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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 and filming in Hungary!

Location Spotter: City Park Ice Rink

zita kisgergely

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

With winter in its first seriously chilly phase in Hungary, the denizens of Budapest are making the best of it with Christmas markets, traditional mulled wine, and winter sports. Surprisingly popular with just about everybody is the ice rink in Városliget, or City Park. When the pond used for boating in the summer freezes over, it becomes one of the largest ice skating rinks in all of Europe, covering 3.5 acres. Last winter, the frozen rink played a prominent role as a location in National Geographic's series Mars, and is a perennially popular location for local productions when a romantic backdrop is needed.

Situated behind the Vajdahunyad Castle (where 2013’s series Dracula was partially shot), the rink was first conceived of in 1869, and opened to the public in 1870. Since then, it has been scene to many international skating events, including the 2012 European Speed Skating Championships, and the 2007 Women’s Bandy World Championships (bandy is a derivation of ice hockey, where sticks are used to push a ball, rather than a puck, towards the opposing team’s goal). In fact, Budapest's rink is the only ice surface in Hungary suitable for bandy, so if you are shooting the world’s first great bandy movie, this is just the spot.

Vajdahunyad Castle in the background via Wikipedia

Vajdahunyad Castle in the background via Wikipedia

Moreover, the main building that services the rink, erected in 1893 in Neo-baroque style, is a national landmark. Both that building and the rink have undergone recent renovations to accommodate more visitors. The City Park skating rink exudes ‘Old World’ atmosphere, with the surrounding structures all picturesque and photogenic.

The City Park rink has also found a surprising place with Budapest’s Jewish community. Once a year, on the first night of Hanukkah, it is rented out by factions of Budapest’s Lubavitches as a ‘coming out’ celebration, where Hanukkah songs are sung, and rabbis on skates light an enormous menorah. This is a new tradition for a community that no longer has to hide from institutional persecution Socialism offered.

The ice rink at the city park is versatile, picturesque, and functional, so like the city that hosts it. Below find a stylish amateur video that conveys the everyday romance the ice rink emanates.

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.

 

Bud-apest: The Enduring Cult of Bud Spencer in Hungary

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via enca.com

via enca.com

Budapest is slowly becoming a city of unlikely statues. While a long-proposed statue of Chuck Norris has yet to materialize, in recent years we saw the introduction of a statue of American TV star Peter Falk in his Columbo garb on Falk Miksa street, and more recently, on November 11th to be exact, in the rough-and tumble District Nine, a statue of Spaghetti Western and Jack-of-All-Trades Italian actor Bud Spencer was unveiled. While the late Spencer (born Carlo Pedersoli) was a pop culture fixture in English-speaking countries, he by no means held the stature of icons like Falk and Norris, so why is the first (and last?) full body sculpture of Spencer found in Hungary’s capital? Read on and that secret will be revealed.

It turns out that the roots of Spencer's popularity lie in the fact that his films were deemed harmless enough that the Socialist authorities allowed them to be routinely broadcast on Hungarian television in the 70s and 80s. The actor retained his popularity after the 1989 changeover, his roles resonating with Hungarians young and old. Szandra Tasnádi, the sculptress who fashioned and helped unveil the statue, claimed in an interview with Hungarian news-site 444 that Spencer’s everyman qualities, and ability to laugh in the face of oppressive criminality, appealed particularly to Hungarian audiences. Site welovebudapest.com puts it more expansively: “Bud Spencer (and Terence Hill) became some of the most popular stars of their era here, despite (or perhaps because of) their plebeian appeal; for the millions of Hungarians who were restricted from traveling internationally during that time, the exotic scenery of the movies’ worldwide settings provided a rare perspective of life in faraway places outside of communist-controlled society.”

Also important to Spencer’s popularity in Hungary was his love of the sports of swimming and water polo, both of which Hungarians have a history of supporting and excelling at. In fact, Spencer’s last game as a pro water polo player was against Hungary in 1967, ending in a tie. Moreover, the athlete and actor maintained a friendship with three-time Olympian water polo player György Kárpáti, and visited Hungary often.

To this day, Spencer’s films are still broadcast on Hungarian TV, though there was also a Spencer film festival held in Budapest. The soundtracks to his Spaghetti Westerns are so popular, they have been played to packed stadiums, and the actor’s popularity shows no signs of declining despite his death earlier this year at age 86.

Tasnádi’s sculpture features Spencer carrying a saddle and the quote “As Bud Spencer’s partner in crime, Terence Hill said at the funeral, he is sure that he will be welcomed by his friend with a saddle on his shoulders when he goes to heaven,” adorns the base. At the inauguration the actor’s daughter, who was in attendance, said, “The statue reflected the real personality of her father: a big man with a big heart.” The French inexplicably love Jerry Lewis, and David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany. The Hungarians have claimed Bud Spencer, and now a statue to prove it.

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

Below is a brief video of the event.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Crime Novel Budapest Noir Comes To The Screen

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budapest-noir.jpg

Way back in 2008, a short crime novel about a murder in Nazi-occupied Budapest was published in Hungary by an anonymous writer. Since then that novel, Budapest Noir, has gone on to be translated into multiple languages and published around the world, including in America by swanky publishing house Harper Collins.

