Short film 25 Dollars which pays tribute
to the founder of Paramount Pictures
makes its debut in Cannes

On the 70th Cannes Film Festival beginning on 17th May 2017 the young Hungarian filmmakers’ work will make its debut for the professionals in the so-called “Short Film Corner” section.
It is the first time a film has been made about Adolph Zukor, the founder of one of the biggest film studios, Paramount Pictures that is 105 years old this year. The spread of feature films is due to the film mogul of Hungarian origin.
The young artists would also like to prepare the jubilee of the birth of a legend, as next year it will be 130 years that Adolph Zukor, creator of the film industry, had immigrated from Ricse, Borsod County, Hungary to the USA in 1888. The Hungarian film making team (director: Jimmy J Hollywood, writer: Edina Borbás, D.O.P: Zoltán Mayer, Actor-Producer: Boglárka Csősz) approached the subject from such a special angle which gives a great space to imagination, yet the field of vision is restricted to one room. The film guru can only be seen, or rather heard through his neighbor.
The short film (15 minutes) entering the moments of Adolph Zukor’s rise is about success and failure at the same time.

My questions were answered by the author of 25 DOLLARS, Edina Borbás, who won the Media Prize of the Szeged Academy Committee from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences this year.

– How was the concept of the film’s structure made?
BE: The idea came from the director. He had been planning for a long time to pay tribute to Adolph Zukor, whom he considers his model. The idea to introduce the film guru through the neighbor was a basic concept. As I got deeper into the topic I understood why it was so important to do so. During my research work I realized that we were to commemorate not “only” the founder of Paramount Pictures, but also the creator of feature films. It gave me a huge, positive impact.

– In spite of the huge positive impact the film became a drama. Why?
BE: Because light cannot be shown without the shadow. I would express my emotions during writing the script and even watching the film as if I had a river flowing in me. The river washes or builds the bank on the other side. Paolo (Bálint Adorjáni), the neighbor is being used up, while the bank is being built on the other side of the wall. The film is building slowly, while it is flowing, and the layers can only be really seen after settling. I do trust that those who are sensitive to fine things would have the catharsis that I and all the members of the creative team had. We believe in this film and I think we cannot really do more than that.

– Why did you choose this title? What does 25 Dollars mean?
BE: It is a symbolic sum. Zukor, when he arrived in America, only had all that money sewn into his coat. He also considered that sum the symbol of a clean start. When he could afford it, he sent every young girl who got married in his village (Ricse) 25 Dollars saying: You can start a successful life with this money!
So, in the film Paolo’s 25 Dollars appear as the symbol of re-start. Besides, meanwhile I realized that the 25 Dollars are present as the Origo in many successful people’s life. For me they represent persistence, strong will and making the dreams come true. Who does not take the opportunity given by the 25 Dollars, will remain the observer of life forever, just like Paolo, and would never become a main character of life, such as Adolph Zukor.

– Was the execution smooth?
BE: Yes, you can say that. After Boglárka Csősz, producer and actress of the film had given the initial push, execution went on fast. With Bálint the director found the character, who he had been looking for, and the team, with whom he had been working for a long time, stood by the production. The setting was a factory building in Hódmezővásárhely, Hungary. Based on the instructions given by cinematographer Zoltán Máyer, who has won the Golden Eye Prize several times, we built the setting recalling Hollywood in the 1920s in no time. Production was very well organized, since the producer of Detrandfilm, Kornélia Gál knew that the biggest enemy was the lack of time, so there was no space for mistakes. Since this film is a so-called “love child”, you could say that all the participants did their jobs as creators and not as workers. It was true for every moment of post-production as well.

– Hungarian films are very successful nowadays. What do you expect from this film?
BE: First of all, I have to say that this film should not be watched in a slapdash manner, because the message, the finery of the layers are only whispered and not offered on a silver plate. I would consider the greatest thing if the viewers felt they would like to see the film again.
In today’s rapid world we watch so much but see so little that it is my biggest fear: people would see less than we would like to show. I would like the viewers to look and see behind the wonderfully composed pictures. Of course, we would like our film to be successful in the world at various prestigious film festivals. Although it is not a typical Hungarian, or I should say typical European movie, yet it is made multicultural by the colors of the accents. Paolo has Italian accent and Zukor (played by actor Attila Epres) has Hungarian accent, whereas Boglárka speaks with strong Scottish accent. Voice games have strong importance of dramaturgy, which was the director’s concept, too.
Edina said she considers this short film the most valuable piece in her oeuvre so far and she is curious about the future, whether her anticipations will come true. “Future will show if 25 Dollars is successful” – the writer of the film said.

We wish every success to the creators and fun to the viewers when watching 25 Dollars!

Éva Kertai HAFS Reporter

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