AROUND THE WORLD IN 9 MONTHS
On The Spot is currently producing a series on birth around the world - how babies are born and what awaits them in a tribal hut, in a war zone, in the biggest Syrian refugee camp, and more. By the end of production the filmmakers had captured the first moments of life across five continents and culminated their personal journey by welcoming their own child into the world. Please check the teaser for the series at the below link.
CHILDREN OF DICTATORS
Together with our German partner Autentic, we are working on the international premiere of our series "Children of Dictators". It presents some of the most influential dictators of the 20th century through the eyes of their children and relatives. The episodes bring a rarely seen personal perspective on history and offer a deeper understanding of the most feared leaders in the world while focusing on the portraits of their children.
The filmmakers worked without a crew, with only two small broadcast cameras in order to have undisturbed and exclusive access to children of dictators, namely Lucia Pinochet in Chile, Jaffar Amin in Uganda, Bettina Goering in Germany and Fidel Castro's daughter in Miami. Their unique approach gives their films an air of extraordinary intimacy and honesty.
A link to the teaser is available here:
In the first two seasons of the series Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács presented the focal points of our civilization with their handheld cameras from Gaza to Afghanistan: wars, terrorists, refugees, dictatorships, freedom fighters and revolutions were the topics of their films. After the conflict zones of our civilization these days they are visiting the communities and cultures that have been untouched by western civilization - provided such places still exist on Earth. They visit tribes from Africa to Indonesia to take part in their lives, from deserts to the tropics to get to know their lifestyles, from hunts to rituals to learn how people furthest from our world and civilization think. They continue to travel without a crew using only two small cameras in order to get as close as possible to these remote tribes.
On The Spot: Tribes received the Prix Jury at the 45th Tourfilm Festival in Karlovy Vary.
The time travel started in Ethiopia with the Erbore tribe whose territory is also known as mosquito land. To get to know them more thoroughly Eszter and Andris moved in with the tribe, ate, drank, harvested, hunted, slept and danced with them. This award-winning film is the first one in the Tribes series which reveals what it means to be a man or a woman in such tribes. Especially that a pregnant woman is giving birth in a hut without any medical assistance…
The second episode presents the Suris from the Ethiopian Omo valley. They are considered to be one the fiercest tribes in the world and are famous for their annual stick fights which often claim fatalities. Nowadays they purchase Kalashnikovs from Sudan to protect themselves and their invaluable livestock from the other tribes. Defence is part of their lives: they used to disfigure women with lip plates to prevent them from being taken away as slaves. Today this practice is considered as beautifying. Meanwhile AIDS is rapidly claiming more and more victims and a Christian missionary couple is trying to halt the spreading of the virus. Eszter and Andris spent the night in a hut while visiting the tribe, that is how they had the opportunity to witness a wedding, or realise that the Suris prefer dancing to speaking because it brings them happiness. Andris even tried stick-fighting with a Suri warrior.
This film was shot in the West African Guinea-Bissau at one of the world’s least researched tribes. The country, rotten to the core, is infamous for the Columbian cocaine shipments that are dropped here and later distributed in Europe. There are more than 80 islands along the coast of Bissau out of which only about 20 are inhabited, that’s where the bijago live. No schools, no hospitals, no roads, no vegetables are grown on the islands, only rice is harvested and the odd radio means connection to the outside world. Still, this completely isolated community is changing. Christianity is spreading while many are still followers of Animism. In most of their time they celebrate at Animist rituals and their shamans are visited from as far as the capital by people seeking protection. Earlier the community lived in a matriarchal society which means that succession ran in the female line, the most important decisions were made by women. Today, however, the members of the tribe strive to resemble our civilization and expect help from their former colonizers. A West African island tribe’s struggle to catch up.
Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács travelled to Papua this time where the Dani tribe received them holding spears, stark naked, wearing battle masks. After some negotiations the tribe decided to welcome them. This way the filmmakers could observe a world from hundreds of years ago. In the Wednesday episode we can see a tribal clash, a 350 year old tribal chief in the form of a treasured mummy, finally the tribe’s most coveted secret comes to light…
The new episode of the Tribes series is set in Indonesia with the rainforest inhabiting Korowais. The last cannibals in the world – that’s how renowned international magazines and well-known American TV programmes report on this tribe. Eszter and Andris took seven scheduled flights, sailed for two days and walked for a day to reach the Korowai tribe to spend some time with them in order to get to know them. They ate live worms, hunted for pythons and during these adventures the filmmakers and the members of the tribe learned a lot about each other.
In the final episode of On The Spot: Tribes Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács report from Timor, from a head-hunter tribe. The sixth episode is set on an island 500km from Australia, in a village that is within a stone’s throw from western civilization but wants nothing to do with it. After the Korowais, thought to be cannibals, the Suris fighting in the Omo valley, the Bijagoes living on Guinea-Bissau, the Ethiopian Erbores and the Dani tribe on Papua here’s a community which has fallen behind modern times on purpose. They used to be head-hunters, today they are guarding their culture in a village beside a rock wall, a kilometre away from the motorway. They don’t let electricity and telephones in, they want to stay the same as in the old days.
Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács’s new four-episode documentary series introduces people who dedicate their whole lives to an idea or a cause. The filmmakers aim to find out what drives the warriors in their fight from the Indian caste system through the Buddhist self immolations to Israeli settlers. Sometimes armed with guns, sometimes armed with their calling, even at the cost of their lives.
The Gaza episode of On The Spot: Warriors received the Golden Nymph at the Monte Carlo TV Festival, got nominated for Prix Europa as Best TV Current Affairs Productions and got into the official selection of the 22nd dokumentART European Festival for Documentaries and the 35th International Public Television Screening Conference.
In India with its 1.2 billion inhabitants love counts as a daring new feature. In a society divided by caste and clan systems the parents choose their offspring’s suitable partners. If a girl and a boy fall in love without permission they usually have no choice but to elope. If they get caught the family retaliate with an ‘honour killing’. It is such a disgrace for the family that they say the best solution is to shed the blood of the indecent daughter or son: they kill their own children. Honour killings are ordinary in India. The killers are hardly prosecuted and although everybody knows about the killings few do anything to stop them.
Somewhere in a shabby back alley in New Delhi is where the Love Commando operates. They rescue and hide escaped couples in their secret hide-outs. The majority of the couples want to start a new life in a far away corner of India, far from the shadow of the vendetta. The Hungarian filmmakers became acquainted with the story of couples on the run and the warriors of the love commando in such a hide-out. Later they met parents who were looking for their children so that they can murder them. A handful of fighters’ modern war on ancient tradition.
The second episode of the series takes place in the West Bank. The protagonists are the Jewish settlers who live in the Palestinian area to fulfil the Biblical prophecy, to populate the land of Israel according to what borders are recorded in the Torah.
The mission of the settlers is surrounded by brutal murders and military actions, there is a constant debate even within Israel. Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács show the settlers' movement from as close as Hungarian viewers have never seen it. they do so with their usual curiosity, honesty and bravery. They accompanied their protagonists to the grave of Joshua in the middle of a Palestinian village where the Israeli army secured the prayer. They also followed the trial of one settlement at the Israeli Supreme Court and they were allowed to film in the Judean desert during the night when at the stroke of midnight thousands of settlers cry out to God for all the things that cannot be expressed by speech…
This episode got into the official selection of the 26th Dallas VideoFest (TX, USA).
TIBETAN SELF IMMOLATIONS
Eszter Cseke and András S. Takács show the perhaps most desperate and most radical form of fight: Tibetan Buddhists who protest against oppression by setting fire to themselves. Why are they doing it? How are they capable? And what does Buddhism say about this? Upsetting footage, never before seen in Hungary, captivating testimonies and a man who has failed: he set fire to himself but survived.
The chronicles of a conflict from Gaza
A Qassam-fighter is collecting the remaining parts of Ahmed Jabari's body from his wreck after an Israeli airstrike that killed the head of al-Qassam Brigade. A Palestinian journalist who doesn't believe in violence, is getting a phone call, his 8-year-old daughter was hit. A shiver cut three of her fingers off. Parallel stories of the Qassam-fighter whose dream is to blow himself up to take revenge and the journalist who is willing to do anything to get the daughter into an Israeli hospital - the only place where she can be saved. The birth of hatred and hope - the chronicles of the latest conflict in Gaza.
A Malaysian business man, a lawyer and a night club owner from their daily life in Kuala Lumpur to their trance period at the Batu Cave, capturing the transformation process at one of the biggest Hindu festivals in the world.
Crucifixion at Easter
In the Philippines every Easter dozens of people decide to imitate the last journey of Jesus Christ and crucify themselves. The film follows a man and a women from their homes to the cross.
A place which is paradise for the elite of the world and a nightmare for tens of thousands of Bangladeshi workers whose passports are taken away and forced to work for very little money. Modern day slavery right next to the paradise - and the possible way out of it.
An oasis in the Sahara where time stopped. Locals and westerners live here for very different reasons in very different ways at one of the most beautiful and ancient places of the planet.
The untold aftermath of a bloody war: torture, murders, disappearances and the lack of responsibility — still today.
Intimate portrait of a gangster in Johannesburg from the notorious Sun City Jail to bedrooms where drug is in the air and everywhere. Rap, gangs and the roots of violence in South Africa.
The most exciting moments from Kashmir, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, the Philippines and the Maldives.
On The Spot – Nepal (2010)
Home of the Himalaya and the Mount Everest. But how does Nepal look like under the sparkling hills? A nation that helped the westerners up on the top of the world, little girls treated like Goddess, the aftermath of the ten-year-long Maoist war and voluntary child soldiers.
On The Spot – Burma (2010)
A hidden countryside, murdered monks, imprisoned politicians and an exclusive interview with ex political prisoner U Win Tin.
This special report from Burma received the Press Freedom Award in Strasbourg from the Council of Europe and the European Youth Press. Both BBC World and CNN International aired excerpts of this rare footage.
