ANIMATION HISTORY IN HUNGARY
1, FIRST ATTEMPT
It was in 1918 that the first Hungarian animation was created, which was called “ Zsirb Ödön ”.
The director, István Kató – Kiszly attempted not just creating scratch animation, but also directing shadows for a screen play.
The next film Kató – Kiszly directed was “ Romeo and Juliet ( Rómeó és Júlia ) ” in 1921.
In this film, paper dolls formed like bugs were appeared as actors.
For this challenge of originality, he was accredited with his great talent.
Then he’d started to create shadow animation,
and the most succeeded film was called “ The Music Hall of Insects ( Bogárorféum ) ” in 1932.
However at that time of era in Hungary, the entertainment films was few demanded.
Therefore Kató – Kiszly changed his way of creating, and became a great educational filmmaker after all.
On the other hand, there was other individual animation director, who had struggled composing live actions and motion pictures.
His name was István Valker, the director. And stared actress was a little Hungarian girl called Ági Polly,
whose father, Géza Pollák was in possession of the estate of Florida Stockings factory in Temesvár city.
Her father acquainted Valker with his loved daughter, Ági. And for his request, Valker started creating trick film
with well dansing and singing little girl. That was called series of Ági Polly film trilogy.
The first one titled „ The Tap Dance ( Sztepptánc ) ” in 1934,
the second one “ The Tyrol Dance ( Tiroli tánc ) ” in 1936,
then the most succeeded last one was “ The Dream of Russia ( Orosz Álom ) ” in 1938.
These trilogy just appeared as a rivalry with the 20’s Disney film called “ Alice Comedy ”.
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2, COMMERCIALIZED ANIMATION
From the 20’s to 30’s, the Avant Gard Front had grown up in Hungary as well.
And it gradually rose up the interests for industrial design among fresh bloods.
Incidentally, Sándor Bortnyik, eminent Hungarian painter was also one of the members of this movement like László Moholy – Nagy and Lajos Kassák.
After his returning to Budapest, Bortnyik had established a commercial design studio where young artists polished their skills.
And there was a young talented man called Gyula Macskássy who became the father of Hungarian animation.
Macskássy had acquainted with young competent talents, János Halász ( John Halas ) and Félix Kassowitz.
They quickly hit it off each other. At last, in 1932, their first animation studio was established called Coloriton in Budapest.
The Coloriton’s aim was to create full-colored animation. At first, they started directing commercial films.
For example, a commercial for Zwack Unicum liqueur, for shoe polish, for tangsram lamp...etc.
Although, the studio went through separation and change of members,
until in 1945, until Macskássy was enforced consciption, they’d created around 150 commercial films.
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3, NATIONALIZED FILMMAKING
In 1948, the filmmaking in Hungary was nationalized eventually.
Since then, many young artists ventured upon finding a new occupation in another country.
Halász, on the other hand, had started his new enterprise in London.
He got married with English partner named Joy Batchelor, and in 1936, they established “ Halas and Batchelor Cartoons ”,
which soon after became world famous animation studio.
One of their eminent works is “ The Animal Farm ”in 1951, original author was George Orwell.
In the meantime, Macskássy had still stayed in his homeground.
Leading little group, he achieved the very first Hungarian colored animation
titled „ The Little Rooster’s Diamond Coin ( A kiskakas gyémánt félkrajcárja ) ” in 1951.
That was amazing opening of animatied filmmaking in Hungary. People were astonished by talking and running characters on the screen.
Since then, the new genre of film, namely „ animation ” has been estimated its merits of story-telling.
After his success, Macskássy had started co-producing with György Várnai, Hungarian caricaturist since 50’s.
Oneday they received an offer from WHO to create dhort animation for warning against the air pollusion,
which was named „ Little Man, Big City ( Kis ember, Nagy város )" in 1967.
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4, BLOSSOMED TV FEATURES
Among the 60’s, animated TV feature had blossomed out in Hungary.
For example, director József Nepp’s “ Gustav ( Gusztáv ) ” since 1964, and „ Mézga Family ( A Mézga család ) ” since 1968...etc.
These series were broadcasted all around the world. Probably, that comical characters were similar to any other people in this world.
Especially, “ Gustav ( Gusztáv ) ” was one of a task for young filmmakers to direct own script.
