The festival is open to the public, admission is free. We encourage our guests to arrive early because of limited seating.
For further information, list of films and screening times, please visit the following websites: or

Hungarian Film in San Francisco (HFSF) is part of Central European California Cultural Institute (CECI) dedicated to presenting a selection of contemporary Hungarian feature films, live action shorts, documentaries, and animation. In the past HFSF has worked with the Hungarian Film Festival taking place in Los Angeles. It is part of the curriculum of the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, and as such it offers a unique combination of public access and higher education.

CECI, a San Francisco-based NGO, organizes cultural exchange between the two regions, having originated with a film festival and aimed to develop into a wide array of cultural events. The mission of CECI, founded and run by three Hungarian-Americans, is to promote Hungarian and other Central European film, theater and music events in California. The film festival is one of the main current cultural activities of CECI. The founders intend the organization to branch into the other arts in the near future.
Both the festival and the cultural institute are the creation of three Hungarian-Americans, professor Steven Kovacs, documentary filmmaker Réka Pigniczky and producer Éva Karafiáth-Homor.

In 2012, we hosted our first guest. Director Benedek Fliegauf accompanied his “Just the Wind” (the official Hungarian entry to the Academy Awards) to screen at SFSU in front of an audience of some 150 students and general public.
In 2013 we received private funding for the appearance of director Andras Vagvolgyi to present his feature “Kolorado Kid.” HFSF founder Reka Pigniczky volunteered to show and discuss her latest film “Heritage”. The Q & A that followed the two directors’ appearance were the highlights of the festival. Evening screenings were attended by 130 viewers.

In 2014 CECI received an “Art and Culture” grant approved by The Hungary Initiatives Foundation to support the 3rd Annual Hungarian Film Festival in San Francisco.

In 2015, at the 4th Hungarian Film Festival we made the first audience award to “Afterlife / Utóélet” by Virág Zomborácz.

In 2018 the 5th Hungarian Film Festival will take place on November 2-3 at our usual venue, the August Coppola Theatre, SFSU. In recognition of our pioneering quality programs, this year we received a grant from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation. With their support we have invited Academy Award winner director Kristóf Deák, award-winning director Attila Szász, and Zsuzsanna Gellér-Varga documentary filmmaker to present and discuss their work. We welcome guests to enjoy the movies and the Q&A afterwards. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Special thanks to our sponsors:
Central European California Cultural Institute, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation, San Francisco State University, Hungarian National Film Fund, 56Films, The Heritage Foundation.

“I received an email from a Hungarian club in San Francisco inviting me to this festival, and I thought I should really come – I haven’t seen a Hungarian film in 10 years.” (Viktor Perkala, San Francisco)

“I used to work in the film business in Hungary and now I live here. So for me this is a great continuation of Hungarian film culture, since I can’t be at home now to watch films.” (Sövény Tímea, San Francisco)


To promote Hungarian and other Central Eastern European films in the SF Bay Area. We are cultural pioneers for films in general, and Hungarian and other regional films especially.


Cultural programs and events initially throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, eventually in the entire state of California. Such programs and events may include art exhibits, musical presentations, theatrical and dance performances, and conferences that showcase the diverse traditions of Central Europe. Lectures and classes focused on educating the public about the rich and diverse culture and arts of Central Europe.Youth activities promoting charitable and educational purposes. Publication of educational information on a website.


Steve Kovacs

Film Director, SFSU Cinema Department

Réka Pigniczky

Documentary Filmmaker, 56Films

Éva Karafiáth-Homor

Producer, Co-director, CECI

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Admission is free / Seating is limited
Contact: Eva Homor ( and Réka Pigniczky (

2 days 7 films

FRIDAY, November 2. (4PM – 10PM)

4:00 – 4:30 — Introduction
4:30 – 6:40 — Kincsem (121 min.) feature by Gábor Herendi
6:40 – 7:40 — Reception / Break
7:40 – 9:30 — Eternal Winter (110 min.) feature by Attila Szász
9:30 – 10:00 – Q&A with director Attila Szász

SATURDAY, November 3. (9AM – 10PM)

