Judgment in Hungary – Film Screening and Artist Talk at European Forum Alpbach

In 2008 and 2009, a group of Hungarian right-wing extremists committed a series of attacks on random members of the Roma community. Six people were killed and another  five were injured. The trial of the four suspects lasted two-and-a-half years. The 167 days of interrogations were documented by Eszter Hajdú as the only film maker in the courtroom. Will the Hungarian state protect the Roma? Can they trust in the Hungarian justice system? Eszter Hajdú did not only film the trial but created a memorial to the victims.

On the occasion of the annual ERSTE Foundation Community Meeting with project partners and for the participants of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach 2016, we invited Eszter Hajdú and the producer of the film, Sándor Mester, for a film screening and an artist talk.

Judgment in Hungary, Eszter Hajdú (Documentary, Hungary/Portugal/Germany, 2013)

Film Screening
Monday, 29 August 2016
15:00 – 16:00 h
Congress Centre Alpbach, Liechtenstein-Saal

Judgment in Hungary Poster rgb


Artist Talk: Eszter Hajdú and Sándor Mester in dialogue with Christiane Erharter
Introduction: Recital by Sándor Mester
Monday, 29 August 2016
16:00 – 17:30 h
Congress Centre Alpbach, Liechtenstein-Saal

For this conversation we invited the director and film maker Eszter Hajdú and Sándor Mester, composer of the film music and producer. They will talk about how to make politically sensitive projects and how to deal with political issues in their own artistic practice. We will tackle different social and political subjects the film is touching upon: populism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and the rise of right-wing extremism in Hungary and in Europe. We will speak about the concepts of reconciliation and transnational solidarity to overcome hatred and violence. We will address the question of political consequences of ongoing civil society struggles in various parts of Europe.

Eszter Hajdú was born in Budapest in 1979. She is a film director, sociologist and journalist based in Budapest and Lisbon. Prior to her career as a film director she has worked as a reporter, editor and programme director in print, radio and television. Her first documentary film “My Own Private, Tarnabod” (2006) depicts homeless families who were given a chance to start over in the village of Tarnabod, 120km away from Budapest. This film won awards at Hungarian and international film festivals in 2006. Her award winning film “The Fidesz Jew, the mother with no sense of nation and mediation” (2008) was the most provocative and most viewed documentary film in Hungary in 2008. The film depicts society in Hungary after the 1989 change of regime, in which a polarized political atmosphere has caused major splits between friends and even within families. The antagonising parties turn to mediation techniques to try to achieve reconciliation. The premiere of her film “Judgment in Hungary” (2013) took place at the 26th DFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam). The film was nominated at the 26th IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) in the First Appearance Competition. It won 17 international awards and was screened in 40 countries. Other films include “Destino” (2007) and “Lullaby” (2009). Currently Eszter Hajdú is taking her PHD as a film director in Portugal.

Sándor Mester was born in Budapest in 1975. He is a classical guitarist and composer based in Budapest and Lisbon. As a film producer he has been working together with Eszter Hajdú since 2007. He is responsible for financing, administration and production management. He is the producer of “Judgment in Hungary” (2013). The verdict of the trial was read on 6th August 2013 in Budapest. Hajdú and Mester left Budapest on 1st September 2013. The post-production of the film had to be done in Berlin organized from Portugal where they are based currently. Sándor Mester produced several classical music projects focusing on Roma children in small villages with bad social backgrounds. He has been doing special educational programs in Hungary for Roma children as well as training young classical musicians. In 2011 he organised the international project “Klassik Star” for young, classical musicians from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Therefore he produced an online music contest as well as an international chamber music tour of twelve concerts. Under the artist name MS3 he has been performing more than 800 concerts in Brazil, USA, Morocco, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands, Finnland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Republic of Kosovo, Croatia and Macedonia.

Christiane Erharter is curator at ERSTE Foundation.

In cooperation with European Forum Alpbach.