Atempting and practicing, many fresh directors got some own ideas independently
such as József Gémes ( Directed „ The Heroic Times ( Daliás idők ) ” in 1982 ),
Ferenc Rofusz ( the first Hungarian Oscar winner )
and Béla Ternovszky ( Directed “ Cat City ( Macskafogó ) ” in 1987 )...etc.
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5, ABOUT PUPPET FILMS
While, also in the 60’s, Hungarian puppet filmmaking had been developed as well.
At that time, there was the most authorized national film studio called „ Pannónia Filmstudio”, which became worldfamous.
And in this studio, the special department for cell- and puppet animation had set out for increasing demand.
The puppet animations were ordered by national TV spot called Magyar Television, and broadcasted.
The first Hungarian puppet animation was Zoltán Olcsai Kiss’s „ Shepherd riding on a donkey ( Megy a juhász szamáron ) ” in 1948.
Relatively speaking, the 60’s puppets were higher upgraded than the old one.
The most popular and loved Hungarian puppet, for example, must be “ TV little bear",
whose designer named Ottó Foky,
who dreamed to create a magical movement of puppets like a Czech director Trunka Jiří.
In the meantime, the TV little bear had been appearing as mascot of Hungarian Kids TV program
called “ Bed Time Story ( Esti mese ) ” since 1964.
And we have to introduce one more puppet character.
His name is “ Mazsola ( which means raisin in Hungarian ) ”.
He designed by Vera Bródy, and his wonderful life was written by Ágnes Bálint.
Althogh he is a little pig, his body color is totally green !
Mazsola doesn’t live alone, but with his younger sister / brother (?) named Tádé also pink colored,
and their motherly fairy called Mánocska. This TV program also loved by all generations in Hungary.
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6, GOLDEN ERA OF HUNGARIAN ANIMATIONS
Most of the cell animations, by the way, had been produced in Pannónia Filmstudio.
Particularly, I'd venture to write about 2 eminent directors, those are Marcell Jankovics and Ferenc Rofusz.
At first, Marcell Jankovics achived the first Hungarian feature film
titled „ Sir John ( János Vitéz ) ”in 1974, which was originally composed as poetry by Sándor Petőfi.
Those days many Hungarian filmmakers struggled to take a film of it. Yet due to its magnificent story, any one had completed, but just Jankovics.
In a interview, he told that 1968’s Paul Driessen film called „ Yellow Submarine ” had efficiently inspired him as well.
Rofusz, on the other hand, won the Oscar in 1980.
That was significant event in Hungary. However, as he says that he couldn't go out to receive the Academy award at that time of era.
The first Academy prized Hungarian film was titled „ The Fly ( A légy ) ”,
which was composed of 3000 amounts of drawings that was made by just Rofusz and another his assistant.
The film runs for 3 minutes, yet its point of view is impressive.
As if we became a fly, the film starts rolling , and our view point flys in a house, evacuates from a flapper.
All of sequences were drawn by charcoal oil pastel.
Incidentelly, fascinated by this energetic screen play, the Japanese famous artist, Osamu Tedsuka（手塚治虫） also got an inpiration from this film,
and soon after created his short film called „ Jumping（ジャンピング）” in 1984.
The golden era of Pannónia Filmstudio came in the 80’s.
At that time, plenty of longseller characters were produced such as „ Vuk, A Little Fox ( VUK ) ” in 1981 by Attila Dargay,
„ The Heroic Times ( Daliás idők ) ” in 1982 by József Gémes...etc.
Not just TV features, but also independet animations won several awards abroad those days.
And then the most longloved TV features named
„ Hungarian Folktales ( Magyar Népmesék ) ” had been just directed by Jankovics since 1978,
which is origined from Hungarian folklores and precisely designed its background and characters like well laced embroidery.
Now, this significant series of folktales are behalf of Kecskeméti Film Ltd..
Since the late 70’s, they create this beautiful animations in Kecskemét around 30 years.
Finally, this year of 2011, it’ll be finished at 100 episode.
Besides, there’s nother longhit character named „ The Rabbit with Checkered Ears ( Kockásfülű nyúl ) ” ( directed by Zsolt Richly since 1978 ).
He’s also colored green like Mazsola pig, but his ears were decorated by pink check.
