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 film professor. He learned the basics of his trade from him. He has devoted all of his time to film studies and filmmaking. He was asked to head the university's philosophy study group which quickly turned into an opposition cell, because he invited intellectuals opposing the reigning 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 in 1986. The movie is a strong portrait about a disabled child. The documentary was praised among filmmakers and he was inviter to the Balázs Béla Studio, a place where before this, mostly people with a degree in cinema would be 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. The team mostly produced samizdat audiovisual publications. Their first publishing was in 1988 called Civil technikák (Civilian technics), chronicles the founding of Fidesz. They worked as a video newspaper, publishing 5-600 copies on VHS from time to time. Mostly they reported on events not covered by the mainstream media: founding of new parties, regime change movements and protests. Their work is truly unique: they captured the crucial moments of the end of Communism in Hungary, the forming protests of the people, the police brutality, founding the new democratic parties, but the most important event was documenting the sessions of the Ellenzéki kerekasztal (Opposition roundtable), one of the most important footage of the regime change.
He also covered roma issues starting with the "cs" houses in Miskolc in 1989. In the movie he documented that the communist city council 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 was also a war correspondent visiting Sarajevo four times and once Eszék during the Yugoslav wars.
The editorial team of Fekete Doboz worked together till 1990. Upon its dissolution László Pesty founded the Pesty Fekete Doboz, 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) and a few smaller cable TVs. He started "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 be aired at the same time.
At the end of the 80s besides documenting the fall of communism in Hungary he 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 and avoid the authorities. This incident gained 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.
When TV2 was established he joined the new commercial channel creating different shows with his team. Between 1997 and 2002 they produced "Gyökerek" a magazine show about minorities but they also worked on a tabloid crime show: Forró Nyomon. Between 1998 and 2002 he had a non-political show on MTV called Pesty Fekete Doboz which featured human stories around the world. During this period, he experiences what it's like to work in commercial TV where only ratings count.
In the 90s the skinhead movement in Hungary was on the rise again. The Világnemzeti Népuralmista Party was founded and headed by Szabó Albert. Pesty followed him for two years with his camera. His movie provides a glimpse into the world of skinheads and neonazis. Also in the 90s he made a movie about the russian prison system called the Bomáls virágai (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). He was the producer of both movies.
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 (2004), in which he was following the everyday life of three drug users. One year later he shot the second part (Egy nap) 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.
Between 1998 and 2002 the show Pesty Fekete Doboz was on air every two weeks. They shoot in harsh environments: in the Chicago ghetto about two catholic priests, in Sao Paolo a 12 year old prostitute. Ha also shoots 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, he explores Ferenc Gyurcsány, in the Tolvajok ideje he looks into Gordon Bajnai's responsibility about goose farmers, while in the Megsebzett ünnep he looks into the police brutality at the 2006 protests. During the 2006 council elections he was the campaign manager of István Tarlós. This marked the time when István Tarlós's firm political appearance was established. From 2007 he was involved in the making of the online series about opposition leader Viktor Orbán. He was the producer and reporter of this project OVTV. He established Visual Factory kft.
After 2010 he semi-retired: he mostly works with web marketing, but also works as a communication advisor and a filmmaker. He continues his series about drug addicts. In 2012 he returns to TV for a short time with Pesty Fekete Doboz and produces a movie Cigányút. In the movie he discusses the topic of roma integration with intellectuals. He makes his movie about the roma holocaust: Töredék életek (2016).
In 2020 he gets a request from Seklerland to help get signatures for the Seklers as part of the European Union's cohesion program focusing on the union's different region. Because of his Sekler ancestry (his mother escaped from Csíkszereda to Budapest in 1944) he gets into the campaign with great enthusiasm. He starts the campaign from the ground up, without any help and using american fundraising technics he secured financing for the campaign. The coronavirus was a huge setback for the campaign, forced to do it only online. Fortunately all political parties - except Ferenc Gyurcsány's DK supported the movement and in 5 weeks more than 800.000 thousand people signed it. It gave a huge boost to the campaign because he had the 1 million signatures from 3 countries, but not from the required 7. Because of the coronavirus the EU postpones the final deadline of gathering all the signatures till november 7th so there's still a possibility of getting the remaining signatures from the 4 countries.
Besides his campaign manager duties since 2008 Pesty is also a frequent guest at Hír TV's different debate shows. Since 2018 he is also a permanent of the shows Szabadfogás and Publi Café.
He's divorced. His daughter: Pesty Polli Réka (2005)
Kínaiak Magyarországon (1991)
Bodyfication és vámpírok
Albert és testvérei
A bomlás virágai 1-2 (1995)
Budapest, végállomás (2004)
Egy nap (2005)
Tél volt. - Tőkés László portré (2005)
Egy hiteles ember (2006)
Megsebzett ünnep (2006)
Tolvajok ideje (2010)
Töredék életek (Poraimos) (2016)
A Magyar Köztársasági Érdemrend lovagkeresztje (2005)
Pongrátz Gergely-érdemérem (2017)
Kamera Hungária Esélyegyenlőségi díj (2004)
Magyar Televízió nívódíja (2001)