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1921 film "Dracula", remade at Sapientia University

A very special project has been started at the Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Cluj-Napoca. The Department of Media and the Association of the Hungarian Filmmakers from Transylvania, with the support of Bethlen Gábor Foundation, Hungary, organized a series of workshops focusing on shooting on Black and White (B & W) film stock, and thus in 2018 the students of the Department of Media had the unique chance to work on the remake of the Hungarian silent film Dracula, lost in its entirety during WWII.

The original film, titled The Death of Dracula (Drakula halála) was shot in 1921 in Budapest as a Hungarian-Austrian-French co-production, directed byKároly Lajthay (born in Târgu-Mureș)one year before F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu. Given its production date it may be considered the first Dracula-film in the world. The co-writer of the film was the famous Michael Curtiz, who was known at the time as Mihály Kertész.

The original and copies of the film were destroyed during the Second World War. “Although we could not locate the original screenplay, a few years ago my friend and colleague János Szántai (writer, poet, journalist, film critic, screenwriter) turned my attention to a book with the same title, published by Lajos Pánczél. As the book was most likely published after the film, I consider the book to be written based on the film. So, we took this book as basis for the reproduction of the script" - explained dr. Róbert Lakatos, the coordinator of the film project, teacher at the Department of Media of Sapientia University, and President of the Association of the Hungarian Filmmakers from Transylvania.

During the workshops participants were collaborating on this remake: they shot test footage on Foma, Kodak and Orwo B & W film stocks, and after developing the footage by themselves, attendees chose their preferred cameras to begin the shooting of the first episodes of a feature length film.

The book has 13 chapters. The workshop’s initial concept was for each chapter to be directed by a different director, and according to this last year have been completed the first five chapters of the film.

Several tutors of Sapientia University offered helpful guidance in the making of the film: dr. Radu Igazság assisted the students in the construction of set design and planning of the visual aspect, dr. György Pálos acted as a consultant, Rebekah Jorgensen had a decisive role in organizing the production teams and the production itself, and the development of the film material was supervised by dr. Mira Marincaș. 

 

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