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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.

Blast from the Past: Late 80s Hungary Revealed!

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This week we unearthed a virtual time capsule from the past, in the form of a BBC dispatch from 1988 Hungary, presented by Nick Thorpe, a British journalist who has covered the area for more than thirty years now. The 24-minute report is fascinating to watch now, if only to discover what has changed and what has stayed the same since Socialist-era Hungary. 

The most salient difference in the cityscape of Budapest are the giant Soviet red stars, so prominently displayed in the 80s. These have of course been taken down. Moreover, the symbol was made illegal, to the point where there has been tension with a certain multinational that uses a different version of the red star as its logo.

In 80s Budapest, it is obvious that Hungarian youth are keen to keep up with international trends in fashion and music—more specifically—western trends. This is a testament to the belief that Hungary was regarded as the least authoritarian of the states in the Soviet Union. McDonald’s at that point was considered to mecca of Western culture, serving over 7000 people a day on Budapest’s cosmopolitan Váci street. Now there are McDonald’s in almost every Budapest neighborhood, though eating there is considered far from hip.

The Ladas and Trabants, which were the more common cars on offer in the Soviet bloc, were much prized at the time. They are still prized, though now they are ‘retro’ cars and collector’s items rather than enviable modes of transportation.

Interestingly, Thorpe was able to capture one of the first interviews with the newly formed Fidesz party. From its humble beginnings, Fidesz has of course grown into the largest political party in the country. 

Much has changed since Thorpe’s short documentary. But what has stayed the same is the sense of national pride that Hungary is a unique country within Europe, and a feeling that no matter how far one travels, Hungary is a home worth returning to. 

Enjoy this helping of late 80s Hungary. It’s worth it for the haircuts alone.


Location Spotter: The Rumbach Street Synagogue

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via József Rozsnyai/ Wikipedia Commons

via József Rozsnyai/ Wikipedia Commons

One of Budapest’s most remarkable and historical sites is ending a decade-long closure and renovation. The Rumbach Street Synagogue (Rumbach utcai zsinagóga) stands around the corner from Budapest’s more famous Dohany Street Synagogue, which tends to absorb much of the tourist traffic. But the smaller, less renown structure holds a charm over those who have seen its interior, which had its own deteriorated beauty.

Originally built in 1872, designed in the Moorish Revival style by Austrian architect Otto Wagner, pioneer of the Viennese Art Nouveau movement, it is in the heart of what is considered Budapest’s ‘Jewish Quarter’. This means octagonal shapes, balconies, minarets-style towers, domes. According to Wikipedia, the design is an homage to the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine, which stands in Jerusalem. Indeed, it is the Islamic decorative elements that make the building so beautiful.

via Thaler Tamas/ Wikipedia Commons

via Thaler Tamas/ Wikipedia Commons

According to jewish-heritage-europe.eu, “The interior work amounts to a complete rebuilding and/or replacement of both structural and decorative elements, including the wall paintings and wood-paneled ceiling, and also rebuilding the destroyed ark in its original place, using plaster, glass, and gold; some changes will be made in order to allow the sanctuary to serve as a multi-functional venue for concerts and other events. The floor will be returned to its original decorative paving after the installation of underfloor heating.”

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

They synagogue served the city’s Neolog Jewish community until mass deportations during the second world war. What wasn’t destroyed at that point, was left to deteriorate. After the ousting of the socialist government, the space was occasionally opened for cultural events like concerts and art openings. A guard stationed there would sometimes give unofficial tours for a small gratuity. There is even an unconfirmed rumor that artist Yoko Ono was interested in taking over stewardship of the space to use as a studio.

If a synagogue can be described as ‘romantic’ than that would apply to The Rumbach Street Synagogue. And once reopened, it will be a small gem in the cultural landscape of the city, only polished and on display.

via Misibacsi/ Wikipedia Commons

via Misibacsi/ Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.








Indian Film Festival Comes To Budapest

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These are very international times in Budapest indeed. A visit from a Japanese princess, followed by an Indian film festival. Made famous by the films of Satyajit Ray and Mira Nair, and of course Bollywood, Indian cinema is just as popular in Budapest as it is around the world, and will be celebrated with the Indian Film Festival Hungary (IFFW), which runs this month from the 7th to the 13th of October. This is the fifth such festival in Budapest, and is set to be the biggest.

Inaugurated by a ‘Curtain Raiser Press Conference’ with Indian ambassador Sh. Kumar Tuhin and Captain Rahul Bali, the curator of Indian Film Festival Worldwide, the festival will showcase twelve Indian films, which will be shown on the large screens at CINEMApink, at MOM Park in Buda. The festival is supported by the Hungarian National Film Fund , Rajkot Palace, Curry House, Dasvir and the Hungarian Embassy in India.

According to the event’s press release, “Ambassador Kumar Tuhin said that the Indian Film Festival Hungary is an important festival in the event calendar of Embassy and has become a great platform for cultural exchanges and mutual appreciation of cinema between India and Hungary. He said that over the years the festival has been opening new avenues of bilateral cooperation between the two countries and creating a euphoria about India in Hungary.

The Indian Film Festival Hungary is an endeavor to promote the art and culture between India & Hungary via Indian cinema and would be attended by Award winning Actors and Film Makers of Indian cinema like Raima Sen, Umesh Shukla, Rahul Mittra & Dr. Rajinder Chadha as well as some of the biggest names from the Hungarian Film, Art & Cultural Fraternities.”

The grand opening ceremony of the festival will take place on the 7th of October at Mom Park. 

