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Completion   /  Bobbi-Lea Dionysius


A mother, Lili, flees her country in the midst of a revolution and begins a history of abandonment that crosses three co


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Peter Hegedus

  • PRODUCER Rebecca McElroy



Edie Hart journeys across three continents to find out why her mother Lili abandoned her first baby daughter when she fled her country in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Along the way, she opens a Pandora’s box into a disturbing family history that has laid dormant for decades. What Edie uncovers is a shocking trail of abandonment that forces her and her family to confront their tragic past. This documentary provides a rare and powerful insight into the legacy of war and forced migration on three generations of women.

Support this project

0.50% funded
  • $70,000.00

  • $350.00

  • December 2019

  • 3

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anne Brown $100.00
Adam Kirk $50.00
Alex Szabo $200.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

LILI is a feature documentary about intergenerational trauma, stemming from global conflict. The film explores familial trauma and abandonment and examines how it can become cyclical over generations of family. What happens to people who are victims, but then become active agents of abandonment? And most importantly, how does the new generation break this cycle - if they can at all?

As much as this film is about the past it is also about its intrusion on the present. In 2018, a record 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced. Driven from their homes and scattered across the world due to global conflict, violence, and persecution, the impact of this dislocation on families remains one of the biggest social and human rights issues of our times.

The film seeks to start a conversation about familial healing for the many people who have suffered a loss of identity and culture through their displacement from their homeland.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Through our World Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, we realised the importance of creating a safe space for audience members to share their own stories of trauma and displacement as a path to healing. Our website will have an interactive ‘Story Map’ where people can share their migration stories.

We are currently talking with refugee, Hungarian and Jewish organisations as well as academics about screenings and amplifying their current campaigns such as ‘Families in Cultural Transitions'.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope to give voice to the many individuals who have experienced trauma due to conflict and provide a space for validation and healing to occur. On a community level, we hope to increase understanding and empathy for the plight of so many people who have been forced to leave their homeland, friends and family, but also celebrate the strength and resilience of people.

Furthermore, sharing Hungary’s turbulent past will also help inform others around the political machinations of Europe and how these historical events continue to shape the world.

According to the Healing Foundation responses to how people deal with trauma manifest in similar ways including intense fear, helplessness and horror. The issue of unresolved trauma is often overlooked in both policy and practice.

Additionally, by amplifying organisations who work in this space we also hope to encourage governments to work more collaboratively in managing the issues of mass migration around the world.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

It is our hope that the film generates healing for the victims of intergenerational trauma, while creating empathy and understanding for the general audience. The film’s themes are both timely and timeless and will continue to be a useful resource with regard to the complex issue of intergenerational trauma.

At the recent Sydney Film Festival screening, a woman in the audience, who works closely with trauma victims, explained that sharing stories is important for healing as people need to have their experiences acknowledged. It is our aim to reach as wide an audience as possible through both theatrical and community screenings as well as providing the discussion platform for people to share their own experiences.

We also believe the film could eventually be included within the senior high school curriculum. It’s value not only providing further insight into intergenerational trauma, but also the historical and social constructs impacting women and the choices available to them.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We are currently talking with a number of organisations and academics about how we can work together to enhance the social impact of the project by drawing attention to the complex issue of intergenerational trauma and the ongoing refugee crisis. We have been approached by organisations including the Refugee Council and Act For Peace who are keen to be part of both the theatrical and community screenings on the post discussion panels.

We are also talking with QPASTT (Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma) in Brisbane, STARTTS (Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) in NSW and the Jewish Museum.

We aim to support and strengthen STARTTS campaigns ‘Witness to War’ program and ‘Families in Cultural Transition’ program, as well as the ‘Choose Humane’ Campaign facilitated by The Refugee Council of Australia.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope audiences will consider and reflect on their own communities and start to recognise that their neighbours, work colleagues and even friends may have experienced pain and distress as a result of intergenerational trauma. It is our hope that even a simple exchange and acknowledgement of those who have suffered may act as a small step in the healing journey.

With so many Australians carrying the burden of trauma as a result of conflict, we want to encourage as many people as possible to view and share the film. Through the tools available on our website we will encourage people to organise their own screenings which may include home screenings, groups, schools and universities.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will work with the above-mentioned organisations to develop a strategic way to measure the impact of our documentary on the wider Australian community. Key indicators will be surveys conducted with members of our affiliated organisations. Furthermore, we will also make our website a place for people to leave feedback about the film. Importantly we will also conduct community screenings where individuals and groups will have the chance to provide feedback about the film and take part in post-screening Q&A panel discussions..