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Filming in Hungary: Blog

Follow our blog to stay up to date in the topics related to the Hungarian film industry, film production in Hungary, and filming in Hungary.

Nordic Success: The Life of Producer Katinka Faragó

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 via ingmarbergman.se

via ingmarbergman.se

Hungarian film-makers have long had success outside of their home country. Hungarians fled the region during and after the First and Second World Wars, many for the States, where over time they made their indelible mark on Hollywood. But there were others whose path took a different direction, and shaped film in other parts of the world.

Katerina 'Katinka' Faragó may be a Swedish film producer, but her name reveals her origins. Born in Vienna to Hungarian refugees, due to the spreading Second World War, she and her family ventured further abroad, north to Sweden. At 17 she started down her path in film, where she would spend a 60-plus year career, primarily in the production company of icon Ingmar Bergman, working with him on such classics as Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, and Winter Light.

Beginning as a script supervisor, Faragó eventually earned the title of 'Bergman's right hand'. Heeding the advice given by a colleague, 'if he stares at you, stare back. If he spits on you, spit back,' Faragó was able to make herself invaluable to the tempestuous director, going on to work with him for the next 30 years, eventually earning the title of production manager at Bergman's company Cinematograph. In an interview, Faragó describes her experiences with Bergman: "He had a shocking reputation as a director, erupting in full-blown tantrums and proving himself extremely difficult to work with. Thankfully he calmed down over the years. This naturally was an issue of trust, and he knew that I never bluffed him. Ingmar is fond of women. He understands them better than men and recognises their potential. This fact is apparent in his films."

Elsewhere in the press, Faragó expressed that The Magic Flute and Fanny and Alexander were highlights of her career with Bergman. In The Magic Flute she had the complex job of working with opera singers, not to mention editing Mozart's music. The long process of making Fanny and Alexander would solidify Bergman and Faragó’s working relationship with pre-production alone lasting over a year. The film would become not just a popular art-house hit, but would win four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film.

Faragó’s next notable film project was when she worked as the production manager on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice, filmed on the Swedish island of Gotland. Later that year she was appointed head of production at the Swedish Film Institute, a position she held until 1990. The post-Bergman 1990s years saw her working with renowned Swedish directors like Kjell-Åke Andersson and Daniel Alfredson.

More recently, Faragó was a jury member of the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. In 2017 she received a Liftetime Achivement Award at Sweden's Guldbagge Awards. While we have no evidence she has kept much connection to Hungarian film outside of the interviews she has given, we still keep tabs on her, and wish her continued success in all her endeavors. ade

 via ingmarbergman.se

via ingmarbergman.se

Text source: ingmarbergman.se

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

 

 

 

City Park: Past and Future Inspirations of the Városliget

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 Széchenyi Baths photo by Andreas Poeschek via Wikipedia

Széchenyi Baths photo by Andreas Poeschek via Wikipedia

According to the book The Truth About Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation, Nikola Tesla was on a walk with a Hungarian friend when he had his 'eureka' moment and came up with the idea for the brushless polyphase AC generator. It is not surprising that his companion was Hungarian, as the two were strolling in Budapest’s Városliget, or City Park. The park has meant a lot to residents and visitors alike, and is home to Gundel, Budapest’s most illustrious historical restaurant, as well as the Széchenyi Baths, the city’s (if not Europe's) most famous thermal bath complex.

So, when the government put plans in place to renovate the park, there was some push back. A number of locals who used the park wanted it kept as it was, worried that the construction of new museums would change the character of the public space, which is a World Heritage Site. But resistance has dwindled as results have begun to surface. Moreover, now that construction is complete on some of the new features, the worry that it will merely exist to serve tourists is being appeased. For example, a 200 meter running track, complete with a long jump and two new basketball/football courts were recently opened for free public use. Until this summer, there was no designated running path in the park, like there is on Margit Sziget, the city’s other great park.

While construction on many of the museums planned for the space has only begun, we have been treated to some advance renderings of the soon-to-be erected Hungarian Music House. Designed by renown Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the space will feature exhibitions of the history of Hungarian music, a multimedia music library, an indoor concert hall, as well as an outdoor stage, all housed in a modern, sleek building. When you watch the video, it is hard not to agree that this will be an improvement on the existing abandoned ruin.

Joining the music house will be the Museum of Ethnography and the National Gallery, both of which will be housed in newly constructed avant garde buildings. The renovation is turning out to be an internationally minded endeavour with Hungary at its heart. Only time will tell if it will inspire future Teslas into world-changing inventions. That’s a lot to ask. In the meantime, art, music, and some fitness will have to do.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.


 

Knack Cordial: The Hong Kong Hungarian Dance Connection

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We are used to seeing Asian imports in Hungary, be they automobiles or hip new restaurants. Less frequently do we see Hungarian culture exported to the Far East. And it’s downright unique that we get to report on a group of Asians who are taken with Hungarian folk dance. But when the occasion to do so occurs, we jump on it, because nothing is more fun than seeing some cross cultural appreciation (not appropriation, mind you) expressed at the highest level.

 via the Knack Cordial Facebook page

via the Knack Cordial Facebook page

This is the story of the Hong Kong Hungarian folk dance group Knack Cordial. Founded by Hong Kong native Kenneth Tse, the group recently created a small media sensation when they performed in Budapest. Founded in 1998 after Mr. Tse returned from studying the folk dance of Transylvania and Hungary, the group has been awarded numerous prizes in their home territory, and visited Europe three times. Moreover, they are giving workshops to dancers from Taiwan as well as in the UK, spreading their love for Hungarian dance far and wide.

In his interview with Daily Hungary, Tse explains his passion: “I really liked the sound of the violin. The rhythm of the Hungarian dance – especially in the Transylvanian area – is very strong and is, for dancing purposes, quite easy to follow. Yet sometimes the music gets faster and really tests your ability to get the rhythm right. I was so attracted to it that they told me if I really wanted to learn Hungarian dance then I better go to Hungary – and especially to Transylvania and Romania which were part of Hungary before the war. So I decided to go to both Hungary and Transylvania. After returning to Hong Kong in 1998, I set up my own group and continued visiting Hungary every year for 10 years.”

 via the Knack Cordial FB page

via the Knack Cordial FB page

With firsthand experience from his travels, Tse has proven himself to be a cultural explorer in the vein of Bartok, a composer he is no doubt well familiar with. As an ambassador for Hungarian dance, he excels in the role, and has been teaching it for over 20 years. While his pronunciation of Hungarian is quite good -- at least according to him -- he claims to not actually speak any of the language. Oddly (or not) they are not the only Asian Hungarian dance group. The breezily named Pálinka Hungarian Dance Group hails from Japan.

 via the Knack Cordial FB page

via the Knack Cordial FB page

It is true that táncház, or informal folk dance nights at pubs and cultural centers, which once were the hi-light of the week for young and old, are disappearing. But in this globalized world, it is good to know that while we can enjoy dim sum in Hungary, residents of Hong Kong and other Asian countries can indulge in Hungarian dance, and maybe a pálinka or two, if it can be found.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

The Wild Work of Filmefex, Budapest's Premier SFX Company

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That Budapest has become the center for film production on mainland Europe is not new news. Major publications and periodicals have covered this angle, from Daily Variety to the Guardian. Less discussed are the creative aspects of a production that are also expertly handled locally, things like animation studios and special effects studios. This is too bad, because there is a wealth of talent that has contributed to so many major productions that, while not totally unrecognized, is perhaps under-reported.

One such studio is the special effects facility Filmefex, which has quietly made some of the most astounding effects for films such as The Nutcracker, Blade Runner 2, Hellboy 2, Season of the Witch, Emerald City, and the Last Samurai. The company, led by Ivan Poharnak, SFX makeup artist and a protege of film effects legend Dick Smith, specializes in prosthetics, human and animal dummies, puppets, and models. Most recently, they helped with much of the gore for the horror series The Terror, based on the popular book by author Dan Simmons. The AMC 10-episode series ran last spring and summer to strong public appeal and critical acclaim. While some of the nautical portions of the production were shot in Croatia, the ship's interiors were constructed in Budapest, where much of the series was made. Poharnok, like so many other Hungarian talents, is a graduate of the Hungarian College of Fine Arts, where he studied sculpture. Later, in Hollywood, he worked at Dick Smith's studio.

“When American productions come to Hungary, there’s a kind of distance at first,” Poharnok told Daily Variety. “We have to prove ourselves on each film. The way it happens usually is that we get a smaller stake of the work and then when they feel we can handle it, they start giving us more.”

For some time, SFX were done digitally, until the limitations of that work were discovered, and artists began to return to modeled effects, which have a warmer, more life-like feel. Have a look at some shots of the models used for The Terror. But be warned, they do look just like the real thing, and some of the images may be disturbing.

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 For Emerald City via Filmefex

For Emerald City via Filmefex

 For Emerald City via Filmefex

For Emerald City via Filmefex

The below video gives you a look at Poharnok's crew at work on Mr. Pump, from the film Going Postal, adapted from the beloved Sir Terry Prachett novel.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

Hungary: Keeping Cool, Loving Life

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There is no better way to beat the summer heat than to get out of the concrete and brick corridors of Budapest and out into the country.

The Hungarian countryside claims a wide range of rural landscapes. For instance, only 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Budapest rests Balaton, the biggest freshwater lake in Europe. The entire Balaton region offers a charming shooting location with 215 (130 miles) of long coastal roads with an abundance of orchards, vineyards, and wooded areas that manifest a perfect Provence-like atmosphere.

As an example of the unique, highly filmable locations you can find, we would like to direct your attention to the viaduct of Balaton. As you can see, this expansive waterway stands around 88 meters (fifty yards) high and is 23 feet wide. It is supported by 16 pillars, ranging from 18 to 80 meters high. The site is conveniently located by a highway connected to Budapest, on the way to the smaller Lake Zamárdi.

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Regionally, Badacsony is known as one of the most beautiful in Hungary. It is most famous for its white wines, which are considered national treasures. The wine culture of Badacsony has been around since 1375, when Cisterian monks planted the first grapes. The area is ideal for wine production due to the soil, which draws minerals from the lava of several inactive volcanoes in and around the area. This makes for a mineral and complex white wine, which is much loved around the country. Can you not imagine yourself sipping a crisp white wine while taking in the panorama below?

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Some of our favorite whites come from the Pannonhalma Apatsagi, or the Pannonhalma Archabbey.  This Benedictine abbey, built in 962, is one of the oldest structures in Hungary.  The foot of the hill it rests on was believed to be the birthplace of Saint Marton of Tours. Importantly, this is the second largest abbey in the world, with spectacular features like a Baroque refractory, Gothic basilica,  cloisters, a 360,000 volume library, a botanical gardens, and of course the vineyard that produces grapes for the Pannonhalma brand of wine.

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The Archabby is at home in the gorgeous region of Badacsony, which invokes lush rural areas like Provance and Umbria. In this heat, don’t be surprised if a goodly portion of Budapest’s population have taken respite there, where the wine and water are cool.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

The Many Guises of Breathtaking Budapest

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 Blade Runner 2

Blade Runner 2

There has been no shortage of articles, including in certain film production company blogs, that speculate as to why Budapest is so frequently used as a stand-in for other cities, from Baltimore to Moscow, from Berlin to Paris. Sometimes it plays two cities in the same film, like in Steven Spielberg's Munich, when it did double duty as Paris and Rome. But it takes the erudition and eye of a writer deeply versed in architecture to really put into exact language what about the city is so universal, yet at the same time particular. It was pleasing to come across – not in Variety or Conde Nast Traveler – but in the Financial Times, a loving ode to Budapest in the guise of the answer to the question: what makes Budapest its own city, yet every city? The author, Edwin Heathcote, a former resident who had occasional work in film, posits:

"The more is, I think, its obscurity. It’s the kind of city most people haven’t been to or, if they have, then only briefly or on a drunken stag-do or a business trip. It was built in an era when other cities were already established as exemplars. In the 1890s Budapest was second only to Chicago as the fastest-growing city in the world and its architects looked around to see what had worked elsewhere. They picked a little from Paris, something from Milan, a lot from Vienna, perhaps a few things from London (including a gothic parliament; Budapest made sure its version was a little bigger) and amalgamated them into a city of bits. This was topped by a layer of interwar modernism and a heavier layer of communist central planning with its socialist realism and bleak but durable late modernism. From this cocktail an extremely particular city arose but one in which memories of other cities are persistently present."

He goes on to discuss the elegiac essence of Budapest,  

"There is a sense in which Budapest is there to represent a sense of cityness. The bits of it that appear most frequently — the blocky rustication of its buildings’ bases, the shabby, shady courtyards encased in peeling plaster, the grand fin-de-siècle monuments and operatic staircases, the socialist-era layer of stripped modernity and social realist workers’ canteens and the broad avenues — together create a city which doesn’t need to be coherent as each element sparks an atmosphere in our minds anyway. Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel had nothing to do with the city (the hotel interiors were shot in a German department store) yet the name alone was enough to trigger an image of Mitteleuropa: delicate pastries, moustachioed concierges clicking their heels in greetings to grandes dames and faded Belle Époque grandeur applied with a layer of communist ennui.

"Budapest is both present and absent, super-specific and utterly generic. It is not a star but a character actor. Just occasionally it’s allowed to appear as itself. Near the beginning of Thomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the wonderful Párisi Udvar provides the backdrop for the botched operation that sets up the plot. Its orientalist Art Nouveau interior, part Turkish bazaar, part Parisian arcade, proves the perfect place for misadventure: louche, luxurious, faded, an architecture of shadows and memories, Walter Benjamin’s snippets of the remains of western modernity detected in the traces of the arcades."

In the end, films do with Budapest like the author does with Budapest: makes the city their own, while at the same time maintaining respect for its integrity, its 'cityness', as he so eloquently puts it. Why is Budapest a perfect body double? If you have theories of you own, leave them in the comments.

 From the Alienist

From the Alienist

Source: Financial Times

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

American Actress Serenades all of Hungary, Wins Internet.

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 Youtube still via Index.hu

Youtube still via Index.hu

It's been a huge week for Hungarian hip-hop. Social media feeds in Hungary were taken by storm when a clip was released of American actress/comedian Kate McKinnon doing a spectacular job of rapping a verse to a Hungarian song on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, the nation's most watched evening talk show. In her enthusiasm for the song "Yozsefváros," McKinnon even managed to get the studio audience to sing along. All of this must have come as a surprise to millions of American viewers, most of whom were being exposed to Hungarian for the first time.

McKinnon spent a good portion of last year in Budapest filming The Spy Who Dumped Me. As she explains in the clip, her driver took it upon himself to school her in Hungarian language and Hungarian rap. Over the years we've seen movie stars and touring musicians muster a few words of Hungarian for local crowds, and were of course widely applauded for the effort. But never before have we seen the degree of commitment and prowess as McKinnon's verse from local rappers Animal Cannibals. This is a duo who have been on the Hungarian hip-hop scene for a long time, and are no doubt enjoying basking in some international attention and glory.

Moreover, the track she sings from "Yozsefváros" also puts the spotlight on Budapest's most up-and-coming neighborhood. The 'Joseph Town' is Budapest's most diverse central district, and where artists and watering holes that have been pushed and priced out of the tourist saturated District Seven are relocating. Though these days, renovations and redevelopment are helping the District Eight, or 'Nyólckér,' as it is also known, shed its image as a bleak ghetto, back in the 90s, as McKinnon notes, it was a much rougher place.

Those with a finer ear for rapped Hungarian than this writer compliment McKinnon on her pronunciation and accuracy in replicating the complicated language. So, a shout out to the actress who may have just won the heart of a nation, and if not a nation, at least the 'hood. The Youtube clip of the bit has racked up a quarter of a million views in just a few days, and is number three in trending videos. How long before the whole world is singing along to "Yozsefváros"?

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

Increased Production Tax Rebate Makes Hungary Shine Even Brighter

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 via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Hungary's film production tax rebate program, designed to incentivize film production in Hungary, just got more attractive, as the rebate rose from 25 to 30 percent in recent weeks. In the past decade Hungary's generous incentives created a boon for local and international production, due to the cost effective crews and tax rebates. As Daily Variety reports, Hungary is now the second leading destination for film production in Europe, and the first on mainland Europe. Only the UK, with its rich tradition, established infrastructure, and vast local market, beats out Hungary in this realm.

Huge profile projects aren't shying away from taking advantage of the production friendly conditions here. Recent films include Hollywood's latest re-boot of the Robin Hood legend, starring Taron Egerton and Jaime Foxx. Moreover, the next installment in the Terminator franchise (no surprise there, as Schwarzenegger has long had close ties to Budapest) in addition to the Ang Lee directed, Will Smith staring film Gemini Man were shot here. On a side note, Smith was so happy with his experience in Budapest that he danced atop the famous Chain Bridge in a video that has since gone viral, single-handedly creating a must-do experience for tourists and locals alike, despite the danger involved.

To keep in line with EU regulations, the revised tax refund scheme needed to be submitted to and approved by the European Commission. Having cleared that hurtle, the country will only look more attractive to foreign productions from all over the world (it's worth noting that Indian, Korean, and many other Eastern productions have also recently taken advantage of the friendly conditions here).

