Following Bartok

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A documentary film based on Béla Bartók's first folk song collecting trip to Transylvania.
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Attila Kiraly
Film
London
United Kingdom
1 Team Member

"Bartók’s six string quartets are the most original and important body of music in this venerable genre since Beethoven."  Gerard Schwarz


With your help the first part of this documentary mini series will look for an answer to Bartók's great fear about the disappearance of folk songs as a living oral tradition from the daily life of the people in Transylvania. Our documentary will recollect several samples of the remaining folk songs as they exist today. 

As the father of a folk violinist and a classical music lover myself, I am aware of the recent flourishing world and folk music culture. For the last 40 years the 'Táncház' movement was one of the main indicator of the living folk culture in the Carpathian Basin. This movement and the respect I have for those involved in the research for the last hundred year will have a great effect on the documentary. 

"Peasant music…is just as much a natural phenomena as for instance the various manifestations of nature – Flora and Fauna…" says Béla Bartók, one of the most important composer of the twentieth century. Bartók was also one of the founders of ethnomusicology. He collected and classified 7000 Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Arab, Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ruthenian songs!


http://db.zti.hu/nza/mp3%5CMH_1025a.mp

His predecessors used various written methods to notate all necessary information about folk songs and folk traditions. Besides the traditional methods of collecting and analyzing folk music, Bartók used an additional idiosyncratic element considered to be pioneering in his times: he recorded instrumental and vocal music with a phonograph. The phonograph enabled him to capture the authentic voice of the peasants and the sound of their mostly individually tailored instruments. The folk song recording process became less abstract and more tangible with the help of the phonograph. 

My ultimate plan is to follow up on Bartók's last minute attempt to preserve the traces of archaic folk music in Algeria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey and film the state of folk culture as it is today.

In our project we will follow the path of Bartók's first collecting trip in 1907 and retrace the villages and possibly the "grandchildren" of the people Bartók met in the Carpathian Basin.

This region served as the gate keeper of Europe since  the Roman legions withdrew in 271 AD and it was overrun by a succession of various tribes and nations. As the result of the continuous changes and migrations, Transylvania became the great melting pot for many nations. Some of them were isolated by mountains or often by 'grand politics' from the mainstream for several decades. That is one of the main reason why those people who have survived and live there today has preserved this archaic music culture.


Our small team of filmmakers will board a train from the same terminal as Bartók did, the iconic Eastern Train Station in Budapest and travel to Transylvania.

We will use Bartók's numerous letters and writings has been published to give us a compass during the shoot and to narrate the film.

"It would probably be difficult for you to imagine the great amount of toil and labour connected with our work of collection. In order to secure musical material uninfluenced by urban culture, we had to travel to villages as far as possible removed from urban centres and lines of communication."  Béla Bartók  “The Folk Songs of Hungary” (1928)

As a powerful illustrative element of our and Bartók’s journey to reach the remote Transylvanian villages we will use a horse and cart on one or two occasions to transport our crew and filming equipment.

We have to visit this beautiful region frequently to record enough samples for the documentary. We are planning to film ordinary people and singers, instrumentalists performing only for us like they did for Bartók's phonograph, and also we hope to observe events such as weddings and funerals where we might find people singing and playing in their natural environment.



Bartók used to record and later analyze folk songs with the help of an 'Edison gramophone'. The gramophone also known as the phonograph, was the state of the art recording instrument from the late nineteenth century. Similarly to Bartók's approach, we will use top quality recording equipment following Bartók's meticulous scientific method adding the best possible visual dimension to it: high definition digital motion pictures. We will use the most advanced sound and image recording devices available today as far as our budget allows us to have. We will have experienced, dedicated professional documentary filmmakers working behind every piece of equipment.

Our first aim is to produce an hour long film which is entertaining, engaging, educational and easy for everyone to understand.

Following the footsteps of Béla Bartók by collecting the remains of folk songs in Transylvania with similar respect and attention, we also hope to preserve something extremely important for future scientist, musicians, composers and music enthusiasts. The archaic musical idioms Bartók has discovered collecting and studying folk songs is a unique heritage not only for the peasants of Eastern Europe, but for all of us. We hope to add another layer to Bartók's important work by making this documentary.

