Posted on Monday October 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer
Such a magical night! Cultural Attache Karoly Dan invited Edward and I to a reception at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC. The event served as a remembrance for Hungary’s commendable 1956 uprising against their Communist oppressors.
Edward and I arrived a little before 7pm and entered the ballroom where we were greeted by a receiving line of honored guests and dignitaries. The room was filled with senators, Embassy attaches, wealthy businessmen, and high-ranking officers in smartly decorated uniforms from armies all over the world (I personally noted: Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Hungary, of course, and Russia.)
We sought out Karoly and thanked him for the invitation and the opportunity to introduce so many impressive people to Freedom Dance. (I came armed with promotional postcards.) Earlier in the week, when Karoly wrote me with the invitation, he mentioned Ambassador Andras Simonyi had seen the cut of Freedom Dance, was intrigued by what he saw, and wanted to meet us. I wanted to thank him for his endorsement and maybe get a photo with him for the web site. Later, after opening remarks, speeches, and medals awarded proxy by the President of Hungary, we seized the chance.
Edward and I had just finished taking a promotion photo with the Cultural Attache when Karoly, a tall and distinguished figure with dark eyes and strong, chiseled features, noticed one of the servers carrying a tray of seared sausage cuts.
“Oh, these are great.” He raved. “You must try one.”
I did, and as I filled my mouth Karoly turn on his heels and, speaking with determination, said: “Okay. Now – we find the Ambassador. Follow me!”
Oh, great! I thought sarcastically. I’m about to meet the Ambassador with a mouthful of sausage! I could just imagine a greeting complete with sprays of chewed up meat flying from my mouth.
We approached Ambassador Simonyi. As one can imagine, at such an event the Ambassador’s pretty popular and always surrounded by a crowd. Karoly instructed Edward and I to wait. He went over and at an appropriate time, a few minutes on, brought the Ambassador to us. It was an incredible moment!
Ambassador Simonyi smiled warmly at us and shook my hand, flattering me with compliments about Freedom Dance. He said he was so glad that this movie was being made because it’s “so important” and because of the subject matter, the Hilbert’s story, the creative use of cartoon animation.
“Do you have music for it?” he asked me. No, I admitted. We’re still looking for the right composer. The Ambassador thought for a moment, and then with a serious countenance upon his face looked me square in the eyes and said, “let me think on it”, as though nurturing an idea.
I couldn’t resist. I smiled playfully and pointed, “Don’t tell me you’re a musician!” (In a silly moment I kept picturing the title card on screen: Music by The Ambassador of Hungary as though his title was now a hip stage name.) Imagine my surprise when I learned he really was a musician! I wondered though what he had in mind.
Ambassador Simonyi spent quite a long time with Edward and me, chatting, talking about plans for Freedom Dance and more general conversation. He showed sincere interest in the movie and in us. (Karoly, too, the whole evening, in his attention to us and in that gentle voice of his.) For this we are grateful, and I am happy to have had the chance to say so to both Karloy and the Ambassador.
We met so many exciting and interesting people from all over Europe and America. Most notably was Mickey Hargitay former Mr. Universe (1955) and husband of the late Jayne Mansfield.
It was especially great having Edward with me at the reception. Having your subject with you can be great advertisement. I told him, you’re better than a billboard.
Overall I think the evening was a success. I passed out all of my postcards, talked to high profiles, and planted seeds that I hope to cultivate over the next few months.
Many thanks to Karoly Dan and Ambassador Simonyi for their generous hospitality, supportive friendship, and for sharing such an enchanting, ostentatious evening. (I’m still picking caviar out of my teeth!)