Photo courtesy of @ChrisPotterPhotos

“When I told people I wanted to go to America and make the greatest movies, they reacted as if I said I wanted to be an astronaut and go to Mars”

A local filmmaker has overcome a childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia and immigrating to a new country, alone. Now, he is in the midst of his biggest challenge yet: releasing a movie for wide release.

Santa Monican Attila Korosi (who prefers to go by just his first name) is currently in the midst of polishing up his first feature film, “Maze of Fate”. The film is about the intertwining lives of complete strangers in LA and the impact of their day-to-day choices; a boy from a tough neighborhood wants to be an astronaut, an immigrant nurse wants to be a filmmaker, an aspiring model wants to come to America and how their lives, though disparate, interact.

Attila bills his film as “a mind-bending drama,” an apt way to describe a film that partially acts as a metaphor of Attila’s own life story.

Before he found a home in Santa Monica, Attila grew up in war-torn Yugoslavia. Despite the low-morale and dangerous surroundings, he still found time to be a kid.

“Growing up in a war is not as bad as you might think,” Attila said. “People are kinder, closer, and everyone gives you candy.” He says this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, noting, “life is all about perspective.”

In his own perspective, Attila found war and his country something to move past. He found solace and peace in bootlegged VHS movies such as Terminator, Alien and Ghostbusters, E.T, Jurassic Park,  movies that would inspire him to become a filmmaker.

“Movies were my salvation,” he said.

However, in a country going through war, most just want to look far enough into the future to see their next day. Survival is of utmost importance and dreams rarely occurred and even more rarely did they get chased.

A younger Attila took his circumstances as a challenge and dared to dream. He envisioned a path to become a filmmaker, albeit one on an unbeaten path.

“I knew if I wanted to become a filmmaker, I’d need to move to America. To move to America, I knew I’d need to get a full-ride scholarship to a school to get out of Yugoslavia.”

For someone that describes himself as “nothing special” who was awkward, often sick, made fun of and slowest in his class, Attila set about making an optimum man, learning and growing in every aspect of his life.

He excelled in school and forced his body to adapt to the rigors of short distance running. He researched and discovered that a school he was interested in, Baylor, had many of their Olympians running the 400-meter race, a distance Attila excelled at.

He sent a cold email to Baylor but was too late for a full-ride scholarship. Still, Baylor’s track coach saw something in Attila and recommended him to the University of Tulsa. Attila got the scholarship and a challengingbut funnew environment.

“I never heard about Tulsa until coach reached out to me,” Attila said with a laugh. “I arrived there with just two bags. But I learned there was no one there from my country. I wanted to go to a place where I have no one and I have to be independent. It forced me to socialize. It was a great learning experience getting exposed to different cultures.”

After getting a degree in economics and accounting, Attila moved to Santa Monica, hoping to begin his film career in LA.

After meeting like-minded filmmakers, however, Attila found out something about LA people the hard way– we’re a bit flakey.

“People just talk is what I noticed,” Attila said. “I think, They’re like me, enough talk, let’s make a film! Got everything ready, everyone is excited and nobody answers my calls or wants to show up. I ask what happened to them, I get excuses. I say, you know what, I can make it on my own.”

Attila’s dogged determination led him to buy a cheap camera and film his own short films. He’d assemble small crews when he could, shooting guerrilla-style. Once he put the finishing touches on his product, Attila would look upon his works and eventually despair.

“At first thought, I’d think, This is a masterpiece. Week later, I think it’s trash. So I film again. Week goes by, This is good. Two weeks, This is trash. It kept going like that until I got good.”

This was Attila’s film school– moving to a country with no one from your homeland taught him to be a better communicator, his economics degree taught him how to turn pennies into a dollar and how to better understand the business side of film.

Eventually, the stars (and the right crew) aligned for Attila and his first feature film, “Maze of Fate”. Attila’s script, based loosely on his life, was ready to shoot.

He assembled a crew which kept growing and growing in part due to Attila’s enthusiasm. Actors would relay what they were working on “with this crazy guy” and others would join. His production ballooned from a handful of people to roughly 200.

Recognizable faces such as Robert LaSardo and Richard Cabral star.

With his film wrapped, Attila has shown it to big names and big-name talent agencies.

