Our Team

Sós Ágnes
Ágnes Sós - Festival Director
Balogh Rita
Rita Balogh - Festival Director

 

Budapest International Documentary Festival is the only international documentary festival in the capital of Hungary that

  • is a competition festival for the best documentaries from all over the world, without thematic or any other restrictions;
  • hosts the creators of every film and covers all their costs;
  • holds a Q&A session after every screening to provide a real one-off experience;
  • groups the selected films into thematic sections;
  • has an international jury of 5 professionals in every section;
  • gives 5-6 awards with prize money along with other rewards and special mentions;
  • is also a year-long project with screenings every month.

You can find below a few words about our thoughts and words before the festivals and also about our team:

Invisible films at BIDF

Whoever sees these films won’t be fooled by lies …
Maybe it’s not exactly the proper way to begin a Festival Director’s introduction, but even since the last festival we’ve spoken these sentences so many times that it would be phony and cowardly if I didn’t begin what I have to say with them here and now.
After all, there’s hardly a clearer or more concise way to express the fact that after seeing the films in our festival, we can no longer be fooled. But why?
Because the films of the festival’s genre are creative documentary films, the result of the long, persistent work of shooting, that tell the stories of real people’s lives credibly, from as close up as possible. Their heroes are from among us.
Because after seeing the uplifting truths of these stories, these films, we are impervious to the lies, exaggerations and demagogy that those in power use to misinform and influence masses of people in order to achieve their own goals, not even hesitating to be inhumane.
Because we can’t talk about situations or life if we don’t even know where they are on the map, if we have no idea about what the truth is, if we make judgments based on half-truths and frustrations.
Because these films are “artistic products”, in spite of the fact that certain decision-makers are terrified and nauseated by the terms “art” and “culture”, the good news is that for many many years we had the opportunity to experience the enjoyment and gratitude of people who see this entertaining profoundness and don’t sleep it off the next day, but come away having had an authentic experience. This experience gives the greatest joy to us, who strive to bring our audiences to this experience.
Four years ago in 2014, BIDF set a goal of bringing the world’s most successful, highest-standard, most enjoyable creative documentary films to Hungary– a country where it’s very often necessary to explain what this genre is, where many of these films are not visible, in spite of the fact that millions view them in countless countries around the world.
What has happened since then?
Even we didn’t think that what we are doing would grow more and more necessary to fill a gap: we invited films and their creators, 7 that were nominated for European Film Awards, a European Film Award winner, 2 that were nominated for Oscars, as well as films that received more than 50 other awards, which can only be seen at BIDF.
What else is happening at BIDF?
As has always been the case at BIDF, at BIDF 2018 there will also be a post-screening discussion after every screening, because the creators of each film are the guests of the festival. Don’t hesitate to ask questions!
As part of our professional program, STORY BRIDGE BUDAPEST, we want to offer film topics to the film industry on a silver platter. Invited presenters from all areas of life who know stories of human experiences bring topics offering lessons to be learned to speak on and debate with the audience. There has never been a similar initiative in Hungary. With this, BIDF creates a milieu where film professionals can meet and have conversations.
The guest of our Master Class will be André Singer , the indispensable figure of the documentary film profession, who has spent more than 40 years in the profession. He is Werner Herzog’s permanent producer and the producer of Oscar-nominated films, who two years ago received an Emmy award for directing the documentary film Night Will Fall, and we could go on. As part of BIDF 2018 we are showing two of his films, which are at two ends of the spectrum of his exceptionally multifaceted career. The screenings of the films, which can each be seen separately, are followed by a master class.
This year we are presenting the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Gyula Gazdag, whose films from decades ago have stood the test of time, because they paint a masterful picture of the internal mechanisms and operations of those in power, as well as the helplessness of those who oppose those in power. Gyula Gazdag is currently a university professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in Los Angeles.
Finally, grateful thanks to all our colleagues who spared only money, but not time working hard to achieve all these goals.
Ági Sós and Rita Balogh

BIDF awaits you with real-life movies!

The autumn season is almost here / the magic of BIDF is oh so near… For the third time already! The number three is of legendary and magical nature. 3 wishes, 3 princes, 3 challenges. Three constitutes a new unity.

We have had our fair share of miracles and challenges in the past three years.

