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Viki Réka Kiss • Producer

“Fiction filmmakers use documentarian methods and vice versa”


- Interview with Hungarian producer Viki Réka Kiss, selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme

Viki Réka Kiss • Producer

Interview with Hungarian producer Viki Réka Kiss, selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Viki Réka Kiss: 
Yes, indeed. It is the only thing that makes sense to me personally: to tell the stories from around us. I also do a bit of fiction, but my current fiction project (called One Woman to be directed by Attila Gigor) is also based on almost entirely true events. I also contemplate a lot about the border between fiction and documentary – sometimes the genre distinction seems unreasonable or outdated. Fiction filmmakers use documentarian methods and vice versa, so maybe it is more about methodology than genre?

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What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
We are expected to have a million qualities and skills but of course none of us can master all of them... I think what we each need to think about is what kind of producer do I aim to be? I think of my role a little bit as a parent’s role. I have to organize a whole bunch of stuff and make sure there is enough money for it, but I also have to manage – usually quite sensitive – people and at the end of the day the main thing that matters (to me) is whether everyone is happy or not.

What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
There is so much debate about VoD and TV, etc. and I am undecided at this point in my career. What I really hope though is that whatever it is, it will provide more space, publicity, promotion and popularity for docs compared to how it is today. But I can see progress for sure.

What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
KIX is a documentary about an unruly street kid of Budapest, who is a rebellious and innate artist, an urban Dadaist. The director (fine artist Dávid Mikulán) has been following him for almost 10 years now. It is a raw, punk, non-conformist and breathtakingly beautiful material.

Mikulán’s co-director is Bálint Révész, the director of the Granny Project. But with Révész we are also working on a bigger, wider project: Somewhere in Europe (An Urban Trilogy) will not only include KIX, but also similar misfits from other cities, such as London and Istanbul. We want to create a more international portrait of European youth and show how they struggle for identity and a sense of belonging and see how/if art can be of help for them. It is a very ambitious project, we will pitch it soon at CPH:FORUM.

The Endless Shadow will be a feature doc by Gergő Somogyvári. It is about the phenomenon of walls of these days. Mankind is building walls again – at a rate perhaps unequalled in history. Somogyvári is travelling to different walls (Balkans, Israel, Belfast, US, Cyprus, etc.) and tells the stories of people who live in the shadow of these walls. It is a strange concept: think about what kind of freedom we can have – enclosed by fixed borders?! But surprisingly enough, the walls don’t always separate people, the director finds that sometimes they unite them.

The above-mentioned fiction project, One Woman is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who has to face domestic violence, and abuse and malpractice during labour at the maternity ward. It is an adaptation of a Hungarian novel and based on the author’s true story. Her style, wry humour, world view and love of life shine through the harsh, sometimes deeply upsetting story and that makes this work so outstanding and extraordinary. 


Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2020 edition is 15 March, 2019. Click here.

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