The pastor of Mandák House
(documentary, 70min., 2019)
Logline: A unique portrait of Márta Bolba, a passionate community organizer priest.
Marta Bolba is the Lutheran pastor at the Mandák House of Budapest’s 8th district which is a more and more marginalised suburb in a more and more intolerant illiberal democracy.
Márta is both a civil activist and a lutheran pastor, a follower of Martin Luther King’s teachings and the civil rights movement.
In her congregation, she tries to unite the faithful of the district’s affluent population with their poor neighbors. Her church is the isle of peace in her district even as she advocates tirelessly with institutions and offices for the poor and disadvantaged. A space that embraces and links up people who dare to step up and step out of their comfort zone can restore hope.
Márta’s aim is to encourage similar organizations through her brave example, to pass on the belief in the Freedom of religion and in succeeding together with a joint effort.
Our film having the working title ‘Madam of the Mandák House’ (which finally got the title ’The Pastor at Mandák House’) is about the community organizing work of Márta Bolba, 8th district Lutheran pastor. Last year, we tried to follow her work and be present at the typical and important events of her life with our camera. The preparations started in October 2017 and we shot the film until October 2018 (with the post-production already going on).
We joined at a fortunate moment, when the inauguration of the new (and old) presbyters was happening. In the 6-year-old service of the pastor, this was a joyful moment, the strengthening of her community starting from zero, the meeting of different generations. The inauguration took place in the church of the Mandák House congregation. The pastor is living in this house with her family, and the house also gives place to elder Lutheran residents, to young students, the congregation’s diakonia or charity work (we also filmed the Christmas fest organized by the diakonia), and there are also some civil organizations residing here – for which the pastor makes it possible to use the house’s community spaces. The congregation’s other church is located in the richer Palotanegyed, completely different from the poor environment of Mandák House. The building was inaugurated after 3 years of renovation, in the spring of 2018. Péter Gáncs, head of the historic church or bishop of the Lutheran church is preaching from the church pulpit. Márta Bolba serves with other Lutheran pastors here and following the preactice at Mandák Hose, the congregation’s new spaces give home to other community organizations as well. The two communities don’t necessarily ’mix’ but their goal is the same: to have a community life that is inclusive and active.
Secular and religious environment are not separated in the pastor’s world, those who are not necessarily religious also belong to her community (local residents, people interested or turning to her because of their decrepitude). This is due to her taking stand in social politics issues whenever possible. The existential problems of the poor is one of the main issues she finds important, she tries to do something for the residence possibilities of the district’s residents in person (in the street, in public offices). As she puts it, this is a central topic of the international Lutheran church. To understand the possibilities of the secular environment, to speak up for Christian values and to hold the basic values (all people are created equal, solidarity, acceptance, love etc.) that can play a central role in a religious person’s life.
The pastor is also re-interpreting the role of Mandák House community dinners by not only making it available for her congregation. Anybody can cook and eat at the Lord’s Table – where everyone is equal. Here you can make contacts and speak with poor people or anyone who is interested, who feel lost in the world and are longing for positive affirmations and acceptance.
The core members of the congregation and Márta’s husband is supporting her work. The traditional family roles are based on complete equality, sharing the housework and the raising of children. Márta’s husband, Peter is also helping the pastor with his art: as a photographer, he is documenting the congregation’s different events.
Mária Takács, director
The film crew hopes that by presenting the community organizing work of Márta Bolba, attention can be raised to the importance of the organization of small communities, and to the indispensability of active human relationships.
CAST – THE PASTOR OF THE MANDÁK HOUSE
Director: Takács Mária
Producer: Timár Magdolna Cilin
Director of Photography: Trencsényi Klára
Sound enginier: Almásy Péter
Editor: Bodoky Eszter
Composer: Balog Gallusz
Play reader: Dr. Schwarcz Gyöngyi
Assistant producer: Dr. Szűcs Ildikó
Assitant director: Tóth Bernadett
Script: Seregély Ágnes
Writer: Takács Mária
Production manager: Timár Magdolna Cilin
Script supervisor: Krausz Viktória
Colorist: Kabán Bence
Grafic designer: Jacsó Györgyi, Nyírő Anita
Still photographer: Román Péter
Assistant editor: Budai Balázs
Accountant: Huszti Edit Kamilla
Chartered accountant: Horváth Kálmán
Camera: Kovács Claudia, Szepesi Dávid, Takács Mária
Sound enginier: Zolnai Eliza, Novák Béla, Hegedűs László, Pongor András
Lighting: Baranya Ákos
Ráczné Kelemen Éva
Bolba Márta gyülekezetének tagjai
Ont he bus – composer: Balog Gallusz, 2018
Mandák Ház – composer: Balog Gallusz, 2018
Good Friday – composer: Balog Gallusz, 2018
Supper – composer: Balog Gallusz, 2018
LIFT zenekar – Red Crearte kollektív, 2010 / Lift!: Las mesas partidas
Musicians in Üllői church – Brian Doerksen: Jöjj, itt az idő, hogy dícsérd (Come, now is the time to worship)
Lutheran song by unknown composer: Song no 260: „Ne csüggedj el, kicsiny sereg”
Member of LIFT band:
Bálint Ádám: guitar, vocal
Bence Áron: vocal, violin
Bősze Veronika: vocalist
Huszák Zsolt: cajon
Pete Dóra: violin
Somosfalvi Orsolya: reed, vocal
Musicians in Üllői church:
Reed: Endreffy Kornélia
Cajon: Nagy Dániel
Guitar, vocal: Keveházi D. Sámuel
Filmscene in nolla’s filmclub:
Alexander Oey: There Is No Authority But Yourself (2006.)
Vrijzinnig Protestantse Radio Omroep (VPRO)
Special thenks to:
Budapesti Holland Nagykövetség
Rosa Parks Alapítvány Láthatatlan Tanoda
Utcáról Lakásba! Egyesület Adj munkát csoport
Evangélikus Diakónia Magyarország
Fasori Evangélikus gimisek bethlehemes játsszó csoportja
Lénárt Virpi Réka
Markó Anna Mária
Takács Bencze Gábor
Civil Művek Közművelődési Egyesület
The postproduction and distribution is supported by
„Dutch Human Rights Fund 2018”
14. October 2019. Polish International Festival, Warsawa, Poland
30. November 2019. Intimalente Film Festival, Caserta, Italy
19. July 2019. Docs Without Borders Film Festival, Rehoboth Beach, Denmark
16. September 2019. Ars Sacre Filmfestival, Budapest, Hungary
15. November 2019. Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary
22. October 2020. Golden Tree International Documentary Film Festival, Paris, France
Community Screenings: https://www.facebook.com/ThepastorofMandakHouse/events