A powerful new documentary by Griffith film lecturer Dr Peter Hegedus has been nominated for a $10,000 prize at the Sydney Film Festival next week.

Lili follows a young mother who fled Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, leaving behind her first born child. Decades after she settled in Australia, Lili’s second daughter, Edie, begins the search for her dislocated family, travelling across three continents to confront the past.

The feature documentary was directed and written by Griffith Film School’s Dr Peter Hegedus, who spent three months in Hungary shooting the film.

“I was granted six months leave to complete this as part of the Academic Study Program, and the support from Griffith has been instrumental in getting this project off the ground,” he said.

The film sprang out of a chance conversation with a fellow Hungarian filmmaker, who recommended Peter sit down and have a chat to Lili, who had long been a stalwart of Brisbane’s Hungarian community.

“I kept telling him that I was too busy, but after I heard her story, I got the sense I could dig deeper,” he said.

“The three stories form a really powerful journey, and there are a few surprises in the film – there are two sides to every story, and the film explores those complexities.

“These issues had haunted the family for so long, although it was incredibly painful to discuss, I think there was a need and a hunger from all three women to tell their stories.”

The film is bigger than the tale of one family, exploring the inter-generational trauma that results from global conflict and forced migration.

“This film is about how people justify their actions and expose themselves, how history shapes the fate of families,” he said.

“What happens to families who are torn apart and how that trauma is passed on to the next generation.”

Dr Hegedus said making the film had been an enormously rewarding creative journey.

“To shed light on issues that affect millions around the world has been a real honour and to have the film premiere in front of Australian audiences at the Sydney Film Festival is particularly special,” he said.

“I’m hoping Lili can connect a global audience to these issues, and encourage people to open up about their own experiences and heal past wounds.”

Lili will have its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on 6 June, where it is one of 10 films nominated for the $10,000 Documentary Australia Foundation Award.

A Griffith University alumnus, Peter is an award-winning writer, director and producer of both documentary and drama films who began making films professionally at the age of 21 when his first feature documentary ‘Grandfathers and Revolutions’ was funded by SBS TV.

Since 1998, he has produced, written and directed a number of feature documentaries that have won awards around the world, including ‘Inheritance: A Fisherman’s Story’ which was short-listed for an Academy Award in 2004.

Dr Hegedus received funding from Screen Australia, Screen Queensland, Griffith University, FocusFox Studio and Hungarian television to complete Lili.