The plot revolves around an investigator with a weakness for justice and beautiful women, the corpse of a young prostitute who died under mysterious circumstances, and a conspiracy that stretches from the thugs of the ghetto to the offices of the highest levels of government. It might be a long-lost Raymond Chandler novel, except the dead woman was Jewish, and the ghetto is in Interwar Budapest, where criminals lurk around the corners of shady Pest streets as well as in in the halls of Parliament. The plot of the highly entertaining novel unfolds both logically and surprisingly, which is what we expect of a 50’s style crime book. The author – Vilmos Kondor, a nom de plume – is clearly in love with American crime noir and pulp fiction. What the book may lack in literary prose, it makes up for with unique Hungarian twists: a pensioner who obsessively makes jam at home; shady dealings between the rising Nazi party and assimilated Budapest Jews; and the natural moodiness of the central 7th and 8th districts of Pest.

Of course this is ideal film material. Coupled with Budapest as a backdrop, and with the commercially savvy Hungarian Film Fund as backers, it was inevitable that Budapest Noir would be made. Indeed, it had its Hungarian debut earlier this month. Recently Hungarian/American director Eva Gardos (Gárdos Éva) told Daily Variety that she “wanted to make a film that allowed Budapest to become an integral character.” She noted that Budapest is often used a stand-in for other cities, but that in her new film “it’s a major element. We initially did some black and white tests, but I decided to shoot in color because I wanted to show off the vibrancy of the city.”

Gardos, whose life was the basis for the Scarlett Johansson starring film American Rhapsody, went on in Variety to tout the Hungarian crews and talent: “Making films in Hungary is very comparable to working in Hollywood. Hungarian technicians are well-versed in how to work on large productions, and they can easily bounce back and forth between local films and when Hollywood comes to town. There are some extremely exciting Hungarian filmmakers working right now, like László Nemes (Son of Saul) and Krisztina Goda (Home Guards).”

The Hungarian language Budapest Noir got its American debut at the Chicago Film Festival, and has also been screened at the Santa Monica Film Festival. Below you can find the trailer with 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.

On Body and Soul Continues Winning Over World

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bodyandsoul.jpg

Fresh from two recent exposés in Daily Variety, both of which tout Budapest as ‘Hollywood on the Danube’ for the amount of big budget film and TV series being shot here, Budapest couldn’t be more of a film hotbed. Or could it? Getting less press in Hollywood trades, but on the radar of Oscar voters, is a local film that is gaining more and more momentum with each passing month. We are talking about the lovely drama Testről és lélekről by Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi, or On Body and Soul, as it is known in English. The film is turning out to be an art-house sleeper hit, having won the Golden Bear in Berlin and more recently, the European Film Award for best film, as well as best actress (Alexandra Borbély), and best director and best screenplay (Enyedi). It’s been almost 20 years since Hungary got a nomination for that award (for István Szabó’s Sunshine) and represents Hungary’s first ever win.

We wrote about this On Body and Soul sometime in February of this year, but now that it is Hungary’s official entry into the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscars, and that it is being enthusiastically embraced by international audiences (receiving a stellar 95 percent rating on the popular film site Rotten Tomatoes), it seems relevant to revisit.

On Body and Soul has received mostly positive reviews, with Time Out saying “It's a slow, quiet and beautifully composed story about human connection, or more specifically, the difficulty in finding it.” It marks a return to the spotlight for the director, who won the Cannes Camera d’Or prize for first feature way back in 1989 for her debut My Twentieth Century. Whether On Body and Soul can repeat Son of Saul’s success with the Oscars remains to be seen. We can only hope its quiet poetry and quirkiness will be appreciated by those who vote, and that Hungary will be heralded as not just the go-to spot for film and TV production in Europe, but also for its erudite and rich local film-making.

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photo of Ildikó Enyedi via Wikipedia

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.

Big News for Mr. Rubik's Magic Cube

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via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

 

Children and adults alive in the 80s remember the Rubik’s Cube as that multi-colored, frustrating puzzle that much of the world was obsessed with solving. Everyone across the globe seemed to have one. While it felt like a mere fad at the time, fascination with the ‘magic cube’ has endured, and is still enjoyed by generations of people who thrill to the challenge it poses. Indeed, read on to discover that there was big news in the world of competitive 'speedcubing' in the past few months.

Wouldn't you just know that that the famous mind-bending puzzle was invented by a Hungarian? His name was Ernő Rubik. It was one of those fairy-tale inventions: created in hours off from work as a university professor by a man with a passion for math, design, and games. The first Cube prototype was actually made of wood, with beveled corners, and the object was to match designs rather than colors. Initially called the ‘Magic Cube’ by the humble Rubik, the toy company that bought the rights re-named it Rubik’s Cube.

To call the Cube a phenomenon would be an understatement. More than 300,000,000 cubes have been sold since its introduction, and if laid next to each other, would form a line from the North to the South Pole. The toy company estimates that at the height of its success, one fifth of the world’s population had tried their hand at the Cube.

It also happened that last September, a new world record was set in solving the Cube at a speedcubing competition. The winner, Patrick Ponce, a teenager from the United Stated, was recorded as having completed to puzzle in an astonishing 4.69 seconds. This record as subsequently broken by Korean SeungBeom Cho who  with a 4.59 second finish. It has been a very exciting year for the Cube indeed. These aren’t just kids fiddling around in their basements. There is a worldwide culture of Cubing competitions, and the Guinness Book of World Records tracks and publishes the results. But traditional speedcubing isn’t the only way people compete with the Cube. There are also events for solving the puzzle with your feet, solving it underwater, blindfolded, or solving the cube in the fewest moves.

The puzzle, like a deck of cards or game of chess, seems to be built for the ages, as it shows no signs of fading in popularity. “I made something I found interesting and my idea was, ‘It’s good, and I wanted to share it with other people,’ ” said Rubik, now over 70, speaking at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. “I was not thinking about the size of the popularity and that kind of thing. It’s happened because of the cube, not because of me.”

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.

Daily Variety Tips Budapest as the Hottest City in Film Production

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via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Budapest has been an up-and-comer as a film location for many years now.  This is true for obvious reasons, from the dynamic architecture to the availability of state-of-the-art sound stages as well as technically proficient local crews. Mix all that with a 25 percent tax rebate and a Hollywood tycoon producer in the role of Hungarian film commissioner, and it was only a matter of time before Budapest was recognized as the go-to place for cost-effective productions of all sizes from all over the world. Perhaps the deal was sealed with the release of Blade Runner II, which was shot in Budapest, soon followed by the Jennifer Lawrence staring Red Sparrow.

“This year feels like one of the busiest the ( Budapest production) community’s had since the tax rebate came into existence. The capacity of the town is at its maximum,” Adam Goodman, of Hungarian production company Mid Atlantic Films, told Daily Variety in an article dedicated to the ascendancy of Budapest’s film industry. In the article, Goodman goes on to explain that “daily unit costs can be more than 50% lower than those in the U.K. A grip, for example, will cost $130 a day in Hungary, compared with at least $300 in the U.K., while set construction is 35% cheaper.” This is due to cost-effective crews, locations, and the government-sponsored tax rebate enjoyed by international and Hungarian-language films, all of which make Budapest a very tempting place to shoot indeed.

Promoting Hungary as a location alongside championing the local Hungarian film industry is Andrew Vajna, the celebrated producer of such films as Rambo: First Blood, Jacob’s Ladder, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Total Recall. In his role as Hungarian Film Commissioner he supported for the Oscar-winning Hungarian film Son of Saul. As Vajna said in the same Variety article, “We are healthy, we are making movies, we have money, and we are out there. We are open for business.”

Budapest continues its roll with the recently completed spy comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me, but more importantly, small and medium-size local and international productions including commercials and music videos that get less press are keeping local crews busy. It’s a city that accommodates all budgets, and its anointment by Variety as a ‘hot’ city for production is well deserved, but may be just the beginning.   

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.

Location Spotter: The Nest Artist's Club

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If you are walking up Budapest’s narrow Dob street, exiting the traditionally Jewish District, heading towards the grand Ring Road with its cheap bars and expensive hotels, you will pass a large building with an expansive entrance, and perhaps a young lady who is trying to tempt you into – of all things – a Cuban restaurant. You’d do well to submit to her recommendation, but, instead of making your way to the eatery, which only takes up a small portion of the building, take a tour through the Fészek Klub, or the ‘Nest’, one of Budapest’s most famous artists’ clubs.

Built in 1902, the club's mandate was to act as a place where the practitioners of painting, writing, sculpture, theater, and music could join to show work, perform, and of course eat, drink and cavort. The Nest houses multiple gallery spaces, a gorgeous courtyard, performance spaces, and a basement cabaret and bar. Among the internationally famous artists who frequented the Nest were Sándor Bródy, Ödön Lechner, Ferenc Molnár, and János Vaszary. The club’s golden age came early, before the building was damaged during World War II (subsequently repaired at the expense of its members), and then nationalized by the ruling Socialist government, thus losing its edge as an exclusive hideout for prominent artists. These days, it is privately held, and struggles to maintain its rooms as gallery and performance spaces, though according to its site, it still hosts over 1000 cultural events a year, drawing over 120,000 visitors. In their own words: “Fészek, aged more than 112 years, is still a host theatre for all the arts and a center for general education, unique in Hungary as well as in the world, keeping the cultural heritage alive and improving it further.”

The bright side to the club’s financial troubles is that so many of the old decorations have not been replaced, but instead have been preserved, turning the Nest Club into something of a time capsule. As you can see from the pictures below, the interiors invite visions of spy films and international Cold War thrillers. It’s one of Budapest’s unheralded gems, in terms of being an active cultural space and film location. And there are even a number of artists who still frequent the Nest Club, even though these days they may be dining on Cuban cuisine and Mojitos.

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 All photos via the Fészek Klub website.

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 Breezy Bikeride through Transylvania

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via utazas.info

via utazas.info

This week we present a small gem of a film -- Transsylvania – a Cycle Me Home Story -- which while it has not been totally ignored, has perhaps not found the international audience it should. It’s a 2012 travel film with a fairly simple concept: a few friends bike across the Transylvanian countryside, cameras in hand and a drone above. Transylvania means ‘beyond the woods’ and that’s what we find here: notes to the country lives of the Hungarian populations who maintain their Hungarian identity and culture even though the area they reside in was annexed to Romania as part of the Treaty of Trianon.

But don’t mistake this short documentary for a political screed. What we get are beautiful shots of rolling hills and dense forests, and glimpses of folk dancing and shepherds. Transylvania is now regarded as one of the great (somewhat) undiscovered tourist destinations, and with its Hungarian Székely populations, Saxon villages, picturesque vistas, and traditional values and culture, it is no surprise why. Also, it is quite famous for its wild bears and wolves, which add to the mysterious, haunting feeling of that part of Europe.

