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An Interview with József Gallai and Gergö Elekes, Directors of Bodom

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2015

Films directed by József Gallai on (re)Search my Trash

Films directed by Gergö Elekes on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Bodom - in a few words, what is it about?


József Gallai: The film is based on the actual murders that happened at Lake Bodom (Finland) in 1960. Our film is about two journalists who started to investigate the case 50 years later.


Bodom is to an extent based on a true crime from more than 50 years ago - so what can you tell us about that story, and what drew you to it to begin with?


J.G.: With the help of any web search engine, one can find the story of Lake Bodom. Gergö and his filmmaker partner Ákos Varga started writing the script in 2010, and I rewrote it completely in late 2014. It was a big deal to work on a Finnish-related story in Hungary, speaking only a few words in Finnish.


Other sources of inspiration when writing Bodom?


J.G.: There are only a few found footage movies I really like and those might have been an inspiration when I wrote Bodom. My favourite films regarding this genre are Home Movie and The Conspiracy. Last week I saw Beckoning the Butcher, which is also a perfect found footage film from Australia.


Why did you choose the found footage approach to your story at hand, and is this a style of filmmaking especially dear to you? And with all those found footage movies out there, what do you think makes your film stand out of the crowd?


Gergö Elekes: After finishing our previous feature film, Interview we had to face budgetary problems. In this situation the found footage approach is the best way because the production can be done on a much smaller budget. Furthermore, we wanted the audience to have the same experiences as our actors did. I personally think that the found footage movies these days are basically all the same: somebody goes to somewhere where something happens - meanwhile they do not stop recording (even when it is completely nonsense). In case of Bodom we wanted to show something else without neglecting the characteristic features of this genre.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?


J.G.: Improvising is a great opportunity, and I encourage the actors I work with to do so. Nevertheless, planning is everything. One has to choose the best actors, best locations and crew members. It is not easy to work with me, and I really don’t like big crews.


What can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


J.G.: In Hungary, it's not easy to find enthusiastic people who would like to be in a film. Enthusiasm ends when they get the script or have to spend some time working on the project. I chose these people because they wanted to do this film as much as I did. And for me this is the most important.


Was your film actually filmed at Lake Bodom? And wherever you shot it, what can you tell us about the locations of yours, and what was it like filming there?


G.E: As we all live in Hungary, we shot the film within the borders of our country. This can also be explained with the budget of the production, but we did everything in order to find such places that can stand in for the original Finnish locations. The filming itself was a huge challenge for every castmember, not just because of the extremely cold weather but also because of the difficulty of such scenes - especially if we imagine that most of our actors were newcomers to filmmaking.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


J.G.: Bodom was shot in mere six days, with a minimal crew. There was a day when only the two main actors and two directors were on set. The entire crew was about 20 people. I was pretty happy, because it was like a very big family. When problems arose, we sat down, discussed them over and found a proper solution together.


A few words about audience and critical reception of your movie so far?


G.E.: Fortunately, the film has got mainly positive reviews not just by Hungarian critics but also from international ones. Bodom was the opening film at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival 2014 in Whitby (UK) and also took part in the competition of 30 Dies Festival (Andorra) and the 21st National Student Film Week (Hungary), meanwhile it is currently in the selection sections of several international film festivals and it was picked up for North American distribution.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


J.G.: After one or two short films we will shoot a new horror movie, which is again based on actual events. This time in English language as we have ambitious plans. Hopefully, we shall see next year or in 2016.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


G.E.: I have never received any education on filmmaking, it was a kind of love at first sight. After watching the Back to the Future trilogy I fell in love with motion pictures because they showed me the real values of our life: what is real friendship, what is real love, how should we act in various situations. Since my childhood I have been working on my mission to broadcast these values to the audience while entertaining and educating them via our own films.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bodom?


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x-rated  find Bodom at

G.E.: We made Hungary’s first feature-length mumblecore film (Silent Change aka Csendes változás – 2012), an award-winning thriller (Interview – 2013) and dozens of short films, including the award-winning Still (2012).


How would you describe yourselves as directors?


J.G.: We are not easy guys. A year ago, neither of us would have said that our film would get US distribution and would compete in international festivals. We work hard and will not stop until we reach our goals.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


J.G.: Jamin Winans, Andy and Lana Wachowski.

G.E.: Jamin Winans, M. Night Shyamalan.


Your favourite movies?


J.G.: Cloud Atlas, A Beautiful Mind, A Lady in the Water.

G.E.: Unbreakable, Cloud Atlas.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


J.G. & G.E.: The Paranormal Activity series - It’s a joke to describe them as horror films.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


G.E.: You can find Bodom and Interview on Facebook:

The official website of our team ( is currently only in Hungarian language, but we are working on the translation. Meanwhile you're welcome to check our Facebook pages as they are bilingual.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD