Interview with Filmmaker Rachel Pasztor (1997 BUDAPEST)

1997 BUDAPEST was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the May 2021 Experimental Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Mimi Jeong!

We made a music video together. I just found her so inspiring! Her personality and her art of dance. I knew I wanted to work with her again!

As a young girl I always wanted to leave my country. Now that I am living in Germany for the past 11 years, I am happy here, but at the same time, I have a longing for Hungary. I have an emotional attachment to Budapest. I think it is the case for Mimi too.

The second aspect is that she was living in my hometown Budapest when she was a teenage girl in 1997. Our paths crossed much later in Germany. I find it amazing that we grew up in very different cultures, Mimi in South Korea, and I grew up in suburban Budapest, but still we share memories from my hometown, from that strange time after the
fall of the Berlin wall.

I often ask myself what does ‘home’ mean? Is it exclusively one specific place? Can it be more than one place?

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Two years, even if it’s such a short film. I had support, of course, but I took care of almost all aspects of the production, including the bureaucratic work. I did not have any experience with organizing funds for a personal project before. It took a while but it was a learning experience for me as well.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

1997 + Budapest

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Well, originally I had some other locations in Budapest in mind. The old subway station was one of them. We shot there for a while, but then we couldn’t get a permission. At the end, I couldn’t use that footage at all, we had to rush the shooting and I didn’t like the result.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was excited! I couldn’t believe people from other side of the world were watching our work! It was so nice and stimulating for me to hear their feedback!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I have a photography background, I still work as a photographer too. I had a great professor in art school, Rosa Barba. She is an artist and a filmmaker. Before I met her and got in her course, I only concentrated on photography, but she encouraged me to try out video as well, she thought it would fit me. And she was right, I liked the experience a lot.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think that would be the British show,You Rang M’Lord. It takes place in the 1920’s, I find it very funny. It was not that popular in Britain, but in Hungary, where I am come from, everybody loves it! Actually it is still on TV every night.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I thought the application process went smoothly.

9. What is your favorite meal?

That is a hard question! I just really love food and I love cooking. These days my favourite meal is asparagus. Since it is the asparagus season, I can get it fresh from the field.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Right now, I am working on a film project with a German artist, Sibylle Springer.

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