Of course Flatpack also has a history of working with Indian film-makers and other Indian film and TV projects. We are proud and privileged to have serviced Maddock Films with Dinesh Vijan for a recently shot television series, as well as Red Chillies Entertainment, headed by Shah Rukh Khan. Let’s hope Indian film-making in Budapest will be a growing enterprise.

You can have a look at the FESTIVAL PROGRAM here.

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Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

A Royal Visit from the Far East: Princess Kako in Budapest

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via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

While Will Smith returning to Budapest was what dominated the local news last week, helped along with his gift of a free concert in the city center, we also had a quieter, perhaps more surprising visit. Rather than the ‘Fresh Prince’, we got a young princess, in the form of Princess Kako, from Japan, having flown in to visit with Hungarian president Janos Adar and celebrate 150 years of diplomatic ties between Hungary and Japan.

The official diplomatic lunch was held at Budapest’s famous Café Central, known as one of the primary hangouts of turn-of-the-century Hungarian writers, also attracting Japanese expat Juichiro Imaoka, a poet who also wrote the first Hungarian/Japanese dictionary. “I pay my respect to your efforts from the bottom of my heart,” she said to the assembled guests. 

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

This was the first time the niece of Japanese Emperor Naruhito visited Hungary, and indeed her first trip from Japan in a diplomatic capacity. Staying at Budapest’s spectacular Four Seasons Gresham Palace Hotel, she toured around the city and countryside, visiting sites like UNESCO protected site of the banks of the Danube that run along Budapest. A horse lover, she also took the opportunity to visit the National Equestrian Museum and other horse-related locations, in the company of Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture. The trip was coupled with one to Vienna and came ten years after her parents -- the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan -- also visited the region.

With 600 or so Japanese businesses in Budapest, the community is large but not as visible as other non-Hungarian foreign communities. Perhaps because the restaurants that frequently act as a cultural bridge -- like with local Vietnamese for instance -- are still expensive by local standards. Still, we hope Princess Kako didn’t spend her time indoors, but rather taking in the spectacular beauty that Budapest offers all her visitors.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

The Fighting Spirit of László Papp, Hungary's Greatest Boxer

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via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

With undefeated Hungarian MMA star Adam Borics making waves abroad, we have been put in the mood to look at one of the great Hungarian boxers, László Papp, who won gold medals in the 1948, 1952, and 1956 Olympics. That is an incredible run for any athlete, but more so for one who competes in a sport that takes such a physical toll. The feat made Papp the first person to win gold at three consecutive Olympics, a record that would not be tied for 20 years. Moreover, Papp only lost one round across his thirteen Olympic fights. This made him not just a star on Hungarian soil, but an international phenomenon. 

Papp was a mere 5 foot 5 inches tall, 165 centimeters, which meant he rarely had the reach advantage. He made up for it by being a southpaw, or lefty, which is often considered an advantage in combat sports. Papp thrived as an amateur boxer, but his entry into professional boxing was more difficult, as he was in his prime during Hungary’s Socialist era, when professional boxing was banned. But the authorities also looked kindly on the glory he brought the nation, and offered him a kind of compromise, meaning that Papp could travel to neighboring Austria to train and fight. But this would turn out to be a short-lived indulgence. After defeating multiple contenders for the middleweight title, he was finally offered a world title fight against American Randy Sandy. Indeed this would have been a true cold war showdown had it come to pass. Unfortunately, the Hungarian authorities refused Papp an exit visa.

Having won several major fights, Papp would never have the chance to be a world champion. The regime’s decision effectively ended his career as a pro fighter. If there is a silver lining here, it is that Papp is one of the few fighters to retire undefeated, with a record of 27 wins, two draws, and no losses. Before his death in 2003 at age 77, Papp was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, in 2001. At the ceremony, Papp was recognized as one of the best amateur and pro boxers of all time, and given an honorary championship. 

László Papp’s name lives on in Budapest, where his is honored by a statue in District XII and at Papp László Arena, the largest local sporting events venue. Papp’s huge spirit has fought out a place in Hungarian history and in international record books. 

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Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Hungarian 'Mop Dog' Runs Wild in America!

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Puli dog via Csalfa Sommer/ Wikipedia Commons

Puli dog via Csalfa Sommer/ Wikipedia Commons

Talk about a lost dog. This Puli, a breed of dog native to Hungary, and rarely seen outside of Central Europe, has somehow made its way across the pond to what looks like Texas, where it is befriended by a kind-hearted Dr. Pepper delivery truck driver. Dr. Pepper has a reputation for being the soda of choice for people who don’t want to go with the flow, and the image of the Puli definitely represents that. ‘Always be one of a kind’ reads the commercial’s tag-line. This Rastafarian on four legs fits the bill. Have a look at the fetching TV spot, which made the rounds on social media here in Hungary some years back. Funny for us – the video is titled ‘mop dog’ but a ‘mops’ dog in Hungarian, is actually a pug. Go figure.

The Puli is nothing new to Hungarians, who brought the dog to the region over a thousand years ago to herd and guard livestock. Because the thick fur makes it hard to bite, Pulis could defend a flock of sheep against much larger predators, including wolves and bears. The thickness of the coat also makes them totally water resistant; these are animals that are suited for work on the great plains of central Hungary. Though the Puli’s coat will grow out in matted chords, good grooming from a young age will keep the chords trim and neat as they flow towards the ground. To avoid regular maintenance, some owners opt to trim the chords down to bristles, significantly reducing both the size and striking appearance of the animal.

