Balázs Béla Studio

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The Balázs Béla Studio (BBS) – an utterly unique formation, not only in Eastern Europe but also beyond it - started first as a film club in 1959 and was refounded in 1961 as a film studio that worked both inside and outside the structure of Socialist state filmproduction. In nearly five decades it (co-)produced more than 500 films in all genres from short features and lyrical documentary films, through long documentaries, major feature films, experimental films and video, to animations and documentations.

Several representatives of Hungarian cinema started their career at the BBS, among them István Szabó, Sándor Sára, Judit Elek, Gyula Gazdag, Zoltán Huszárik, János Rózsa, Elemér Ragályi, Béla Tarr, János Xantus, Ildikó Enyedi and Gábor Bódy.

As its most decisive change, at the end of the 1960s the Studio opened its doors to "outsiders" from various fields, who have not been involved officially in film production. These artists, musicians, theatre professionals, writers and sociologists, not only contributed to a different view on documentarism – highlighted by the Series on Education I-V. (dir: Istvan Darday-Gyorgy-Laszlo Mihalyfy-Gyorgyi Szalai-Laszlo Vitezy-Pal Wilt), Pál Schiffer's Cséplő Gyuri or Judit Ember's Right of Asylum (Menedékjog) – but turned BBS into a center of experimentalism with many of the influential representatives of the Neoavantgarde scene, including Miklós Erdély, Ákos Birkás, Péter Dobai, Tibor Hajas, Ágnes Háy, Dóra Maurer, Tamás Szentjóby, Zoltán Jeney, László Vidovszky and László Najmányi.

In 2006, a new DVD series was launched with the first release, Agitátorok. The second DVD, entitled Beginnings (2009), celebrates the 50th anniversary of BBS. Collection of shorts from the 1960s by eight Hungarian directors – Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács, Sándor Sára, Pál Gábor, Judit Elek, János Rózsa, Márk Novák, Ferenc Kardos and István Szabó.

  • Other Voices, Other Rooms - Attempt(S) at Reconstruction. 50 years of Balazs Bela Studio. Curators: Livia Paldi, Sebestyen Kodolanyi. Mücsarnok Kunsthalle Budapest. 16.12.09 - 21.02.10. [1] [2]
  • Forgács Péter, György Péter, Kovács Bálint András, Mátis Lilla (eds.), Mozgó film 1, Lapkiadó Vállalat: Budapest, 1984. [3]
  • Beke László, Forgács Péter, Kovács Bálint András (eds.), Mozgó film 2, Budapest: Balázs Béla Stúdió, 1986. [4]
  • Durst György (ed.), A Balázs Béla Stúdió története (1961-1986), Budapest: Balázs Béla Stúdió. [5]
  • Gábor Gelencsér (ed.), BBS 50. Essays for the 50th Anniversary of Balázs Béla Studio, Budapest, 2009. Comprehensive reader featuring 22 essays, published in parallel with the exhibition in Mücsarnok in 2009.
  • [6] (Hungarian)

See also: Hungary#Experimental_film.2C_avant-garde_film, Hungary#Video_art