Ádám Csillag - Lifetime Achievement Award
The 9'th BIDF in 2023 awards Ádám Csillag
Man with a Camera
Ádám Csillag (1954)
I don’t believe I have ever seen Ádám Csillag any other way, than with a camera in his hand. He is the epitome of Dziga Vertov’s classic figure, in the words of his colleagues István Dárday and Györgyi Szalai’s film title: The Documentarian. I wouldn’t be surprised if even now, upon receiving this award, he had his camera in-hand to record this significant and worthy event.
Ádám Csillag is an old-fashioned documentarian, he does not fit into today’s so-called creative documentary trend, in which fiction and documentary enjoy ever newer, more diverse forms in a truly fruitful and captivating marriage, as no doubt this current festival will demonstrate. Csillag „merely” documents – which on the one hand is the origin of this genre, from which one can diverge, though this is not a necessity; on the other hand, the events he documents are enthralling, important on their own merit, without attracting additional stylistic features, they stand on their own two feet. Or, simply put, they really are just documents, archives one could say, to be used by posterity.
Csillag made his mark with Dunasaurus, filmed between 1984 and 1988; it is no exaggeration to say that, as much as the protest against the construction of the Bős-Nagymaros barrage was an important factor in the regime change, so too was the role of this film of the events, which conveyed the complexities of the case to so many. Csillag’s filmography of around forty items, as well as the considerable number of domestic and international awards so far, testify to the commitment of the director, be it to the environment, racism or children's rights. In short, his commitment to the losers - who become winners, at least in a moral sense, following their contribution to Csillag's films. Time and technology work in Csillag’s favour: the value of the materials he shot increases day by day; in the digital era, their operation is not limited by a lack of raw materials, production capacity, or staff. It would be better, of course, to have an even greater abundance, but it is also remarkable that the real filmmaker works with what he has. If with a single camera, alone, so be it. May God grant that this humble, almost inconspicuous man with his camera - which is very noticeable and even unavoidable - will be with us for a long time.
Ádám Csillag (1954), Balázs Béla Prize winner documentary film director and producer. He started his film career as an assistant in feature films between 1975 and 1980. He graduated from the film and television director's faculty of the Academy of Drama and Film in 1984, where he studied under Zoltan Fábri. In the years after graduation, he began his documentary career at BBS. However, success did not come easy, for a long time he could not find external support for his films. He had to document events on his own, which could not be shown in public, or only in a limited, or even reversed, manipulated way. His years of persistent documentary work have been rewarded with numerous awards. In 1986, he was awarded the Ministry of Culture's Prize for Merit, his documentary film, Dunaszaurusz, was chosen Documentary of the Year in 1990, and his film Szív utca won the Best Director Award at the Hungarian Film Festival in 1993. In 1997 he was awarded the Balázs Béla Prize and in 2001 his film Mostohák won the Grand Prize at the Millennium Hungarian Film Festival. These are just a few of the many honours and awards that have been bestowed on the documentary work of Ádám Csillag. "I am a former filmmaker, today a chronicler", says the director, who has been sharing his unique chronicles with his viewers for almost ten years now, following his high-profile documentaries.
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