These days, Puli’s are mostly household pets; though owners attest to their loyalty and protectiveness of their homes, traits which make for excellent guard dogs. The strange, intelligent beast has not gone unnoticed abroad. Pulis have won international dog shows, most notably, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organization), at which the Mexican-born Puli Cinko Duda Csebi took first place. In Butte, Montana, there is a statue erected to the Puli known as “The Auditor,” a stray dog that was so resilient it was able to live in the contaminated atmosphere of an abandoned copper mine. Gavin Rosdale of the grunge band Bush published a picture of his Puli in an inset to the band’s album Sixteen Stone, and – a few years back – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg came to Hungary to get his Puli fix at the source, adding a second Puli to his collection. Now if only Slash from Guns N Roses would buy one, and confirm the adage that ‘pets look like their owners.’

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Hungarians in Hollywood: the Artistry of László Kovács

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The recent passing of actor Peter Fonda brought a resurgence of interest in the American counterculture juggernaut of a film Easy Rider. With Dennis Hopper directing, it marked a new era of film-making that catered to the more independent spirit that had taken hold of a changing America, so under stress from the Vietnam War. Nobody understood the feeling of radical freedom better on that set than the cinematographer, László Kovács.

Born in Cece, Hungary, in 1933, Kovács spent his youth under the threat of war, then war itself. In the 50s, he studied cinema at Budapest’s Academy of Drama and Film, where he met his most famous contemporary in cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond. Together they compiled reels secretly filmed of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. After smuggling the 30,000 feet of footage out of the country in a daring escape to Austria, the pair made their way to America to try to sell the footage. This culminated in a documentary of the event, narrated by Walter Cronkite.

Kovács decided to stay in the States, along with Zsigmond. He took odd jobs like making maple syrup and working in film archives to pay the rent and finance his low/no budget films, like the much forgotten The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies. Though far from his artistic aspirations, such films led to work on Hollywood B-movies, particularly in the biker genre. This caught the attention of Dennis Hopper, who was recruiting indie-minded film-makers to work on Easy Rider. 

Made for a paltry 400,000 dollars, the film grossed over 60 million worldwide, making all its primaries very in demand for future work. Kovács was recruited to work on Jack Nickolson’s classic Five Easy Pieces, which would garner him the third place Golden Laurel for Best Cinematographer. The eighties saw him work on several influential hits in diverse genres, from straight-up comedy in Ghostbusters, to rom-com Say Anything, and the darkly tragic biopic of Francis Farmer, Francis. His last huge hit was the Sandra Bullock starring Miss Congeniality in the early years of this century. But for his final work, he returned to his roots, contributing the footage he made before escaping Hungary to the documentary Torn From the Flag, about the 1956 Revolution.

Kovács died in his sleep, in Beverly Hills at age 74. The film No Subtitles Necessary chronicles his relationship with Zsigmond, and we have included the trailer below. Kovács has rightfully earned his place in Hollywood, and Hungarian, history.

László Kovács via Wikipedia Commons

László Kovács via Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

These Shoes are Made for Winning: Hungarian Takes Top Cobbler Prize

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via the Attilacipő FB page

via the Attilacipő FB page

Rare is the occasion when we get to talk about shoes on this blog. But shoes are a big deal, a fetish to some, a daily utilitarian tool to others; and the making of a quality pair of shoes is a craft, if not an art unto itself. And like most crafts, Hungarians have found a way to maintain old traditions while keeping abreast of current trends. ‘To boot,’ recently, a Hungarian, Attila Kovács, was named best shoe-maker — or cobbler — worldwide by one of the few shoe-making competitions.

Sponsored by Inter-Schuh-Service ISS convention in Wiesbaden, Germany, the competition draws cobblers from around the world. Attila Kovács, a third generation shoemaker, came out on top earlier this year, and was named top shoemaker worldwide.

While there is no question that handmade shoes are a luxury item, increasingly so as the internet and automation have done their best to mimic handmade shoes, many of the models made by Kovács still maintain a casual, everyday-wear look.  And when we say ‘handmade’ there should be no mistake about the degree to which they are actually made by hand: nails are hammered into shoe soles, that are hand glued to leather. A pair can take up to six weeks to complete.

What about Attila himself? In his own words: “Born and raised in Oradea (Nagyvárad), I practically grew up in the shoe workshop where I learned to love this profession, with all of the beauty and difficulties that go with it.  After going to school in Oradea and Nagyszalonta, I then continued my studies in Debrecen and decided to take up the family tradition and become a shoemaker. I was taught the secrets and the love of the profession by my father the same way as he was once taught by my grandfather. I founded my own enterprise in 1991; continuing the family tradition, I stayed by the shoehorn. I have been trying to learn and acquire all the secrets of the profession ever since. I participate on a regular basis at different international and national professional competitions where my work has gained significant success so far.”

via the Attilacipő FB page

via the Attilacipő FB page

Attila Shoes, his brand, is no stranger to the limelight though. It was reported in Euronews that his Miskolc workshop was the favored maker of shoes for the late Sir Roger Moore, of James Bond fame. Indeed, his customers come from around the globe. Along with Vass, Tóth, and Heinrich Dinkelacker — other high end cobblers — Hungary has established itself as a destination for quality, affordable handmade shoes.

