director/producer: Erika Szanto and Eva Schulze
(60 minutes) Hungary
screening schedule

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 criticism.

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 Festival.

Eva Schulze, a long-time dramaturg at the Hungarian television, has worked with Erika Szántó on many projects, including the awarded "Gaudiopolis".

contact information:
Erika Szanto,
SZC Productions
100 Florence Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960
phone: (415) 459-0345
fax:      (415) 459-3765