People

'Superman'

'Superman'

Mohammada is the eldest son of Horiyo Ali Abukar. He was wearing a Superman T-shirt when Peter met him in the Dadaab refugee camp. Peter gave him the name Superman because this little boy was so strong and seemed so hopeful despite the dire circumstances he and his family were in.

Andras Hedegus

Andras Hegedus was Peter’s grandfather. He was the Communist leader of Hungary at the time of the popular up-rising against the Soviet-influenced government. He became his country’s leader with aspirations for a more just Hungary but in 1956, at the age of 33, he signed the party document that legitimised the Soviet invasion to put down the Hungarian Revolution. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees.  Andras spent two years in exile in Moscow before he could return home to Hungary. He was one of the few leaders in Europe who later critically evaluated his actions and his impact as leader of Hungary. As a result he turned against his own faction and due to his dissenting views was expelled from the Communist Party in 1973. He became an opposition figure, contributing to the political transition that took place in Hungary in 1989.

Byron Rosa

Byron Rosa

Byron Rosa was a student at John Muir Middle School until he graduated in 2009. He met Peter in 2007 when Peter spent three weeks at the school where Kevin Lum was teaching. Peter wanted to understand
what students and young teenagers felt about the American Dream.

George Friedman

George Friedman

George Friedman is an American political scientist and author and the founder, chief intelligence officer and CEO of the private intelligence corporation Stratfor. He has authored several books, including The Next 100 Years, The Next Decade, America's Secret War, The Intelligence Edge and The Future of War. In ‘My America’, George provides an important counterbalance to Peter's ideas about America and pushes him to question his beliefs and dreams about the US.

Jesse Odom

Jesse Odom

Jesse Odom is 7 years younger than Peter and an Iraqi War veteran. In March 2003, Jesse’s buddy was the first American fatality of the war in Iraq. Jesse held his dying friend in his arms. He believes in freedom and wishes everyone in the world could have the opportunities in life that he has. Despite his traumatic experience, Jesse continues to believe wholeheartedly in the American Dream and its potential to do good around the world.

Jozsef Hegedus

Jozsef Hegedus

Jozsef Hegedus is Peter’s father and the director of the Metropolitan Research Institute in Budapest. As Peter sets out to test and examine his notion of the American Dream, Jozef is the fatherly ‘reality check’.

Masoumeh Ebtekar

Masoumeh Ebtekar

Masoumeh Ebtekar is an Iranian scientist, journalist and politician. Mrs Ebtekar first entered the public sphere as ‘Tehran Mary’, the English-speaking spokesperson for the Iranian students who laid siege to the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Later, after many years of working for moderation and reform in Iranian politics, she became the nation’s first female Vice President. When Peter met her she had become the director of the Peace and Environment Center in Tehran and was a City Councilwoman elect.

Tom Singer

Tom Singer

Tom Singer is a psychiatrist and an expert on the American Dream who Peter first contacted in 2007. They have corresponded ever since, exploring Peter’s conflicted feelings towards America. In 2009, Tom and Peter spent time together face to face in a therapy-like session. The insights which emerged were very meaningful for Peter and his journey and became an important part of the film.

Abdikadir Omar

Abdikadir Omar

Abdikadir Omar lives in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, close to the Kenyan border with Somalia. The UNHCR camp was established 20 years ago to accommodate around 90,000 Somalians fleeing the violence in Mogadishu when the central government was overthrown in a civil war. It is now home to almost half a million people, some of whom are third-generation refugees whose parents were born in the camp. Abdikadir Omar's sister and his journalist parents were murdered in Somalia in 1991. He was just 14 years old. He escaped, and walked alone across the desert to the camp. He is now in his 30s and married with three young children (all of whom were born in Dadaab. He does his best to live a meaningful life, working in his community to help others, especially the new arrivals. His greatest wish is to be able to go home but as there is no sign of war or famine ending in Somalia, he hopes to be resettled to another country. His dream is to be able to go swimming one day.

Andy Vajna

Andy Vajna

Andy Vajna is an Hungarian-American film producer. Vajna was born in Budapest, Hungary and emigrated to the US in 1956. With Mario Kassar he founded a company called Carolco, which went on to produce many blockbuster movies. His credits include the ‘Rambo’ series, ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ and multiple ‘Terminator’ movies.

