congress / people

Balázs Lévai

Date and place of birth: 1968, Budapest, Hungary

Living place: Budapest, Hungary

Theme: journalism, media

ECC Participation: moderator

photo: private archive

A television producer, director, journalist and cultural manager. He makes documentary films, cultural programmes, writes, conceptualises events, presents shows, debates and conferences. His areas of interest include literature, music, sports and education combined in cultural programmes and documentaries.

Lévai created unique programme series for the Hungarian Television, such as the popmusic documentary “Dob+Basszus” (Drum & Base) or the “Bestseller”, a series portraying word-famous writers such as John Updike, Jose Saramago, Harold Pinter, Günter Grass, Umberto Eco, Paul Auster, Orhan Pamuk, Paulo Coelho, and many more. Both were spectacular success, proving Lévai to be one of the most prominent programme-makers in Hungary. He also presented “Consulting hour” - weekly programme on education, and Lévai's Small Dictionary” - cultural reportage on various contemporary topics from Hungarian Minority in Vojvodina, to The US Justice-System, and was a producer of “Our Little Town – Creative Cities”, a programme based on the British Council's "Future City Game" cycle.

“I believe that this machine called television can be used to allure people into the world of culture - the sexy side of culture can be presented through good programmes.”

In the years 1988-1992 Lévai studied history and literature at the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He continued his studies in the University of Pécs, and the Academy of Drama, Film and Television in Budapest, than worked as a teacher for 8 years.

He became involved in television programme making in 1996 as a stand-in reporter and editor. In 1998, he founded his own production company and started creating programmes for the Hungarian Television (mtv). In 2011 he was asked to be the anchorman of the popular science lecture series “Mindentudás Egyeteme” (University of All Knowledge), presenting news from the world of science: 16 lectures and 48 programs in four thematic blocks - future, life, environment and society.
Besides TV programme making he organises and presents events such as talk-shows, concerts, or programs for youth. Lévai also published 2 books based on the interwiews of the Bestseller-series.

His works are praised for their fresh content, good rhythm, creative editing, visual innovation, sophisticated humor, and deep insights into modern culture in a popular style. He has received many honors and awards for his work, including the “Knight Cross of the Hungarian Republic Order” awarded by the Hungarian Government.