ÉVA - directed and Produced by Peter Hegedus - has been accepted in the St Kilda Film Festival in Melbourne where it was nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY. This prestigious Film Festival hosts the top 100 short film works from our national cinema and is directly connected to the Academy Awards allowing the award winners to be qualified for Oscar consideration.
ÉVA is also screening in the HEART OF GOLD International Film Festival. Furthermore it is also worth noting that educators at the Buchenwald memorial in Germany have applauded the film as they see the relevance of the film in relation to their work. As a consequence there are now discussions in place about utilising the film as an educational tool in their teachings.
90 year old Éva Fahidi is a dancer, a writer and thinker but above all she is a passionate humanitarian who lost her entire family in Auschwitz.
Now in 2015, in the midst of the largest mass migration since World War II, she fears history may be repeating itself.
Éva was 18 when she was taken to Auschwitz with her family. The most traumatic time for her was when together with her family she was put on the cattle train in Hungary and after a three day arduous train journey arrived in Auschwitz. Her sister who was 14 at the time was sent straight to the gas chambers along with her mother, cousins and uncles.
For many years Éva has been speaking out about her experience in Auschwitz. She has been on TV, attended seminars and spoke up at conferences. She persistently continues to visit High Schools across Germany and Hungary to talk about the Hungarian Holocaust.
But now with hundreds of 1000s of refugees fleeing their homelands in the Middle East, having lost many of their loved ones, and now living in complete uncertainty, Eva cannot help but feel alarmed by what happened.
Now more than ever, Éva wants to speak out about her own experiences. She wants young people to know about the past; to make sure that history does not repeat itself. It is their lives in jeopardy.
The horrendous injustice of the Holocaust has been engraved in my mind since I was a child. During World War II my grandmother spent time in Bergen Belsen concentration camp not because she was Jewish but because as a communist she was caught trying to join Tito’s freedom fighters. When the camp was liberated she weighed 38kg. When were kids she told us that in the camp she used to survive on rotten carrots. So every time we were visiting her she’d always made sure we ate everything on our plates. If we didn’t she’d turn the left over’s into dinner.
I met Eva Fahidi in 2012 as I was interested to include her in a documentary I was planning about anti Semitism in Hungary. The film never eventuated but Eva and I kept in touch.
When refugees began pouring into Hungary I immediately recognised parallels between those persecuted in the Holocaust during World War II and the refugees who were now interned in camps in Hungary.
In September 2015 as tensions continued to culminate around the refugee crisis in Europe and Hungary I visited Eva and we decided we would make a film about what we both felt was an important issue to address.
Eva at the age of 90 has a busy schedule and this film was borne out of four incredible hours on a Tuesday afternoon in Eva’s beautiful apartment. There was a kind of intimacy in that afternoon that I feel transpired onto the screen.
This film to me is about highlighting the danger of forgetting what happened and the risk of not recognising how - perhaps more often implicitly - history repeat itself. The truth is in the hands of this generation.
Working with Eva Fahidi and making this short documentary about her experience in relation to one of the largest refugee crisis of the 21st century has been one of the greatest privileges and honours of my life as a filmmaker.
- Peter Hegedus