Miracle In Vienna

Based on a true story

Music C. 1993 by Ray Ellis and Eva Kovacs
lyrics by eva kovacs::
By Candle Light   /   If You Believe As I Believe   /  Guardian Angel

"Optioned by Faulkner Productions for film 7/22/13 Montreal, Canada "

"Based on original Screenplay 'ZIZI' A Christmas Story by Eva Kovacs, and   Louis Garfinkle - writer of
-- THE DEER HUNTER
--- that won five Oscars, including one for Best Picture of 1978




LOGLINE

Desperate to locate her husband during the chaos of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, a young refugee mother allows her child to spend Christmas Eve with an influential Austrian couple, who believe that she is the reincarnation of their recently deceased daughter. Their meeting produces ‘miraculous’ results.

Vienna 1956.  Christmas shoppers hurry amidst holiday music and sleigh bells, while the Austrian children anticipate the magical night ahead.

Sadly, the same magic is not found in the neighboring country as Hungary is in the midst of a revolution. While Russian tanks are burning the cities and villages, Elisabeth, a courageous Hungarian mother with her four little children, escape through a barbed wire border fence into Austria. Her husband Stefan remained behind to free his country from the soviet occupying forces.

Meanwhile in Austria, not everybody is rejoicing before Christmas.  The Mayor of Vienna, Otto Bluemmeister and his wife Edith are burying their eleven-year-old daughter Emily in the family cemetery near the Hungarian border.  Father Richter performs the ceremony.

The next day, in the little village chapel, Father Richter welcomes the refugees.  He stops dead in his tracks when he sees Zizi, the spitting image of Emily Bluemmeister, the child he buried that same morning. He rushes off to Vienna to inform the Archbishop of what he considers the most incredible miracle. 

Convinced that he just witnessed a true miracle, disobeying the Archbishop’s orders, Father Richter rushes to tell the incredible news to his dear friend Edith Bluemmeister. Upon hearing about the “resurrection” of her darling daughter, Edith immediately follows Father Richter to the refugee camp.  When she finds Zizi, a remarkable and perfect resemblance to Emily, she tries to bribe Zizi’s mother with money, but Elisabeth bluntly refuses.  She didn’t escape hell to turn around and sell her children. Elisabeth is hoping to hear news of her husband through Rudy Mueller in Vienna, a friend, who sheltered her family at the end of World War II. A US Lt. at the camp convinces Elisabeth that the Mayor of Vienna could be a great help in locating Rudy Mueller, to get news of her husband.  Elisabeth reluctantly agrees. Zizi leaves with a few orphans to spend Christmas Eve at the Bluemmeisters palatial home. After a night filled with many presents and joyful celebration, a preciously guarded Zizi is put to sleep in Emily’s room. 

During the night, Emily’s Spirit appears to Zizi, and tells her, “I descend to you because you ascend to me in thought.”  There are no coincidences in life and it is not by chance we look alike.   Emily’s brief time on earth is for a higher purpose. Through Zizi; her grieving parents will understand that death is not the end of life. Love transcends Death.  In turn Emily promises a miracle.

Otto takes Zizi to Vienna in search of Mueller, but after learning he is in London for the holidays, he gets alarming information from the American intelligence: Zizi’s father is dead.  Not wanting to break the news to the child, or further antagonize the mother, Otto is forced to take Zizi back to the camp.  The problem is Zizi has disappeared.

Overhearing of her father’s demise and refusing to believe it, Zizi goes looking for him.  She loses herself in Vienna.  When she is found, the Mayor drives her back to the refugee camp. On their way to the camp, in the midst of Christmas glitter, the Mercedes stops by a group of bleary-eyed drifters shivering around a burning fire can and begging for handouts. Suddenly, Zizi is seized with tremor.  She screams to stop the car, jumps out, and is running back to the fire can, sobbing and screaming, “POPPA! POPPA!”

Emily’s promise of a miracle comes true. In a twist of fate, Zizi delivers her father alive, bringing him to her family at a farewell mass in progress for the refuges. Father Richter spots the child as she enters the church, leading a beggar through the isle.  He stops the mass: “Miracles require a little break ”

The next day the refugees are boarding an Army plane for America.  While reporters and camera crew are recording the news of the little village of miracles, the Bluemmeisters are bidding Zizi and her family goodbye, when suddenly; they are struck by a flashing vision of Emily’s spirit as she receives her wings.


