“He’s got great respect for the director and courage to do projects that aren’t so easy… He won’t let you down; you can trust him.”

Paul Verhoeven, director of Total Recall

“When Andy gives you his word, you know it’s good. And no matter how tough the going gets, you can count on him. He’s got nerves of steel.”

Joe Roth, chairman, Walt Disney Motion Picture Group

“I fell in love in love with Andy the moment I met him, because for once I’d met a Hungarian in Hollywood who was not only more successful than I was, but also crazier.”

Joe Eszterhas

“You can’t make an actor act. You have got to create an atmosphere he wants to perform. It can be hell.”

Andrew G. Vajna

“Andy Vajna was a great friend and collaborator. He believed in me on one of my toughest shoots, Terminator 2. I will miss him, his humor, class and style, but especially the motorcycle rides.”

James Cameron

“We’re glad to be a part of your lifetime.”

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore to Andy when he received NATO/ShoWest Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995

“Andy doesn’t compare to anybody else in this business. Andy is unique, he’s independent; he’s a rare blend of entrepreneur and film maker. He puts his money on the line time and time again, and he’s won as big as anyone in this town. You’ve got to admire somebody like that.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dream Works SKG Partner

“A very very sad day ... Producer ANDY VAJNA, the man that Made Rambo happened, died today… LOVED this man’s courage - a pioneer. Believed In making FIRST BLOOD when no one else did.…This truly breaks my heart. Rip”

Sylvester Stallone

“He’s one of the few people around with the balls to play with his own money. His word carries a lot of weight. He’s personally out on the line. It’s always given me a lot of respect for him. Andy is always involved. He’s your partner or your boss, but he offers guidance as opposed to instructions… He approaches business in a sort of family style. He keeps the same friends for 30 years, and that’s kind of remarkable.”

John McTiernan, director of Medicine Man and Die Hard With a Vengeance

“Andy Vajna was a dear friend and a revolutionary force in Hollywood. He proved that you don’t need studios to make huge movies like Terminator 2 or Total Recall. He had a huge heart, and he was one of the most generous guys around. I’ll miss him.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“When you work with Andy, the buck stops with him. I don’t deal with anybody else. It becomes very much Andy’s movie, one singer, one song.”

Danny Cannon, director of Judge Dread

“Working with Andy was the best experience of my career and he makes the world’s greatest bouillabaisse.”

Steven de Souza, screenwriter Judge Dredd

“Vajna defined what would become known as the ‘big action picture’. He really has a wide range of talent and ability.”

Tim Warner, general chairman of film company NATO / ShoWest

“The profession is never boring. I have found the interesting things in everything I have ever done. So none of my occupations ever seemed like work.”

Andrew G. Vajna

“I decided to learn something that I could do no matter where I lived – I became a hairdresser. I chose hairdressing because it is a useful skill and one that I could always go back to. Knowing this gave me great security and the freedom to explore other avenues.”

Andrew G. Vajna

In Cannes for nearly 50 years

‘I have visited the Cannes Film Festival for the first time in the beginning of the 70s, and ever since then, I have never skipped it. I can be grateful to Cannes, this is where I have met Mario Kassar, with whom we have launched our film corporation, Carolco’ says Andy Vajna.

The producer was living in Hong Kong at this time, and was busy with the launch of his Panasia Film Limited. He travelled to Cannes in order to purchase film distribution rights for the Asian market.

‘I was totally unprepared, didn’t know anyone, and had no hotel reservation. It was by luck I met American film producer and film distributor Irvin Shapiro on the plain, who had reservations for an extra hotel room, which he has offered to me. This is how I was able to stay at Carlton Hotel, which was considered the best place to stay’, remembers Andy Vajna. 

It was then Shapiro who introduced Vajna to several film distributors, and this is also how he met his future partner, Mario Kassar, with whom they have first cooperated on purchasing film rights. In 1976, they have established Carolco, and have made numerous successful movies together (among others Rambo and Music Box).

Early days with Mario Kassar

‘There were a lot less people in Cannes at that time, it was possible to meet professionals of the film industry from all over the world. That possibility is still there, however, the festival itself has become too far-reaching. Over 30,000 people visit it every year, but unfortunately, the infrastructure has not developed in line with growth of the festival.’

 In the recent years, Andy Vajna has been primarily involved in the foreign sale of Hungarian films in Cannes, as Government Commissioner. Cannes Film Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and is commencing with outstanding Hungarian participation. Hungary is leading the list among CEE countries in regard to the number of invited films. The official selection involves three Hungarian films and one co-produced by a Hungarian.

May 2017