Andy Vajna, producer of many of the Terminator and Die Hard films, as well as being Hungary's film commissioner, explained it to Variety like this: “In addition to the tax incentive, Hungary’s film industry has highly educated and experienced film crews, a variety of exciting and new film locations, and state-of-the-art sound stages. Budapest is the most popular location to shoot films in Continental Europe. With the increased tax incentive, we aim to strengthen the Hungarian film industry and to preserve our leading position in the international market.”

Hungary's rise to the top spot has been swift and steady, and is the combination of great craftsmanship, modern infrastructure, versatile locations, with a healthy and increasingly generous tax rebate incentive program in place. Under these conditions, we look forward to the future in film of Hungary, which continues to earn its nickname "Hollywood on the Danube".

Will Smith celebrates the increased tax rebate in Budapest:

Source: Daily Variety.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

Georgian Wine and a Post Office: A Tale of Two Budapests

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 via Daily News Hungary

via Daily News Hungary

It is well known that Hungary has benefited and suffered from diasporas throughout its storied, sometimes embattled history. One of the main destinations for Hungarians who have fled war, political persecution, or were looking for adventure or seeking fortune, has been America. Books have been written about Hungarians' influence in industries like film in Hollywood, California horticulture, and their role in developing the nuclear weapons that would shift the axis of world power and change the course of history.

But the influence they exerted need not always be painted in such broad strokes. Sometimes Hungarians leave their mark in more modest ways. You can see evidence of Hungarians in less glamorous locations in the States like the South, where there are two locales called 'Budapest', in America, one in Missouri and one in Georgia.

Back before world war one, when America was benefiting from a wave of immigration from Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary, workers who made their way across the States from New York to California sometimes laid down roots, which is how we may account for the 'Budapest' post office that serviced the settlement of Central Europeans who worked in the area's lumbar and mining industries. Its name was given to it by an Austrian immigrant, perhaps using Hungary's capital because there was already a Vienna, Missouri. Though the post office shuttered in 1922, it is still remembered in history books.

 via the Budapest, Georgia Facebook page

via the Budapest, Georgia Facebook page

Farther south, in Georgia, we can find another Budapest. This community is older, and dates back to 1882, when an American real-estate developer invited 200 wine-making Hungarian families to relocate and settle on a 2000-acre site. The settlers decided to call their new community Budapest. Moreover, once the settlement got up and running, another nearby town was founded: this one called Tokaj, in homage to the Tokaj wine-producing region in eastern Hungary. A third wine-focused settlement was also founded, called Nyitra, named after an ancient Hungarian fort.  It looked like the South was set to develop a thriving Hungarian-influenced wine-making industry. These plans crumbled, however, with the Georgia Prohibition Act of 1907.

The new law that banned the production of alcohol put an end to the primarily Hungarian settlements, though the towns remain under their original names. The settlers were forced to move on to find work, likely going back north to mine. According to Wikipedia, the last of the original Budapest settlers died in 1964. Many of those who remained and died in Budapest, Georgia are buried there, with their heads facing east in their graves, towards their homeland across the sea.

 via the Budapest, Georgia Facebook page

via the Budapest, Georgia Facebook page

We can only speculate what would have happened without Prohibition. Would there be a Georgian Tokaj to rival the sought-after Hungarian wine? Would they have continued to expand, seeing an Eger, or perhaps Szeged, Georgia? And with all that cultural exchange, would an Atlanta, Hungary be not to far behind?

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

 

 

 

Blossom Valley Gathers Laurels in Karlovy Vary

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Since its inception in 1948, The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic has been seen as a testing ground for marketable art-house films which will have pan-European and North American appeal. It has long been among the most prestigious festivals in Eastern/Central Europe, though its credibility lagged under state control during the Socialist era, when they had to take direction from Moscow. But since the Velvet Revolution, Karlovy Vary has made a strong comeback, and is now a showcase for the world's top established and emerging film-makers.

 Photo via Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Photo via Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

With that in mind, it is gratifying to see a new voice in Hungarian cinema take home a prize from this year's festival.  Young Budapest-based director László Csuja was awarded the East of the West Special Jury Prize last Saturday for his debut feature film, Blossom Valley. The award, which is given to a film from the former Soviet bloc, comes with a 10,000 dollar prize, along with a lot of acclaim and publicity. The film is just one more success to come out of the Hungarian Film Fund, which also helped with Ildikó Enyedi's Oscar nominated On Body and Soul, and the recent Cannes International Critics' Prize winner One Day.

Blossom Valley is being considered a more youth friendly film than previous international film festival Hungarian winners, revolving around the relationship between two damaged young people and a kidnapped baby. Daily Variety was quite taken with the film, saying in its review:  "Thrumming with the woozy, hangover energy of a strung-out, sleepless night, 'Blossom Valley' may sound like a brand of supermarket rosé, but its spirit, as embodied in its female lead, is a lot more punk than that. Hungarian debut director László Csuja finds beauty in his bruised, beer-can aesthetic and gives this small-scale, ostensible social-realist story of restlessness and rootlessness a slightly haunted, fairy-tale edge. It may riff on well-known archetypes — the lovers-on-the-run narrative, the makeshift-family-unit drama, a plotline that is essentially 'Raising Arizona' played without the laughs — but this exceptionally well-performed debut is so bravely loyal to its idiosyncratic, misguided characters that it never feels less than fresh."

Screen Daily says: "Blossom Valley has the verve and passion that comes with a young and enthusiastic crew behind the scenes and a cast or mostly non-professional actors. Csuja especially is a director who should be watched closely over the coming years."

