Of course, in Zurich, raising money in Switzerland, yet still casting Hungarian actors and amateurs. Producers of "Viktória - a tale of grace and greed" held a preliminary screening of their work on Wednesday, at Budapest's Uránia cinema.
Anna Maros and his husband, Men Lareida a screenwriter-director couple based in Zurich decided that it is about time to shoot a film presenting the miseries and challenges of Hungarian prostitutes in the city.
There is a whole lot of them there, working on the streets, in the legalized red-light district that almost matches Amsterdam's infamous "Nyíregyháza Street". Pimps pick them up back in the slums of Budapest, and segregated communities in Northeastern Hungary.
Not counting a few online reports, Hungarian culture and society is of course reluctant to face the phenomenon. Constantly commuting between Zurich and Budapest Lareida and his wife noticed the growing number of young Roma ladies taking the tour there and back on the train. It was there, were the story of Viktória began to get a shape.
Viktória lives in the rundown inner-city slums of Budapest left behind by the reshaping structure. To escape the everyday humiliation of selling vegetables in one of the greyish subways of the city. Amazed by her friend's tales of easy money in a Western-European dream-country, she finds a gang of petty criminals to get her out to Switzerland as a sex worker.
She obviously was not aware of what she will find there. Although what they do, is legal in the country, the level of exploitation is still enormous. Most of their income goes to their pimp and the mafia running them, no days off, long standing hours out in the street, and all the filth and humiliation a young and defenseless girl could possibly contract in a metropolis.
Filmmakers opted for a fiction story instead of a documentary, as both the prostitutes and pimps are extremely defensive in real life. Yet a sense of down-to-the ground realism can be felt looking at the trailer.
Even though the screenplay has been presented to Hungary's National Motion Picture Fund, they saw no need for such topics in cinemas. This was not the case with the city of Zurich: they provided 1,3 million Swiss francs for the project.
Filmmakers say, they did not want to offer a clear judgment on the whole phenomenon. This is why they aim to present somebody who ended up in Zurich based on her own decision - many in real life are not so lucky, often being kidnapped or blackmailed into the situation. Anna Maros however finds it important to give a "multi dimensional image" of these women: besides being your stereotypic "Gipsy hookers" they are mothers, girlfriends, wives and daughters, escaping extreme poverty.