Such an adorable form has been loved for a long time, not just on a TV, but also on a kid’s stationary as well.
And it is unforgettable that plenty of talented and individual directors has appeared in the 80’s.
Most of them not just animation directors, but also succeeded in other fields such as fine art, theatrical design, poster design illustrations…etc.
Here I must note about them :
Dóra Keresztes ( directed „ Magic (Garabonciák) “ in 1985 with her husband István Orosz ),
well-known eminent optical illusions painter István Orosz ( directed „ Chess ! ( Sakk ! ) ” in 2010 ),
and sand animation director Ferenc Cakó.
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7, SINCE CHANGED POLITICAL SYSTEMS
Finally, it ended the comunism in Hungary in 1989.
Since it has provide a new political systems, social comunity became panik and began to paralyze.
At a part of filmmaking as well. At that time, orders from TV spot has decresed sharply.
Because of the lower cost, Hungarian animators couldn’t receive the latest systems of filmmaking.
During the adverse, the nationalized Pannónia Filmstudio privatized eventually.
In other words, it went out business.
Consequently, many animation directors and animators suddenly ran out from where they'd belonged,
then now started to struggle to acquire the funds for filmmaking by themselves.
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8, NEW STUIDO ARISES
However, there wasn’t just bad news.
Since 1971, Kecskeméti Film Ltd. It finally became independent from Pannónia Filmstudio with unconquerable will.
Kecskeméti Film Ltd. is ambitious animation studio and has numerous talented artists.
It was this studio that launched the very first Hungarian animation filmfestival at Kecskemét city in 1985.
This filmfestival is called KAFF (Kecskeméti Animáció Film Fesztivál ).
At early times of festival, it was triennale. Yet now it became a worldwide animation festival, so they will welcome everyone to this big event once a two years now.
Incidentelly, in 2009’s KAFF festival, Co Hoedeman from NFB, Sayoko Kinoshita（木下小夜子） from ASIFA and Vivien Halas also presented as a jury.
And Kecskeméti Film Ltd. has established a scholarship programs for young talented creators to learn the hand-drawn techniques in this studio.
On the other hand, this studio is well-accredited all around the world,
therefore some foreign films which is drawned or animated in Kecskeméti Film Ltd., has been winning eminent awards.
Tomm Moore directed amazing Irish film titled „ The Secret of Kells” ( 2010 ) was als
o ordered work in Kecskemét. In the recent interview, they told me that 36 min. of motion tests were drawn in Hungary.
Neverthless to say, this film is Oscar nominated in 2010.
According to CEO of Kecskeméti Film Ltd., Ferenc Mikulás,
it was due to „ Hungarian Folktales”, which is most popular TV feature in Hungary created by Kecskeméti Film Ltd..
Moore was interested in its visual design, and he made an offer to create such a precise and beautiful decorated animation.
The other partial works in Kecskeméti Film Ltd. is „ Chico and Rita” produced by Spanish animation director
Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal in 2010.
This film won the first prize at Holland Animation Film Festival 2010.
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9, AT PRESENT
At present, in 2011, 3D and CGI animations became most popular in Hugary as well.
For example, “ Maestro “ which describes about an actor in the anteroom,
was directed by Géza M. Tóth who is Oscar nominee by his Maestro film in 2007,
and moreover enterpriser of his own animation studio „ KEDD ”.
And Béla Balázs Awarded ambitious animation director called Pál Tóth also launched his 3D animation studio, „ Paja Film ".
I must introduce about young individual film directors on this web site as well,
such as Eszter Szoboszlay who has been directing TV feature titled “ habitans in a head ( Fejlakók ) ” since 2010,
and Rolánd Tóth whose very first film is called “ Thoughts From The Cellar ( Gondolatok a pincében ) ” in 2010.
And I still haven’t make an interview yet, but next time I’d like to introduce about those young artists as well :
Rolánd Ballai Tóth who creates 3D films such as „ Price 2.70 Ft ( Az ára 2.70 Ft ) ” in 2010,
Ducki Tomek who won plenty of awards, and directed “ Lifeline” in 2006,
Katalin Glaser who described huge world or short story, and her film called “ FIN ” in 2009,
and Attila Bertóti who is a current Homeros, and directed „ Ariadne’s Thread ( Ariadné Fonala ) ” in 2009.
I really expect of their splended careers !
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