If you want to check out how a pair of Hungarian shoes are made, have a look at the video below.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Sweet Success as Hungary's National Cake is Named

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via the Tóth Cukrászsda FB page

via the Tóth Cukrászsda FB page

While August is allegedly a quiet month in Budapest and Hungary, in reality there is a lot going on. August, for starters, is the month that Hungary’s birthday falls on, when celebratory fireworks light up the Danube on the 20th. Elsewhere, the Hungaroring, Hungary’s Formula 1 race, takes place in early August. The Sziget Festival, consistently one of Europe’s largest music festivals, is in August. But the month is also a time food mavens look forward to, because August is when Hungary crowns its annual National Cake.

This year, the judges of the cake contest were in a whimsical mood, as the fruit-filled cake ‘Boldogasszony csipkéje’, or Happy Gal’s Lace (let’s say) took first prize from the entrants submitted by pastry shops and confectioneries across Hungary.  The winning pastry chef was revealed as Norbert Tóth from Dunaföldvár’s Tóth Cukrászda (pastry shop or confectioners). Tóth was a finalist in multiple past competitions, coming in third place last year, but this was his year with his pink creation.

‘Boldogasszony csipkéje’, is a country term for ‘raspberry’ as well as meaning lace, so Toth’s word play also tasted fine in the judges’ mouths. Daily News Hungary broke down the components of the winning cake as such: “Crunchy layer, sponge cake soaked in raspberry juice, raspberry-white chocolate cream, lemon-basil ganache, raspberry marmalade and raspberry meringue form the cake. The lace is recreated by ganache and raspberry marmalade. The cake is decorated with meringue sprinkled with lyophilised raspberries and white chocolate bits which were painted green.”

This year’s competition was more stressful for the contestants, as they were required to prepare their cakes in front of the judging team. Alongside the traditional cake competition, a prize was awarded for a sugarless cake as well. This year László Gyuris from Szeged, won, with his Kicsi Gesztenye -- or, ‘Little Hazelnut’ cake.

The Hungarian Confectioner Craftsmen Corporation sponsors the annual competition, in its 13th year, and as usual, the results were presented at Parliament. You can find this year’s winning entry at participating pastry shops around Hungary. Congratulations to the winning cakes, to Hungary in its birthday, and to everybody else making the most of this August.

via the Tóth Cukrászsda FB page

via the Tóth Cukrászsda FB page

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.









Filmed in Hungary: Midsommar

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Summer is the perfect time for an eerie, atmospheric horror movie. One of this summer’s critical and commercial hits is Midsommar, an American film about a group of young adults who venture to the town of Hårga, Sweden to attend a festival that only occurs once every 90 years, only to find themselves in the midst of a pagan cult ritual. Of course, things get creepy, and bodies begin to pile up. We’re happy to reveal one of the secrets to the film’s bucolic but menacing feel is that instead of shooting on location in Sweden, Midsommar was shot in and around Budapest.

Midsommar’s director, Ari Aster, turned to Hungary after discovering difficult restrictions that made long days of filming challenging in Sweden. He instead settled on Hungary, with its ‘can do’ work ethic. This isn’t unprecedented, and Midsommar certainly isn’t the first horror film to be shot in Budapest. Foremost, Underworld was shot here, along with feature films Season of the Witch, Howling V, The Rite, Dracula, and Hellboy II. Most surprisingly, the film Don’t Breathe, a horror film which takes place in a house in the urban wasteland Detroit, was actually shot on a sound stage in Hungary.

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One thing that surprises visitors to Budapest is the proximity of nature and natural locations in regards to the urban downtown. Budapest is one of the few major capitals in the world where you can go scuba diving, caving, kayaking, and indeed hiking through seeming wilderness within the city’s boundaries. This versatility is indeed very attractive to film-makers who want the technical infrastructure an urban center has to offer along with natural settings. Moreover, the rolling hillside in and around Budapest, as showcased in Midsommar, could be anywhere. We can’t say for certain this is first time Hungary stood in as the Swedish countryside, but for sure we’ve seen the picturesque greenery around the city used before in such projects as the films Season of the Witch, Ergon, and TV series Pillars of the Earth.


Midsommar, while still on theatrical release around Europe, pulled in over thirty million dollars in the States earlier in the summer. A director’s cut of the film is also planned. Given all this, perhaps Midsommar II will be in the works. With Hungary’s long, hot summers and striking, though sometimes eerie locations, we can only hope to create another chilling summer — or ‘sommar’ — thrill.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Location Spotter: Continental Europe's Oldest Metro, the M1

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via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

A few years back, a lot of local media attention was focused on the opening of the M4 – Budapest’s fourth and newest metro line, and now on potential plans to extend one line to the airport, which will be especially helpful for all the increased tourism the city is seeing. It is easy to forget that Budapest also has one of the oldest continually functioning metro lines in Europe: the M1, locally known as the Kisföldalatti, or ‘ little underground,’ which has the distinction of being the first metro line constructed on continental Europe.

With the construction of Budapest’s most elegant street, Andrássy Avenue around 1872, local politicians saw an opportunity to modernize transportation in the city without damaging the pristine architecture of the street-scape. It would take twenty years for construction of the project to commence in 1894. Two-thousand workers were employed for two years on the project, allowing the M4 to be inaugurated on May 2, 1896 by Emperor Franz Joseph. In its initial years, it carried around 35,000 people a year from the head of Andrássy Avenue up to and under the City Park to the City Zoo. Today it transports over 100,000 people annually over the eleven stations, which run a total of 4.1 kilometers.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

While the trolleys have been updated, the platforms have an ‘old world,’ prewar feeling. The exterior entrances are done in ceramic and metal work that echoes the secessionist style of the State Opera House, which it passes along its route. Though the M4 may be the newer and flashier addition to public transport in Budapest (media hog!) it is the M1 that remains a favorite with metro enthusiasts, and an ideal location to convey the ‘modern’ aspirations of old world Europe.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Budapest Big Top: the Magic of 'Tihany' Spectacular

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via the Circo Tihany Spectacular FB page

via the Circo Tihany Spectacular FB page

Circuses these days are undergoing massive changes: moving from animal-based acts to more grand illusion and humane artistic forms to entertain the masses. But it was the last century that defined the traditional circus, and few did more to contribute to innovation and popularization of the circus as Czeisler Ferenc, a Hungarian better known by his stage name ‘Tihany’.

