DOCUMENTARIES

License to Tell (in production)

License to Tell, a 56-minute documentary film, traces the adventures of journalist Ken Kelley during the heyday of the underground press and the Playboy interview. Kelley's rise and fall mirrors the achievements and failures of America's radical counter-culture during the 1970s and 1980s. The film captures the atmosphere of San Francisco's bohemia, where journalists rubbed shoulders with artists, novelists, pornographers, filmmakers, politicians, and Hollywood stars. Key themes include the antiwar movement, the Black Panthers, and the rise of gay politics.

Gazing Into the Past: The Unbounded Vision of James Cahill
(a collaboration with Skip Sweeney; in production)

Gazing Into the Past will be a documentary feature about Jim Cahill's life, his work, and his legacy. By portraying the depth of the man and the growth of the field he helped develop, it will bring the world of Asian art history to a much wider international audience through festival and museum screenings, television broadcasts and distribution on DVD.

Navajo Math Circles (2016)

Navajo Math Circles is a documentary film about the meeting of two worlds: that of some of the country's most accomplished mathematicians and math educators, and of the children and teachers in the underserved, largely rural Navajo educational system.

Counting from Infinity: Yitang Zhang and the Twin Prime Conjecture(2015)

Counting from Infinity is a study of Yitang Zhang's rise from obscurity and a disadvantaged youth to mathematical celebrity after making an important breakthrough towards solving the Twin Prime Conjecture. The story of quiet perseverance amidst adversity, and Zhang's preference for thinking and working in solitude, is interwoven with a history of the Twin Prime Conjecture as told by several mathematicians, many of whom have wrestled with this enormously challenging problem in Number Theory-- Daniel Goldston, Kannan Soundararajan, Andrew Granville, Peter Sarnak, Enrico Bombieri, James Maynard, Nicholas Katz, David Eisenbud, Ken Ribet, and Terry Tao.

Angel of Mercy (currently in production; estimated completion, early 2017)

Angel of Mercy tells the story of Sister Margaret Slachta, a courageous woman who defied the Nazis and the communists in her fight for social justice. Slachta, a teacher and activist, became the first woman elected to Hungary's parliament in 1920. Her unique vision of social intervention on behalf of the poor, combined with a strong feminist streak and devout Catholic faith, led to heroic acts of courage during the Hungarian Holocaust of 1944-45.

Erdős 100 (2013)

Concentrating on the legacy of Paul Erdős in mathematics, Erdős 100 presents interviews filmed in 2012 and 2013 with László Lovász, Endre Szemerédi, Vera Sós, László Babai, András Hajnal, Ronald Graham, and others, mixed with never-before-seen outtakes from the 1993 film N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős. The film was prepared for the centennial celebration of Paul Erdős, held in Budapest in July 2013. (Credit: Producer, Director)

Songs Along a Stony Road (2011)

This 70-minute ethnographic doc follows musicologist Zoltán Kallós on his visits to musicians in villages around Transylvania and Romanian Moldavia. He has collected music in these places for half a century. The region is a treasure trove as rich and diverse as any in Europe. In Hungarian and Romanian with English subtitles. (Co-produced with Chris Teerink)

Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chern (2011)

A one-hour biopic doc that examines the life of a remarkable mathematician whose classical Chinese philosophical ideas helped him build bridges between China and the West. Shiing-shen Chern (1911-2004) is one of the fathers of modern differential geometry. Following a classical upbringing, Chern pursued his mathematical studies in Hamburg and Paris during the 1930s, building on the work of Elie Cartan. In the 1940s, he found an elegant and simple proof of the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem and introduced characteristic classes, now called Chern classes. After World War II, he traveled between the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and China. In 1960, he moved to Berkeley, where he created a center for geometry, and in 1981 became cofounder of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). His reputation led to invitations from the leaders of China to help renew research mathematics in China following the destruction of academic life during the Cultural Revolution. In 1986, with Chinese government support, he helped establish the Nankai Institute of Mathematics at Nankai University in Tianjin. Today it is called the Chern Institute of Mathematics. Produced in collaboation with the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute with funding from The Simons Foundation. (Credit: Producer, Director)

I Want To Be a Mathematician: A Conversation With Paul Halmos (2009)

A 44-minute interview with mathematician Paul Halmos that touches on the Moore Method, becoming a mathematician, great teachers, designing a course, writing, and the state of education in the United States. The interview conducted in 1999 by Peter Renz and George Csicsery was edited for DVD release by the Mathematical Association of America with support from the Educational Advancement Foundation. Additional interviews filmed about Paul Halmos in 2008 were used to create several extra features. (Credit: Producer, Director)

Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem (2008)

A one-hour documentary about mathematician Julia Robinson and her groundbreaking work that paved the way to the solution of Hilbert's Tenth Problem presents the story of a role model for American women in mathematics, and an exciting tale of international collaboration between American and Russian mathematicians at the height of the Cold War. Funded by grants from the Clay Mathematics Institute and Margaret and Will Hearst. (Credits: Producer, Director)

Hard Problems: The Road To the World's Toughest Math Contest (2008)

An 82-minute documentary produced in HDV, Hard Problems documents the formation of the 2006 U. S. International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) team, showing how high school students are selected, train, and then compete with students from 90 countries in the 2006 IMO. Produced in association with the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), with support from Ellington Management Group, LLC, The Penn Oberlander Family Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. A one-hour version edited for television will be broadcast on PBS stations via American Public Television (APT) starting in October 2009. (Credits: Co-producer, Director)

The Right Spin (2005)

