Zsolt Pozsgai

producer, writer, director
PIHFF festival director
Director of the Horatio Film Company

Born in 1960 in Pécs. From childhood he organised and managed amateur theatre in the city until 1982, when he was employed by the National Theatre of Pécs as dramaturg and artistic secretary.
During his military service he wrote his first full-length play, HORATIO. /The drama is set ten years after the death of Hamlet, and depicts the tragic fate of Horatio, who is in the "embrace of the powers" of the Norwegian Fortinbras.

The first premiere and subsequent theatrical career.
Zsolt Pozsgai had written many Hungarian dramas by May 2022. In the last thirty years, he has achieved a unique success in the field of historical drama. And all his dramas have been presented in professional Hungarian or foreign theatres. Several are still on the programme today.
In 1992, he was artistic director of the Arizona Theatre in Budapest, founded the Aranytíz Theatre in Budapest in 2004, and was artistic director of the Komédium Theatre, also in Budapest. For a short period, from 2011-2013, he was the main director and artistic director of the New Theatre in Budapest. Since 2013 he has been a freelance writer, director and producer.
Between 1987 and 2022, some 117 of his plays were performed in Hungarian theatres, many of them several times. These include dramas, tragicomedies, fairy tales, musical scripts, comedies and farces.

His awards include: the Europe Prize /Berlin, 1996/ Ernő Szép Prize /1998/ Grand Prize of the Persian Academy /2005/ Knight's Cross of the Hungarian Republic /2017/, etc.

Zsolt Pozsgai's dramas abroad
First non-Hungarian premiere in 1997 in Boston /USA/ His drama about József Mindszenty in English. Then in 1998, in Graz, in German, PROPHETIC WINGER / set on an imaginary beach, six people who claim to be one prophet fight for supremacy while waiting for the redemptive whale/. It was here that LISELOTTE AND THE MAY, a drama about a young woman's seven tragic trials to find a partner and their absurd absurdities, began its success abroad. From 1999 to 2017, it had twenty-two premieres around the world, from Sofia to New York, from Geneva to Vancouver. The 2014 drama GINA AND FIDEL was staged for the first time in German. Its most recent premiere was LISELOTTE AND THE MAY at the National Theatre in Tel Aviv, in Hebrew.

Zsolt Pozsgai as theatre director
Since 1992, he has regularly directed in Hungarian and foreign theatres. Mainly his own works, but not only. The repertoire includes Hungarian and universal classics as well as modern authors. He has a particular love for the dramas of Ibsen. He has directed the stage version of Sándor Márai's world-successful novel several times, in French in Geneva and Avignon.

Zsolt Pozsgai as a film writer and director
He started his film career as a screenwriter. In 2006, he was given the opportunity to shoot his first feature-length film, CSENDKÚT. In 2010, his film THE LOVER OF THE SOIL premiered and was selected for the "A" category at the Goa International Film Festival, and was subsequently invited to festivals around the world. Since 2011 he has written and directed several TV films. His most recent film, THE DEVOTED, has won the Best Film trophy at several international festivals, including the Golden Fox Award in Calcutta, the Best Film Award in Monte Carlo, and the Best Film Award at two of the most prestigious Christian World Film Festivals in Argentina and the USA. His feature film DARKING WAY, made in 2021, has received 237 /!/ international awards at film festivals around the world until 1 july 2023. Last film with many international film awards RED FAUST /2022/.

Other activities
During his career, he has repeatedly served as advisor to the Minister of Culture. He is regularly invited to jury international festivals abroad, mainly in Eastern countries (Delhi, Baghdad, Tehran, etc.). He has taught at the Hungarian Film and Theatre University and other private art schools. He is the editor of the "National Library" series of books on the values of Hungarian literature.
As a translator he has translated several dramas and musical scripts into Hungarian.
Between 1987 and 2020 he published seven drama books, one book of essays and one book of studies in Hungarian.
He regularly gives guest lectures on theatre and film at foreign universities.
He regularly publishes articles and studies in Hungarian and foreign journals.
His most important awards are.

What is the story behind your script?
The script is based on a real incident. Last year in Hungary, a minibus carrying migrants had an accident during a chase. The only woman who escaped was pregnant and about to give birth, and she dragged herself to a nearby farmhouse, where the lonely, elderly owner took her in and gave birth to the child. That's as far as the reality goes, from here on the film enters the realm of fantasy.

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What should people take away, acquire, recognise after watching a film that might be made from your script?
That nothing is black and white. That every refugee is a different person, with different qualities, and most of them are really coming from a terrible situation. You have to distinguish between the criminal and the person seeking refuge. The viewer must feel a catharsis of acceptance and love.

Do you think films can change people for the better or for good? the worst?
I don't think it can change you, but you get two hours to think about it. To see situations that you don't encounter in your life. And that realisation can often transform a person, their soul.

What creative style did you use when writing this project?
I like to mix the real with the surreal at times. I am convinced that there are countless situations in our lives that point beyond reality. And we often recognize these, many times we don't. The film script is ostensibly a realistic story, with humour, tragedy - and in the end, it 'flies' away from reality with the surreal resolution of the situation.

Did you think about specific actors when writing?
Yes, I wrote the main character for a great and popular elderly Hungarian actor. I usually like to write about the actor, his personality, he inspires me a lot. And of course, after writing it, I've already made the cast I had in mind, I'm very confident that I'll be able to shoot the film with them.

Why do you think your script should appeal to producers?
Because it is a very topical subject in Europe, and indeed the world. And because it deals with the subject from a very different perspective than other films on the subject. Because it's a great opportunity for the actor to show his talent and his ability. And this film could be a potential hit with professional critics and international festival juries, as well as a hit with audiences.

Which festival has your screenplay already won an award?
I wrote it in the spring of 2023, and since then it has been voted best screenplay at 54 /!/ international festivals, and has won awards from Las Vegas to Australia. I have personally accepted the award at several festivals. Unfortunately, the Hungarian film support system did not support the realization of this project, because politically they see this problem differently than I do. I think politics has no place in art and I really hope that I can make the film as an independent film. I am looking for a producer, a film studio and an investor. I am sure it would be a pleasure for everyone.


Which is your favourite film and why?
I have directed three films in the last three years and all of them have been big festival successes. In Las Vegas I won a lifetime achievement award because all three films were finalists. So really three films at once are my favourites. THE DEVOTED, about the debates between Calvin and Ignatius Loyola, DARKING WAY, set in 19th century Hungarian history, and my latest film RED FAUST, also historical.

What themes do you like to deal with in your stories?
I like to work mainly on historical themes, because there are so many periods in history that are very similar to the present and can teach us a lot of lessons.

What projects are you planning to film in the future?
In the spring I will also start shooting a historical feature film, the money is already there and preparations have started. It's about the meeting of the kings in 1357, when the Hungarian, Czech and Polish kings joined forces against their enemies. Of course, this film will not be a simple costume film either, the absurd, the abstract will play a very important role.

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