Born in Kétegyháza, Hungary (then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire) in 1916, it was an auspicious time in history, especially as Tihany was of Jewish origin. But before he would get caught up in the riptides of war, he would spend a peaceful childhood in his small Hungarian hometown learning magic. Though the death of his father at age 12 would be devastating, it did force Czeisler to take his hobby seriously, as he would have to bring money home to his family. Though performing magic tricks in front of people since age 13, his first proper job was with a traveling circus in Hungary, where he attended to the animals. 

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Then came a stroke of luck: at age 14, Czeisler was taken by one of his uncles to Uruguay. In Montevideo, the boy was taken under the wing of the famous Italian ‘fakir,’ magician, Blacaman, (fakir, being a type of magic that includes various Indian-originated tricks like snake charming, lying on a bed of nails, and levitation). After apprenticing himself to Blacaman, he was able to save enough money to purchase some used magic equipment and return home with a full act.

Back in Hungary, he took the name Tihany, and transitioned into large-scale illusions, which proved popular enough that he was able to tour Europe with his show. But of course history interfered. Caught up in a pre-WWII anti-Jewish raid while doing his show in Novi Sad, Serbia, Czeisler was forced to participate in a death march that ended in the Danube. A strong swimmer used to uncomfortable situations, the great Tihany managed to survive and flee his captors.

via the Circo Tihany Spectacular FB page

via the Circo Tihany Spectacular FB page

After the war, Tihany emigrated to Israel, then to several other countries before landing in Brazil. It was there that he bought a big top and created his own circus, the Circo Magico Tihany. The circus was an immediate success, so much so that it made him rich. Tihany in later years was known to enter the stage in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. It is fair to say Tihany had a Las Vegas style circus in South America. Indeed, upon retirement, Tihany would move to Vegas, before reviving his circus once more in Mexico. He would then retire for a second time to Las Vegas, where he passed away in 2016. The great illusionist team Siegfried and Roy honored him by saying, "Our friend, our mentor, your life was a blessing, your memory is a treasure."

Just one more Hungarian who, as if by magic, transformed the world.

Source: circopedia.org

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Hungarians in Hollywood: Oscar Beregi and Son

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Oscar Beregi via Wikipedia Commons

Oscar Beregi via Wikipedia Commons

That Hungarians from William Fox (Fuchs), founder of Fox, and actors like Peter Lorre and Tony Curtis, immigrated to and helped shape Hollywood in its golden era is not exactly new news. Less commemorated are the working actors who don’t have stars on Hollywood Boulevard, but were cast not despite their Central Europeanness but rather because such character actors were in demand, particularly in the post-War years, Bela Lugosi notwithstanding. 

Two such actors were father and son Oscar (Oszkár) and Oscar Beregi Jr., both of whom were born in Hungary and found fame, to different degrees, in western Europe and Hollywood. Neither was a silver screen leading man, but rather were character actors, filling in roles that demanded an accent and dark Central European foreboding. This includes playing war criminals, Freud-like professors, and tough-guy Slavic villains.

Oscar Berengi (senior) had a life worthy of a film itself. Born in 1878 in Budapest of Jewish-Hungarian parents, he experienced antisemitism to a degree that a play he was performing in had to be cancelled following demonstrations. In fact, he was the only prominent actor in the Budapest National Theater of Jewish heritage at the time. Due to his political activities, he was banished to Vienna, where he continued his career as a stage actor. Eventually he caught the eye of director Fritz Lang, who cast him in 1933’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. From there, he moved to Hollywood, signing a five-film deal with Universal Pictures. Among his notable films were Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madame and Alan Ladd-staring Desert Legion. Berengi spent the rest of his life in California, but was buried in Budapest in 1965.

Oscar Beregi Jr in Hogan’s Heroes

Oscar Beregi Jr in Hogan’s Heroes

Talent runs in some families, and Berengi’s son, also named Oscar, born in Budapest in 1918, followed in his father’s footsteps to act in Hollywood, though he is primarily known as a television actor. Like his father, the accent he retained from Central Europe helped him land work, particularly in post WWII stories. One of his most memorable roles was that of a former concentration camp commander in an iconic Twilight Zone episode. That said, the film roles he landed will likely not be forgotten, including small parts in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. He died in 1976, unfortunately leaving no next Oscar Berengi to continue the legacy. But these Hungarian actors, like technicians and artists from across Europe, built Hollywood with their talent and work, and are sadly all too soon forgotten.

Below is Oscar Beregi Jr in a clip from his famous Twilight Zone role:

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Budapest Playlist: The Top Three Songs the Mention Budapest

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With a long tradition of innovative classical music, from Ferenc Liszt (Franz Liszt), to Béla Bartók, through to modern times with international DJs like Yonderboy, Budapest has always had an inspiring music scene, be it at the State Opera House or A-38, the music venue routinely voted best club in Europe. But what do musicians who travel through the city make of it? Given how often Budapest is cited in song, they must also find it an inspiring place to visit and memorialize. Here are just a few of the songs Budapest gets cited in by major players.