Transsylvania – a Cycle Me Home Story, was made by bike enthusiast film-makers Máté Pálla and Levente Klára. The short has been screened at SHAFF, BFF NYC, Rueda, and LLAMFF, Montanha Pico and won the prize for the best road film at the 61st Independent Film Festival in Budapest. In their own words. “In the summer of 2014, a group of friends got on their bikes to ride around the beautiful hills of Transylvania - a magical land that once belonged to Hungary. Inspired by the legendary Sir David Attenborough, this movie tells the story of the cyclists and their experiences in the area in the style of wildlife documentaries.”

So if you want to get a window in on a unique Hungarian culture that has been preserved for generations, amidst beautiful and haunting scenery flying by, take the half hour and watch Transsylvania, delivered to you by bike (in Hungarian with 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.

The Enduring Legend of the Whiskey Robber

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There was a time when it looked like the Hungarian outlaw folk hero the Whiskey Robber was set to conquer the world. A highly regarded book, The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, was published about him in English in America and Great Britain, and the film rights to that book were optioned by none other than Johnny Depp. The pic was developed to the point where a screenplay was completed. But sometime after that the project stalled, and the American Whiskey Robber film has yet to see light of day.

You Tube screenshot of A Viszkis

You Tube screenshot of A Viszkis

The world has always been fascinated by criminals with style, from Robin Hood to John Dillinger. But who is this swarthy outlaw, whose real name is Attila Ambrus, and how did he go from living on a one-street village in Transylvania to international notoriety, if not fame? Ambrus got his start being criminally bad as an ice hockey goaltender, then, in January 1993, when he needed money to bribe an official in order to emigrate to Hungary, he put on a wig, downed a shot of Johnnie Walker, and robbed a local bank. And then, like shots of whiskey, one bank followed another. This went on for years, and 10 banks in total, with the gentlemanly robber always enjoying a whiskey before his caper and behaving respectfully, even courtly towards the bank clerks, leaving behind bouquets of roses, while mocking the bumbling police who sought him by gifting them bottles of wine. He was a media sensation and became a symbol for the common man’s struggle against the accruement of pillaged wealth in the immediate years that followed the change from Socialism to capitalism in Hungary. As Magyar Hírlap – one of Hungary’s most prominent newspapers – put it, "He didn't rob banks. He merely performed a peculiar redistribution of the wealth that differed from the elites only in its method." According to the Whiskey Robber book, however, such funds were in fact redistributed to swanky casinos and high-end brothels.  

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His story might have died away once Ambrus was caught in 1999, except that he pulled off a daring escape from a Budapest jail with the classic ‘using bed-sheets as rope’ method, and evaded capture long enough to swing three more heists and trigger an international manhunt, the biggest in Eastern Europe at the time. After that, his reputation was sealed, even though he wouldn’t much enjoy it from the high-security prison cell that he called home after being re-apprehended.

Despite the Hollywood film version sitting on the sidelines, this month sees the release of a hometown take on Ambrus, A Viszkis, written and directed by Nimród Antal, known for his art-house classic Kontroll and big budget Hollywood films Predators and Vacancy. The highly anticipated film will be released in Hungarian in mid November.

As for Ambrus himself, he is now out of prison, middle-aged and flying straight, and apparently into crafting ceramics. The last remaining unsolved crime is why such a lively and inherently filmable story was shelved by Depp and the rest.

Below you can find the trailer for A Viszkis (in Hungarian)

Source: USA Today and Salon.com

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 Painted Walls of a Colorful City

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via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

There is no question that the varied architecture and city-scapes of Budapest can both inspire and oppress, with such a combination of new and old, and with so much deterioration, renovation, and construction. While some buildings look spruced up and pristine as colorful gingerbread houses, others have not been touched for decades, and indeed many buildings still bear the effects of wars past in the form of bullet pock-marks on their facades. For decades after communism, the only street art you saw was inept, ugly graffiti, some of which still remains. Into this mix, in an effort to both bring beautiful and engaging art to the inhabitants of the city, while at the same time making its streets more livable, comes the Színes Város (or, the Colorful City) organization, an NGO dedicated to livening up public spaces with enormous murals and other artwork.

In their own words: “The Colorful City is the first association, which colors public spaces. The civil based project has formed itself to be a movement from the very beginning, because coloring up public spaces in a legal way was unknown before 2008, the time we launched the initiative of Colorful City Project. The basic idea is built on Victor Vasarely's Colorful City concept, published in 1983, which bottom line is for art to set foot on the streets, public spaces and that people should not only meet with fine art pieces in galleries.”

If you walk around the city center, you can really see the positive effects the murals have on the scenery. Where there was once a gray, decaying wall, there is now an exciting, eye-catching painting, done by a prominent local or international artist. The murals have become so popular, walking tours have even been organized around them. Colorful City recognizes the importance of public art, works that needn’t be shown in galleries or museums to be appreciated and valued. In that sense, they have transformed the city into a gallery that every one of its inhabitants can patronize. You can call it street art, which it is, in its truest sense -- just don’t call it graffiti.  

Below find a few of the more prominent murals The Colorful City organization has delivered to Budapest over the past years. They represent just a portion of the 15,000 square feet of wall space that have been painted by Színes Város.

You can learn more about Színes Város, or the Colorful City at their website here.

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

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.

