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HOW WE MADE OUR AWARD WINNING PITCH VIDEO FOR THE BERLINALE

It was early February, and the sun finally broke through the dark clouds that had been covering the whole country for the better part of a month. In spite of the cold, a great day to shoot a short video about reminiscing of the golden days of Lake Balaton in the 1980’s.


The location was more than appropriate. Among the quickly decaying walls of what used to be the most luxurious building reserved for prominent members of the Communist Party, the set dressers were busy decorating the walls of the theatre hall. This was to be the room where our actors pitched the story of BALATON BRIGADE in the guise of an interrogation scene.


On the shore Gábor, the Executive Producer and one of the Creators of BALATON BRIGADE was doing his sales pitch, as well as waxing lyrical of his youth spent on similar beaches on the lake.


The créme de la créme of international communism had enjoyed summer holidays here, in this very building, from Castro through Carlos the Jackal all the way to Gorbachev. Surely, they would have loved our highly talented actors’ impression of how a Stasi interrogation played out back in their heyday. And surely, they would enjoy our show, BALATON BRIGADE.


Having seen dozens of video pitches since the beginning of the lockdown, when we learned we had been selected for the prestigious Berlinale CoPro Series pitch, we knew we wanted to do something special. Instead of the usual talking heads and rip-o-matic trailers, our ambition was to come up with something original that sets the mood of the future series in a special way.


Normally, when you pitch you emphasize the personal connection to the project. For Gábor it was quite easy, as he actually spent all his childhood summers working on the beach. To jazz things up, the idea came that the pitching of the story and plot should be done by actors in an appropriate setting.


That’s how we thought of the interrogation. A poor informant, obviously roughed up, spills the beans on the central characters, revealing their main story arcs and dilemmas as a tough Stasi officer demands information from him.


All this with a cool soundtrack, fast editing and flashy on-screen graphics to complement the visuals with the necessary information. We had the luxury of working with amazingly talented people from multi-award winning promo director Péter Varsics to our great actors, Éva Magyar and Máté Haumann.


Our experiment paid off when we won the Series Mania Award and got invited to Lille. Hopefully, we’ll be on the stage there in person. We have until August to come up with a way of replicating the magic in a live format.


BALATON BRIGADE, Berlinale CoPro Series Pitch Video

Actors:

Stasi Agent: Éva Magyar

Informant: Máté Haumann


Directed by Péter Varsics

Director of Photography: Gábor Garai

Story editor: Eszter Angyalossy

Written by Gábor Krigler

Executive Producers: Barni Hutlassa, Emőke Krigler-Tóth, Gábor Krigler

Line Producers: Ferenc Szále and Hanga Kurucz

Edited by Péter Varsics and Miklós Hadházi

Sound: Csaba Major


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