35-minute interview with Astronaut Michael Foale. The story of a dramatic rescue in space and the mathematics behind it. Narrated by Robert Osserman. Produced by the Clay Mathematics Institute and the Mathematical Sciuences Research Institute for Mathematics Awareness Week. Released in DVD, April 2005. (Credit: Director)

The Thursday Club (2005)

A one-hour documentary about a group of retired Oakland, California policemen and their reflections on the turbulent social conflicts of the 1960s. World premiere: Oakland Museum on February 4, 2005. (Credits: Producer, Director) DVD published by Zala Films in June 2005

porridge pulleys and Pi: two mathematical journeys (2004)

29-minutes. A portrait of two very different mathematicians, featuring Fields medalist Vaughan Jones, one of the world's foremost knot theorists and an avid windsurfer, and Hendrik Lenstra, a number theorist with a passion for Homer and all things classical. Produced by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. (Credits: Producer, Director)

Hungry for Monsters (2003)

A 69-minute SP-Beta feature documentary about a Pennsylvania case of false accusation of incest and child molest video that traces one family's experience with recovered memory therapy and the implantation of false memories. (Credits: Producer, Director, Editor)

Invitation to Discover (2002)

15-minute promotional documentary video and DVD for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley. (Credits: Producer, Director)

Troop 214 (2008)

The 60-minute SP-Beta documentary produced in 1997 was subtitled into English and re-mastered for DVD in 2008 with extra scenes in English. It tells the story of exiled Hungarian Scouts in the United States and their return to Hungary after the collapse of the Soviet empire, and Communist Pioneers. Co-produced by SuperPlan Films and Duna-TV, Hungary, this project was 20 years in the making. Funded in part by the Citizen's Exchange Council, the Hungarian Historical Film Foundation. Broadcast by Duna-TV in November 2000. (Credits: Producer, Director, Editor)

N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös (1993)

One-hour 16mm documentary about Paul Erdös, the world's most prolific mathematician. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, Film Arts Foundation, American Mathematical Society and the Heineman Foundation. Gold Apple Award, National Educational Film & Video Festival, 1994; Gold Plaque, Chicago Int'l. FF. (1994); Broadcast Duna-TV (Hungary); SBS-TV (Australia); Discovery/Learning Channel; Sundance Channel (USA), NHK-Japan ('97); Noorder Licht-VPRO (Netherlands) (2001). It is currently being distributed to PBS stations by American Public Television through 2004, and will be broadcast in Canada by Discovery Canada in 2003. Distributed by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), A. K. Peters, Springer-Verlag, and Flower Films. (Credits: Producer, Director, Editor)

To Prove and Conjecture: Excerpts from Three Lectures by Paul Erdös (1993)

54-minute film of excerpts from lectures delivered in San Francisco; Poznan, Poland and Cambridge, England by mathematician Paul Erdös. Funded in part and distributed by the Mathematical Association of America. (Credits: Producer, Director, Editor)

Where the Heart Roams (1987)

An 81-minute 16mm documentary about women who read and write romance novels and a transcontinental rail journey they undertake. Funded in part by the Western States Regional Arts Fellowship Program and the Pioneer Fund. Festivals: Mill Valley (1986); Festival Rosa, Italy (1987); Hawaii (1987); Festival Dei Popoli, Italy (1987); United States, Park City, Utah (1988); San Francisco-Honorable Mention (1988); AFI-Fest Los Angeles (1988); Seattle (1988); Amiens, France (1988); Wellington and Auckland, N.Z. (1989). U.S. Distribution: New Yorker Films, EEN/PBS, POV/PBS, SBS-TV in Australia. Video: New Yorker Video. DVD: Facets MultiMedia (2006); (Credits: Producer, Director, Editor)

Television: The Enchanted Mirror (1981) and remastered DVD (2008)

30-minutes, 16mm. Remastered and released on DVD in 2008. Produced and co-directed by Julene Bair. A documentary on the social effects of TV. Funded by the California Council for the Humanities and the California Public Broadcasting Commission. Festivals: INPUT '81, Venice, Italy; Marin County - Second Prize (1981); Mill Valley (1981); USA (1982). Distribution : Mass Media Ministries and educational television. Distribution beginning in 2008: Whole Earth Films. (Credits : Director and Editor)

Hookers (1975)

25-minutes, 16mm. Produced by Max Scherr. A documentary about a prostitutes' union, featuring Margo St. James and "COYOTE- a loose woman's organization." Distribution: Multi-Focus, San Francisco. (Credits: Director and Editor)

Parole Silenciosa (1974)

20-minutes, B&W, 35mm. Brucchieri Productions, Rome, Italy. Four short stories featuring pantomime artist Ilza Prestinari. Music by Carlo Savina. Cinematography by Aldo De Robertis (AIC). Festivals: Teheran (1974). (Credit: Director)

Ceremony (1972)

30-minutes, 16mm. An allegorical drama containing sculpture by Dewain Valentine and Kate Mendrey with music by Terry Riley. (Credits: Writer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer)

People of the Current (1971)

27-minutes, B&W, 1/2" video and 16mm. Produced by Thomas M. Kiefer, anthropologist, and the National Institute of Mental Health. A documentary on the Tausug Moslem pirates of Jolo Island in the Philippines. (Credit: Filmmaker)

Let's Get It Over With! (1970)

27-minutes, 16mm. Produced by the San Francisco State College Film Students On Strike. An impressionistic documentary on the 1970 invasion of Cambodia and the consequent disruption of American colleges. Distribution: VPRO-TV in the Netherlands, RAI in Italy. (Credit: Director)


© 2004- George Csicsery