School Food: American Millenials React to Hungarian Cuisine

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Hortobágyi crepes, photo via Wikipedia

Hortobágyi crepes, photo via Wikipedia

Question: what would happen if you put a lot of traditional Hungarian dishes in front of a bunch of American college students? Below we have a video that attempts to answer that pressing question. While one might expect a good deal of resistance to foods such as rakott krumpli (layered potatoes, or potato casserole, depending on the translation) they were surprisingly open to the many Hungarian dishes placed before them. If you are new to Hungarian food, it can be typified by a few qualities, foremost the use of paprika (the cliché is true). But there is so much more to the cuisine, which has stayed surprisingly resilient to the influences of so many different ethnic foods that can now be found in Budapest. Heavy on braised meat stews, casseroles using seasonal vegetables, dry sausage and sour cream, and a lot of pork dishes (cattle are typically used for dairy, and whatever beef comes from them will be braised or put in soups). You will also see a few of oddball ingredients such as quark, poppy seed, and no shortage of liver. Dishes that may be considered exotic in the States can be commonly found in grocery stores here, like quail eggs, goose liver, and kefir. In the larger farmers’ market market halls, you can even find tastes leftover from food-scarce war-time Hungary, like horse sausage and offal, though these by no means define Hungarian food.  

Well, the students were very sporting, perhaps because they got off easy (no horse sausage or pork lung). It makes for a nice meeting of cultures, and perhaps the legion of foreign Hungarian food fans (not to mention the Hungarians themselves), have gained some new recruits.

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.

Why You Should Stay Away From 'Dangerous' Budapest

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One actress gets in a bar fight in Budapest and all local media channels go wild. But celebrities get their feathers ruffled all the time. It’s inevitable and there are entire You Tube channels dedicated to such incidents. But for some reason the interview of Jennifer Lawrence detailing her kerfuffle at a Budapest bar maDe headlines. What everybody seemed to miss was not the provocation of the actress dumping beer over a verbally aggressive fan’s head, but that Seth Meyers, the TV host and interviewer, called Budapest a ‘dangerous place.’ It took a moment for that to sink in. What could possibly prompt a person from LA to call Budapest dangerous? We looked into the matter, and found that Meyers has a point. Budapest is a very dangerous city indeed. Let’s look at why:

According to Numero.com, which tracks statistics for the world’s cities, Budapest rates as a ‘low’ in most fields related to crime, from mugging to drug dealing to fear of being harassed on the street. It is fair to say, we rate ‘dangerously’ low in violent crime statistics, with only a handful of shootings reported in the past year, and no international terrorism. With good reason, you will feel safe in Budapest, which may create a dangerous false sense of security.

Dangerous Hungarian street gang via Wikipedia commons

Dangerous Hungarian street gang via Wikipedia commons

Krav Maga, according to multiple on-line sources, is the world’s most lethal martial art. It happens that it was also invented by a Hungarian. Back in pre-WWII, Pozsony (now Bratislava) resident and judo master Imre Lichtenfeld began to modify judo and boxing to give them a better street application in order to ward off thugs bent on committing violent acts in his Jewish neighborhood. After moving to Israel, he developed what we know as Krav Maga with the Israeli army. The Krav Maga scene is thriving in Budapest, and because it is purely focused self defense, this makes it very dangerous indeed for violent criminals.

Speaking of martial arts, be sure to watch out for throwing stars. They have pointy tips and tend to smart upon contact. Budapest has no shortage of stars, many of them adorning the mantles of its high-end restaurants. Budapest currently has more Michelin stars than any post-bloc country, with four. Such stars make dining out in Budapest a very dangerous prospect indeed, especially if fatally delicious goose liver is on the menu.

via Costes Downtown Facebook page

via Costes Downtown Facebook page

Finally, nobody pointed out to Miss Lawrence the dangers of spilling Hungarian beer. While not known as a beer country (though the vibrant craft-brew culture is changing that) a recent near page-long New York Times article was dedicated to the dangers of messing with a beloved Hungarian brewery. Csiki sör beer, which is brewed in culturally Hungarian Székely lands in Transylvania, was challenged by beer mega-giant Heineken over the belief the Csiki name was too similar to a Heineken-owned Romanian brand. Csiki fought back in the court of public opinion, and found great popular support for their cause, forcing the beer Goliath to back down.

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So, yes, we agree with Mr. Meyers that Budapest is a dangerous town. For sure don’t come to this dangerously safe place, and eat and drink dangerously well. You may be in danger of wanting to stay.

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.

Through the Eyes of an Outsider: Scenes from 1964 Hungary by Elliott Erwitt

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It was the year 1964, and the place was Hungary. Under the Socialist Kádár regime, progress was still being made. The country’s first self-service grocery store was opened, for instance. Bus travel between Czechoslovakia and Hungary was re-established, and Hungary sent a strong team to the Olympics in Tokyo. Also notable was that American photographer Elliott Erwitt arrived in the country to document life behind the Iron Curtain. Still in his 30s, Erwitt’s photos have been compared to those of street photography master Henri Cartier-Bresson in their capturing of the "decisive moment". It’s possible that his interest in Hungary came from his association with Hungarian photographer Robert Capa, with whom Erwitt worked at Magnum Photo. In his diverse subjects, Erwitt left behind documentation of a Hungary that feels very much in the past, yet somehow still with us.

Elliott Erwitt’s Hungarian photo series was recently on display at Budapest’s photography museum Mai Manó Ház, but you can see a selection of his work below, which is made available through the photo archive Fortepan.

