The Risktakers Part Three: Kata Csató and the FreeSZFE Society

Allianz Foundation supports Risktakers. We would like to introduce to you courageous individuals who actively fight for social justice, open societies and a livable planet. They are committed to a better future for the next generations. Here is part three about Kata Csató & FreeSZFE Society. Produced by Çiğdem Mater.

July 27, 2023

Kata Csato is sitting in fron of a white house on a bench and is looking into the camera. She is petting a big brown dog.

Kata Csató © Erhan Arik/Allianz Foundation

The Allianz Foundation refers to individuals who actively fight for social justice, open societies or a livable planet as Risktakers. Risktakers are committed to a better future for the next generations.  

Risktakers are not lone warriors. They are deeply embedded in the collaborative structures of social issue movements, including prominent ones such as LGBTQ+ Pride or #MeToo. 

Over the years, we had the privilege of supporting several risktakers through a variety of grant projects. 

We would like to introduce you to some of these risktakers. They hail from different countries – even different continents – but are deeply committed to issues that concern us all. This third episode is about Kato Csató and the FreeSZFE Society. Watch here episode one about Sonia Nandzik Herman, Douglas Herman and the students from ReFOCUS Media Labs and here episode two about Camila Nobrega.

Episode Three: Kata Csató and the #FreeSZFE Society

In 2020, the leadership of the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest (SZFE) was given to a foundation loyal to the government, ending SZFE's academic independence. The entire faculty and students went on strike and created the FreeSZFE Association to keep the independent spirit and operations alive. In the Association, the former and current students, teachers and employees of SZFE work together in the spirit of free creation. 
They designed an artistic space where plays, films, short stories, visualdesigns and other works of art can be created freely, without any outside pressure. Within an European cooperation, foreign universities recognise the education provided by Freeszfe Society, and by doing so, they provide a way of escape for students and teachers alike from the consequences of the new model of the institution that eliminated academic freedom and made autonomous creative work impossible.

Kata Csató is a professional puppet theatre director, actress, teacher and cultural manager. She is a founding member of the FreeSZFE Society, and was its president till 2022. 

This video project was planned alongside our colleague and friend Çiğdem Mater. We were deeply shocked by verdict of a Turkish court in which philanthropist Osman Kavala was sentenced to life imprisonment. In addition to Kavala, seven other civil rights defenders were sentenced to 18 years in prison – among them Çiğdem Mater. 

Çiğdem is a multi-award winning film producer and journalist whose work promotes freedom of expression and human rights. 

We are extremely grateful to Çiğdem’s family & friends, who continued the project in her spirit: Murat Utku, Sinem Sakaoglu, Nadir Öperli & Erhan Arık.

#FreeÇiğdem Mater

The Risktakers Part Three: ReFOCUS Media Labs © Liman Film Credits


directed by MURAT UTKU
produced by ÇİĞDEM MATER
supervising producers SİNEM SAKAOĞLU, NADİR ÖPERLİ
director of photography ERHAN ARIK 
sound design&mix CENKER KÖKTEN
color grading CİWAN ZENGİN
graphic design DİLDE MAHALLİ
subtitles SONER DAŞTAN


‘Tiks and Toks’
© Intervox Music c/o Pelikan Müzik