projects

Hungarian Film Festival

WHAT IS HFFSF?

Hungarian Film in San Francisco (HFSF), which is part of Central European California Cultural Institute (CECI) presents great selection of contemporary Hungarian feature films, documentaries short films, and animations in November. Some of the invited films will be selected by a jury just for the San Francisco festival and will be selected from those being shown at the Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles, which will run at the same time. Part of the Festival includes promoting coursework in contemporary Hungarian film at San Francisco State University, as well as a course in documentary film in Central Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The CECI, a San Francisco-based NGO, organizes cultural exchange between the two regions, starting with a film festival and developing into a wide array of cultural events. The mission of CECI, which was founded and run by three Hungarian-Americans, is to promote Hungarian and other Central European film, theater and music events in California. The film festivals are just the first cultural events, because film is the most accessible artistic medium for the general public. CECI intends to branch into the other arts in the near future.

The Hungarian film festival in San Francisco – as first the ‘little sister’ of the Hungarian film festival in Los Angeles is now on its way to becoming a festival in its own right. Thanks to San Francisco State University donating space in the Coppola Theater and to Professor of Cinema Steve Kovacs for teaching a course in conjunction with the film festival, audience numbers in 2013 were even more than in 2012, with the main evening films being screened to some 130 people. Because university classes are open to the public, both students and members of the general public were able to attend for free. The general public included a large number of American-Hungarians living in the Bay Area, many of whom were delighted that finally Hungarian films were coming to San Francisco and not just Los Angeles.

The festival was first organized on an entirely volunteer basis by Professor Steve Kovacs and documentary filmmaker Réka Pigniczky, both Hungarian-Americans. They were joined by Hungarian producer Éva Homor in 2013, and the three created Hungarian Film in San Francisco. In 2012, Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf accompanied his “Just the Wind” (the official Hungary 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. Two receptions were hosted by local Hungarians, including the Honorary Consul General of Hungary of San Francisco.

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

“I received and 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)

In 2015 the 4rd Hungarian Film Festival started on the 13th of November at Coppola Theatre, SFSU.  Great selection of contemporary Hungarian short-, feature- and documentary films were screened on Friday & Saturday, November 13-14. The first audience award 2015 winner was “Afterlife / Utóélet” by Virág Zomborácz. The event was open to the Public and admission was free.

MISSION

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.

FUTURE

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.

http://hffsf.com/