It is an auspicious debut, though general audiences have yet to get a chance to see and react to the film, which only appears in theaters in Hungary later in the summer. Below you can find the trailer to Blossom Valley (in Hungarian with English subtitles) which deserves a look.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

  

Secretly Hungarian: Three Singers with Magyar Roots

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With the Sziget – Europe's biggest, and regularly voted 'best' – music festival, on the horizon, we thought it would be an opportune time to have a look at some musicians, specifically ones, that you might not know have Hungarian roots. Much has already been made of the local roots of KISS's Gene Simmons, who sang in Hungarian on the band's last local appearance, and Tommy Ramone of the Ramones, who also used to tour Hungary regularly to revisit the birthplace of his ancestors, before he passed away. But less known are the country's connection to some pop singers who are very much in the news today.  

 Photo by Matthew Straubmuller via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Matthew Straubmuller via Wikipedia Commons

First, there's Paul Simon, who recently announced his retirement tour. Of course he is best known for being part of the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, the pair of troubadours whose lyrical and distinctly New York songs took them the the height of fame and chart success. Simon's roots are more humble. His parents were Hungarian-Jewish immigrants who escaped the impending Second World War to settle in Newark New Jersey, where they instilled a love of eclectic music in their son. Unfortunately, Budapest is not on his tour schedule, and the last time he played here it was solo, back in 1991. Interestingly, Garfunkel's roots are also from the neighborhood--his grandparents hail from Iasi, Romania.

 Photo by Justin Higuchi via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Justin Higuchi via Wikipedia Commons

One-time superstar, Grammy-winning songstress Alanis Morissette, who is also secretly Canadian, is the daughter of one of the many Hungarians who fled in the 1956 diaspora. To honor her Hungarian roots, Morissette named her publishing company Szeretlek, which in Hungarian, means 'I love you.'  She is back in the news lately, as a Broadway musical was recently mounted based on her juggernaut album Jagged Little Pill, which remains the highest selling female debut album of all time. Maybe the musical will make its way here, as Morissette herself has been somewhat absent: she hasn't played in Budapest since 2005, when her Hungarian grandmother was also in attendance.

 Photo by Viv Lynch via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Viv Lynch via Wikipedia Commons

For a while it looked like Kesha (also spelled Ke$ha) would dethrone Lady Gaga as pop's chart queen. But legal cases with her producer and record company have kept her from capitalizing on her momentum. That said, she has emerged as a strong, outspoken voice of the #metoo movement. Though thoroughly a California gal, her grandparents on her mother's side are from the Hungarian town Szentes. Kesha's ancestors moved to the States way back in 1913, settling in music haven Nashville. Kesha has reportedly sold close to 70 million albums worldwide, an astonishing feat in this day and age of music downloading. She revisited Budapest in 2011, when she proudly proclaimed her Hungarian roots to the appreciative audience.

Do you know any other 'secretly Hungarian' musicians? Let us know in the comments.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

Lángos: A Hungarian Street Food's Rise to World Yum-ination

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 Hungarian lángos via Wikipedia Commons

Hungarian lángos via Wikipedia Commons

If ever there were a Hungarian food poised for a global takeover, it's the poolside, river-side, park, and hangover-curing treat, Hungarian lángos. In case you don't know, the simultaneously humble and decadent lángos is a piece of deep-fried potato dough that is traditionally slathered in such toppings as minced garlic, sour cream, and cheese. While most cultures have a variation of fried dough: you can look to Canada with their Beaver Tail, the lángos is somewhat unique in that it is typically served with savory, not sweet toppings.

In Hungary and its former territories, the lángos is at once retro and contemporary, having never gone out of style, yet still provoking feelings of nostalgia. It is not surprising that in New York City, with the boon of food trucks and diverse population and love of street food, there is now the possibility to get an authentic Hungarian lángos. But there is authentic and there is 'authentic'. The New York lángos can be purchased with a New York twist, with toppings like smoked salmon, and Greek tzatziki.

Moreover, recently the media empire Vice took notice of the lángos when its food channel Munchies called it "the perfect vehicle for, well, pretty much anything." What is interesting here is that the lángos, which shouldn't cost more than a few euro fully loaded, is also being elevated into an upscale dish. This is greatly different than some other modifications, like the lángos burger, created by the Brooklyn hamburger joint Korzo, that deep-fries a ground beef patty inside the lángos, which then serves as a bun. This particular variation was so popular, and received so much press, that local Budapest restaurants picked up on it, bringing this new-fangled lángos back to its homeland, meaning, for better or worse, you can now get the lángos burger in Budapest.

It's just not summer until you've had a hot garlicky lángos by a cool body of water. Now with street food hitting peak trend, the lángos – which we can say is one of the few indigenous street foods in Hungary – is more popular than ever. There is even a newly established annual award for best lángos in Hungary. It may not be as internationally known as the burger, but the lángos is one of those simple irresistible foods that, like a taco, once you've tried, you only want more. (On that note, is it only a matter of time before we see lángos-shelled tacos?)

Have a look at the news clip about the New York lángos food truck below (English subtitles):

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

Gül Baba Named Budapest's Prettiest Street by about Everyone

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 via the Gül Baba Facebook page

via the Gül Baba Facebook page

Since its renovation last year, the tiny but memorable Buda-side street called Gül Baba has gotten it share of press. Perhaps a PR agent lives along its cobblestoned walkway, or maybe the tourism board has taken a liking to its quaint medieval feel, which resembles Prague’s famous Golden Lane on a smaller scale, but it has been suddenly and definitively been dubbed ‘Budapest’s Prettiest Street’ in both local and international press. That’s a tall order for such a short and steep stretch of road, but not undeserved.

 via the Gül Baba Facebook page

via the Gül Baba Facebook page

The street, which is technically a lane, leads from riverside Buda up to the tomb of the Turkish holy man, Dervish poet and visionary it was named after: Gül Baba. Baba’s tomb is one of the rare remaining artifacts of the Ottoman rule that has been maintained and embraced (perhaps this is because it is still considered a property of Turkey), having achieved landmark status. Baba was a favored member of the court of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who undertook the invasion of the Hungarian land. Baba is known as the ‘Father of Roses’ because as legend has it, he introduced the flower to Hungary, though scholars contest this. Though local press describe the street and tomb as an ‘Islamic pilgrimage point’, you are far more likely to be competing with backpackers and tour groups for walking space on the narrow lane.

