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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.

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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Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 11.17.34.png

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.


Budapest Tapped: The Local Craft Brew Takeover

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via the Mad Scientist Facebook page

via the Mad Scientist Facebook page

We like to think we have pretty sophisticated tastes on this blog. If we are going to write about the culinary scene, it’s going to be about the chic wines from Tokaj or Michelin Star restaurants. It’s fair to say that beer is a bit beneath our radar. That said, things have changed dramatically in Budapest on the beer scene, enough to worth making note of.

While ‘revolution’ is a strong word, and should probably be saved for real revolutions, the rise of craft beers has changed the face of bar culture in downtown Budapest. As of just five years ago, there were only a handful of craft breweries, all competing for space at the few pubs and restaurants that dared offer something customers weren’t accustomed to in a beer choice. This typically meant the odd locally brewed IPA or stout. But now, everything has changed. The more popular craft breweries are not relying just on others to sell their product, but are opening taprooms of their own, and doing so in prime downtown Budapest real estate. There is clearly money and enthusiasm behind what was once a hobby industry.

via the Mad Scientist Facebook page

via the Mad Scientist Facebook page

Who are the players here? Foremost we can look to Mad Scientist, Budapest’s whimsical brewery that has a permanent stand at the fabled ruin pub Szimpla Kért. With a flair for the imaginative, Mad Scientist strikes gold with their fruity mango flavored beer, a cucumber wheat beer, barley wine, and even a gluten-free beer, as well a the controversially named Liquid Cocaine, which is as hoppy as they come.  Pushing the envelope, they have experimented with a chardonnay/beer hybrid, teaming with Hungarian winery Vylyan.

Elsewhere, Monyo Brewery just opened up Grand, a dedicated taproom on the main Ring Road, interrupting the influx of cheap party places. According to their website, “MONYO is one of the fastest-growing breweries in Hungary, in 2015 we won the title 'Brewery of the year', and other foreign awards. MONYO Co. has both traditional and new wave beers. Our flagship product is Flying Rabbit IPA, in which the Citra hop guarantees a tropical flavour -orgy.” Not to be outdone by Mad Scientist, they offer a beer called Anubis that is inspired by an ancient Egyptian recipe, using ingredients such as silkweed-honey, saffron, golden raisin and grape juice. Their aforementioned Flying Rabbit has been a staple of craft brew drinkers for years.

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Other breweries to open taproom include the lauded Horizont Brewery, and the larger less experimental but dependable Legenda Brewery. International craft breweries have also taken notice of Budapest. Trend-setting, and highly fetishized brew-masters Brew Dog from Scotland opened a dedicated taproom right off Budapest’s central Deák Ferenc Square. The huge space and steep - by local standards - prices evince a local optimism about beer as a higher-end beverage. Beer in Budapest is no longer brewed and sold with just mass consumption in mind.

There are certainly a few more breweries with taprooms out there we have yet to discover, and we look forward to doing that research. Like most things that marry technical know-how and imagination (such as film production, for instance) Hungarians do craft beer exceedingly well. For now, enjoy this small taste of the Budapest craft brew ‘revolution’.

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 End of History: Goodbye to Hungarian Writer John Lukacs

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The film The Darkest Hour made quite a splash when it came out, depicting Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister of England, facing World War II and the 1940 War Cabinet Crisis. Grossing over a hundred million dollars and earning Gary Oldman an Academy Award nomination for his depiction of Churchill, it was one of the most lauded films of 2017. Less known is that it was based on the book Five Days in London, May 1940, by Hungarian born scholar, writer, and iconoclast John Lukacs.

John Lukacs (born Lukács János Albert) passed away a few weeks ago, but left a long list of books behind, importantly Budapest, 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture . Perhaps it wasn’t his seminal work, or best known, but around this town it is indispensable if you want to read about turn-of-the-century Budapest, including so much information about cafe society and the Golden Age of Hungarian literature. Foremost focusing on writers, Lukacs introduced Gyula Krúdy, Frigyes Karinthy, and Antal Szerb to readers of English before their works in translation made them fashionable. Moreover, he brought to life a cafe society that rivaled both Vienna and Paris for its fecund intellectual life and social intrigue.

Lukacs himself was born in Budapest in 1924 to Jewish parents who had converted to Roman Catholicism. Despite having spent years abroad, he remained in Hungary at the commencement of World War II and was subsequently made to work in a forced labor battalion. Escaping certain death, Lukacs fled and hid in a cellar until the end of the war, which took the lives of both his parents.

