Péter Vácz, Director of Rabbit and Deer: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview

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A filmmaker and illustrator from Hungary, Péter Vácz plays the cello, draws illustrations, makes animated films, does Web design, and performs onstage.

HFF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

PV: Rabbit and Deer is an epic story of two friends trying to find their way back to each other after being separated by dimensions. It’s my graduation film from MOME in Budapest. I was in a love relationship at that time that inspired me a lot, and I also wanted to explore different animation techniques. Rabbit and Deer became the combination of these two elements.

HFF: What was your role in the production?

PV: I’m the writer, designer and director of the film, and I did most of the animation as well.

HFF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

PV: I haven’t been there before but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Heartland, and its reputation speaks for itself.

HFF: This year’s tagline is “Shift Your Perspective” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

PV: I don’t really know . . . So far I’m very happy with the previous reactions because it seems people can relate to the story and to the characters very well. Although “Rabbit and Deer” has a different effect on each person, so far everybody got the main idea—that even if you experience a big change in your life whilst being in a relationship, you can still manage to keep it alive if you accept the fact that it’s not gonna be the same anymore and try to adapt to the new circumstances with enough care and love towards the other.

HFF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

PV: I play the cello, I love tinkering and building things and I studied graphic design. At one point I realized that animation filmmaking combines all of these elements through which I discovered the magical world of storytelling.

HFF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now but you weren’t told when you started your career?

PV: That it’s all about telling an authentic story with important little details. Quite often you start with technical aspects (especially in animation), and you tend to get lost in it.  But when you master the tool, you are free to be more creative. I think it’s something that you can’t teach completely, but everybody has to put together the pieces of their puzzle themselves and figure out what is their way of making a film.

HFF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

PV: I really like Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a lot of short animated films. I don’t really have any favorite worst movie in mind…

HFF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

PV: “Rabbit and Deer” has been screened over 200 festivals all around the world since 2013 and is still going to be screened at 50 more festivals. The best thing in festivals is to meet many great people from all around the world and make new friends who share a similar passion.

HFF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

PV: Maybe this: “Why didn’t you become a firefighter?” – I really like spontaneous questions from the audience.


See Rabbit and Deer in Shorts Program 4: Unique Worlds at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • Sunday, Oct. 19 – 7:30 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Monday, Oct. 20 – 12:30 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21 – 7:00 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 4:45 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
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