 Gül Baba via Wikipedia Commons

Gül Baba via Wikipedia Commons

The street and tomb are not unknown as a film location either, being utilized in the Anthony Hopkins’ 2011 supernatural horror feature The Rite. With both Gül Baba’s tomb, and the cobble-stone lane leading up to it renovated (but in the case of the street, not modernized) it is becoming a must-do part of the itinerary of tourists who favor seeing sites on foot (good luck getting a bike up there, much less a Segway). Though the Ottomans are long gone, in terms of beautiful streets, they still exert influence.

 via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

Other very pretty streets in Budapest may include: Benzcúr street, which runs parallel to the more majestic and grand Andrássy Avenue; Pozsony street, loaded with its art deco buildings and, until recently, trees; and Kazinczy street -- if you can get there in the off hours before it is over-run with tourists, it is a curious mix of un-renovated buildings and newer structures, along with a beautiful but hidden synagogue.

Got any favorite hidden Budapest streets? Let us know in the comments section.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

Football Confidential: World Cup Video of Russia Shot in Hungary

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Every four years Europe, and much of the world falls into the grip of football fever in a way that many North Americans, and non-football fans just can’t understand. The World Cup is not just a competition, but a cultural showcase and diplomatic opportunity for the nations involved, a kind of competitive UN of sports. There is a lot of pride at stake for each nation, but also a chance to build bridges with good sportsmanship. This year's World Cup takes place in Russia, but of course, despite not having a qualifying team, Hungary got to play to its strengths and was tipped to host the locations for the official world cup anthem, “Live it Up”. It’s not the first, or the last time Hungary will stand in for Moscow on film, as is well documented on this blog. It’s interesting that while many nations are represented in the clip by way of flags and ethnicities, Hungary does not get a mention. But those with sharp eyes will recognize that while much of the world will be subtly tricked into thinking it is Russia they are seeing (there are a few token shots from inside Russia, including a few stunners of Luzhniki Stadium), it is in fact mostly Hungary.

It’s not for us to comment one why the filming of “Live it Up”, sung by Nicky Jam along with fellow American Will Smith, and Kosovar singer Era Estrefi, took place in locations so far from Russia, except to speculate that as with so many projects, most recently the feature film Atomic Blonde, Budapest and Hungary make for superb stand-ins for Russia. Or perhaps our reputation for excellent craftsmanship and skilled crews had something to do with it. Either way, the result is phenomenal. The reaction to the video has also been awesome, racking up 25 million views in under a week.

Some of the memorable locations chosen for the clip, which to its credit passes over the more tried and true Budapest locations, are the K-Bridge, which Sziget fans will recognize as the path the to decadent summer music festival; the pleasingly green panel houses you can see from the commuter train that runs through Obuda; an abandoned market, and a few choice street scenes. It all communicates a friendly but gritty Eastern European atmosphere. It was a job well done by Hungary, even if our team is staying home. Or, maybe this is all just an audition, and the World Cup will be hosted in Hungary in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy to video.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

A Window to the Past: the Photo Splices of Zoltán Kerényi

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The photographic wonders we are presenting this week are the result of photo research, investigation, modern photography, and crack editing skill, plus a bit of imagination. All that work was the several year passion of Hungarian photographer Zoltán Kerényi, who used pictures from the Hungarian photo archive site Fortepan along with his own original images to create the body of work he calls Ablak a Múltra, or Windows To The Past.

Splicing a photo from the past, sometimes from as far back as 100 years onto the same modern-day setting creates a photographic "time machine". The effect is both whimsical and informative, particularly where war images are spliced onto the Budapest of today, with its fast food restaurants chains and traffic. At times the results conjure up feelings of nostalgia, even if you weren't alive at the time of the older photo.

Thanks to post on Reddit, and coverage in some large news outlets like the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed, the images were something of a viral sensation when they were published several years ago, eventually becoming a book. Kerényi's Facebook page for Window to the Past is still popular, and there you can find some of his more recent photography. Enjoy the photographs below, all used with permission of the artist. You can find his dedicated site here.

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Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

Filmed In Budapest: Atomic Blonde

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Of all the big budget Hollywood movies to be filmed in Budapest over the past few years, the Charlize Theron starring Atomic Blonde was one of the largest and most anticipated. In its filming, much of which occurred in in 2017, it pushed crews and technicians to extremes in its innovations, and once again proved what we already know: Budapest, while remaining very particularly itself, also has the ability to stand in for just about anywhere.

Of course it helps that it is a Cold-War themed action film, and that city is Berlin, as the untrained eye can easily accept the bland color of the buildings and rougher exteriors of winter in Budapest as those of Berlin. But if you have spent anytime in the city, you can see Budapest peeking out from behind the cloak when Theron’s character leaps from a high level of a courtyard terrace. Such courtyards are commonplace in Budapest, due to strict building codes that require a certain amount of space to remain open. Most apartment buildings in the city center have a courtyard; the same cannot be said about Berlin.

Hat’s off to the filmmakers who decided to make a pivotal scene a car chase in a city filled with 80s Socialist-built Trabants, Ladas, and Wartburgs. Over 500 of the cars were needed for the filming. If you click the link here to watch the ‘Making of a Car Chase’ video we tracked down, you can see just how complicated the filming of the Atomic Blonde Trabant (or is it a Lada?) chase scene was. Indeed these few minutes of film took a week to execute. According to KFTV.com, “The sequence was filmed using a specially-designed vehicle camera rig. Stunt drivers drove the vehicles from control pods that could be positioned in different places on the rig depending on where was off-screen for specific camera shots.”