Fotó: Hősök parkja, balra a Dózsa György utca, szemben a Szabadság utca. Mohács, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / Krantz Károly

Fotó: Hősök parkja, balra a Dózsa György utca, szemben a Szabadság utca. Mohács, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / Krantz Károly

Fotó: Strand. Balatonakarattya, Magyarország, 1964. © Fortepan / Lencse Zoltán

Fotó: Strand. Balatonakarattya, Magyarország, 1964. © Fortepan / Lencse Zoltán

Fotó: Strand. Balatonakarattya, Magyarország, 1964. © Fortepan / Lencse Zoltán

Fotó: Strand. Balatonakarattya, Magyarország, 1964. © Fortepan / Lencse Zoltán

Fotó: Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 78., Zrínyi Nyomda, a Magyar Rendőr című folyóirat nyomdai előkészítő munkálata, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 78., Zrínyi Nyomda, a Magyar Rendőr című folyóirat nyomdai előkészítő munkálata, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Kossuth Lajos tér, a felvétel a Parlament erkélyéről készült., Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Kossuth Lajos tér, a felvétel a Parlament erkélyéről készült., Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Lehel vezér tér, május 1-i felvonulás, Jászberény, Magyarország, 1964. Morvay Lajos felvétele © Fortepan / Morvay Kinga

Fotó: Lehel vezér tér, május 1-i felvonulás, Jászberény, Magyarország, 1964. Morvay Lajos felvétele © Fortepan / Morvay Kinga

Fotó: Apáczai Csere János utca, az UVATERV-MÉLYÉPTERV székház tetőterasza, a mellvéden a törökbálinti M1-M7 autópálya kereszteződés makettje. Háttérben a Duna és a Királyi Palota, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Apáczai Csere János utca, az UVATERV-MÉLYÉPTERV székház tetőterasza, a mellvéden a törökbálinti M1-M7 autópálya kereszteződés makettje. Háttérben a Duna és a Királyi Palota, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Fő tér 10., a Grassalkovich-palota udvara, TEFU telep. Szemben, a Bugát Pál téren álló ház takarásában, a ferences templom, Gyöngyös, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Fő tér 10., a Grassalkovich-palota udvara, TEFU telep. Szemben, a Bugát Pál téren álló ház takarásában, a ferences templom, Gyöngyös, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: A Fővárosi Tanács VB Városrendezési és Építészeti Osztályának felvétele. Levéltári jelzet: HU_BFL_XV_19_c_11 © Fortepan / Budapest Főváros Levéltára

Fotó: A Fővárosi Tanács VB Városrendezési és Építészeti Osztályának felvétele. Levéltári jelzet: HU_BFL_XV_19_c_11 © Fortepan / Budapest Főváros Levéltára

Fotó: Balatoni út, ÁFOR kút és az autószerviz, Székesfehérvár, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Balatoni út, ÁFOR kút és az autószerviz, Székesfehérvár, Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Erzsébet híd Pestről nézve, terheléspróba, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Erzsébet híd Pestről nézve, terheléspróba, Budapest V. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / UVATERV

Fotó: Gyermek tér, gyermek közlekedési park, Budapest XIII. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan

Fotó: Gyermek tér, gyermek közlekedési park, Budapest XIII. ker., Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan

Source: Mai Manó Ház; Fortepan

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.

Local Hero: A Farewell to Károly Makk

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While we have dedicated much space on this blog to a new and flourishing Hungarian film industry, with such festival hits as White God, On Body and Soul, and The Citizen gaining international attention, not to mention two recent Oscars in Son of Saul and the short Sing, it is fair to say that all contemporary Hungarian film-makers owe a debt to the bellwether years of modern Hungarian cinema, dominated by voices like István Szabó, Miklós Jancsó, Márta Mészáros, and recently departed Károly Makk.

From Makk's film Love

From Makk's film Love

Makk died last week, having left indelible mark on Hungarian and international art-house cinema. Some of this is thanks to the liberalization of the local film industry during the difficult socialist era, giving local film-makers more freedom in subject matter and control over their product. While directing several less ambitious films,  Makk had to wait for slow changes within the government apparatus to make his masterpiece, simply titled (in English translation) Love, a film that would garner him international accolades, including the jury prize at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. Quoted in the Guardian, Makk said, “I asked every year for six years for permission to make it. The political elite finally gave in because it was part of a rejection of the Stalin years.” His follow-up offering, Cat’s Play, would be Hungary’s selection for the 1974 Oscars, as was his next film Another Way, though that film would be withdrawn on the insistence of the regime in then-Socialist Hungary.

From Makk's film Love

From Makk's film Love

Makk would go on to make English-language films that were internationally financed, including Lily in Love, staring Christopher Plummer and Maggie Smith, and The Gambler, an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel, with Michael Gambon in the lead role.

Makk was born in 1925, and despite his father’s urging that he go into a practical trade like engineering, Makk joined the national film industry as an assistant, and worked his way through the ranks until he began directing, his first feature being Liliomfi in 1954. Of the many films he made, five would be nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Károly Makk’s films explored how average people maintain their humanity in the face of oppression, something the director had firsthand experience in. Though he has passed, his legacy lives on in the vital and human stories we are seeing coming out of the Hungarian cinema of today.

Károly Makk. Image via Wikipedia

Károly Makk. Image via Wikipedia

Source: the Guardian

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.

Ballerina Budapest: The Ballerina Project

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The Ballerina Project Hungary, a long-running series by Hungarian photographer Tünde Dóra feature ballerinas posing around some of Budapest’s more well and lesser known sites, including thermal bath houses, the metro, and the banks of the Danube. The series is derived from the international Ballerina Project, created by photographer Dane Shitagi some 17 years ago. According to the Ballerina Project Hungary’s Facebook page, “The Ballerina Project is more than just documentation: it’s a nod of respect paid to the most effective essence of human motion, ballet. It is also an undistorted mirror of dancers’ ambitions…The dancers are taken away from the stage – this time the scenery is our living space, the city milieu, simple everyday life.”

