director/producer: Erika Szanto and Eva Schulze
(60 minutes) Hungary
The film is a portrait of a Luteran minister, Gabor
Stehlo, who saved the lives of more than a thousand Jewish children during the war.
After the liberation of Budapest, during the first spring of peace, he searched
among the ruins of the city for wandering, lost children and established a home
for them. He created a "Children's Republic" and taught them the meaning of
democracy, not making any distinction between children of victims and
children of war criminals. They formed their own "government" and faced
together the poverty, hunger, and the shadows of hatred that they brought
with them from the cruelty of war. In the film, forty years
later, they remember and speak about him and his democrataic Children's
Republic as the most important experience of their lives.
bio: Erika Szántó started her career at Hungarian Television in 1964. In the next
decade she was the editor of literature programs, produced and wrote
television dramas and films, and became well-known as a scriptwriter and
dramaturg in the unified Hungarian television and film industry. In this
period, she also published a novel and a collection of short stories. She
also worked occasionally for Budapest theatre, and wrote theatrical and film
In 1981, after several of her scripts were produced by Hungarian film
studios, she wrote the story and co-wrote the script for Istvan Szabóšs
Confidence which was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1984, she wrote and
directed her debut film, Giant, which received the Gran Prix for New
Directors at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Since then, she
has directed feature films, television films, and documentaries. Her film "Gaudiopolis"
which was awarded the 1989 Prix Europa, the "European Emmy", for The Best Television Film
of the Year. In 1988, her film, Elysium, shared, with Salam Bombay, the Lillian Gish
Award for Best Feature Film at the Women in Film Festival in Los Angeles.
In1994, for her Hungarian Television film, Circus,she won the Golden Gate
Award for the Best Short Television Drama at the San Francisco International Film
Eva Schulze, a long-time dramaturg at the Hungarian television, has worked with
Erika Szántó on many projects, including the awarded "Gaudiopolis".
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