“When I tell people with whom I had a chance to watch this film with, the caliber of people that are thinking to lend their names for advertising my movie, nobody believes me,” Attila said with a laugh, saying he has to take pictures to document these meetings for visual evidence.

Buzz is high and though he has Oscars on his mind for his film and career, Attila wants his film to bring audiences one thinghope.

“I want to motivate people coming from nothing, coming from nowhere, being insecure and bullied … Without much help, I was able to find my voice and turn this thing around. Doesn’t matter where you are in life, there are no excuses. There’s always hope. The human mind is built to do wonders, everything else is just an excuse.”

For more information on Attila and his film Maze of Fate, visit his IMDb page, YouTube and

Join the Conversation


  1. Atilla’s story is inspirational on many levels, cultural, language, vision, there are no obstacles if your mind is set. He should be on Ted Talks! This kind of story is good for the young and old! I want to see the movie!

  2. I play ball with the guy; he’s one of the hardest working people I know. I’m stoked about this

  3. I remember Attila from my running days. He always practiced hard, he wanted to earn his way to America. Bravo Attila

  4. Que lindo a sua forma de pensar sobre a vida e ver as dificuldades através de outras perspectivas. Certamente a sua história servirá de motivação para muitas pessoas. Parabenizo você por sua coragem, determinação e talento. Desejo que seu filme seja um grande sucesso e que você possa ser reconhecido pelo excelente ser humano e profissional que é. Um abraço da sua fã brasileira.

  5. Great human being And inspiring, always full of ideas and great will power, great energy and outgoing. So happy to see you fulfill your dreams.

  6. “I want to motivate people coming from nothing, coming from nowhere, being insecure and bullied, without much help, I was able to find my voice and turn this thing around. Doesn’t matter where you are in life, there are no excuses. There’s always hope. The human mind is built to do wonders, everything else is just an excuse.”
    Great paragraph..

  7. Great story, brings peoples to hope already.
    Also Inspired me just reading this article. Can’t wait to see Attila’s movie.

  8. To overcome all odds when the world is against you… a true underdog story. As someone who came from nothing, I too can relate to Attila’s story. How does one find courage to create such a masterpiece when no one believes or everyone has turned their back on you? I can only look this man, director, and friend, as an inspiration for success. I can’t wait to see his film on the big screens!

  9. I had the pleasure of not only working with Attila, but we were roommates as well some years back. I can say without a doubt that this man doesn’t just have one of the most Inspiring life stories but also has one of the most inspiring and motivating work ethic and general outlook on life I have ever come across in all my 40 years on earth. I could literally count the number of people who have inspired me as much as this man has on one hand with fingers left over. Everything he has ever said to me and has set out to do as far as setting and achieving his goals, he has either already achieved it can you or he is at least within very close reach of achieving it. He is truly one of the most positively motivated and goal oriented person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  10. Attila has the rare knack of bringing people together. I’ve seen it on the basketball court and at his screenings. He’s a natural Producer with a keen creative side and a prolific work ethic. I was honored to write some music for a short animated piece he’s directing and am looking forward to seeing the next movie project he gets off the ground!

  11. I have known Attila since Fall 2009 at the university of Tulsa. We did so many things together. We played ping pong, basketball, soccer.. if there is one quality I would mention about Attila, I’d say he never give up.

    With his passion and hard work, I am sure he is going places in his filmmaking career 🙂

  12. It’s been only two months since Attila and I first met on a basketball court. He is not only very nice/friendly/gentle to everyone off the court but also the most reliable/strongest Bballer on the court! I didn’t know about him much until I read this article. And this just caught my heart. What a guy he is! So inspiring!

    I’m really looking forward to watching his films!!!!

  13. Great movie! Hit all emotions and it really makes you think on what you would do in that situation. Can’t wait for the next movie!

  14. Attila teaches me “Yes We Can” when the environment is very Challenging…

    Can’t wait to Watch this movie , and the next one ..
    God luck Attila..

  15. I met Attila playing basketball a few weeks ago. Not only is he a nice and friendly guy, he is an amazing athlete! I asked him if he played pro in Europe and he said “no” but that he was a runner in the Olympics! Wow!
    Then our mutual friend Lori shared a link for his YouTube video where he talks about his life and how he came to the United States. Very inspiring! You should all see it 🙂
    Can’t wait to see his movies!

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