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Life & Work with Dora Endre

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dora Endre. 

Hi Dora, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am a stage and film director with a strong background in theatre, film, media, and international communications. I have a BA from METU Budapest as well as certificates and conservatory diplomas from a number of institutes based in the U.S. and in Italy. I wrote my thesis on the visual propaganda of the Civil War and how the events’ representation in media, especially in film, kept on and still keep on changing in the aftermath of the war. I am a member of both SDC (USA) and the Young Vic’s Creators Program (UK).

I consider myself to be an extremely curious and open person who loves to face challenges, be creative, and learn about different cultures and topics.
For the past six years, as a director, writer, producer and editor I have contributed to the work of theatre and film production companies. I was fortunate enough to be part of a number of internationally acclaimed, exciting projects (e.g., Burbank International Film Festival, London Independent Film Awards, and Chain NYC Film Festival). I have had a chance to direct musicals, pieces of movement theatre, comedies, Off-Broadway, and touring shows as well as commercials, music videos, and short movies, and have been featured in publications such as Marie Claire, Index, and Holes & Corner. I strongly believe in the power of teamwork, like-minded individuals who are supportive of each other and push towards the same goal.

My film credits include but are not limited to: Nyctalopia, Haze, Sweet and Sour, Back Home, Pieces, Modern Love as well as spots for Cipriani Couture and Vodafone.

My stage credits include but are not limited to: My Name is Rachel Corrie (Off-Broadway show and tour of education in Central Europe), The Motherf**ker with the Hat (NY, Off-Broadway), Synthesis (Budapest), Eve’s Apartment (Queens, NY), Negative Space (New Jersey), Grudges (NY, and Zoom) and Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons (Budapest, and Zoom).

Due to my training in Meisner and Method acting, occasionally, I have also contributed to music videos, shorts, and shows as an actress but that is not my main field of endeavor.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
So far, it has been a true rollercoaster ride! There has been many challenging, unexpected, galling situations I had to face.

As a young woman in this field, I come across preconceptions on a daily basis. When it comes to the USA, as an immigrant coming from a working-class family, I have also had to overcome both legal and financial difficulties. Yet it has been a great learning curve. I became better at handling pressure and stress, grew as a human being and as an artist, became appreciative of the little things, grateful for all the love and support I receive from loved ones, and for all the inspiration I get from driven, resilient professionals. I have always been in awe of doers and fighters.

If we go further back, as a young child I went through some traumatic events due to the sadism of a kindergarten teacher I used to have. Naturally, those experiences sparked anxieties in me, and in a huge group of kids who were treated by her in the same fashion. Personally, she threatened me by saying I was not going to be allowed to go home with my friends if I was not going to finish my lunch. She hit me and dragged me along the floor. Since then, I have heard many similar stories. Unfortunately, sadism is not uncommon among teachers, doctors and many other professionals where a high level of authority meets the purpose of ‘helping’ others.

I think it is crucial to open up about tough matters and inner struggles, to be authentic. This is who I am, and that is who you are. We have nothing to mask. Together we can grow from all difficulties and generate change around us. The early experiences I mentioned made me highly aware of the role of proper care and environment in children’s development, gravitated me towards topics in my field that bring change and shed light on problems, and made me appreciative of how wonderful my family and friends were and are. Having really good people around is priceless.

Naturally, I still have much to learn and improve in many walks of life but I am happy to do so and keep at it.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a forward-thinking and bold artist who enjoys talking about relevant and sensitive matters through her work. The themes I most enjoy exploring include shared social responsibility, turbulent times, political conflicts, prejudices, modern-day superficialities, the importance of authenticity, and the destructive nature of highlighting what is different in humans instead of highlighting what is common and can unite us.

I love developing new projects, combining interdisciplinary elements, being part of dynamic teams, creating progressive and out-of-the-box projects both on stage and on film. I enjoy being part of all stages throughout the course of each production, from budgeting through location scouting to post-production. I love to mess around with details, explore the many ways stories can be constructed and deconstructed.

At the moment, I contribute to the work of Stewed Productions, CRC Media, Art Here Art Now, Academia.edu and MovieWeb while teaching and freelancing on the side. Since early 2022, I have been writing my own film column in the cultural magazine, Art Here Art Now, and my reviews can also be read on IMDb.com. Moreover, I am currently in pre-production for my first feature and with my team we are launching the Rustic International Film Festival (RIFF) that will support risk-taking filmmakers around the world with limited resources and new ways of making cinema. We strive to give a platform, mentoring and networking opportunity for independent filmmakers who bring original stories to life with their main focus on such “simple” yet beautifully complicated topics as nostalgia, friendship, family, nature, working class people, etc. RIFF will also host a contemporary photo exhibit, Q&A sessions, industry mixer and an old-school food and wine reception during its run in New York.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I think all my favorite childhood memories are deeply connected to family, friends, and nature. Walking in evergreen forests and my mother getting scared of snakes. Splashing, desperate to catch frogs in lakes. Laughing. Playing with baby sheep on my grandfather’s farm. Running across fields, getting astonishingly dirty. The many colors of the sinking sun. Throwing water balloons at bikers. Building ‘snow towers’ with friends in the garden. The soil’s bittersweet smell in the Great Plain. Pig slaughters and learning how to make sausage. Growing my first potatoes, weeding and watering, and the pride I felt when we had them for dinner. Sunday services, singing beautiful liturgies. Collecting poppies and naming them with my grandmother. Helping – being under the foot of – datallers and my parents in the humid polytunnel.

Planting vegetables, creating life from a seed through care.

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Image Credits
Bianka Durcsan
Kata Nagy
Rob Villano
Marc N. Fox

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