9:00 – 9:30 — Introduction
9:30 – 11:15 — Aurora Borealis (104 min) feature by Márta Mészáros
11:15 – 11:30 — Discussion
11:30 – 11:45 — Break
11:45 – 12:45 — Angel business (56 min) documentary by Zsuzsanna Gellér-Varga
12:45 – 1:30 — Q&A with director Zsuzsanna Gellér – Varga
1:30 – 2:30 — Lunch Break
2:30 – 4:10 — Liza the Fox-Fairy (98 min.) feature by Károly Ujj Mészáros
4:10 – 5:00 — Discussion and Summary
5:00 – 6:00 – Reception / Break
6:00 – 7:00 – Sing (25 min.) short by Kristóf Deák followed by Q&A with the director.
7:00 – 9:10 — The Whiskey Robber (126 min) feature by Nimród Antal
9:10 – 10:00 – Q&A TBD

Angel Business is a documentary about the financial and personal challenges of becoming one of the first angel investors during the birth of Hungary’s startup era. Tony balances financial risk, market knowledge and his family’s health and happiness to reach his goal – to foster new ideas and help emerging entrepreneurs.


Screening: Saturday, November 3. 11:45am- 12:45pm

Q&A with the director: Saturday, 12:45pm – 1:30pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited

Olga is a successful, workaholic lawyer from Vienna. She discovers a dark family secret that makes her question her whole life. She begins to search for answers, but her mother, Maria has done everything she could to avoid the truth being revealed. While Olga is traveling through her Family’s past, she has to face her own life as well.


Screening: Saturday, November 3. 9:30am – 11:15am


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited


4. Hungarian Film Festival of San Francisco

3. Hungarian Film Festival of San Francisco

2. Hungarian Film Festival of San Francisco

Christmas 1944. Soviet soldiers invade Hungary and drag every young Ethnic German woman away from a small village and transport them to a labour camp where they are forced to work in the coal mines under inhuman conditions. This is where Irén meets fellow prisoner Rajmund who decides to teach her how to survive. While she is determined to return home to her little daughter and family, history and fate have a different plan: Irén and Rajmund fall in love. Based on a true story. ETERNAL WINTER is the very first Hungarian feature film about the 700,000 Hungarian victims of the Soviet labour camps whose stories remained untold for over 70 years.


Screening: Friday, November 2., 7:40pm  – 9:30pm

Q&A with the director: Friday, November 2., 9:30pm – 10:00pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited

Ernõ Blaskovich lost everything after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Kincsem, a magnificent horse gives a purpose of his meaningless, self-destructing life. He gets a chance to gain everything back: revenge, love and fame.


Screening: Friday, November 2.  4:30pm – 6:40pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited

Liza’s a nurse, seeking love. Her only company is a long-dead Japanese pop star, who turns her into a fox-fairy out of jealousy. Now, every men who desires Liza shall die horribly. Can she overcome the curse?


Screening: Saturday, November 3.  2:30pm – 4:10pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited


Sing’ is a childhood drama with a lot of music, set in 1990s Budapest, Hungary. Inspired by a true story, it follows an award winning school choir and the new girl in class who just might uncover the ugly secret behind their fame.


Screening: Saturday, November 3.,  6pm – 6:25pm

Q&A with the director: Saturday, November 3., 6:25pm-7pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited



Professor Steven Kovacs, the formerly Chair of SFSU Cinema Department, began as a film historian, writing the book From Enchantment to Rage: The Story of Surrealist Cinema. He started teaching at Stanford, where he co-produced the documentary Arthur and Lillie, for which he received an Academy Award Nomination. He worked as head of production for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures (1977-79). He has produced, written and directed a number of features, including The Lady in Red, On the Line, ’68, and Angel Blue.
He was invited to chair the SFSU Cinema Department in 1990 and has taught there ever since. He has written criticism on art, film, and politics, poetry and fiction. He has taught a wide range of courses, including screenwriting, directing and national cinemas, particularly European and Latin American. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Theater, Film and Television in 2002-2003.
From 2013 he is a co-Founder, Chairman of the Board and President of Central European California Cultural Institute, a San Francisco-based NGO which organizes cultural exchange between the two regions. The mission of CECI is to promote Central European film, theater events in California.
Steven earned a B.A. in History from Yale and a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard.


“Angel Blue” (Producer, Director, Writer), 1998
“’68″ (Director, Writer), 1988
“On the Line,” (Producer), 1985
“Einstein: The Man Behind the Genius”  (Producer, Director), 1982
“The Lady in Red” (Producer) 1979
“Arthur and Lillie” Documentary (Producer) 1975

Viszkis was one of the most famous bank robbers in Hungary. He drunk whiskey before every robbing. This is his story.


