Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

3 Nyúl utca
Budapest, Budapest, 1213
Hungary

Filming in Hungary: Blog

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

The Enduring Legend of the Whiskey Robber

zita kisgergely

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

You Tube screenshot of A Viszkis

You Tube screenshot of A Viszkis

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

whiskeyrobber.jpg

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

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

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

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

Source: USA Today and Salon.com

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

The Painted Walls of a Colorful City

zita kisgergely

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

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

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

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

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

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

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

via a Színes Város Facebook page

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

School Food: American Millenials React to Hungarian Cuisine

zita kisgergely

Hortobágyi crepes, photo via Wikipedia

Hortobágyi crepes, photo via Wikipedia

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

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

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

Why You Should Stay Away From 'Dangerous' Budapest

zita kisgergely

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

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

Dangerous Hungarian street gang via Wikipedia commons

Dangerous Hungarian street gang via Wikipedia commons

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

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

via Costes Downtown Facebook page

via Costes Downtown Facebook page

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

csiki.jpg

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

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

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

zita kisgergely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

Fotó: Magyarország, 1964 © Fortepan / magyar rendőr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Mai Manó Ház; Fortepan

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

Local Hero: A Farewell to Károly Makk

zita kisgergely

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

From Makk's film Love

From Makk's film Love

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

From Makk's film Love

From Makk's film Love

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

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

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

Károly Makk. Image via Wikipedia

Károly Makk. Image via Wikipedia

Source: the Guardian

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

Ballerina Budapest: The Ballerina Project

zita kisgergely

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

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

Ballerina1.jpg
Ballerina2.jpg
Bellerina3.jpg
ballerina4.jpg
ballerina7.jpg
ballerina8.jpg
balerina09.jpg
ballerina10.jpg
ballerina11.jpg

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

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

Culinary Corner: the National Cake Competition

zita kisgergely

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

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

via Sugar! Design Confectionary

via Sugar! Design Confectionary

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

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

via One Drop of Attention Foundation

via One Drop of Attention Foundation

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

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

A Hungarian in Hollywood: Joe Eszterhas

zita kisgergely

Photo by Franzressel via Wikipedia Commons

Photo by Franzressel via Wikipedia Commons

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

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

BasicInstinct.jpg

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

A few interesting facts about Joe Eszterhas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Underground Budapest: János Molnár Caves

zita kisgergely

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

photo by Janne Suhonen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zita kisgergely

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

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

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

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

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

 

Location Spotter: Hungaroring, Grand Prix in Hungary

zita kisgergely

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

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

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

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

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

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

Budapest Tops the 'Nomad List' as Best City for Digital Nomads

zita kisgergely

In terms if ‘best of’ lists of cities, Budapest usually finds a spot. A lesser known list than, say Conde Nast Travelers top travel-destination list, but one that may be more of a harbinger of a city on the rise, is what’s known as the ‘Nomad List’. That’s a list of cities that are considered best for digital nomads, people who spend their lives traveling for long stretches and working as freelancers, remote workers, or online entrepreneurs. Though the list on nomadlist.com is ever changing according to shifting criteria and metrics, Budapest is currently rated the top city in the world for digital nomads, beating out such perennial nomad favorites as Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Lisbon, Portugal.

photo via Wikipedia

photo via Wikipedia

Why does Budapest scratch digital nomads where they itch? Affordability is of course paramount. For workers on international wages, the rents are still reasonable, about half the price of an apartment in a typical US city. Also, the textured culture and nightlife is attractive, as is the broadband, which one nomad described as ‘fast and furious’. Though Budapest is a bit late to catch up to the phenomenon of digital nomadism, there are new co-working spaces spaces opening all the time and serviced apartments that cater to short-term living.

Other than affordability, let’s look at a few other amenities that Budapest digital nomads cite as reasons for making it the top spot to spend time in.

Nightlife: People who won’t be sticking around long appreciate accessible night life. Rooftop films at Corvin Rooftop are a hit, having both a cultural event and club-like atmosphere. Gozsdu Udvar is one-stop shopping for a night of food and fun.

Gozsdu Udvar photo by Thaler Tamas via Wikipedia

Gozsdu Udvar photo by Thaler Tamas via Wikipedia

Nature: The huge, green spaces like Margit Island are appreciated as places for solo or group yoga, running tracks, and abundant walking spaces. Budapest is a bus ride away from hills for hiking, and caves for caving.

Japanese Garden on Margit Island via Wikipedia

Japanese Garden on Margit Island via Wikipedia

Transport: Though Hungarians and long-term residents alike bemoan the public transport, in reality the wide-reaching and dependable tram, bus, and metro services are great, inexpensive ways to see the city. Nomads who have been in New York, where the subway is constantly breaking down, or Ho Chi Minh City, where you can’t walk for the all the motorbikes, love that Budapest is accessible without a car.