“Our dreams may at long last come true: documentaries can claim their well-deserved spot, they will be watched and discussed. No less than two films succeeded in filling up the seats on BIDF’s opening day – a worthy achievement considering the capacity of Uránia’s main cinema hall.” – written about us following the second year.

It was indeed fascinating to see thousands of viewers enjoy and get astonished by BIDF films in the past two years. “A documentary and a movie at the same time?! Makes you think and keeps you entertained?! Fantasy and reality in one?!” – questions posed so many times. But the true challenge was still to come. We have always known that these real-life films are not only for the general festival audience. However, reaching people and groups outside our scope was a major challenge. Particularly, given the fact that documentaries are misinterpreted by the majority to this day. Hence it is safe to say, this has become one of our key objectives.

To succeed, we launched a monthly thematic screening at BEM cinema, addressing the potential audience in accordance with the current subject of the film: art historians, athletes & fans, lawyers, even ex-convicts, if necessary. Just to mention two extremes: we reached out to high school students through their bold teachers, and to the older generation via associations for the elderly. We set the same goals when framing this year’s programme: widen and tear apart existing boundaries, and prove that these films are for everybody from hairdressers to historians, psychologists to the deaf, from migrants to priests, entrepreneurs to full-time mothers, and they all deserve a chance to see them. Once again, BIDF 2016 offers a wide variety of films so that everyone finds a subject they feel more closely attached to.

We have always aimed to offer unique experience in return for the trust we get from our audience. It was a wish come true to witness people pose questions in such a passionate manner during the Q&A sections. “We don’t have such traditions, people will simply sneak out during the credits.” – predicted many after listening to our dreams of carrying out such conversations with filmmakers after each and every screening, in order to make this festival a true experience, not a mere collection of screenings. And we succeeded once again. So it was time to move one step forward: aside from sharing our experiences and discuss filmmaking, we now wish to provoke, raise debates, and clash opinions, too. Thus we break taboos and pick subjects that divide us, like the issue of refugees or people on the edge of society. In the ‘We ran away, They are running away, You will run away’ section we invoke real and accurate stories to help viewers see behind the curtain of news reports and judge certain issues independently, rather than succumbing to manipulation. Everyone should form their opinions on their own, and be bold enough to share it with us.

We can’t stress it enough: putting the first BIDF through was a miracle that wouldn’t have been feasible without the quick to act and well-intentioned people, who believed in our vision of creating something that truly matters and is worth the sacrifice. Such people funded BIDF essentially, hence we operated almost entirely based on private sources. In addition, we could always count on our talented and hard-working team, contributing to the realization of the first two festivals almost completely free of charge. With two successful festivals behind our back, we could finally face the challenge of the respective EU Tender. The competition for the Creative Europe program includes hundreds of festivals, many with decades of history, but only a handful of them are admitted. We were chosen together with the festivals of Sarajevo, La Rochelle and Leipzig, which is an utmost honour that reinforces our resolve to continue our journey – a journey we began together.

And even though there is no stopping now, and our story continues, always aiming higher and higher, let’s take a breath before the third BIDF and draw the conclusions: people come and go, people are born and die, but as long as good films keep coming BIDF will continue to exist.

We are grateful for the abundance of devotion and patience from Éva Turcsik, we shall keep her memory in our hearts

Ági Sós and Rita Balogh

Even a child can walk…

Every age has its beauties and difficulties and although BIDF is still in the age of learning how to walk, György Báron wrote the following about us already after the first festival:

„How many years does it take for a festival to come of age…? Sometimes it takes a lot, as I have written, but we also know some that appear before us fully fledged…: BIDF is a serious, mature event with a high ranking field of contesters, with well-designed sections, and generous organisation…” (Élet és irodalom, 10. October 2014.)

Good documentary filmmakers don’t write their own scripts, but they let life and reality pass and filter through them. In a similar manner, we thought what if we don’t write about ourselves either – we would never get to the end anyway. Instead, we rather cite a few opinions and reviews that we are so proud of after last year’s BIDF:

„WE ARE CLOSING UP WITH EUROPE WITH A DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL” (HVG)

„Ágnes Sós and Rita Balogh, the organisers of the festival managed to bring not only the best documentaries of the past few years, but also the directors or at least one filmmaker of almost each film. After the projections the audience immediately flooded the directors, editors, cinematographers with questions.” (András Dezsô Horváth, www.nol.hu, 15. October 2014.)

