Despite a string of international producers lining up with offers to film Imre Kertesz's Fateless, after the Hungarian author won the Nobel prize for Literature last week, it seems the project is going to remain predominantly Hungarian.
Hungarian cinematographer Lajos Koltai has been preparing his directorial debut - a film based on the novel Fateless - for the last five years. But with a comparatively astronomical budget of $8m - which would make it the second most expensive Hungarian film ever, Koltai and producer Peter Barbalics of Magic Media who owns the film rights, have had little success so far.
Fateless, published in 1975, was Kertesz's (pictured) first novel and is based on his ordeal as a young boy in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and later in Buchenwald as a teenager.
In an interview with news service AFP, Koltai said:" Now that this miracle happened, a number of producers have signalled interest. Some called immediately after the [Nobel] prize was announced."
And although interest has come in from German, French and Italian producers - and even a "big American one", he would like to keep the film "a Hungarian work of art", he said.
Koltai and Barbalics, in agreement with the writer - who has already written the script himself, want to produce the film with Hungarian money and with the help of the cultural ministry, so that the film rights would remain in the country.
Ministry representatives seem keen on co-operation and are suggesting that negotiations begin as soon as possible. Koltai is hoping to start production in the second half of 2003 and even though there were early plans to shoot the film in English, now it likely to be shot in Hungarian and in Hungary.