The Post-Communist Mafia State at the Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles

Three years ago I wrote about a cherished Californian tradition; the Hungarian Film Festivals in Los Angeles and San Francisco. For many years these events were interesting and entertaining, and the organizers presented an array of films, features, documentaries and shorts. (Read here about past festivals.)

The “father” of the Los Angeles Hungarian Film Festival is Béla Bunyik. He came up with the idea almost two decades ago when he brought to the US Robert Koltai’s film: We Never Die and the positive audience feedback kept the festivals rolling. Mr. Bunyik is involved in the Hungarian film business for decades just like his good friend, Mr. Orbán’s media mogul, Andy Vajna who spends part of the year in California.

Old friends:  Mr. Andy Vajna, Mrs. Bonnie Anderle Bunyik, Mr. Béla Bunyik and Mr. Vajna’s glamourous wife Timea Vajna (née Palácsik)

Mr. Vajna is a noted film producer in Hollywood. New he is Mr. Orbán’s film commissioner and a casino magnate in Budapest. He owns Lapcom Kiadó Zrt., publisher of several newspapers, as well as the popular tabloid, Bors. He also has a commercial television station, a radio station. Mr. Vajna’s highly profitable media empire faithfully serves Orbán’government; he never criticizes the Boss (Mr. Orbán’s nickname).

This year the 17th Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles ran from November 2-16 and the event is generously supported by the Hungarian government. The festival is no longer an open and fair competition. It is something else. (See here the festival program.)

One of the documentaries, The Köröstárkány Massacre is about the Romanian Army breaking in Transylvania in 1919. The film was directed by Ferenc Vojtkó and produced by Tamás Széles.

Mr. Széles is Hungary’s Consul General in Los Angeles; he sponsored the festival and his government paid for it, so it seems unfair that he is promoting his own film in the competition. The concept of “level playing field” in unknown in Budapest. Prior to becoming a diplomat Mr. Széles led a small television studio in the city of Debrecen where he made several Christian themed films with Mr. Vojtkó financed by Hungarian taxpayers. He is a close friend of the city’s major, Lajos Kósa. We wrote about him before. (Read here about Mr. Kósa.)

Hungary’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Mr. Tamás Széles.

Another documentary in the program, The Man of God is about Cardinal József Mindszenty and his trip to the United States forty years ago. It was directed by Tamás Széles and written by Ferenc Vojtkó. I pinch myself. Is this real?

The next film, The Route to The Holy Cross, is about Hungary’s roadside crosses made of stone, wood, or tin, a documentary by Ferenc Vojtkó and Tamás Széles. Another feature us What Only Birds Can See, portraying lovely nature scenes from Lake Tisza area and directed by: Széles Tamás. Just how many Széles films are in the program?

Mr. Béla Bunyik (in sunglasses) and Los Angeles Consul General of Hungary Mr. Tamás Széles.

The Festival’s “independent” jury this year gave the Best Documentary Award to Tamás Széles. I bet that the decision was unanimous.

Bálint Magyar, a sociologist and former Minister of Education recently gave a presentation at the University of California at Berkeley about the political situation in Poland and Hungary. He calls Orbán’s system Post-Communist Mafia State. According to Mr. Magyar every facet of life in Hungary, including the media is affected by cronyism and corruption of the “ruling elite.” Consul General Széles dispatched one of his trusted men to Berkeley to troll his presentation and a young diplomat, Attila Danku stood up and informed the surprised university audience that the speaker, Mr. Magyar, is corrupt and is a liar. (Read more here.)

Well folks, it appears as the Orbán regime’s Post-Communist Mafia State has arrived to California.

György Lázár

16 Comments

  1. Nicholas Molnar says:

    Mr. Lazar:
    Are you or would you be EVER able to write something about your former fellow Hungarians without damaging somebody’s reputation?

    • Nicholas Molnar

      The gang of thieving fascists is hardly “fellow Hungarians” and there is close to nothing positive about them. In a democracy most of them would be felons.

      Moreover, as my comment below shows, the Orban mafia’s propaganda machine is imposing a fictitious virtual world of self embellishment, agrandization, a Potyomkin world built of twists and brazen lies.

