We’re an advocates for talent plus hard work. Meet the person behind The Advocate
The NoHo Arts District dot Com is fortunate to get to see a lot of incredible shows, movies and exhibits where we meet some brilliant people. We recently went to see The Advocate at the Hungarian Film Festival at Laemmle’s in North Hollywood. There we got to meet Tamas Harangi, the director, screenwriter and one of the film’s producers. The background on how the film was made is one for the movies. But his story leading up to the making of The Advocate is an interesting one that really should be a book turned movie one day. Any talented writers up for the task?
So NoHo, let’s meet Tamas Harangi and let’s start from the beginning.
What’s your background?
TH: I grew up in a small town in Hungary and I started making short films there while I was in high school. This was still when Super-8 film was the highest tech I could get ahold of, but in retrospect, that was an awesome format to work with despite its limitations. After high school, I moved to California to study at the Film and TV Department of De Anza College.
Where did you get the idea for the story of The Advocate?
TH: I love the thriller genre and I’ve always had a fascination with courtroom dramas. Having grown up in a country that was still communist at the time, the American legal and political system and the whole concept of “innocent until proven guilty” was very exotic to me when I first moved here. During my studies at De Anza, I started to really understand what film noir was about–the dark side of the American dream–so all my stories tend to revolve around that.
Why did you think it was something the public would like to see? (We saw it and loved it!)
TH: I think people enjoy a good mystery because there’s an overall draw in each of us to get to the truth if we see it hidden, and to see justice being served, as we understand it. To me this is evidenced by the public’s fascination with wall-to-wall coverage of cases like Jody Areas, to cite a recent example. With The Advocate I wanted to see behind the spectacle that is the legal chess game that needs to take place in a courtroom, and dissect the process and mindset of the attorneys who take on these kinds of cases.
What was your role in the film?
TH: I wrote and directed it and was one of the three producers along with Matthew Temple and Sachin Mehta, who’s also our lead actor.
How did you get your funding?
TH: We went the somewhat conventional way, doing a business plan and searching for equity investors outside the film industry. Crowd-funding became a big thing in the indie world right around the time, but I’m actually happy we went the old-fashioned way as crowd funding seems to have its own pitfalls.
How did you get your distribution deal?
TH: The movie first screened at the Durango Independent Film Fest and got the Jury and Audience award for Best Narrative Feature so that helped start getting the word out. Then we were in the Dances With Films Festival in LA, and that’s where we finalized our deal with Osiris Entertainment for US distribution.
What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
TH: I would say write a lot, then write some more, then do some short films to learn the craft and just keep going because there is a lot of trial and error involved. Everyone’s path to success is different, but based on what I saw from my favorite directors, making an indie feature is probably the best way to prove your talent down the line. But before you can do that, just keep writing because becoming a good writer will give you the biggest advantage as a filmmaker.
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