After high school he went on to study at ELTE law. At the university he joined the Vizuális Műhely (Visual Workshop) led by András Péterffy filmprofessor. He learned the basic principles of film production from him. He devoted all of his time to film studies and filmmaking. He was asked to head the philosophy study group of the university which quickly turned into an opposition cell, because he invited intellectuals opposing the communist regime and started to show banned movies. He started to build a strong relationship with the democratic opposition.
Besides law he also attended media major at ELTE. He doesn’t use the academic title “Dr.”
He made his first documentary, Ulisszesz (a paraphrase of Ulyssess) in 1986. The movie is a strong portrait about a disabled child. The documentary was praised among filmmakers and he was invited to Balázs Béla Studio, a place where before this, mostly people with a degree in cinema would have been invited.
In the 80s when attending university he participated in producing samizdat publications and with a team of six (Mónika Mécs was also an outside member of the team) founded the editorial team of Fekete Doboz (Black Box). The team mostly produced samizdat audiovisual publications. Their first publication Civil technikák (Civilian technics) came out in 1988, the chronicles of the formation of Fidesz. Fekete Doboz worked as a video newspaper, publishing 5-600 copies on VHS from time to time. Mostly they reported of events not covered by the mainstream media: founding of new parties, regime change movements, police brutality and protests against the ruling regime. Their work is truly unique: they captured the crucial moments of the end of communism in Hungary. They made one of the most important footage of the Hungarian regime change: a documentary of the sessions of the Ellenzéki kerekasztal (Opposition roundtable).
He also covered roma issues starting with the so-called “cs” houses in Miskolc in 1989. In the movie he documented that the communist city council had planned to move roma families into houses with low living conditions – particularly into a ghetto. The footage didn’t materialise into a movie, but it’s goal was achieved: fearing the public outcry the council scrapped their plans.
He also worked as a war correspondent visiting Sarajevo four times and once Eszék (Osijek) during the Yugoslav wars.
The editorial team of Fekete Doboz worked together till 1990. Upon its dissolution László Pesty founded Pesty Fekete Doboz, having been producing films since then. In the first half of the 1990s there wasn’t a real media market in Hungary: the only nationwide television channel was Magyar Televízió (MTV, the national Hungarian Television) and a few smaller cable TVs. He started the so-called “bicycle tv” copying Italian sample. The contents created by his team were delivered by motorbike carriers to different TV channels across the country bypassing the state tv and this way all the content could have been aired simultaneously.
At the end of the 80s he not only was documenting the fall of communism in Hungary, but also actively participated in it. He was filming in Prague during the 1989 protests, where he was detained for a few days. Fortunately, he was able to smuggle the footage out of the country rescuing it from the authorities. This incident gained a nationwide recognition for Fekete Doboz. In January 1990 with his team he investigated Dunagate.
His love of Russian culture and lifestyle is rooted in the 80s, too. His first trip to Moscow and Leningrad was in 1986 as a law student. This study visit originally should have been about studying soviet law, but instead of this he went to art galleries, watched russian films and studied literature there. As he calls it today, this visit was a kind of cultural shock for him, determining his life-long interest towards Russian culture, history and lifestyle. He and his team of Pesty Fekete Doboz established an office in Moscow in 1995 with the purpose of making documentaries to Hungarians about Russian culture and lifestyle. The two most important films in this era were a film about life in Russian jails and another one about Bulgakov house. In 1999 he made a documentary about the Estonia cruise ferry’s sinking in the Baltic Sea, which was one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century. He tried to investigate the case, and went to Helsinki, Hamburg and Tallin to find Russians and Estonians to talk about the shipwreck.
As TV2 (a commercial television channel) had been established he joined the new channel to create different shows. Between 1997 and 2002 he and his team produced “Gyökerek” (Roots) a magazine show about minorities, but they also worked on a tabloid crime show: Forró nyomon (Smoking gun). Between 1998 and 2002 he had a non-political show on MTV called Pesty Fekete Doboz which featured human stories from around the world.
In the 90s the skinhead movement in Hungary was on the rise again. The Világnemzeti Népuralmista Party was founded and headed by Albert Szabó. Pesty followed him for two years with his camera. His movie provided a glimpse into the world of skinheads and neonazis. Also in the 90s he made a movie about the Russian prison system called the Bomlás virágai (Flowers of decay, 1995). The lyrics of the songs featured in the film was written by Géza Bereményi. He was also a producer of two major movies: one was about Chinese immigrants coming to Hungary (Kínaiak Magyarországon), the other was exploring the Sekler identity (Földiek, Folks in English).
In the early 2000s he started to explore the issue of homeless drug addicts. He made multiple movies about them, mostly heroin addicts, intravenous drug users. The first part of his so-called “Dzsánki” trilogy was Budapest végállomás (Budapest terminal, 2004), in which he was following the everyday life of three drug users. One year later he shot the second part (Egy nap, One day in English) in which he followed one of his protagonists’ last 24 hours before going to prison. The last part of the trilogy will be finished in 2021 with the title Végtelen történet (Endless story).
Between 1998 and 2002 the show Pesty Fekete Doboz was on air every two weeks. They shot in harsh environments: in the Chicago ghetto about two catholic priests, in Sao Paolo a 12 year old prostitute. Ha also shot movies about the brainwashing in North Korea and also about baptists helping refugees in West-Sahara, about scientologists and the Witnesses of Jehovah.
In 2002 he started to explore web communications, web marketing, SEO, e-mail marketing and dealing with domains. He started to get into politics again. In his film Egy hiteles ember (An authentic person), he explored Ferenc Gyurcsány, in the Tolvajok ideje (Time of the thieves) he looked into Gordon Bajnai’s responsibility about suicide goose farmers, while in the Megsebzett ünnep (Wounded celebration) he looked into the police brutality at the 2006 protests.
From 2007 he was involved in the making of the online series about the opposition leader Viktor Orbán. He was the producer and reporter of this project called „OVTV” (Orbán Viktor TV).
He continued his series about drug addicts. In 2012 he returned to TV for a short time with Pesty Fekete Doboz and produced a movie Cigányút (a film on Roma issues). In the movie he discusses the topic of roma integration with intellectuals. He maked his movie about the roma holocaust: Töredék életek (Fragment lives, 2016).
Besides his campaign manager duties since 2008 Pesty has been also a frequent guest at different debate shows on TV.
He’s divorced. His daughter: Polli Réka Pesty (2005)