Péter Forgács (1950) is a media artist and independent filmmaker based in Budapest. He started his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, from where he was expelled the same year. He graduated as a drawing teacher in 1977. He worked for the Adult Education Institute and the Education Research Institute. His field of expertise is the exploration of private photo and film history from a visual, social, aesthetic and cultural anthropological perspective. As an independent film and video artist, he has been working in the Béla Balázs Studio since 1978. He lectured at several film, history and literature faculties of universities abroad. He is also working for the Research Centre for Social Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Since 1978 Forgács has made more than thirty films. He is best known for the Private Hungary series of award-winning films based on home movies and amateur films from the 1930s and 1940s, which document ordinary lives that were soon to be ruptured by an extraordinary historical trauma that occurs off screen. In 1983, Forgács established the Private Photo & Film Archives Foundation in Budapest, of which he is the manager. This is a unique collection of amateur film footage and he has made this material the raw data for research and his unique re-orchestrations of history. His international debut came with the Bartos Family (1988), which was awarded the Grand Prix at the World Wide Video Festival in The Hague. Since then he has received several international festival awards – in Budapest, Lisbon, Marseilles, San Francisco and Berlin, where he won the Prix Europa for Free Fall in 1997. His most recent films are El Perro Negro (2005) on the Spanish Civil War and Miss Universe (2006) on the 1929 Austrian beauty queen Lisl Goldarbeiter.
In the 1990s Forgács exhibited his video installations in major museums and galleries in Europe. In the years 2000-2002 for fifteen months he was a fellow at The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles and as a result held an exhibit of his interactive installation The Danube Exodus: Rippling Currents of the River. His work can be found in several public collections in Europa and the USA. Péter Forgács was awarded with the Béla Balázs Film Prize in 1998, and the Knight Cross Order of the Hungarian Republic. Look here for an extensive list of works, awards and exhibitions.