Finding nothing to love in the newly established Communist government in Hungary, Lukacs took a post in New York City at Columbia University, later moving to Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania, where he would teach for most of his career. Though Lukacs was a conservative, he was also one of the right’s staunchest critics, rebutting all forms of WWII revisionism or Third Reich aggrandizement. His book The History of Hitler is considered the defining interpretive biography of Adolf Hitler. Lukacs’s views on populism were also dim, and he considered it the source of both Communism and Fascism.

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Lukacs took on a great many subjects in his writing, but was in Winston Churchill that he found his true inspiration. Churchill was a strong leader with a moral backbone and willingness to stand against his own party, and Lukacs gives much credit for turning the tides in WWII in his books Five Days in London and 2008's Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat. Both titles were huge hits among academics and the general public alike.

So, we while we say goodbye to one of the sharpest critical Hungarian minds to make a name abroad in recent years, we welcome the chance to revisit his work, even if it is just sitting down and watching The Darkest Hour or flipping through Budapest, 1900, comforted by the thought that Lukacs has joined the great names from history he wrote so incisively about.

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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.

Filmed in Budapest: Lords of Chaos

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It’s not often we have the occasion to write about Norwegian Black Metal in these pages, or even black metal, or any metal at all for that matter. Nor do we feel the need to chronicle every film shot in Budapest (this would no longer be possible, with so much film production going on here) but the Hungarian connection to Lords of Chaos, which is quickly becoming a hit cult film, are worth noting.

Based on the true story of the birth of the music genre Norwegian black — or death — metal, now known to be the darkest, most nihilistic brand of heavy metal, Lords of Chaos was released earlier this year to very strong reviews. While the location of the story, Norway, is intrinsic to the topic, the producers couldn’t help but take advantage of all that film production in Hungary has to offer, and found most locations for their film in Budapest. Moreover, some interiors that appear to be Oslo were re-created in Hungarian sound stages, leaving a precious little of the film to be shot in Norway.

While Lords of Chaos has some big names around it, like Vice Media, and Ridley Scott, whose company Scott Free had a hand in production, it has the feel of an art-house film, and indeed was shot in only 18 days in and around Budapest and Oslo. That it is Budapest in many crucial shots will me more apparent to some than others, with a scene that is easily recognizable as Nyugati, the Western Train Station. Even the churches that were burned down in the story were constructed in Budapest, though, and here’s a fun bit of trivia, some were actually repurposed from the Blade Runner II set (also shot in Budapest, as we know).

But what is the other Hungarian connection, you may ask? We are here to tell you. Much of the film revolves around the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem and their rise to prominence in the metal scene. When the lead singer commits suicide, instead of disbanding, Mayhem found a new lead singer in Hungarian musician Attila Chihar.  An electrical engineer by trade, Chihar was invited to join the now world famous band on the strength of of his vocals with local metal band Tormentor. Chihar came in handy as a local connection in the film shoot, and spent time on the set of Lords of Chaos advising lead actor Rory Culkin in his role as Mayhem founder and guitarist Eponymous.

So while Norwegian death metal may not be our thing, we are willing to give it some attention if it involves great shots of Budapest, standing in for Oslo, and to support a Hungarian musician who is crushing it on an international level. Let’s call it the brighter side of black metal.

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 Monopoly on Budapest Board Game Fun

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You know your post-Socialist city has shed its past (well, mostly) when the ultimate capitalist game - Monopoly - comes out with its dedicated version. That’s what happened last month, when Monopoly Budapest was released for sale. The American board game has been famous at home for over a century, but is currently seeking global expansion, with versions of select cities around the world.

If you are not familiar with the game, you play by moving your piece around a square board and buying up property. Once you own a block of similar properties, you can begin building houses and hotels on them, and charging rent to anybody who happens to land there. Originally featuring streets from around Atlantic City on the eastern coast of the USA, we can imagine the properties in the Budapest version will be named after our more prominent landmarks and boulevards. Certainly you will be able to purchase the Chain Bridge, Andrássy Avenue, and Hero’s Square.

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Just like Budapest, Monopoly has an interesting history. The original game was in, 1903, invented by a woman, Elizabeth Magie. Her storied life includes being a rare -- for the time -- female newspaper reporter and publisher, and an outspoken abolitionist. Her version of the game, which she called The Landlord’s Game,  was intended not to promote capitalism, but rather to demonstrate the dangers of capitalist excess (indeed, as with most games, there can be only one winner). While it went through several permutations, as well as copyright battles, Monopoly eventually became popular enough in its current form to inspire national and international tournaments.