"We have so few written cultural memories [...] thus, folk music is forced to fill the gap left by missing historical accounts." Zoltán Kodály

We are also planing to build an on-line sound / video library of the recorded materials open to the public.

Our documentary has been supported by well renowned musicians and educators like Beáta Salamon, Tibor Szász and Tamás Hegedűs.

This documentary is a mission for us, not only to preserve something essential of world culture, but to put a spotlight on something beautiful and vital in our rat race like life! 

My goal of $19.000 will cover the production costs of the first episode we plan to film in Transylvania. This is a tight budget covering transportation, equipment rental, media, lodging, insurance, performance and expert fees, financing the rewards and the fees Indiegogo will charge us for the project.

If the funds are more than the goal we set, our film crew can go ahead and start to film the other regions Bartók was collecting from.




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$535USD
raised in 2 months
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$19,000 USD goal
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This campaign ended on January 29, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    BASIC SUPPORTER

    You will receive a huge amount of gratitude + exclusive updates & behind the scenes from production

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $10USD
    SUPPORTER

    You will be listed on the site as a beloved supporter of 'Following Bartók' + a set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + exclusive updates & behind the scenes from production +a named credit appearance in the closing sequence of the film

    4 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $25USD
    SUPPORTER PLUS

    A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania - you'll get an SD digital screening link when the film is released + a set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + a named credit appearance in the closing sequence of the film

    1 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $50USD
    YOUNG MUSICIAN

    You'll get a chance to participate in a Bartok youth concert in London or Boston + A set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + Exclusive updates + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania (You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA)

    4 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $100USD
    EARLY BIRD

    Watch the film on-line + You'll get an HD digital screening link before the film is released + A set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + Exclusive updates + A printed 8x10" image from the film that you will choose yourself from a digital gallery

    2 out of 99 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $150USD
    MUSICIAN

    You'll get a chance to participate in a Bartók concert in London or Boston + A set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + Exclusive updates + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania (You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA)

    0 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $250USD
    PREMIUM MUSICIANS

    You'll get a chance to participate in a Bartók concert in London or Boston + A set of digital wallpapers from Transylvania + Exclusive updates + A black or white T shirt inspired by the film + A year limited subscription to our folk song collection on-line digital library (You will be able to access the library on weekends) + (You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA)

    0 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $350USD
    EXTRA PREMIUM MUSICIAN

    You'll get a chance to participate in a Bartók concert in London or Boston + Exclusive updates + Two printed images (an 11x14"and 8x10") from the film that you will choose yourself from a digital gallery + A black or white T shirt inspired by the film + A signed DVD copy of 'Voices of Transylvania' + A year limited subscription to our folk song collection on-line digital library + You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA

    0 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $500USD
    PRODUCER

    A digital screening link of the rough cut + Exclusive updates + Two printed images (an 11x14"and 8x10") from the film that you will choose yourself from a digital gallery + A black or white T shirt inspired by the film + A signed DVD copy of 'Voices of Transylvania' + You name as a Producer on the credit + A year limited subscription to our folksong collection on-line digital library (weekend access) + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $1,000USD
    VIP PRODUCER

    Two VIP tickets to the private screening in London, UK or in Boston, USA + 4 printed images from a digital gallery + your name or logo on the 'Voices of Transylvania' FB page and on the credit list + A year unlimited subscription to our folksong collection on-line digital library + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania + (You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $1,000USD
    VIP SUPORTER

    Your choice of two VIP tickets to the private screening or to a special Bartók concert in London, UK or in Boston, USA + 4 printed images from a digital gallery + your name or logo will be listed on the 'Voices of Transylvania' FB page and on the credit list + A year unlimited subscription to our folksong on-line digital library + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania + (You pay for your own transportation to London, UK or Boston, USA)

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $1,600USD
    Private Screening

    Host a private screening at a local cinema somewhere in the UK and meet the director for a Q & A. An ideal event for a local folk or classical music society. We will organize the screening at a cinema local to you. Meet the Director and Producer and have your own Q&A. + A POST-CARD with a personal, hand-written thanks - post-marked from Transylvania

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $5,000USD
    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Two VIP seats at the private screening in London, UK or Boston, USA + We will fly you from London to Budapest for three days (hotel is included) and have a private folk music concert just for you + Receive Limited Edition Exclusive Bluray Disc+ Any other benefits from our perk list

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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