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Do you remember Béla, for whom we collected money for a truck so that he could fight against waste pollution in Transcarpathia?

The latest film of the Naturefilm.hu Society presents the story of BélaFrancz and the River Saver truck.

In Ukraine, organized waste management is at an early stage, and in Transcarpathia it does not even exist in several settlements.

People are helpless, there is nowhere to put the waste that accumulates around the house.

This is how the picturesque Subcarpathian mountain rivers become a garbage dump, and that is why so much waste arrives in the river Tisza to Hungary.

Béla Francz, the lonely hero of Yasinya (Kőrösmező) decided to stir up the local waste processing and began to fight against pollution from the very beginning of the pollution chain, at the source of the river Tisza.

We met Béla by chance.

In early February 2020 on the occasion of the Tisza Wildlife Memorial Day to the American Corner in Uzhhorod (Ungvár)we were invited to screen our documentary film „Message in a bottle”. The screening turned into a Facebook event, the event became correspondence and the correspondence turned into a personal meeting. The conversation between Béla and Gergely Hankó – our plastic Prof – took only about 10 minutes.

But this time was enough to be the beginning of something important.

Béla Francz’s dedication and the Spartan conditions in which he was working, touched us deeply.

His van was in very bad conditions, so we thought that a better vehicle would help him a lot. We decided to help him in whatever way we can.

Right after the first meeting we made a short film and shared it on the website Adjukössze.hu where in some hours donors raised all the money needed for a used van, and in four days collected a multiple of that, more than three million HUF, so Béla could buy the IVECO called later River Saver Truck. This he has been continuously using for collecting and transporting waste every day since then.

Although at the beginning many people tried to discourage him from his plan, Béla did not give up.
After two and a half years, it can be said with certainty that he initiated a real change in Transcarpathia.

In the film we made together wesummarized the time passed since then, and present Béla’s struggles and successes. 

The film reveals whether Béla succeeds in achieving lasting change, or is he merely fighting a windmill battle?

Our film is about a real folk-tale hero who is always ready to act and doesn’t give up on his dreams even in the most difficult times, but finds his allies and always searches for a solution!

This film is about a man who, with his actions and attitude, leads us back to valuing and respecting nature.


01.02.2020. – First meeting in Ukraine 
(Commemoration Day of the river Tisza in Uzhhorod)
05.03.2020.-20.03.2020.– Adjukösszekampány
02.07.2020. – Acceptance of the donation
06.07.2020.– Purchasing of the truck
09.07.2020. – The first ride of the truck

Béla with his team in one year  collect, carry and process 3037 cubic meters of waste, and drive more than 24 000 km to keep clean four locations: Yasinya (Kőrösmező), Lazyscina (Mezőhát), Crno Tisa (Fekete-Tisza), Ski resorts

ʺDuring making nature films we have encountered many difficulties, but shooting this film surpassed all of them. We collected enough money for the truck, but had no source for the film. So we started to work on our own, with the help of voluntary work. This was changed only by the allowance of Active Hungary (Aktív Magyarország). With their help we would have proceed to work with steam ahead if Ukraine’s borders had not been closed due to the COVID pandemic. Since we planned a four-season film, we had no time to waste, and had to start shooting via teleworking, so we asked for help in Transcarpathia.”– Zsolt Tamás, producer of the film

 Fortunately, appropriate professionals were found.

Mihály Gazdag and Benjámin Bíró from Berehove (Beregszász) assumed the difficult task, although they had not worked before in such a way that the director gives them instructions and approves the shots via messenger.

As soon as the pandemic situation eased, the crew of Naturefilm.huSociety joined the team of camera-men in Berehove.

The whole team of the film contributed in the recordings during the winter, spring, and summer seasons.

ʺWe have been cleaning the river Tisza for a decade for now, and had to work a lot to finally be able to work in the source region of it. River pollution is a complex problem that we handle with network based approach and scientific methods.  In Transcarpathia, from Uzhhorod trough Berehove toYasinya, we found several cooperative partners who passionately wanted to change things. It’s a fantastic feeling to contribute to external successes, transmit our knowledge about the topic, give advice and help the others with funds and equipment. We can finally focus our efforts where the waste responsible for river pollutionsprings.– Gergely Hankó, project coordinator of Plastic Cup and sideman of the film–

During post-production, it was clear that the film would be much more than a movie about a truck bought from fundraiser.

We saw that this film had the potential not only to shock and ask questions, but also to provide answers.

“At the beginning of the Eighties, my father bought two completely damaged Zsiguli (known also as Lada, a Russian car brand). One had the front, the other had the back broken, but he made a usable Zsiguli from the two parts. This film takes me back to those times. Every time I visited Ukraine, there was always this “I will never give up” attitude in the air. Of course, also the difficult economic situation attributes to the fact that Ukrainians are very inventive, persistent, and reuse whatever they can. That is why river pollution, which thanks to Béla is already bothering more and more people there, did not make sense.”– Attila Dávid Molnár, director of the film – 

“I only spoke Hungarian with my grandparents. I listened to the stories in Hungarian. But then the kindergarten didn’t want to admit me because I couldn’t speak Ukrainian. From then on, my family spoke only Ukrainian to me at home. Finally, I was admitted to kindergarten, but it had a price: when I went on vacation on Hungary with my father for the first time at the age of ten, I could barely speak Hungarian. And to tell you the truth, I’m still afraid that I can’t speak Hungarian very well. I no longer use this language in Yasinya.But I still hope that Dávid (director of the film) will be right and that everyone will understand my story. If not all the words, at least its essence.” – Béla Francz, main character of the film–