So, don’t be surprised if you see Monopoly Budapest clubs springing up. With a real estate boom, and prices rising across the city for rent, we are undergoing something of a real-life Monopoly competition. But that doesn’t detract from the charm of the game. I, for one, have always wanted to own a bit Parliament. And now I have my chance.

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.










Danny DeVito’s Budapest Bucket List

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by Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia Commons

by Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia Commons

Word on the street -- and in the news -- is that TV and film star Danny DeVito is arriving for a stay in Budapest to film the WWII boxing biopic of Harry Haft (another major production that is, not surprisingly, taking advantage of everything film production in Hungary has to offer). As there are no known reports of Mr. DeVito having visited our city before, we thought we would put together a short bucket list of things to do, based on his previous films.

For instance, one of Danny DeVito’s first cinematic hits was the dark comedy Throw Mama From the Train. Without throwing Mama anywhere, we suggest a ride on Budapest’s luxurious and historical Nostalgia train, which departs from Nyugati pályaudvar, the Western train station. The route of this antique-fitted train ride varies, but is always picturesque, running to Lake Balaton or north the the Danube Bend. Moreover, the train engines runs on steam, much like DeVito’s character Owen in the film.

The latest version of the classic Dumbo features a flying elephant, as everybody knows. While there are few elephants in Hungary, we do have a wonder animal of our own in the form of a rasta-haired dog. The Puli is rapidly becoming an internationally famous breed due to its curly, floppy hair and jumping ability. Noted Puli owners include Mark Zuckerberg, who flew to Budapest to purchase a few of his own. Will there one day be a film about a flying Puli? Only time will tell.

via Wikipedia Commons

via Wikipedia Commons

In the kids’ classic Big Fish, DeVito plays a werewolf. If DeVito feels the need to stay up late and get naked - as he did in Big Fish - instead of hunting prey, we recommend attending a rave in one of the thermal baths, events where you can both undress and go wild late into the night. Rudas Bath-house in particular is known for its trippy and wet bath-house raves.

via the Cinetrip FB page

via the Cinetrip FB page

Of course the actor/director is inventive enough to come up with his own plans. Not to mention, he will be kept busy with filming Harry Haft, and teaching a master class at the Urania Cinema. For our part, we hope he enjoys his time spent in Budapest, and comes back soon.

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.

Complex Realities in Easy Lessons: Hungarian Documentary Awarded in Zagrab

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That immigration is one of the biggest and most divisive issues facing the European Union is without question. With this in mind, various local film-makers have offered responses, and even asked more questions in recent projects. Foremost we are thinking of the very lauded feature film The Citizen, released recently in Hungary and around Europe. Less noted but equally probing is the documentary Easy Lessons, which was released last year, but is still making waves on the festival circuit, most recently winning an award at the ZagrebDox documentary film festival in Croatia.

The film, the first full length documentary by Hungarian film-maker Dorottya Zurbó, follows the days of teen-age Somalian immigrant/refugee Kafia Mahdi as she attends a Hungarian school and tries to learn the Hungarian language and study for her final exams. Funded with assistance from the Hungarian Film Fund’s Incubator Program, the documentary has received good review attention in recent months. Moreover the UNHCH, the United Nations agency for refugees, wrote up the film, interviewing its subject, who it now is now getting work as a fashion model, having been given so much exposure from the film.

As a refugee, Mahdi crossed the Balkans to arrive at the Serbian/Hungarian border, and was eventually taken into care in a center for children in the Hungarian town of Fot. Of the film, Mahdi said, “Working on the film was challenging. I had to share my full story, my feelings and my deepest thoughts, which I always find hard to express. But after a while, I got to know the crew and that made me comfortable to open up about a lot of things.” Quick to learn Hungarian, she describes Hungarians as “straightforward and nice.” Having fled the prospect of a forced marriage, the model now continues to study Hungarian and other languages, and hopes to get citizenship soon.

In awarding the film, the ZagrebDox jury said this: “Easy Lessons is a strong personal story of a young Somali refugee finding herself in Hungary. Excellent dramaturgy and editing underscore the significance of Kafia’s lonely journey. Through nuancedly layered personal story (sic.) about identity, acceptance and finding a new home, we glimpse universal questions and lessons about finding your place in the world, when you cannot return to the place you call home.”