Paul McCartney: “Monkberry Moon Delight”:

But I leave my pyjamas to Billy Budapest

And I don't get the gist of your letter

This song, from way back in in 1971 off Paul McCartney and Wings’ album Ram, was probably not the result of the former Beatle wandering the streets of the Hungarian capital in his pj’s. Times were different under the former Socialist regime, and bands like Wings simply weren’t encouraged to come to Hungary and spread messages of rebellion through rock. The singer would make up for lost time by playing Budapest in both 2003 and 2017 to sold out audiences. Whether McCartney played “Monkberry Moon Delight” is lost to the ages, but perhaps his visits will inspire another Budapest themed lyric with more direct relevance.

Jethro Tull: “Budapest”

Hot night in Budapest.You could cut the heat, 

peel it back with the wrong side of a knife.

It’s unclear if this ode to a Hungarian beauty is about a roadie or groupie, but she sure made an impression on the band. Apparently she was talented at middle distance running, chilling beer, sandwich making, and generally helping out around back stage when Tull band toured here. Exactly which tour the experience that inspired the song this is from we can’t say, but Jethro Tull does tend to come to Budapest frequently, the last time for their fifty year anniversary. Every musician needs a muse, and apparently Ian Anderson, lead singer, found one in Budapest.

George Ezra: “Budapest”

My house in Budapest, 

My, my hidden treasure chest,

Easily the biggest hit on the list, Ezra’s thumping song “Budapest” set teenage fans’ hearts throbbing across the world when it came out in 2014. If the song at all reflects the city, it’s down to its soulfulness and romantic vibes, both of which the actual Budapest has in spades. Ezra was gracious enough to play “Budapest” live in Budapest at the 2017 Sziget Festival. As wonderful as all this sounds, in reality Ezra had actually never been to Budapest before writing the song that shares its name. In fact, he was in Malmo, Sweden, when he penned the lyrics, and understandably resisted calling it “Malmo,” which just doesn’t have the same ring.

Other songs that mention Budapest include: Necro’s “You’re Dead,” Pain of Salvation’s “Beyond the Pale,” The Lonely Island’s “Meet the Crew,” and Ignite’s “Taken Away.”


Who will pen the next huge Budapest song after stopping in this highly musical city? Keep an ear to the sound-waves and listen for those three magical consonants: Bud-a-Pest that roll so easily off the tongue and sound so great to the ear.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Remembering Bourdain's Budapest

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It seems like just yesterday when Anthony Bourdain was here in Budapest, filming a segment for his much-loved CNN show Part Unknown. A lot has happened since then. Budapest gained a few Michelin stars, and even lost one. New restaurants have opened across the city featuring so many the cuisines of the world, from Laotian to Georgian, and no shortage of Barbecue. And of course, Bourdain passed tragically away. 

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But for a weekend, two culinary wonders: Budapest and Bourdain came together. At that point, Bourdain was perhaps the most recognizable television personality covering international locations. If we look back, we see the two were a match. Bourdain – who is known for his adventurous eating habits (cobra heart, anybody?) played it somewhat safe in Budapest, keeping to the gilded confines of the tourist favorite New York Café for Hungarian goose liver. There he discussed the Golden Era of Hungarian literature, when writers were catered to by waiters who would fetch them both coffee and paper and ink. It’s a nostalgic look at days long past.

New York Cafe, via Wikipedia Commons

New York Cafe, via Wikipedia Commons

Later, he did venture out for a more local experience at an étkezde (lunch canteen), for a chicken liver crepe with bone marrow gravy, followed by a schnitzel big enough to swaddle a baby in. Along the way, has samples venison stew, in what is actually a working class eatery for locals, not a high-end restaurant. He came away with an understanding of why Budapest is so special: sumptuous, decadent things can be quite commonplace here.

via Anthony Bourdain’s twitter account

via Anthony Bourdain’s twitter account

A stop to a butcher’s for sausage, which the personality got his mouth around more capably than the difficult Hungarian-language pronunciation, and it was off for a relaxing with a dip in fabled Gellért Baths with Academy Award winning legend of cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond (who has also, sadly now passed). Bourdain came away from Budapest proclaiming his experience ‘deeply delicious’.

The kind of adventure food tourism Bourdain pioneered now seems commonplace. With culinary tours abounding in Budapest and pretty much every major city, and many minor ones, it’s easy to forget how resistant previous generations were to new — foreign — cuisine. But now, thanks to people like Bourdain, the world knows what the inside of a Hungarian butcher shop looks like. And the real message there is actually, not how different people are in their tastes, but how surprisingly alike.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.







Summer Refreshment Hungarian Style: All About Wine Fröccs

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via Wikipedia Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/szalkai/36388620314

via Wikipedia Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/szalkai/36388620314

In addition to lingering in a thermal bath with a great book, dipping your toes in the calm waters of the great Lake Balaton, and eating fried fish and pickles on the banks of the Danube, nothing says summer in Hungary like sipping a refreshing fröccs, or, wine spritzer. More than beer or fussy fruit cocktails, the fröccs is emblematic of a night or day out in the Hungarian summer.

But one does not just sidle up to the bar and order fröccs. It is not so simple. There is an entire culture of fröccs, and a variation of fröccs for every taste and tolerance. Discovering which one is right for you is a tipsy, fun activity in itself. You will find any number of guides to the multiple variations of fröccs on the internet, but no matter which guide we look at, we still discover variations left off. It’s fair to speculate that there are up to twenty types of fröccs, meaning twenty proportions of wine to water. What they all have in common is that white or rose wine is typically mixed with soda water. But not exclusively, as we will see.