Credit also goes to set designers and builders who constructed a portable Berlin Wall. That’s right. The wall in the film was toted around town and erected where it was needed, then dismantled and moved to the next location. It’s important to note that many exteriors of Atomic Blonde was also filmed in Berlin, so it is not exclusively Budapest undercover. Adaptable, it is, a shape-shifter, it’s not. Still, Atomic Blonde joins the pantheon of spy films shot in Budapest, which we detailed in a post here.

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Below, find the trailer for Atomic Blonde and as well as a 'making of' short.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

The Styles of 1918 Budapest and Beyond

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With Hungarian fashion label Nanushka making news with its increasingly global presence, we thought it might be interesting to look back at the roots of Hungarian fashion. All the photos below are from 100 years ago, in 1918. If anything, this proves that Hungarians were, and still are, a fashionable people. From street kids to country aristocrats, dress was taken seriously.

All the photos below are from the Fortepan collection, which can be found here.

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Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

The International Conspiracy Against Hungarian Gulash (Gulyás)

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Sometimes Hungary gets attention for all the wrong reasons. In this case, it's because somebody who is not Hungarian decided they were going to teach the world how to make gulyás, Hungary's unofficial national dish. Needless to say, it hasn't gone well. The touchingly naive video, on offer below, which has been making the rounds on local media, has been subject to a lot of snark. The reasons for derision are obvious to anybody who has an even passing knowledge of Hungarian cuisine, as the host sets out to teach the expectant home cooks of the Internet how to make Hungarian gulyás (gulash, as it is known internationally). It does not bode well when at the beginning Chef Dave from Dave’s Kitchen claims the main ingredient is hamburger meat. This of course will come as a surprise to cooks all over Hungary, who do use beef, though it comes in the form of cubes that will ideally be cooked until tender in a bogrács, which is a cauldron set over an open fire. His next offense follows soon after, insisting tomato sauce is also a primary component. True, tomatoes go in gulyás, but the bright vibrant red tint comes from the healthy amount of dry paprika the country prides itself on.

 via Lily 15/ Wikipedia Commons

via Lily 15/ Wikipedia Commons

We’d like to say Dave gets on the right track after that, but he continues to maul the recipe of Hungary’s most famous dish by adding soy sauce, and more bizarrely and non-Hungarian, Worcestershire sauce.

We are not here to provide any authoritative recipe or method for cooking gulyás, as both these things vary depending on the region and chef. That said, we did ask a Hungarian food expert to chime in. Judit Szöllősi, who runs food tours in Budapest out of her company Budapest 101 had this to say: “Some key ingredients that you definitely need for a goulash soup: lard, onion, beef, good quality sweet paprika, caraway seed, carrots, parsley root, potatoes. Of course the recipes differ in every family. And to have the best goulash experience you must serve it with excellent sourdough bread made of white flour.”

While the video is not exactly an international incident, it is a misuse of the name gulyás. And who knows why foreign adaptations of the dish translate it into anything but a soup. Maybe they had to compensate for lack of proper paprika that makes the broth so savory and spicy. Or perhaps it is for a more mundane reason: “My first reaction to the video was like,” continues J.Sz, "‘what are they doing? This is disgusting and an abomination!’ Then my second reaction was: ‘You know what? Maybe this dish is closer to the real goulash than we think’. Goulash, or gulyás, as we spell it, means a cowboy, the guys looking after the cows. And these guys, just like people working on the land, were poor as hell, and could never afford beef, therefore they never had a goulash! They probably often cooked some simple ingredients together on the open fire, whatever was available. And the dish in the video looks exactly like that: let's see what's available in the pantry, and let's make something simple but filling and comforting.”

North Americans are not the only offenders. The adaptation of gulyás by Czechs also yields a very un-gulyás-like guylás. But less like the North American casserole, the Czech gulash is stew-like in appearance and texture, and instead of the pasta that may accompany Hungarian gulyás, you will find bready dumplings to soak up the thick gravy. Back to Judit: “Today the word goulash is confusing. What foreigners usually call goulash is a beef stew with paprika in it, and we call it pörkölt. When Hungarians say gulyás, they mean a hearty soup made of beef, paprika, but also some root vegetables, potatoes, and often even a handmade fresh pasta. Many people say it's only good when it's made over open fire in a caldron, and you definitely can't make just one or two portions of it.”

However you stir it, if you want authentic gulyás, we recommend you visit Hungary or one of its former territories. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungarian "One Day" Premieres at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

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 Zsófia Szamosi in One Day

Zsófia Szamosi in One Day

Much has been made of Hungarian film in recent years, with the huge international success of features like Son of Saul, and On Body and Soul, both of which garnered the top industry awards, with an Oscar for the former and Golden Bear for the later. It appears there may be another huge success on the horizon with the debut of one of On Body and Soul director's former students, Zsófia Szilágyi. The young director is getting lots of positive attention and reviews as her feature Egy Nap, or One Day, premiered this week in the Semaine de la Critique, or the “Critics’s Week” section of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

According to the film’s press material, One Day deals with the mounting stress put on a mother and wife over the course of a single day. “Anna (Zsófia Szamosi) is constantly running around – from work to the nursery, to school, to ballet, to fencing class. As if this wasn’t enough, she suspects that her husband is cheating on her. Her issues are hardly unique, but she has simply no time to stop and think them through. They build up relentlessly, threatening to crush her. Carrying on takes more energy than she has left. Will she be able to save what’s fragile and unique in her life?”

