Filming begins on Heavenly Shift

A planned 42 days of shooting has eventually begun on Márk Bodzsár’s first full-length feature Heavenly Shift (Isteni műszak). This promising debut feature has been granted by the Hungarian National Film Fund to the tune of 206.5 million HUF (1.5 million for screenplay development and 205 million for production).

“Death doesn’t choose but people do” is the chilling tagline for this brand-new film that offers an eerie insight into the everyday lives of a rather extraordinary ambulance crew. Due to be released next year, the film’s main character is Milán who flees from the conflict in Yugoslavia Wars only to find himself pulled into the burial business when he joins ranks with a team of medics trawling the streets of Budapest... Starring András Ötvös, Tamás Keresztes and Roland Rába, this cynical depiction of the grey area between healthcare and funeral management also features Sándor Zsótér, Zsolt Nagy, Szabolcs Thuróczy, Adél Jordán, Kati Lázár, Annamária Láng, Zsolt Trill and Natasa Stork.

Márk Bodzsár (born in 1983, graduated from Budapest University of Theater, Film and Televison, Diploma in Directing, Screenwriting and Film Aesthetic in 2010) has directed a clutch of short films including To Breathe In (Levegőt venni), which won first prize at the 9th Kamera Hungária in the drama category. He also collected the Simó Sándor Award for the best diploma film for Bloody Mary in 2007.
His current project, Heavenly Shift, secured him the Nipkow Fellowship in Berlin and was awarded to one of the most promising projects at the Baltic Event's Co-Production Market by international professionals in Tallinn last year.  Going under the working title of Godly Shift (Örök béke) successfully concluded six months of screenplay development and financial support provided by the Hungarian National Film Fund.

“It’s been a source of great pleasure for us here at the Film Fund to welcome applications from young directors and writers working on perhaps their first or second film as well as those more established in the industry both in Hungary and internationally,” is how Réka Divinyi, head of the Fund’s Script Development Department, summed up her recent experiences. Divinyi added, “Most of the screenplays submitted broke away from the more depressing tone adopted in recent years and turned instead to lighter genres such as romantic comedy, satire and even black comedy. Of course, they have done this with a little twist, unique humour and an appealing approach to style and presentation. Such projects include Károly Ujj Mészáros’ mystical crime comedy Liza, the Fox-Fairy that is now in postproduction and Márk Bodzsár’s Heavenly Shift. We’re also really looking forward to Gyula Nemes’ film Zero that tells a very particular tale about environmental anarchists as well as Attila Till’s action movie about a wheelchair-bound assassin, Kills on Wheels and Csaba Fazekas’ musical comedy about three overly ambitious songstresses, Swing. We’re also working with a handful of more dramatic projects including Ádám Császi’s A Land of Storms that tells a heartbreaking love story and completed filming just a couple of days ago and László Nemes Jeles’ S.K. that tackles the problematic subject of the Holocaust from a very unusual viewpoint. We are confident that if these films are made, they will present a new style and a new “voice” that has been so lacking in the Hungarian film industry and will attract and entertain filmgoers both inside Hungary and beyond its borders.”

Heavenly Shift is produced by Unio Film with a budget of 305 million HUF and is produced by Bodzsár István in coproduction with Sparks. Dániel Reich is director of photography. Over ten thousand people have viewed a 12-miniute promotional short made for the project on YouTube.