An interview with KRISTINA GOZTOLA, protagonist and producer of “Scruple”- Rome Prisma Film Awards

Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there

Meryl Streep


Kristina Goztola was born in the small town of Hungary, near the Austrian border. The “Mediterranen Beauty” speaks fluent English, French, Italian, Hungarian.

She studied classical ballet and folk dance for seven years and graduated in High School of Music Arts in Hungary. She began her career as a musical actress in Hungary.

After playing a few leading roles in musical performances, (Kiss me Kate! Stowaway, Miss Susy) at the age of 22 she continued her studies in London and in Los Angeles in New York Film Academy to become Screen actress.

She got the role of Natasha in the american-canadian TV series Painkiller Jane (2007). Thenceforth played in popular Hungarian TV series In the Line of Fire (2009), Életképek (2009) Hacktion (2013). Thanks to her mediterranean appearance is often invited to play Italian, Spanish roles, Captain Alatriste (2013) Chi pensa a me? (2014).

She was offered the role of Christine Wiegel in the American-French-English-Belgian co-production The Man with the Iron Heart (2017) in which she played the lover of Reinhard Heydrich, starred by Jason Clarke.

She was invited to Avignon to one of the biggest theatrical festivals in the world to play the leading role in french language in the drama of Matei Visniec “Du sexe de la femme comme champ de bataille” (2015) where the performance was nominated for the prize of Tournesol.

Owing to her french success, she established the film company Jona Films Paris later on Jonah Film Entertainment (2017). She made her debut as a producer in the short movie Les Recherches Continuent 2018. The film – was shot in Paris and in which she played the female leading role – received the main prize of Bujtor Istvan Film Festival in Hungary (2018) after that the film was presented in West Los Angeles and North Hollywood as well. For her acting in the film she received the Best Actress Prize by Sweden Film Awards (2020).

In 2019 at Cannes Film Festival, as actress she represented the beautiful collection of the world famous Israeli fashion designer Michal Negrin.

„Le Collier” / „The Necklace” french-hungarian co-production was also shooted in Paris, of which she was the protagonist and producer (2020). The film received the Best Cinematography, the Best Director Award – Peter Halmi and the Special Jury Prize in India, Bollywood (2020).

Scruple” is certainly a complex film, with a refined and wise narrative construction. But we can also say that it is an adrenaline-pumping, tense and disturbing film that keeps the viewer glued to the screen from the first minute to the last. Certainly this is also due to the actors’ interpretation. Of all, your performance is certainly the most multifaceted, exciting and demanding. Tell us about your work of identification and character building. How do you manage to bring out these disturbing and painful emotions? Do you draw and rework from your personal past or are you able to empathize with the character?

In the movie I act the part of a mother whose 4 year-old girl disappears. Without having found the little girl the police closes the investigation but she is unable to settle for this. The script was based on a novel by the famous and wonderful Italian writer Giorgio Scerbanenco. The film is unfortunately is very topical as the number of missing children increases year by year. I don’t have children yet. While preparing for the role I was talking to mothers. I asked them how to move forward with such a tragedy, how it can be accepted. They replied that it is impossible to accept it. What is the most horrible in such a situation is the uncertainty.

We were saying, in fact, how strong are the emotions and situations represented in this film. Your acting manages to impressively convey the terror, the agonizing expectation, the suspicion … in short, you really got into character. But let’s not forget that you are also the producer of this film! How did you manage to handle both of these roles? Was it easy to slip from one position to another throughout the production of the film?

Multiple energies need to be invested in the work as a producer, ranging from film preparations to post-production. As an actor you can relax between two scenes. When I didn’t have to be on the set as an actress I still watched if everything was all right. I noticed that I was more excited for the other actors than for myself. In this case, it is especially important to work with a professional, reliable team.

Independent cinema, even more the short one, has always struggled against the stringent limits of budget and production. But in this same tension, he often finds his highest and most original artistic form. As the producer of this film, what was the hardest thing you faced? 

Here, I would like to say thank again to Cecilia Scerbanenco, Giorgio Scerbanenco’s daughter. Without her, this film would not have been come true. With this film I want to draw people’s attention to take great care of our children. This is a collective responsability, regardless of whether you are a parent or not. Yes, this is a low budget short movie but with great team and with excellent actors. I would single out the work of Eric da Costa, who played the role of the Commissioner.

The results of your work as an actress are clearly seen on the screen. A careful and expert eye also manages to grasp your precious contribution as a producer. But which role do you prefer?

It is hard to choose. I’m very glad that I received the Best Actress trophy from Sweden Film Awards for this role. I’m really satisfied that the film was presented in the Laemmle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles, and the Laemmle’s NoHo7 Theater in Hollywood and we got the Grand Prix in Hungary.

As a producer of the film, your role is halfway between the artistic enthusiasm and the concreteness of the project, in all its aspects. When you have to choose a role as a producer, what is it that attracts you the most? In other words, what inspires you?

The work of a producer requires a different vision than that of an actor. You have to be a sensitive actress in your heart and a realistic, forward-thinking in your head all the same time. The key is always a good scenario. Peter Halmi, our company’s Jonah Film Entertainment’s Artistic Director generally writes the scripts. We like to mix classic and modern elements in human destinies.

Your role as an actress, on the other hand, requires an intimate and personal artistic effort. You are deeply connected with the narrative material. What are your favorite roles and what excites you when you read a script?

It was fantastic to work with Jason Clarke in „The Man with the Iron Heart”. It was very good to make the shooting with the director Peter Halmi in „The Necklance” for which we also received a number of awards. As an actress my first question always is „Who will be the director”. As an actress, it is not the budget that matters but to represent artistic value and be credible in the role.