The Szekler Legendarium project started in 2008 as a civil initiative, for the purpose of collecting and publishing the legends of the region, which represent a significant part of our intangible cultural heritage. Our project is mainly addressed to the children: we design and create products which can be attractive to them.
Our very first product was a map of Szeklerland, decorated with illustrations of 156 legends related to the region. The success of this initiative inspired us to publish our collection of legends, and then we created audiobooks, coloring book and several types of games. Finally we established the first animation studio of the region, which has 14 members at the moment.
We believe that the legends are lessons from our past, they give us a strong moral base in the present, showing a way to the future. Our mission is to promote these legends in a larger area, because they have not been included in the world literature so far. We would like to show the world that our region has a lot more exciting legends, older, than the Dracula horror story. In this small region almost every historical place, fortress, village and saint has at least one legend. Our area is populated by fairies, elves, demons, giants, dragons, warriors and kings.
Szekler Legendarium is a European trade mark: we promote our legends inside and outside the country, while we support schools, teachers and foster homes with our products. Until now we received partial, non-political financial support to our objectives, but our long-term goal is to make the Legendarium project self-sustaining.
The cartoon studio
The first animation studio of our region was founded in 2012. At the moment we are working with 14 animators, creating short animation films based on Szekler legends.
We produced and presented four separate animation films so far: our first cartoon, The Magic Stone was presented in 2013, and it won the Audience Award on Kecskemét International Animation Film Festival in Hungary. Our following cartoons, Zete and the Fairies, The Babba Maria of Szeklerland and The Fortune Teller of Gyergyo were presented in 2016, and they all became popular with the youngest and the most critical audience. At the moment we are working on a cartoon series, and its first episode was presented recently, winning two awards on the 17th edition of Lakitelek Film Festival in Hungary.
We also produced short documentaries about the locations of each legend included in the cartoons. We often present these documentaries together with the cartoons during our free projections in schools and on different cultural events. This way we made the region’s legends popular with hundreds of children so far. To promote our legends abroad more effectively, we translated in English the animation films and our books.
Our professional partners
American freelance animator Ken Fountain, partner of DreamWorks Animation, who contributed to numerous well-known Hollywood animation productions, is mentoring our animation team.
We received useful advices from Oscar-winning Hungarian animation director Rófusz Ferenc, from Toró Annamária, animator born in Targu Mures, from Miskedi Andrea and Vágó András Sasha, former colleagues of Kecskemét Animation Studio, and also from 3D animator Nagy Tibor.
Our animation films were translated in English and dubbed by the colleagues of Her Majesty’s Theatre from London, led by dramaturge Andrészek István.