„BIDF, THE NEW COOL”

„The point is that at last, we have an international documentary festival that is also a professional forum for the industry”. (Viktória Bach, kulton.hu)

„We cannot emphasize it enough that there was something fantastic and excellent happening in the past few days in Budapest! At the initiative of two enthusiastic and it looks like invincible people and thanks to their enormous amount of work the first international documentary festival has been created in Hungary with a general overview of the global documentary film production of the world without any institutional background but with the cooperation of numerous supporting volunteers and sponsors. It was time! (Vincze Teréz – www.magyar.film.hu)

„These films are also important because they show a novel attitude to documentary films, they are not only about ‘documenting something’, but about artistic form… these films are important from an aesthetic perspective also where formal execution is just as important as contents.” (Dóra Matalin, Ádám Kolozsi, index.hu, 24.09.2014.)

„…I have not recovered yet from the amazement and deep emotions after the amount of embarrassingly beautiful, brave and free films I have never seen before, and the international level of professionalism in organisation – as well as a personal trait making this festival really unique. I hope that many professionals of the film industry and politics, a lot of literate thinkers have seen it and will spread news about it, will write about what has happened here during the four days. Nobody before had had the courage to think up something like this, let alone  to implement. Is it possible to fill up a whole cinema with documentaries, and not just once, but in five rooms simultaneously? How is it possible to organise dozens of volunteers where everybody feels part of an important cause, how to bring Hungarian directors together to talk, how to feel that the organiser of the festival is a real host, how to raise so much funding without the emphatic contribution by the good state?!? Nobody would have bet on it. And now this has happened. “ (Gábor Ferenczi, www.magyar.film.hu)

There is just one thing left for us to do: promise to the audience that this year’s BIDF will be even better than last year.

HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Ági Sós and Rita Balogh

There’s only one first BIDF

A few weeks before the festival kick-off a friend of ours who knew about our plans from the very beginning wrote the following on facebook: “They had an idea and they did it! Congratulations!”

What happened in between is almost unbelievable – most people said they had not believed we would manage. We can’t say that we ever stopped believing – it’s likely that without faith in our goal we could never have done it. But it was certainly more difficult than we had thought, and full of surprises.

When occasionally we had time to chat a little, we often talked about the idea that the whole process of organizing the first BIDF should have been filmed. It would have been a piece full of unexpected scenes, colorful characters, tension, tears, passion and joy – or maybe the heroes and anti-heroes of our story wouldn’t have agreed to be filmed? We could have shown a piece of our world, our city, the way we live and what the important things are here and now in Budapest. Instead, we can only write down the lesson we’ve learned: without our generous friends, without open, understanding and whole-hearted people of today’s Hungary, without our team who helped us voluntarily and for free ready for the task they thought was worth fighting for, all our immense efforts would have been in vain.

So instead of our never-made documentary let the amazing films of our festival be the proof that our work wasn’t pointless – these documentaries speak for themselves.

When creating the program our main focus and goal was to introduce You to the world of creative documentaries, this immensely popular and audience-friendly genre, and make You fall in love with it. It’s worldwide popularity is due to its high artistic standards, its dramatic and entertaining nature, while its authentic power derives from the fact that instead of actors, You can see exceptional people in the main roles, who are just like You. It’s all about us. We know that in Hungary the need and desire for this form of deep and meaningful entertainment is not smaller than anywhere else in the world – it’s only the access that was limited. Now we brought to Hungary the best and most innovative selection of the genre from all around the world along with the filmmakers themselves.

We wish You a fantastic festival, enjoy the films, and thank YOU,

Sós Ági és Balogh Rita

BIDF Team:

Ágnes Sós Founder-Director
Rita Balogh Founder-Director
Manuel F. Contreras Main selector, Head of Pre-Jury
Piroska Tóth Guest, Jury, Film Coordinator
András Petróczy jr Festival Coordinator, Festival Spot
Emôke Déry Chief Financial Officer
Zsuzsa Berényi Event Coordinator
István Székely Editor of Festival Catalog, Head of Creative Works
Charlotte Symmons Cultural Institutes and Embassies
Anikó Mangold Coordinator of Industry Program
Kriszta Hudák Audience-building
Katalin Berecz Audience-building
Zsófia Kecskés Audience-building
Máté Balogh Technical manager
Kolos Karácsony Website
Kriszta Molnár Press
Orsolya Vida Ticket sales, transport of films
Emil Maukner BIDF Poster
Alex Stroe Animation of Festivalspot
Tímea Tánczos Volunteer Coordinator
Ramóna Almási Q&A Coordinator
András Petróczy Poster, Other Photos
Veronika Gaszner, Asia Dér Egyéb fesztivál spotok / Additional Festival Spots
Norbert Molvay, Viki Józsa Facebook, social media / Facebook, Social Media
Endre Pető Film Subtitles
Noémi Trója Translation
Jolán Hauser Accountant
Judit Bozóki Marjainé, Anna Petróczy, Dániel Fodor Year Round Programs
dr.Tímea Maglics Füzessyné Lawyer
Ágnes Sós Founder-Director
Rita Balogh Founder-Director
András Petróczy jr Festival Coordinator, Festival Spot
Manuel F Contreras Film, Jury, Guest Coordinator
Piroska Tóth Audience-building, Guest Coordinator
Emôke Déry Chief Financial Officer
Zsuzsa Berényi Event Coordinator
István Székely Editor of Festival Catalog, Head of Creative Works
Charlotte Symmons Coordinator of Industry Program, Cultural Institutes and Embassies
Katalin Banai Audience-building
László Dunai Technical manager
Orsolya Vida Film, Jury Coordinator
Zsolt Major Ruben Website
Róbert Kárász, Annamária Dömötör, Bori Bende Communication, Press
Márton Vecsei Pre-selection Coordinator
Ádám Nagy, Dávid Harmath BIDF Poster
Tímea Tánczos Volunteer Coordinator
Fruzsina Danszki QandA Coordinator
András Petróczy Festival Spot
Sára Haragonics, Veronika Gaszner, Asia Dér Additional Festival Spots
Norbert Molvay Facebook Coordinator
Endre Petô Film Translation and Subtitles
Nikolett Józsika Translation
Éva Turcsik, Jolán Hauser Accountant
dr. Tímea Maglics Füzessyné Lawyer

 

Ágnes Sós Founder-Director
Rita Balogh Founder-Director
Péter Akar Head of Creative Work and Programing
András Petróczy jr Print Co-ordinator, Festival Spot
Derya Ocak Film Coordinator
Piroska Tóth Guest Coordinator
István Székely Festival Catalog, Editor-in-Chief
Krisztina Csapó Website
Barbara Fränk Press
Anikó Mangold Cultural Institutes and Embassyes
Krisztina Meggyes Co-ordinator of BIDF Goulash
Dávid Harmath, Ádám Nagy, Viktor Szilágyi BIDF Poster
Patrycja Rup Jury Coordinator
Katalin Horváth Event Coordinator
dr. Ildikó Szûcs Volunteer Coordinator
Viktorina Csengeri Volunteer Coordinator
Zsuzsa Gellér-Varga Non-competitive Program Coordinator
Zsuzsa Berényi Accomodation and Transport Coordinator
Emôke Déry Audience-building
Hunor Csörgits Audience-building
Márton Vécsei QandA Coordinator
Dorottya Zurbó QandA Coordinator
Sára Haragonics Facebook Coordinator
Endre Petô Film Translations and Subtitles
Éva Turcsik Accountant
dr. Tímea Maglics Füzessyné Lawyer
Ágnes Sós Founder-Director
Rita Balogh Founder-Director
Péter Akar Head of Creative Work and Programing
Krisztina Meggyes Film, Program and Web Coordinator
Mohammed Nur Graphic and Web design
Derya Ocak Film Coordinator
Piroska Tóth Guest Coordinator
Gabi Putnoki Event Coordinator
Judit Iványi Press
István Székely Festival Catalog – Editor-in-Chief
András Petróczy jr Creative Work, Festival Spot
Dorottya Zurbó QandA Coordinator, Non-competitive program
Endre Petô Film Translations- Subtitles (Compline Studio)
Éva Gáldi Translations
Manuel F. Contreras Jury Coordinator
Sára Haragonics Facebook, Coordinator
Gábor Murai Hungarian Section
Emőke Déry Audience, Co-ordinator
Janka Barkóczi Volunteer Coordinator
Ildikó Szûcs Picúr Coordinator
Diana Pacheco Graphic Works
Zsuzsa Berényi Coordinator
Lilla Csomós Volunteer Coordinator
Attila Balázs Translator
Viktorina Csengeri Coordinator
Éva Turcsik Accountant
dr. Tímea Maglics Füzessyné Lawyer