Because Hungarians are endlessly imaginative and industrious, we see those qualities reflected in the colorful names of fröccs. Take for instance, the Hosszúlépés, which translates as a ‘long step’ meaning it is light on the wine and heavy on the water. Conversely, there is the Lámpás, or ‘Lantern’ spritzer, which calls for an astounding 1.5 liters of wine to just 5 dl of soda. If that doesn’t put your lights out, nothing will.

Like many things in Hungary, fröccs culture also has a literary flavor. Take for instance the Krúdy fröccs which was named for Hungarian writer Gyula Krúdy, known for his love of fine food, romance, and Hungarian wine. No lightweight, a Krúdy fröccs requires an astounding nine deciliters of wine mixed with just one deciliter of soda water.

Spritzers in Hungary also deviate from the white wine/ rose formula. A few call for red wine, and the very non-traditional ingredient of Coke, like the Kisvadász, or ‘small hunter’ which requires equal parts red wine and cola. Or for the more adventurous, there is the Újházy-fröccs, which of all things calls for pickle juice along with white wine.

But most people will just enjoy a kis- or nagy-, a small or big fröccs, both of which have proportions similar to the average wine spritzer. It’s just right of the heat of the summer, and still reminds you that you are in Hungary. So enjoy Hungary in the summer, or if you are not here, get a taste of it with an easy to make, hard to forget fröccs.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Filmed in Budapest: Colette

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Summer puts us in a literary mood. There is nothing like lingering along the banks of the Danube, taking an ice-coffee in one of Budapest’s grand cafes, or sitting in the City Park, all with a favorite companion: a book. Continuing on with last week’s literary theme, we have a look at the pioneering female writer, Colette, who was the subject of the biopic that bears her name — shot mostly in Budapest, naturally.

Filmed in 2017 in Budapest and England, and released in 2018, the film examines the life of writer and performer, and 1948 Nobel Prize nominee, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. Despite being the first woman to be considered for the prize, her literary career began with a less lofty body of work. Indeed, she was the author of numerous autobiographical erotic works, deemed to be pornographic at the time. Later she worked as a journalist, which was also rare for a woman at the time, as was her later life choice of same-sex partners.

The film brought Keira Knightly to Budapest for a spell. As Capital Reviewer reports: “Mostly, the film is shot in rural Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire and Budapest. The later goes some way in justifying the claim that Budapest is the “Paris of the East” (as it is the “Brussels of the East” in ITV’s Vanity Fair). In fact, Budapest’s Champs Elysées is known as Andrassy and it has its own Moulin Rouge. The roll of Magyar names in the credits shows the considerable contribution by a Hungarian crew.” The actress herself was spotted multiple times taking in the city on her days off, indulging fans with selfies.

In an extensive interview with Yahoo News, Colette the Production Designer touts the spectacular locations to be found in Budapest. His favorite location turned out to be the The Express building, in the 5th District. “The extraordinary, crumbling old Navy headquarters on Zoltan Utca—yes, Hungary once had a navy and a sea coast!—provided us with a café, a Strasbourg hotel, some fantastic staircases, a theater entrance, a bit of a street, and an apartment. And we hardly scratched the surface. Across the street is the old stock exchange that is heavily featured in the film Blade Runner.” He goes on to praise locations on Andrássy Avenue, and the sound stages at Origo Studios.

Colette was highly praised, popular with audiences, and nominated for multiple British Independent Film Awards. Moreover, it once again proved Budapest to be the most versatile city around for dynamic locations, no matter what era, or location is called for. You can see how skillfully this was accomplished in the Colette trailer below, which features multiple locations around the city. Or, if you are in Budapest, just pick up a copy of Colette’s work at Budapest’s famous bookstore, Írók Boltja (The Writers’ Store) and experience Budapest with this pioneering, original writer as your constant companion.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Make this Film Now! (or Soon!): Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge

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Most of the literature that is based in Budapest and Hungary is, naturally, written by Hungarians. We even see some of these books in English translation. Classic books like Paul Street Boys, Anna Edes, and Celestial Harmonies. But occasionally a curious foreigner comes along and discovers the highly literary atmosphere of Budapest, and gets inspired to write about it. We are thinking of books like Budapest, by Chico Buarque, the ironically named coming-of-age comedy Prague, by Arthur Philips, and more recently, The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer.

The later turned out to be a huge international best-seller, and is currently under development for a film version. But until that happens, we only have the novel to look to. The narrative of The Invisible Bridge concerns a Hungarian Jewish family and an epic romance during the lead-up to World War II and Hungary under the German occupation. Following Andras Lévi, a poor Hungarian who goes to Paris to study architecture, and the beautiful ballet teacher he meets there, named Klara, the story is ambitious in relating love in the most tumultuous of eras. Praised for its ‘brilliant storytelling’ by the Guardian, the book was a critics’ darling. Indeed, the New York Times gave it high praise as well, saying, “The strength of The Invisible Bridge lies in Orringer’s ability to make us care so deeply about the people of her all-too-real fictional world. For the time it takes to read this fine novel, and for a long time afterward, it becomes our world too.”

