We are deeply saddened to announce the death of the film director Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács, who passed away at the weekend after a long battle with illness; he was 78 years old. Not only renowned for his work as a director, he was also the founder of Magyar Filmunió and worked as the Hungarian representative of Eurimages for 19 years.
Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács was born in 1936 in Nagybecskerek. He graduated as a film director from the Academy of Theatre and Film in 1961, where his leading professor was Félix Máriassy. He worked as assistant to Zoltán Fábri and Miklós Jancsó between 1962 and 1969. He was a cofounder if the Balázs Béla Stúdió, where he was managing board member between 1975 and 1977.
His first feature film, Mérsékelt égöv (Temperate Zone), contended at the Locarno Film Festival in 1970, with the help of the then studio director István Nemeskürty, where it won a Silver Leopard. He directed a total of ten feature films, many of which went on to win international accolades. His documentary, Az a nap a miénk (That Day was Ours, 2002), re-examined his personal recollections of the first days of the 1956 Revolution.
He became an active member of the Hungarian and international film profession in the 1980s, going on to head MAFILM between 1987 and 1989, and work as the Hungarian representative of EURIMAGES between 1990 and 2009, as well as being actively involved with Magyar Filmunió as founder and director between 1992 to 2001. He headed Hungarian Film Week between 1993 and 1995, and was vice president and then president of the Hungarian Directors’ Guild between 200 and 2001.
In the early 1990s, he began filming his "greatest undertaking", Erdély leírása (Account of Transylvania), a documentary film series based on the book Székelyföld leírása (Account of Szeklerland) written by the renowned cultural anthropologist Balázs Orbán. He collected a staggering 156 hours of film shot throughout the region, although only a few episodes of the series were finally made. This film footage provides a unique record of the multicultural society present in Central and Eastern Europe. He continued to archive and edit his work on this project right until his death.
Small Cross of the Order Merit of the Hungarian Republic (1998)
Knight of the French Order of Merit (1998)
Silver Pyramid Lifetime Achievement Award (Cairo IFF, 1996)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1992)
Balázs Béla Award (1986)