Grace, elegance, utility: ballerinas and Budapest make great dance partners.

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All photos by Tünde Dóra and used by permission. You can find more on the Ballerina Project Hungary on Instagram, Facebook, and on her website.

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.

Culinary Corner: the National Cake Competition

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Anybody in or around Budapest this past month knows there was recently a huge competition taking place. No, we’re not talking about Formula 1’s Hungaroring, or the FINA World Championships in swimming, but something far sweeter. As it’s Hungary’s birthday in August, that can only mean the national cake competition, where confectioners from across the country compete to be awarded the honor of being Hungary’s national cake for the next year. It is viewed as something as a birthday cake, and the winning confection will be sold at confectioners around the country. But forget traditional Dobos or Esterházy tortes of competitions past; bakers these days are turning up the heat and working outside their comfort zones to get noticed, with previous entries featuring such diverse flavors as pumpkin oil and apricot fruit brandy.

While the country’s oldest confectioners usually prevail, this year a relative new-comer, the chic bakery and candy store Sugar! Design Confectionery, took home first prize with a cake translated from Hungarian as ‘Balaton Frothy Hazelnut’, which among other ingredients, is made with black currants, chocolate, caramel, and of course, hazelnut. The cake, or more accurately, torte, beat out 28 other cakes that made it to the final competition.

via Sugar! Design Confectionary

via Sugar! Design Confectionary

While the years have seen increasingly creative cakes win, it is a requirement that the entries utilize a recognizably traditional Hungarian flavor in the recipe (you won’t be seeing a green mochi cake winning anytime soon).

As sweet as all this is, the contest also recently acknowledged a parallel competition for a sugar-free cake. This year the winner was Budapest confectioner Zazzi Confectioners’ cake that translates at Polka-dotted Panni, a very pink creamy raspberry mousse, plum, and poppy seed concoction.

via One Drop of Attention Foundation

via One Drop of Attention Foundation

Congratulations to the winning cakes, in this scrumptious summer tradition; just one more example of Hungary rewarding innovation while keeping itself rooted in tradition. And if we have the ear of the Association of Hungarian Confectionery Manufacturers, the contest’s organizers, please drop us a line if you need a judge for next year’s contest.

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 Hungarian in Hollywood: Joe Eszterhas

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Photo by Franzressel via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Franzressel via Wikipedia Commons

Not many screenwriters can lay claim to having penned films whose box office totals exceed 2 billion dollars. Making this feat more impressive, not many screenwriters also ascended to the heights of of being Hollywood’s top paid writer, when English was not their first language. But such is the case with notorious rabble-rouser Joe Eszterhas, or Eszterhas József, as he was his given name when born in the small Hungarian village of Csákánydoroszló, back in the harrowing, war-torn year of 1944.

Emigrating with his family as refugees to American and eventually growing up in a poor Hungarian enclave in Ohio, Eszterhas endured prejudice against immigrants, to find work as a journalist with Cleveland’s newspaper the Plain Dealer. From there he moved west to Rolling Stone magazine, and earned a National Book Award nomination for his non-fiction title Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse. He broke into entertainment with his union-themed film-script for F.I.S.T, which took a critical drubbing, but didn’t prevent the scribe from following up with the sensational 80’s juggernaut Flashdance and of course the neo-noir icon Basic Instinct. It was the wild success of Basic Instinct that solidified his career and earned him the reputation as Hollywood’s highest paid writer, with his multi-million dollar deals making as much news as his skirmishes with Hollywood’s powerbrokers like Michael Ovitz.

BasicInstinct.jpg

But Eszterhas never forgot his Hungarian roots, and was involved with many projects that either featured Hungarians or took place in Hungary, most recently the extremely well received Hungarian-language film Children of Glory, based on Eszterhas’s script, which details the heroics of the 1956 Hungarian Olympic water polo team that faced off against the Russians during the 1956 Revolution. Earlier, he wrote American Rhapsody, which follows an American teenager discovering her Hungarian heritage in Budapest, and Music Box, about a Hungarian immigrant to America who is accused of being a war criminal.

A few interesting facts about Joe Eszterhas:

He reportedly wrote Basic Instinct in 13 days, and later sold it at auction for 3 million dollars.

He famously had an affair with Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone.

Huge success also came with huge disappointments. His mocked big budget Showgirls and his indie-minded An Alan Smithee Film both won in the Worst Screenplay category of the Razzies.

Music Box’s plot closely resembled life when Eszterhas’ own father was accused of being a Nazi collaborator.

The writer eventually moved from Hollywood back to Ohio, to live quietly with his family, and write books and screenplays.

Eszterhas publicly called out many a star, like Edward Norton, Michael Douglas, and Val Kilmer for overstepping their roles. He even wrote a book on his difficult experiences with Mel Gibson during their ill-fated project on Judah and The Maccabees.

Though Showgirls was considered one of Hollywood’s all-time great critical flops, it continues to gain a cult following and not only turned a profit on video but remains one of MGM’s top twenty sellers on that format.

Joe Eszterhas participated in the Memory Project: the Hungarian American Visual History Project. His episode can be seen below.

Hats off to Joe Eszterhas, a Hungarian in Hollywood, who has left an indelible mark on film.

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.