PRODUCTION DETAILS

TITLE                                 Miracle in Vienna      

                    GENRE                               Family Drama, Christmas story     

  PRODUCTION CO.          Faulkner Production   

PRODUCER                      Lee Faulkner            

DIRECTOR:                     Vilmos Zzigmond        
     (Academy Award Winner DP For "Deer Hunter")             


WRITER:                           Eva Kovacs               

Judith, Eva, Elizabeth Kovacs




Possible CAST DETAILS


EDITH BLUEMMEISTER

Kristin Scott Thomas
(Nominated for an Oscars)

          

OTTO  BLUEMMEISTER

Ralph Fiennes
(Nominated for 2 Oscars)


ELISABETH


                               

    Deborah Kara Unger                 or              Lolita Davidovich      


            FATHER RICHTER                   LIEUTENANT HARTMAN

                             

       John Voight                                        Bruce Greenwood
(Academy Award Winner)                                                              



ARCHBISHOP

Harvey Keitel

PRODUCER’S NOTES

Miracle in Vienna is a touching family film with an inspiring message. It tells the story of two families who struggle to keep the memory and hope for their loved one alive against tremendous odds.  Set in 1956 during the political upheaval of Communist Hungary, this story reminds the viewer that miracles can be found in the most unusual places. "Miracle in Vienna" is a child's account of searching for her father while being in an Austria refugee camp following her family’s escape from Hungary.

During this critical period of late 1956 to early 1957, some 250 000 Hungarians fled their country. Most of them spent time in Austrian and Yugoslavian refugee camps before settling in the West. Few English language films have addressed this event and it will appeal to widespread interest in former communist regimes and the Cold War. 

2006 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising against Soviets.  The worldwide release of the film will coincide with this International event.  This additional attention to the subject matter will make "Miracle in Vienna" a very timely film.

This Christmas drama is based on the life of author Eva Kovacs, who at the age of 11 escaped to Austria from her native Hungary with her mother and sisters.  After being reunited with their father, the Kovacs immigrated to North America, like some 80,000 others who resettled there. Eva, who had a promising career as a ballerina in Hungary, carried on her dream in the US and went on to have successful careers  representing the US in Miss World competitions, as a model, actress and founder of several post-secondary schools.



HISTORIC BACKGROUND

The Hungarian Revolution (1956)

After Stalin's death in 1953, a more moderate line of Communism was permitted in Hungary.  The Hungarian leader, Imre Nagy, championed this moderate line, known as the "New Course".  Yet by 1955, hardline Communists were back in power, Nagy was deposed, and Hungary was put back under harsh Communist rule.

A new Communist leader, Erno Gero, was imposed on Hungary in 1956.  Hungarian intellectuals and students began to demand reform, taking no notice of their new leader.  Huge demonstrations took place in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.  On October 23, one such demonstration led to a violent conflict with the Police.  Hungarians everywhere defied the Communists  and Gero appealed to the Soviet Red Army for help.

With the determination of the Hungarian people, Nagy was restored as Prime Minister, and he promised democratic reform.  Soviet troops marched into Hungary to put a stop to the 'revolution'.  Nagy appealed to the United Nations to recognize Hungary's new position, but was ignored.

On November 4 1956, Soviet troops overthrew Nagy.  He was taken to Romania, and tried and executed for treason by the Hungarians in 1958.

In the months following the suppression of the revolution nearly 200,000 people left Hungary. The refugees, before settling down in different Western countries, spent a shorter or longer period of time in Austrian and Yugoslavian refugee camps. Even before 4th November Western governments and civil organizations offered a considerable amount of food and medical aid to support the Hungarians, but only a part ever reached Hungary due to the second Soviet intervention.

In November the call of the UN general meeting was followed by a worldwide campaign to support Hungarian refugees and help them settle down in the West. The United States headed this action and as early as 2nd November it offered $20 million in aid to Hungary. It also took generous care of Hungarians settling down on its own territory and offered support to other nations taking in refugees. A major part of the maintenance costs of Austrian refugee camps was also covered by the United States. The majority of Hungarian refugees - about 80,000 people - found new homes in the United States, while 22,000 settled down in England, 16,000 in the German Federal Republic, 14,000 in Switzerland and 13,000 in France.   Close to 40,000 Hungarians came to Canada in late 1956 and 1957.


Budapest, 1956. Boys sitting on a tank with the note ‘Russians go Home’.
Copyright © 1998 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Budapest, 1956. Stalin portraits are burnt in the street.
Photo: Lessing, Erich. Copyright © 1998 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Becs, Austria 1956. Hungarian Refugees in Vienna.
Copyright © 1998 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution