Originally from Hungary, Borbala Szelei made her first experiences with processing images during a photo camp taking place close to Balaton. Mainly propelled by curiosity in her work, Borbala has directed inside and outside Europe since. Learn more about what she considers the beauty of her profession and whom she enjoyed working with most.
When did your passion for film start? What triggered your passion for film?
I went to a photo camp in the countryside near Balaton where we used old analogue cameras and processed the photos on our own in an old house. That was the first milestone when my passion for films and photos started to awake and never went back to sleep. My first job was an internship in a feature film when I was 22 and the producer told me on the first day that I was around his 100th trainee of him over 30 years of which only 3 took root in the film industry. He was sure I’d quit after 2 weeks so he gave me his phone number to let him know if I want to give it up. But I fell in love and he realised that he needs to take me seriously.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a director?
I had the urge to express myself and directing naturally became the medium I focused on. I didn’t have premade ideas about myself or who I wanted to be. Curiosity propelled me, I let this feeling grow and it led me wherever it wanted to go. When I got my first little opportunity it started to grow to a bigger one – and step by step, I got more and more tasks as a writer/director. It went fast from this point. When I started to direct, a new part of myself was born and I just felt: this is me. I really enjoy directing. In the following years, I had the chance to travel and directed a lot inside and outside of Europe.
Can you describe your first project? How did it go, and what would you do differently now?
My first project was a video shoot for BMW. I got the opportunity to develop the concept and direct the video. I will never forget the feeling when we finished the final cut of the video with the editor. My hands were sweaty, and I was so happy and excited. We got really good feedback, and the entire process was exciting and new for me. I wouldn’t do anything different, because it’s the nature of the profession that we are developing and changing every day. Everything has its own beauty.
Which of your cases is your favourite? And why?
My favourite case was a short film of Roger Ballen which was shot in South-Africa. He is one of the most interesting characters I ever met. His philosophy had a big impact on my world. If you want to create something great with another artist, you need to have a deep understanding and respect between each other. This is one of the most crucial parts. We clicked and enjoyed working together.
What is your biggest dream regarding your profession?
It is essential for me to represent a good message in my work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a commercial, music video or feature film. I want to draw attention to important things, even if it’s only possible in a subtle or hidden way.