  2. The Hugarian Corridor /Warsaw 1944
    is one of the films that struck me with its summary claiming that

    “The 30,000 strong Hungarian army deceived their military ally and provided significant support in the form of ammunition, weapons, food and medicine to the Home Army and even opened a corridor through their lines to allow more Polish civilian and military forces to enter Warsaw.”

    I’d never heard of any of these and was shocked and rushed to check all over the net. As it came out I hadn’t gone mad and my recollections were good:
    – No source contained the word “Hungarian”, but one listing the nationalities of some individuals fighting in Warsaw.
    – All supplies, fighters (Poles from the Berling units) or support came from the Allies, not a bullet from elsewhere let alone “significant”.
    – The uprising started August 1st, the Hun 2nd Army was formed, again, on August 28 in south Transylvania.
    – Neither the 2nd nor the 1st Army under Bèla Miklos were anywhere closer than 300 km from Warsaw in the summer of 1944. The front from Kraków to Warsaw was held by German armies, with a couple of Vlasov’s Russian/Ukrainian units in Warsaw.

    I suspect the idiotic or brazen lying of the regime sponsored “artists” or “historians” in inventing a Polish Hungarian connection is designed to underpin the current dictators’ alliance.

    Taking about fakes …

    BTW Gy.Làzàr, you can ask how the Poles view this piece of … since for them this subject is dead serious.

  3. Andy (Terminator, Evita, etc) Vajna is one of the “Ugly Americans” that is cashing in on the “Babes” of Budapest (see photo), while actively participating in the hijacking of democratic governance from the people of Hungary. Here is a shortlist of his deeds.

    1. Vajna has been given a stranglehold on the country’s lucrative casino business and without competitive bidding.

    2.His casinos, in contrast to those of his tiny competition are not connected to the Hungarian National Revenue Agency, hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing directly into offshore tax havens.

    3. He was provided with a huge government grant, to purchase the country’s largest privately owned TV station – TV2- in order to turn that into a government mouthpiece.

    4. He has bought up, again via favorable tax breaks, government grants, and tailor-made regulatory rules virtually all the print media in the Hungarian countryside, along with major Radio Stations in the Capital and in key regional centers. He is using these as a propaganda vehicles, for his Mafioso benefactor, the Hungarian Prime Minister.

    5. Mr. Vajna is one of the most powerful, anti-democratic Oligarchs of Hungary. People of conscience and all of Hollywood should protest his repulsive profiteering on the back of Hungary’s exploited population. The carpetbagger should be named and shamed by the stars of Hollywood at the next Oscars.

  4. A once-proud Hungarian (mostly Jewish-Hungarian) cinematic traidion in the U.S., now sunk to this. Bring on the Orbanian creationists to lay low Hungary’s former distinction in biomedicine, and the Orbanian quacks in physics and economics to further consolidate the transition from creativity to cheap self-exaltation and self-pity. But Orban’s cynical depredations are earning Hungary neither sympathy nor admiration: just contempt — contempt that will stick for decades if not centuries to the motherland, just as Trumpism’s foul spoor and its odour will cling to the US.

  5. Cont:

    The film presents the general sympathy and occasional support to the Polish partisans by Hungarian units – the Hungarian 5th, 12th and 23rd (being reorganized) reserve infantry divisions and the 1st Cavalry division (a stronger unit), which were part of the 9th German army reserve, i.e. under direct German command.

    Since Hungary never declared war on Poland and in view of the traditional sympathy between the two nations “the German command allocated secondary tasks to the Hungarian units”. While the Hungarian commanders followed their (German) orders, small arms were on occasions handed over to the Poles or patrol duties were neglected allowing movement of Polish partisans, all at company level . I found nothing on the alleged contacts with Bor-Komorowsky commander of the Home Army. http://www.valosagonline.hu/index.php?oldal=cikk&cazon=459&lap=7
    At no time the Hungarian units fired on German units or patrols, the latter however executed individual Hungarian soldiers caught in “fraternization” with the Poles.
    The episodes shown in the film are not mentioned anywhere else. The extensive Polish Wiki post on the uprising only remarks that “The cordon around Warsaw also included units of the Hungarian Second Reserve Corps, but they were withdrawn when the Germans realized that Hungarians were openly sympathetic to the Poles”. https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powstanie_warszawskie
    The importance of these events to the Warsaw uprising is grossly exaggerated, they were not “significant” let alone “crucial” (életbevágó). Notably the subject got prominence in the last couple of years with a lot of official hoopla on both sides, e.g. telling is the narrative at the end 45.00 https://www.reddit.com/r/poland/com12 ments/71yo8i/hungarian_corridor_warsaw_1944/
    http://www.honvedelem.hu/cikk/65383_varsoban_felavattak_az_1944-es_varsoi_felkelest_segito_magyar_katonak_emlekmuvet