Screening: Saturday, November 3.  7pm.9:10pm


With English subtitles / Admission is free / Seating is limited


Eva began her film career after high school and graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in communications and film in Budapest, Hungary. She worked as a Producer Assistant, Unit/ Production Manager for ten years in Hungarian and International feature films and commercials and achieved the title of Line Producer in international commercials. She has a screenwriter and electrician skills. Her university project short film “Aqua” (directed by David Spah) won the “best screenplay” award at the 2006 San Francisco International Short Film Festival. She organized Moveast International Filmfestival for 4 years in Hungary, Pécs. From 2013 she is also a co-Founder and Board of Director of Central European California Cultural Institute, a San Francisco-Budapest based NGO which organizes cultural exchange between the two regions. The mission of CECI is to promote Central European film, theater and cultural events in California. Together with her husband as members of the American – Hungarian community she is volunteering as an organizer in the Neumann Society. Her aim is to help to spread Hungarian culture in the US and connect Hungarians with the diaspora in the US.


2010 Eletrichix (short – co-producer)
2006 Aqua (short – producer)
Production manager:
2010 Whatever Floats Your Boat (short – production manager)
2009 Prank (feature – unit manager)
2005 The real Santa (feature – unit manager)
2010 Electrichix ( short – co-screenwriter)
2006 Aqua (short – co-screenwriter)
Art department:
2008 John Adams (TV Mini-Series – art department coordinator – 2 episodes)
– Reunion (2008) … (art department coordinator: Hungary)
– Don’t Tread on Me (2008) … (art department coordinator: Hungary)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:
2008 Nyugalom (feature – second assistant director)
2006 Ballada (short – assistant director)
Miscellaneous Crew:
2006 Fekete fehér (TV Movie – production assistant)
2005 The Porcelain Doll (TV Movie – production assistant)
2008 Nyugalom ( feature – Theatre director’s assistant)


Réka Pigniczky is a television journalist, producer and independent documentary filmmaker. She’s worked for the Associated Press Television News for over 10 years, both in New York and Budapest, Hungary. She completed her first feature-length documentary, Journey Home: a story from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, at the end of 2006. It won awards in Hungary and was invited to screen at a number of international film festivals. She completed her second feature-length documentary, Inkubátor, in 2010, which saw a wide audience in Hungary through a national theatrical release as well as television broadcast, and it enjoyed wide critical acclaim after the Hungarian Film Festival. The film was also voted one of the 25 best films released in Hungary in 2010.

56 Films is actively involved in Hungary’s documentary community, and Réka has taken part in a number of festival juries and international documentary projects. She is also a member of the European Documentary Network (EDN) and the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Réka has an MA in journalism and international relations from Columbia University in New York, and she also has an MA in political science from the Central European University in Budapest. She has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Réka was born and raised in the U.S. by Hungarian refugee parents and lived in Hungary for 14 years after the Iron Curtain fell, spending the early 1990’s working as a political consultant and volunteer organizer for women’s NGO’s in Hungary. She serves on the board of Blood Mountain Foundation, an international artist residency program based in Budapest. Since 2002, she lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a filmmaker, journalist, cross-cultural events director and proud mother of three bicultural children.

From 2013 she is also the co-Founder and Board Member of the Central European California Cultural Institute, a San Francisco-based NGO which organizes cultural exchange between the two regions. The mission of CECI is to promote Central European film, theater events in California.


Kodály on the Cuyahoga (Kodály a Cuyahogán)
2014, Television Documentary (Duna World), 52 min; Lang: Hungarian

Heritage (Megmaradni)
2013, USA/Hungary; Documentary, 63 min.; Lang: English/Hungarian

The Man who Built Shanghai (Hudec László Élete)
2011, USA/Hungary, Documentary Short, 26 min. Lang: English/Hungarian/Mandarin

Inkubátor (Inkubátor)
2009/2010, USA/Hungary; Creative Documentary, 88 min.; Lang: English/Hungarian

Kazár: from the Cradle to the Grave (Kazár: A Bölcsőtöl a Sírig)
2008, Hungary; Ethnographic Documentary, 45 min; Lang: Hungarian

Journey Home: A Story from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Hazatérés)
2006, USA/Hungary; Creative Documentary, 88 min.; Lang: English/Hungarian

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