In her director’s notes Szilágyi writes: “Slowly and consistently, the film shows — from her viewpoint — how Anna’s day marches on. It is this very perspective and the handling of time that make up the film’s core. We do not elegantly pass by certain repetitive actions and we do not change our perspective either. We go through them, just like she has to. Neither she, nor we can avoid them. The film tells about everyday time and the forceful nature of routine.”

Astute readers and film fans will recognize the name and face of lead actor Zsófia Szamosi, who also starred as the authoritarian choir teacher in “Sing”, another Hungarian film to achieve success, winning an Oscar in the Best Foreign Short category.

The Hollywood Reporter called One Day “intense”, praising its camerawork and screenplay, as well as Szamosi’s portrayal of a woman at loose ends. Screen Daily called it an “unexpectedly powerful drama…” and said “Szilágyi delivers a sympathetic women’s movie that makes the car chases and shootouts of the classic action genre look like the easy option compared to the challenge of holding down three kids, a job and a wayward husband.”

Only time will tell if One Day has the power and momentum to follow in the footsteps of Son of Saul and On Body and Soul. But a strong showing at Cannes, and positive critical notices are a great indication that this is one Hungarian film to keep an eye on.

Below find the trailer for One Day.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.

 

 

 

Budapest Through the Eyes of Guide Book Author András Török

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Below is an interview with guide book author and tour guide András Török, whose book A Critical Guide to Budapest is a cult favorite with travelers and locals alike who want a more in depth and off-beat guidebook to the city. As his answers indicate, he has a textured and authoritative view on Budapest and its culture, one you won't find in more run of the mill sources. We picked his brain a bit about some of the city's secret and not so secret locations.

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Flatpack: We typically see the same locations in Budapest, like the Chain Bridge, the State Opera House and Parliament, being used in films. What are some of the photogenic or otherwise atmospheric locations in Budapest that you have yet to see in international films?

Török: The Ganz-Mávag working-class housing-estate, in Joseph Town, near Népliget, the Wekerle Estate in Kispest, the Napraforgó utca villas. The little that remains of the Slaughterhouse, in District IX.

 Wekerle Estate. Credit: József Rozsnyai via Wikipedia Commons

Wekerle Estate. Credit: József Rozsnyai via Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack: Are there any under-recognized, or hidden gems for tourists and locals alike to visit?

Török: The Budapest Music Center, the Liszt Museum, Epreskert, where sculptors are trained in Theresa Town (District 6), Brody Studios (members only club), Károlyi kert (District 5).

Flatpack: How do tourists’ impressions of Budapest differ from your own?

Török: It was too long ago, but Paul Newman was flabbergasted: "How could I overlook that gem of Europe so long?" he asked. He nagged me about the details: How could poor Hungary in the 1950s be preoccupied with the costly rebuilding of the Royal Palace? (In such a cheap manner?)

Flatpack: What is the most romantic spot in the city, for say, a proposal?

Török: Obviously Fisherman’s Bastion, or the stairs of the National Museum.

 Photo by Tamas Thaler via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Tamas Thaler via Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack: If the city were a celebrity, who would it be? And why?

Török: Jeremy Irons. Old, but youthful, trendy, still capable of enticing ladies.

Flatpack: What’s the most vibrant, up-and-coming neighborhood?

Török: Joseph Town (District 8), in and out of the Grand Boulevard (not the rust belt part).

 Joseph Town via Wikipedia Commons

Joseph Town via Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack: What’s the top culinary experience for somebody visiting the city?

Török: The gallery part of Hold Utca Market: "street food with a difference”.

Flatpack: Has there been a significant difference in the type of tourist you see in the city these days, as opposed to when the book came out?

Török: Oh yes, wildly different.

a.) city hoppers – affluent couples (often gay – a great market!)

b.) stag party tourists – despicable, but numerous

c.) large families with kids of all ages

d.) conference tourists, getting out of boring lectures, enjoying the city

e.) affluent senior groups, often octogenarians

f.) Viking Tour tourists, sleeping on the ship, their buses are everywhere

g.) travelers, discovering the city by themselves, often off the beaten path.

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Flatpack: Do you have a strong interest in an historical figure the non-Hungarian readers might not be familiar with?

Török: Artur Görgey, commander in chief of the Hungarian rebel troupes in 1849, who actually defeated the Austrians, but was beaten by the troupes of the tsar. He symbolically lay down arms to the Russian troupes. His life was spared, but the rebel leaders blamed him for the defeat. Gullible Hungarians wanted a cheap explanation, and could not take the bitter pill, so they believed populist Lajos Kossuth, the governor, and considered Görgey a traitor for a long long tile. God punished Görgey with a very long life. He died late in 1916. His statue is in Castle Hill, on the western edge, away from the river. (Re-erected in 1998.)

Flatpack: You have a lecture called ‘What Makes Hungarians Tick’. Is there aspect to the Hungarian mindset that might be unique and is easy to put in words here?

Török: Money, power, family, sex. Like other nations, but possibly in another order.

Most Hungarians think they are special… They are never to be blamed for the problems of the country. It’s the Turks, the Austrians, Moscow, Brussels(!) and nowadays Mr. Soros.

They think Hungarian is the most beautiful language, and they are the most hospitable.

Hungarians hate competition, love excessive drinking, and greasy food. They suffer from an unfounded superiority complex.

Sad… As the US President would say.

Flatpack: Is there a film, be it Hungarian or foreign, that captures the essence of the city?

Török: Not yet.

Flatpack: Tell the Budapest-curious readers about your book; how has it evolved with revisions?

Török: Budapest Critical Guide evolved a lot since it was published first in 1989. There are (old) photos in it as well, the modern developments are more emphasized. In the first edition there was a blind lottery ticket lady, where you could leave massages and little parcels for others to pick up. In the pre-mobile-phone times… The cover has changed some seven times.

See my specialized website:

www.budapest-criticalguide.hu

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Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.