Griffith filmmaker selected for prestigious Venice festival

Associate Professor Peter Hegedus has been selected to premier his film, Sorella’s Story to the world at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival in August.

The film explores the story behind a single atrocity photograph of a group of women and 11-year-old Sorella, during the Holocaust.

The 1941 photograph Sorella’s Story is based on

Shot in 360° and viewed through a Virtual Reality headset, Sorella’s Story places the viewer in the snowy landscape of 1941 Latvia and is set prior to a mass execution on a beach during the Holocaust.

Sorella’s Story was filmed in Hungary, the main character Sorella is voiced by Australian actress Charlotte Stent and played by Hungarian actress Kiara Kalmár.

The work was written, directed, and produced by Peter and was produced by Jaclyn McLendon and Bobbi-Lea Dionysius and co-produced by Axel Griegor and András Muhi with Peter Kurucz as sound designer.

Peter said that using 360° technology to produce the film enabled a more impactful way to connect the viewer with the story.

“I was deeply moved by the image of the women in the photograph and wanted to be brave, to tell stories about the Holocaust that push boundaries and engage with new audiences,” Associate Professor Hedegus said.

“With Sorella’s Story we set out to create an experience that will emotionally connect people across cultures, demographics and economic divides.”

A scene from Sorella’s Story

“The honour of premiering the film at the Venice International Film Festival realises the dream of being able to offer that experience to people from around the world.”

Sorella’s Story is part of a unique suite of projects, together with In Their Name which is airing on the ABC on 7 August at 6:30pm.

In Their Name is an intimate portrait of a conversation between director Peter Hegedus and 92-year-old Ethel Davies. Now based in Sydney, Davies was a consultant to Sorella’s Story, as her family
perished in the same massacre as Sorella.

A further feature documentary soon to be completed To Never Forget tells the larger story of the Latvian Holocaust intertwined with Peter’s three-year personal journey to bring
the immersive film to reality.

Peter developed the film with the assistance of Griffith Film School (GFS) and the production team fostered a unique collaboration with a team of GFS staff and students who travelled to Latvia and Hungary in a range of key production roles.

The GFS team included Louise Harvey for VFX with the assistance of Levi Johns, Bobbi-Lea Dionysius, Tess Brading, Amelia Paxman, Sarah Hope, Gilberto Roque, Jemma Potgieter and Peter Kurucz.

The film was also made possible thanks to the Griffith University strategic research initiative, Disrupting Violence.

You can view the trailer for the film here.

Associate Professor Peter Hegedus