It is of course not the film’s job to offer answers to the complex problems facing modern Europe, but rather to shed light on human experience, which it does capably. Easy Lessons can be seen in Budapest, at the Magyar Film Hét (Hungarian Film Week) festival, which runs April 22 - 27th of this month. Below find the trailer, which is in Hungarian with English subtitles.

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.






Two Times Lucky? Presenting Joci Pápai, Hungary's 2019 Eurovision Entry

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There are so many things to look forward to in spring: budding tulips, warm weather, Easter, and of course, Eurovision. The pan-European (and beyond) song contest has become an international phenomenon, with a taste for kitsch and quirk, appealing to audiences all over the world.

Hungary has not traditionally fared very well in Eurovision. By and large, the choices of entrants have been played fairly safe, representing Hungarian folk or pop without being controversial. Then again it’s hard to compete with spectacles  like Lordi and Conchita Wurst. But this year, perhaps two times is a charm, as Hungarian pop singer and rapper Joci Pápai will return to the Eurovision stage at his second attempt to bring home the prize for Hungary. The first time around, in 2017, he placed a very respectable 8th.

Joci Pápai (Joci Pápai in Hungarian) is of Roma descent and found local fame by faring well in the song talent show Megasztár, making it to the final rounds. This brought him to the attention of local rappers and star-makers in Hungary. Like in most countries, the Eurovision selection is chosen by the television audience of a local talent review, in Hungary’s case A Dal (The Song). This is Joci Pápai’s second win on the show, this time with a heartfelt ballad called “Az Én Apám”, or, “That’s My Father”.

Though much of the Eurovision audience won’t comprehend the Hungarian lyrics, the music of “Az Én Apám” should strike a powerful chord with voters who are perhaps looking for something less novel, more authentic and straightforward than winners in previous years. Still, with the allowable entrants to Eurovison reaching 50 countries (most recently Australia was allowed to compete) the competition is steep. While winning usually yields short-term rewards, in a few cases winning the show can set the stage for long-lasting international stardom, as happened in the case of Abba, Bucks Fizz, and of course Celine Dion.

In the Hungarian entrant’s favor, perhaps the controversial choice of location, Tel Aviv, will leave audiences amenable to voting for a more straightforward act. Moreover, voters will be used to the singer, and have already proved they possess an appreciation for him. As Hungary has neither won nor had a runner up in Eurovision, which has been airing annually since 1956, perhaps it is time for our entry to make some waves.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will begin on Tuesday May 14 and finish on Saturday May 18. So, all eyes will be on the television in May. Until then, you can listen to Joci Pápai’s song “Az Én Apám” below, filmed on the gritty side of Budapest. And enjoy the tulips and warm weather.

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.

Secretly Hungarian: Robert Downey Senior (and Jr.)

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Much was made in local press when it was recently revealed that Robert Downey Jr., of all people, has a bit of Hungarian blood coursing through his veins, some speculating that this is why he is so capable in the role of a superhero. But the part of the story that is being ignored is that, in being an eighth Hungarian, it also means that one of his parents is a quarter Hungarian. That parent, Robert Downey Sr., also happens to be a highly regarded filmmaker and actor, whose film Putney Swope is a cult classic.

The secretly Hungarian director has had a long career in and out of Hollywood. After getting his start in self-funded, low-budget film-making, Downey Sr., broke into big budget film making with the widely praised Greaser’s Palace in 1972. Coming up during Hollywood’s golden ‘auteur’ era, the director was highly regarded as an artist with a singular vision.

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He continued from his strong debut to make the screwball comedy Up the Academy. But it’s his non Hollywood efforts that he will be remembered for. Putney Swope, released in 1969, is considered one of the great absurdist cult films of all time. About an African-American ad executive, it satirizes consumer culture, white power, and corporate America. It is one of the few indie films selected by the National Film Registry and Library of Congress for preservation in the national collection.

Also importantly, it was Downey Sr., who gave Robert Downey, Jr. his first chance at acting. This came in the indie film Pound when Downey Jr. was just five years old. It is an interesting debut, in that Robert Downey Jr. was required to play a puppy.

The director hasn’t shied away from work in front of the camera either. Most notably he has had roles in To Live and Die in LA, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and Johnny Be Good. Magnolia director Paul Thomas Anderson cites the senior Downey as an inspiration for his style of film-making.

Sadly there is no evidence that either Downey has taken the time to return to Hungary and investigate their roots here, or make a film. But with so much film production taking place in Budapest and Hungary, it will be no surprise if at least Robert Downey Jr. makes his way to our city at some point. Until then, enjoy Robert Downey Sr directing his son in Pound.

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