“Torn From The Flag” Premieres in Hollywood

Washington, D.C. – “Torn from the Flag” the documentary film about the Fall of Communism and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution had its world premiere on November 10, 2007, at the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival in Hollywood, California. The Hungarian American Coalition took a leadership role in raising funds for the completion of the film.

Filmmaker Klaudia Kovacs and Associate Producer George Adams greeted the sold-out audience present at the premiere. Among those attending present were many Hungarian American donors of the film, some of the 1956 veterans featured in interviews, as well as representatives of the film industry. Ms. Kovacs thanked the 2000 contributors in the Hungarian American community for their assistance in funding the film. Oscar-winning cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, gave high marks to Ms. Klaudia Kovacs and her team for having made an excellent documentary about a difficult subject. He added: “If anyone had told me 51 years ago, that one day I would be on a Hollywood stage introducing a film about 1956, I would have never believed it!” Some of the dramatic footage in the film was taken in 1956 by Mr. Zsigmond and legendary cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, to whose memory the film’s premiere was dedicated.

This 95 minute-long documentary film provides an authoritative and historically well-balanced view of the methods used by the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1989 to subjugate tens of millions of people in East-Central Europe and the Baltic States. Thus, “Torn from the Flag” makes a major contribution to understanding how communist dictatorships worked, and why they were eventually doomed to fail.

But the centerpiece of the film is definitely the Hungarian Revolution. Its widely recognized symbol, the hole in the flag, was the result of communist emblems “torn from the flag” on October 23, 1956, the first day of the Revolution. Against the backdrop of archival photos, viewers hear the voices of former freedom fighters who fight back tears as they recall both the joy and the tragedy of those days. Their memories are juxtaposed with the expert opinions of Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Prof. Csaba Bekes and others to present a compelling story about the greater significance of what Hungarians did in 1956.

Ms. Helen Szablya, Chair of the Hungarian American Coalition, a 1956er and early supporter of the film, commented: “Klaudia Kovács managed the impossible by showing an objective picture of the 1956 Revolution. Everyone’s „other side of the story” is presented, from the heir to the throne, Otto von Habsburg, through the disillusioned peasant, recipient of the initial redistribution of land, to the Soviet soldier stationed in Hungary. Each expert appears several times, while the story emerges driven by topics. This makes the documentary exciting and colorful. The 95 minutes fly by in an instant.”

Ms. Edith Lauer, Chair Emerita and 1956er declared: “Klaudia Kovacs and her team have more than justified our confidence. They have produced a film all of us can be proud of. “Torn from the Flag” not only immortalizes the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, but it also provides a compelling insight into the terrible crimes of communism. Every high school and college student of 20th century history should see this film.”

In the coming months “Torn from the Flag” will be shown in several prestigious festivals, and once arrangements are made for distribution, the film will be presented in various cities. Eventually, it will be available for sale on DVD for home viewing.

The Hungarian American Coalition is deeply thankful for the wide-ranging support of the Hungarian American community, and thanks all major contributors, who provided funding for “Torn from the Flag” through the Coalition.

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