 

Underground Budapest: János Molnár Caves

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photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

We make the most of Budapest as a city, with stunning architecture and diverse culture for all mindsets and lifestyles. But you may be surprised to learn that there is also a lot going on beneath the city’s bedrock. We’re not talking about another new metro line or an invasion of gophers, but rather the extraordinary system of underwater caves that supply the city’s dozen or so thermal baths with warm water. This may be one of Budapest’s best kept secrets, though it won’t be for long, as the Hungarian Tourist Board teamed up with media company Great Big Story to make a video about the largest and most explored underwater cave beneath Budapest: János Molnár.

Before diving into the video, here are a few interesting facts about the János Molnár underwater caves:

The opening to the network of caves was discovered in the 1950s by none other than a man named János Molnár, a pharmacist who decided to follow the warm waters of a thermal bath to their source. Divers began charting the caves in the 1970s, and since then four miles of underwater caves have been explored.

The largest underwater chamber of the network can fit (according to the video) 350 double-decker buses. Were it a bath, it would take four-and-a-half years to drain.

This is only one complex of underwater caves in Budapest. Many still exist that have yet to be explored.

Entirely new species of underwater life have been discovered in the János Molnár caves. Biologists, geologists, and chemists visit to study the water's unique properties.

Moreover, you can visit too, as dives are arraigned through a private company. As described by somebody who experienced the caves under Budapest first hand to travel site Atlas Obscura, “Inside, the network of water-carved tunnels curve into bends with striking, pinkish mineral formations decorating the walls. Some of the shapes lie in undulating layers, others resemble small cauliflower heads, while some of the mineral deposits mimic flowers, which earned the cave its nickname the ‘Underground Flower Garden.’”

But if you aren’t certified/in Budapest/ or are claustrophobic, have a look at this spectacular video, which has racked up almost 100,000 views in the few days since it was uploaded, and get to know Budapest’s thriving ‘underground’ culture.

All photos by Janne Suhonen are used by permission. You can find out more about Janne's book and photo projects here and here.

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 Lesson: i-D Magazine's 'Model Mother Tongue'

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With almost two million views for a black-and-white video that teaches the viewer a few key Hungarian phrases, it seems that the Hungarian language has suddenly become very popular indeed. With only 13 million Hungarian speakers worldwide, this represents a huge boost. OK, it’s possible that not everybody is tuning to improve their skills at 'magyarul', but even so, that so many people can properly say liliom (lily) in Hungarian represents something of a minor triumph.

It should be pointed out that the lesson – so to speak – was organized by fashion magazine i-D, and the teacher is known for her ability to capture attention. Over its near 40-year existence, the British i-D has been at the cutting edge of culture and fashion. Not long ago, they started a series of videos called “Model Mother Tongue” in which top international fashion models give a brief primer in their native tongue, along with a lot of atmospheric shots and doe eyes. Irrespective of your interest in fashion models, the videos are – of course – stylish, but also have a sense of humor.

With so many Hungarian models to chose from, who, you may be wondering, did i-D invite to lovingly torture the viewer with a lesson in Hungarian? It turns out the choice was easy in recruiting Barbara Palvin, a Victoria’s Secret model who has also graced the pages of Sports Illustrated iconic swimsuit issue, is a L’Oréal ambassador, and is ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s highest paid models. A British Vogue editor describes her as an “absolutely exquisite looking a cross between a young Brooke Shields and Natalia Vodianova."

While the video doesn’t appear to be shot in Hungary, there is a good amount of hungaricum (artifacts unique to Hungarian culture) dropped in the phrases, like gulyás (goulash) and Houdini. In other words, you might learn something, too. As a model and teacher, Palvin is at the top of her game. Her English isn’t bad, either.

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.

 

Location Spotter: Hungaroring, Grand Prix in Hungary

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Summer means many different things to visitors from abroad, who come to Hungary for the diversity of attractions and events, unique Hungarian culture, and beautiful landscapes. But racing fans come to Hungary for our Grand Prix: Hungaroring, Hungary’s Formula One event. Racing enthusiasts will flood the town Mogyoród, 20 km northeast of Budapest, to watch the best of Formula One racing. Dubbed ‘Monaco without walls’, in reference to its twists and turns, which are similar to Monanco’s race, Hungaroring will go off this very weekend. 

One could also compare the track to the Hungarian language, loaded with difficult contortions and inevitable complications: it hasn’t been made it easy for anybody. That said, once they get going, drivers can reach speeds of up to 300 km/h on the lone hospitable straight. The drivers will rack up 70 laps for a total of just over 306 km over the two-hour race.

While McClaren are favored this year, fans will get a kick out of watching Force India’s pink car do its best. Said Sergio Perez from Force India team, “I like the twisty layout, which reminds me of a street circuit. And when you find your rhythm, it’s very enjoyable to drive.”

Only time will tell if on Sunday driver Lewis Hamilton will match Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68 poles, an occurrence that would make this year’s Hungaroring all the more eventful. Hamilton is the most successful driver in Hungary's F1 history, with five wins to his name, including a win at last year’s race. Unfortunately there are no locals to root for, and only one Hungarian has participated as a driver in the race -- Zsolt Baumgartner in 2003 and 2004.

Hungaroring has been held here since 1986, making it the third most long-standing Formula 1 event. Initially, the then-Communist authorities had wanted to race to take place in the streets of Budapest, but that proved not feasible, so a purpose-built track was constructed. The first Formula 1 race attracted over 200,000 fans from across the Soviet Eastern bloc. These days, while it is popular locally, the majority of attendees are foreigners – Germans, Austrians, Finns, and Polish are the most represented nationalities who come to Hungary in the heat of summer for a day or two at the races.

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.