headshot photo of George Csicsery

George Csicsery

Presidential Fellow in Documentary Filmmaking
Schmid College of Science and Technology
Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts


GEORGE PAUL CSICSERY, a writer and independent filmmaker, has produced 35 documentaries on historical, ethnographic, cultural and mathematical subjects, including "Where the Heart Roams" (1987), "Hungry for Monsters" (2003), "Troop 214" (2008). "The Thursday Club" (2005), and "Songs Along A Stony Road" (2011).

His films on mathematical subjects include "N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős" (1993), which received extensive television distribution in the U. S. and abroad, including on the Sundance Channel, and public television syndication via APT. "Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chern" (2011), a portrait of mathematician S. S. Chern produced for his centenary celebrations with MSRI, is currently being broadcast on public television stations via NETA. "Hard Problems: The Road to the World’s Toughest Math Contest" (2008) tells the story of the 2006 U.S. team at the International Mathematical Olympiad. It was produced by the Mathematical Association of America and broadcast through APT in 2017. "Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem” (2008), a biographical doc about a pioneer woman in American mathematics, was narrated by Danica McKellar, and broadcast via APT. "Counting from Infinity: Yitang Zhang and the Twin Primes Conjecture" premiered at the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in January 2015, and has been airing on public stations via APT since April 2017. “Navajo Math Circles” premiered in 2016 and aired on PBS in September 2016.

Between 2010 and 2013 he produced 30 long-form biographical interviews for the Simons Foundation Science Lives series: Scientists 

In 2009 George Csicsery received the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award for bringing mathematics to nonmathematical audiences. See www.zalafilms.com for a fuller list.

Csicsery is the author and co-author of several screenplays: Ida (1989), Meeting With Darkness (1992), East of Evil (1995) and Alderman’s Story, set in King Philip's War in New England in 1675, which was awarded first prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2005. Csicsery's articles, reviews and interviews have appeared in Salon.com, Amerasia Journal, Asia Times, Heterodoxy, Film Quarterly, California Magazine, Savvy,  the San Jose Mercury-News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the East Bay Express, the Oakland Tribune, The Japan Times, The Forward, Lufthansa Bordbuch, Release Print, and many other publications. His articles and interviews have been reprinted in several anthologies, including Conversations with Ishmael Reed, University of Mississippi Press (1995); Without Force or Lies, edited by William Brinton, Mercury House (1990); and Burden of Dreams, by Les Blank & James Bogan, North Atlantic Books (1984).

He has a BA in Comparative Religions from UC Berkeley (1969), and an MFA in Film Production from San Francisco State University (1972). Csicsery has taught film editing at Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco (1982-1997), and general cinema courses to undergraduates at San Francisco State University (1996) and at UC Davis (1998).

George Csicsery began production of "Angel of Mercy" when he became interested in the life and career of Margaret Slachta. He mentioned this interest to a long-term acquaintance, Kensington sculptor Marika Somogyi, only to learn that Somogyi was one of the children whose life was saved by Slachta during the Hungarian Holocaust in 1944. This prompted the first interviews. Csicsery soon learned that he had other personal connections to the story, and may even have met Slachta himself in Buffalo, New York before her death in 1974. Being a fluent Hungarian speaker, he was able to develop contacts for the project in Hungary. However, the film is meant for an English-speaking audience, because it tells a story that is virtually unknown in the wider world, although it touches on communities of emigrés throughout the world, including California and the Bay Area.