TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Natural Light

Dénes Nagy, Marcell Gerő



István Semetka, a simple farmer drafted in the Hungarian army, finds himself witness to a mass murder. It was neither his decision to kill the residents of the village, nor did he agree to it being done. The year is 1943. His unit is searching for partisans in a vast muddy marshland within an occupied Soviet Union. Before the massacre, he is sent away by a superior officer to search the woods. On his return, he sees the burning barn. It is the barn where he gathered the villagers.
He is unable to do anything about it. He does not say a word about what happened. He does not report to anybody. He believes he did not have any other choice.
The film shows this man during the three days leading up to the massacre – who he is and how he makes decisions. He is dragged into moral ambiguity and has to constantly decide how much to put himself first: adapt to the situation or do the right thing.
In the end, he arrives in a small town where he is put on a train and sent home.


This film talks about me. Me as a father, and as a Hungarian citizen. Ever since I was born I have been an optimist. I always used to believe that at the end of the day things get slowly better and better.
I now start to imagine a possibility that I might live in a time when things are slowly becoming worse and worse. The most difficult thing for me is to recognize that my strong belief of what is good and what is wrong is starting to evaporate. How should I deal with this image? What kind of survival strategies remain?
This is not a war film. No grenades and bombs. We watch the faces of soldiers during their daily routine as they slowly enter the unknown. The story is set almost entirely in the wilderness. The Russian landscape is infinite. Life-giving sunlight in the damp wetlands.
Can you exonerate yourself if you were never the cause of anything bad happening around you? How do you deal with shame? What happens if you hesitate too long and you lose the time when you still had the possibility to act? Has this moment passed?

budget, distribution & sales

“Natural Light” ’s story is based on the novel of one of the most definitive contemporary Hungarian authors, Pál Závada. The film will be shot at original locations in one of the Baltic states. Our preliminary total production budget is € 2.240.615. We have received development support from Creative Europe, script development and pre-production support from the Hungarian National Film Fund. The film is eligible for the 25% Hungarian Tax Rebate. We are expecting € 1.493.995 domestic financing. Our Belgian co-production partner, Novak Prod, is in charge of the post-production. Our financial gap is around € 237.000. We are currently in the process of finding the third co-production partner in one of the Baltic states. As soon as the co-production structure is solid, we will submit our application for Eurimages in 2018. “Natural Light” is the first feature of an emerging Hungarian director who – through his two previous short films both premiered in Cannes – has already proven to have a strong cinematic vision. We are aiming for a strong festival run starting at a “category A” festival that creates the foundation of a successful cinema release followed by television distribution.


A soldier takes part in a mass murder and has to face his inner powerlessness.
Dénes Nagy

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Marcell Gerő


production notes

original title
Természetes Fény

produced byCampfilm
Károly krt. 3/C.
1075, Budapest

in co-production with
Novak Prod - Belgium

total production budget
€ 2.240.615