On The Spot – Mauritania (2010)
The fatter the woman, the sexier she is. If a woman doesn't weigh at least 100 kilograms, her chances of marriage are slim. So the daily meal here is 20 liters of camel milk and some animal nutrients. Force feeding and slavery in the shadow of al-Qaida.
On The Spot – Varanasi (2010)
Documentary on the city of death at the bank of the Ganges in India.
On The Spot – Iran (2011)
Oppression and opposition through the lens of the Iranian film industry from Paris to Tehran. An illegal photo studio where girls act as if they were not living in Iran. Banned directors who might never be able to return to their homeland. Guys who risked their lives demonstrating against the regime in 2009. And an exclusive interview with the famous director, Jafar Panahi who was sentenced to jail.
On The Spot – Egypt (2011)
Right after the revolution the question is what the Egyptians are going to do with their freedom. Tens of millions celebrate the changes. More than ten million Christians fear that the Muslim Brotherhood might come into power. And there are people who don't care: they continue living in tombs at the outskirts of Cairo.
On The Spot - Japan (2011)
A special report from Japan about the tsunami and the earthquake, starting 24 hours after the tragedy, following the events for a month. The detailed aftermath of a natural disaster in one of the most developed countries in the world through human stories and emotional situations behind the news.
On The Spot – the French Foreign Legion (2011)
What kind of trainings do the legionnaires get at the Equator? How do they become fearless elite soldiers who obey orders and never ask? A hunt for gold diggers in the jungle with the strangest and most diverse army on Earth.
On The Spot – New York City (2011)
After xenophobic attacks all around Europe and especially after the Norwegian massacre many predict the end of multiculturalism, saying that we cannot coexist anymore. New York is still telling us that we can, even 10 years after 9/11. A Chinese American, an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim imam are guiding us to understand how and why they can manage to live together.
On The Spot – Best of (2011)
The most interesting moments of the program in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Nepal, Gaza, South Africa and Burma.
On The Spot – Gaza strip (2009)
The pilot episode of On The Spot, showing young guys with heavy weapons, the Qassam Brigade, the smuggling tunnels under the border of Egypt and Gaza and a Jewish woman living in the strip, the only Israeli in Gaza.
On The Spot – Israel (2009)
A protest where Jews and Palestinians are demonstrating together against the wall on the border of Israel. A Nazi officer's son who converted to Judaism, now he is a rabbi in Jerusalem. The father of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped at the Gaza border. The famous Russian writer, Ludmilla Ulitskaya who wrote a book about the Gestapo's Jewish translator: after the war Daniel Stein returned to Israel as a Catholic priest and tried to be a bridge between Judaism and Christianity - any chance?
On The Spot – Ethiopia (2009)
It is Paradise for hundreds of thousands coming from Africa as refugees though there are millions still starving in the country. Thousands of people come for a psychedelic pilgrimage at Debre Damo, an ancient monastery. There is no other way to get there but climbing the holy mountain. Nine women out of ten are still circumcised in Ethiopia. While staying with a tribe in the desert we try to understand the roots of a tradition that maybe shouldn't be understood. Plus an exclusive interview with the runner legend, the most successful Ethiopian man, Haile Gebraselassie about the reasons why he doesn't donate any money to anyone.
On The Spot – Svalbard (2009)
A journey to the Arctic Circle and human stories of a special city in the sphere of snow and ice. Plus an exclusive interview with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on climate change and his trip to Svalbard.
On The Spot – Bolivia (2009)
A special investigation of a murder from the imprisoned Hungarian teacher in the jail of La Paz to Evo Morales in the Presidential Palace.
On The Spot – Sri Lanka (2010)
Sri Lanka is a war-stricken area, hit by disaster but also a top tourist destination with its sunshine, sea, Safire, tea and elephants. Meanwhile the Tamil Tigers are trying to form a political party after decades of civil war. A priest is working on the rehabilitation of children who were kidnapped to become child soldiers. Journalists trying to cover war crimes and corruption - they are murdered. The two faces of Sri Lanka in one film.
On The Spot – Afghanistan (2010)
After British and Russian invasion, after the regime of the Mujahedeen, American troops are fighting in the country. We are embedded with them at the Pakistani border. In the world's most dangerous city, Kabul, people got used to suicide bombers but they only make the news when a westerner dies too. Portrait of Malalai Joya, a brave and unusual human rights activist who survived 5 assassinations.
On The Spot - South Africa (2010)
While the world is watching the FIFA World Cup, we show the darkest side of Johannesburg and the last remaining white populated villages. Gangsters, apartheid, racism against blacks and whites. The reality of the country and all that's left out of the news. People who were kidnapped and kidnapper gangs from the backwaters of Johannesburg. A documentary from the most dangerous slums of the city where white people wouldn't even dream to enter. And a white-only territory where blacks are still not allowed to stay. Swastikas in schools, openly racist youngsters who wow never to date Naomi Campbell and claim that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist.
(click on the continents to load the photos)