  6. Mr. Molnár: Reputation of what? You call reputation what Mr. Göllner listed?
    Can’t Mr. Lázár write about an actual scandal? Just what do you want beside trolling along?

  7. Shameful!!! That is all that I have to say about the censorship on this site. I submitted a comment backed by facts which I linked to. I did not swear, make xenophobic, racist remarks. Of course, in your mind, it must have been one of those reasons, because after all, this is the “Hungarian Free Press”, where censorship is only a “last resort”, in order to prevent such comments. It is by no means in order to prevent an inconvenient challenge to author’s thesis, which is the real reason why you fail to publish my every second comment lately! “Free Press”. How much cynicism?

  8. @ Peter Troll

    You have been gracing (disgracing ?) the comments section of every single article published by this site – including this one. Instead of whining, why not pull yourself together, and make some sense for a change ?

    Andy Vajna is an American carpetbagger. He is one of Viktor Orbán’s politically favored oligarchs, free to shelter hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-free off shore tax havens. He has gobbled up, using taxpayers’ money half of Hungary’s media outlets in order to prevent ordinary Hungarians from enjoying the benefits of freedom of speech, and responsible, fair, fact based journalism. Instead of patting him on the head, you should join us in kicking him on the rear end. His pals in Hollywood should name and shame him for what he is.

    Criticism of Andy Vajna for his disgusting behavior is calling a spade a spade.

    • By making sense, do you mean agree with you? It seems that is the key here to not being called a “troll” or being censored “Free Press”. Too bad you can’t even see what I wrote. But somehow you already assume that it did not make sense? I guess you want to live in a world where everyone agrees with you ideologically. Not only that you want it, but you demand it and viciously attack at a personal level anyone who does not, rather than debate in a civilized manner. And yet, I doubt that you were ever censored!

  9. @ Peter Troll

    “By making sense, do you mean agree with you?”

    By making sense I mean asking intelligent, rather than stupid questions, like the one above.

    No one is assuming anything about you here, troll. You are providing the evidence of your foolishness, all by yourself.

    • There is nothing stupid about that question. You constantly show very low tolerance for anyone expressing any views you disagree with, as you repeatedly prove to be the case, every time you call me a “troll”. It is therefore a perfectly valid question!

  10. I was born in Los Angeles, my father is a 56’er and I am so sad to read about this. This year I didn’t go to the Festival (I was hoping to see “1945”) and I have a lot of respect for Béla Bunyik. So sad to hear that he has been co-opted this blatant way.

  11. @ Peter Troll

    Everything I say to you, I put my name behind, and back it up with empirically verifiable evidence. Everything you say, you do under a false name, and fail to provide empirically verifiable evidence.

    The difference between us, is that you work on a troll farm – I work in an academic institution, where we deal in fact based, empirically verifiable information. I’ve been at my workplace for quite a few decades, and with considerable success. May I ask, how many years have you been hiding behind a mask, spreading “fake news” Mr. Troll?

    Pray tell, what would you have me call someone who is the manufacturer and distributor of disinformation? A Fairy ? I’d be happy to oblige, Peter, but me thinks you would be offended by that as well. I’ll stick to troll. It suits you and your friends down at the troll farm much better. 🙂 🙂

    • Yes, and all that education and experience really comes through in your arguments, given that you must try to demean your opponents by assigning fictional identities to them. Apparently, I live on a “troll farm”! Like I said before, after our interactions here, I am really gaining a better understanding in regards to the low rates of real life success of university graduates these days. With such professors……

  12. @ Peter Troll

    “Yes, and all that education and experience really comes through in your arguments”

    Glad you see the light Peter. There is hope for you after all. 🙂

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