In describing the historical and personal inspiration for her novel, Orringer told Moment Magazine: ”What drew me to the story was hearing about my grandfather’s experiences when he was younger.  Despite the fact that I grew up in a Hungarian family, I just didn’t know much about what had happened to Hungarian Jews during the war. Like a lot of families with Holocaust survivors, those years just weren’t discussed in my family.  My grandparents certainly alluded to them and I heard bits and pieces about their survival, but I didn’t really have a sense of the whole picture because my grandparents didn’t talk about it. Once I started asking them questions about what had happened, they really wanted to tell their story.  They wanted the novel to be written.”

Written in her thirties, Orringer, despite her name, is of Hungarian origins. The story in The Invisible Bridge is largely based on her relatives, who came from the town of Konyár near Lake Balaton. Her uncle is the highly regarded sculptor Alfred Tibor, also a Holocaust survivor. Orringer’s literary pedigree includes many of the most prestigious schools in the United States, including Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

We can only hope there is progress in the film’s development, as Budapest will be a necessary part of the setting, and Orringer can bring her family’s story home once again.

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Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.






Location Spotter: Keleti Pályaudvar, Budapest's Eastern Station

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Budapest_keleti_historic.jpg

Denizens of travelers are rejoicing in Budapest, as Keleti Pályaudvar, or Budapest’s Eastern Train Station, is re-opening after a brief closure for renovation. This gave us some time to ‘train’ our thoughts on this often overlooked structure, which is so prominent in the landscape of the city and such an ideal location for filming scenes from all eras in time.

Keleti Station is visible from downtown when looking down the main artery of Rakoczi Avenue. Its facade is at once utilitarian and grand, a symbol for Budapest itself for travelers coming and going from the city. With a relatively new subway line running through the renovated underpass, and a new open air plaza, the station also expresses a spreading gentrification of the formally rough and tumble area where it resides.

Keleti’s construction was completed in 1891, done in an eclectic style. According to We Love Budapest, “Chief Engineer Gyula Rochlitz was the designer, while the steel structure of the station was developed based on the ideas of bridge-building engineer János Feketeházy. According to the study plans, the trains would have arrived at the reception hall on the top floor, while the luggage traffic was planned to be implemented downstairs, where they also planned to locate a post office and coffeehouses.”

By Németh Tibor - Own work, Wikipedia Commons

By Németh Tibor - Own work, Wikipedia Commons

While no coffee houses remain, unlike at most stations in Budapest there is a proper sit-down restaurant in Keleti, serving authentic Hungarian cuisine. Inside the ticket hall, if you are not in too much of a rush, you can enjoy frescos by one of Hungary’s most famous classic artists, Károly Lotz. The name ‘Eastern’ refers to the station being the terminal station for lines that run to the east, servicing destinations like Transylvania and the Balkans (though it now also services lines that run to Vienna, Prague, and Munich, which are decidedly West.)

By Ur-Engur, Own work, wikipedia Commons

By Ur-Engur, Own work, wikipedia Commons

Even though the station was damaged in each world war, it always was rebuilt to its former grandeur. In 1988 it was listed as protected heritage building. Its glass roof and huge concourse make for quite an atmospheric, ageless location. While airy, elegant Nyugati Pályaudvar, the Western Train station, seems to take a lot of attention away from Keleti, the later is the busiest station, with over 400 trains arriving and departing daily. One more amazing location for film production in Budapest to discover.

via Mark Benecke, Wikipedia Commons

via Mark Benecke, Wikipedia Commons

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.

Black Widow to Weave Web in Budapest

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Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

There have been strong and reliable rumours floating around town as of late that a portion of Marvel’s big budget action film Black Widow will be filmed in Budapest. It was only a matter of time before Marvel’s ever expanding Captain America universe should extend to Budapest, whose film production industry is similarly ever expanding. This means Scarlett Johansson will be spending time in the city, as she will of course be playing the role she originated.

Apparently in The Avengers, Johansson’s Russian-born Black Widow character, Natasha Romanoff -- aka Black Widow -- makes reference to an incident that occurred in Budapest, which Jeremy Renner’s character Hawkeye cannot recall. It is speculated that this sequence - at a minimum - will tell that story, in Budapest, naturally. This may also mean that Budapest will once again sit in for a Russian city, as it did to such perfection in the Moscow-set spy film Red Sparrow.

Less known is that this will actually mark the actor’s return to Budapest. It was 18 years ago that the film American Rhapsody came out, starring a very young Johansson as a troubled American teen who spends a summer in Budapest to connect with her Hungarian roots. Written and directed by American/Hungarian film-maker Éva Gárdos, the film is very much based on her life experience.  Gárdos was left behind in Hungary when her parents escaped over the heavily armed Austrian/ Hungarian border. Eventually reunited with her parents in Canada, she returned to Budapest as a teenager to experience the country under Communist rule. Though the film has the character splitting her identities between California and Hungary, it is still very much the director’s own tale.  “California is so different from Europe. Visually, I wanted these people to feel like they were on such a different planet,” Gárdos told the LA Times back in 2001, upon the film’s release.

Johansson in Budapest in American Rhapsody

Johansson in Budapest in American Rhapsody

While American Rhapsody got middling reviews, it was very well received by the late Roger Ebert, at the time America’s most influential film critic, praising the budding starlet and writing that “The American children of immigrants from anywhere will probably find moments they recognize in this movie.”

So in Johansson’s return, we can see just how far she has come as an actress, and just how far Budapest has come as a location. A reunion of old friends who are both at the height of their powers, it will be an ‘incident’ worth remembering.

If you are having trouble following the progression of Johansson’s Black Widow character, who ranges across films, Evolution TV has put together a helpful video, which you can see below.

Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.