Dorka Hegedus-Lum

Dorka Hegedus-Lum

Dorka Hegedus-Lum is Peter’s sister and, with her husband Kevin, is now the proud parent of Linus Oliver Lum. Dorka moved to the US in 2001 after being offered a job at an LA-based motion picture production company. Since then she has built up extensive experience in production, managing high budget feature films. Kevin and Dorka's personal journey provides an important insight into how the lives of ordinary Americans have been affected by the financial crisis.

Horiyo Ali Abukar

Horiyo Ali Abukar

Horiyo Ali Abukar is a 26-year-old widowed mother who lives as a refugee in Dadaab, Kenya. Three months before Peter met Horiyo, her husband, a police officer with InterPol, was murdered by insurgents in Mogadishu, Somalia. With her six children, one of whom is disabled due to an untreated injury*, she walked across the desert to seek asylum in neighbouring Kenya. When she arrived, there was no room at the camp and she had to rely on other refugees for help. Horiyo struggles each day to clothe, feed and shelter her children. *Since the time of filming, Abdikadir Omar assisted Horiyo to find treatment for her disabled son Ismail. He is now able to walk again.

Jianlan

Jianlan

Jianlan is a young translator and Peter’s guide in Beijing. Through Jianlan and her moderate conservative approach, Peter ran up against many no-go topics in China. One of the most significant being the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Known as “The June 4 Incident” in China, Jianlan seemed to know nothing about them or their relevance to her generation. Discussion of the protests - which were broadcast worldwide - is forbidden by the Communist Party of China. Public memory of the protests has been suppressed and any coverage must conform to the government’s ‘official version’ of the events. Internet searches on this subject and many similar topics (like Taiwanese independence, human rights abuses or the Falun Gong movement) are blocked, as are thousands of other websites - including Facebook - that the government believes will incite dissent by Jianlan’s generation.

Maani Delavari

Maani Delavari

Maani is a young Iranian who acted as Peter’s guide in Tehran. The same age as Peter, he is a gentle, quiet person who enjoys creating electronic music. Born in the late ‘70s baby boom following the establishment of the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran, Maani is one of the Third Generation. (Just as Peter is Gen X). In Iran, the ‘First Generation’ refers to the original Islamic revolutionaries of 1979. The ‘Second Generation’ were the young people decimated in numbers by the Iran - Iraq war (1980-1988) when Saddam Hussein’s American-backed forces invaded Iran and the resulting conflict led to the deaths of some one million Iranians (upper estimates reach 1.5 million). The ‘Third Generation’ are now in the majority in Iran - making Iran demographically one of the youngest countries in the world. The crippling power of the remaining First Generation conservative leaders means the current generation has little political voice and has been unable to bring about political reform, despite the dramatic post-election protests shortly after Peter’s visit.

Peter Hegedus

Peter Hegedus

Peter Hegedus is an Australian-Hungarian filmmaker who lives in Brisbane, Australia. Ever since he saw his first Hollywood movie in socialist Hungary, Peter has been fascinated by America. After 20 years of
dreaming about it, Peter sets out to find the America of his childhood.

SCREEN AUSTRALIA & SCREEN QUEENSLAND PRESENT A SOUL VISION FILMS PRODUCTION A FIREFLY PRODUCTIONS production IN ASSOCIATION WITH FRESH WATER PICTURES & SBS
Written & Directed by PETER HEGEDUS Produced by JANE JEFFES Executive Producer TRISH LAKE Co-writers MARK O’TOOLE, JANE JEFFES, TRISH LAKE, AXEL GRIGOR, ROBERT PERRIER Film Editor AXEL GRIGOR Original Music CAITLIN YEO
Co-Producers AGNES BODNAR for BIG TURTLE, ANDRAS MUHI for INFORG STUDIO Animation MIKOS FALVAY, KEDD ANIMATION STUDIOS, BUDAPEST Producers PETER HEGEDUS, JANE JEFFES, TRISH LAKE

ISAN 0000-0002-B26E-0000-M-0000-0000-8

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