Fancy coffees with a side of Wifi. In particular nomads cite the new Megvető café, owned by the venerable Hungarian publishing house of the same name, and coffee bar Fekete as favorite spots to get work done in.

Classic Budapest: nobody comes to Budapest exclusively for the modern. Travelers love the old-world feel the city is so famous for, not to mention their loyalty to their home cuisine. Both architecture and Hungarian food are much touted by those who spent time here.

Hungarian Gulyás via Wikipedia

Hungarian Gulyás via Wikipedia

Digital nomads are people who left their home to see the world as they work. Having been around, they are a sophisticated and demanding bunch. To land on top of a list curated by such nomads means that not only has Budapest arrived, but worldly travelers have arrived (here) as well.

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

Brutal Budapest: Local Examples of Architecture's Most Divisive Trend

zita kisgergely

The Barbican Center (not in Budapest). via Wikipedia Commons

The Barbican Center (not in Budapest). via Wikipedia Commons

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s an eyesore, or if you think it’s utilitarian beauty for the ages, the brutalist architecture movement is enjoying a huge wave of popularity. Everyone from hipsters to Millennials to architecture mavens have taken up the brutalist cause with brutalist tours, brutalist Facebook pages, and books devoted to nothing but brutalist architecture. We’ll leave it to the more learned people at ssense.com to give a concise definition of brutalism: “Concrete facades. No decoration. Strict social ethics. Low cost and fast effect. In the period between the 1950s and the 1970s, brutalism was the blue pill of urban planning for communities and town councils across five continents. It allowed municipalities to build social housing and public buildings with a limited budget and a cultural blessing. The godfather of all architects, Le Corbusier, explicitly highlighted the beauty of “brutal matter,” and in general terms, colors and shapes that look great on a concrete background. Moreover, erecting structures in concrete was easy, economical, and functional for the large social housing necessities of expanding cities in the golden age of postwar Western industrialization.”

But not all concrete architecture is brutalist, and not all brutalism is made from concrete, as purists on the web are quick to point out. Brutalism is a bit like pornography: you may not be able to say exactly what qualifies, but you know it when you see it.

Detractors, particularly right leaning or libertarian Americans, call the movement either elitist or socialist, depending on their agenda. There is no doubt that the Russians and former satellite states excelled at brutalism.

Surprisingly (or not) when Budapest decided to renovate Moszkva Square, and rename it Széll Kálmán Square, they went with a concrete brutalist look for the metro stop and surrounding structures. Whether this is forward thinking or retro nostalgia is a matter of opinion.

via BKK

via BKK

via BKK

via BKK

Recently torn down Puskás Stadium was much loved for its football games and Metallica concerts but was also derided for its very industrial, hence, cheap, hence, brutalist look. Today’s hyper-modern stadium (not pictured) doesn’t have that problem.

The Budapest Hotel (not to be confused with the Grand Hotel Budapest, which is a different style altogether) is a cylindrical concrete spot for your brutalist Budapest getaway.

via Danubus Hotels

via Danubus Hotels

And if you want to get out of Budapest, there’s the retro-wondrous Ezüstpart Hotel in Siofok on the beautiful (or brut-iful?) Lake Balaton.

via szallas.hu

via szallas.hu

Of course, with its Socialist past, Hungary has some good examples of the brutalist architecture that is so trendy these days (though not as many as one would expect from a post-Bloc country). Above are just a few. If you know of any more drop us a line in the comments.

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

Ashton Kutcher: A Budapest Bucket List

zita kisgergely

Lately, local social media feeds have been a’ flutter with the news that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are currently residing in Budapest, while Kunis shoots The Spy Who Dumped Me. Fans have documented Mr. Kutcher food shopping in Buda, near the house they are reportedly renting. As far as we know, this is the actor’s first time in Budapest, so we’ve put together a bucket list of things to do, based on his most popular parts.

In The Butterfly Effect, Kutcher finds himself trapped in multiple alternate realities, and has to rely on his ingenuity and intelligence to set his life straight. With that in mind, one of Budapest’s famous and unique ‘escape rooms’ should be a cinch. This attraction, where the participants must solve puzzles and follow clues in order to escape a locked room, has proven hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. Some ambitious companies are even exporting the idea to other parts of Europe.

In Just Married, Kutcher plays half of a newlywed couple on a disastrous honeymoon in Europe. The pair watches their relationship disintegrate as they trek across France and Italy (yet weirdly misses Budapest). Perhaps things would have turned out much different had they chilled a bit and taken a room at Budapest's Gellért Hotel, famous for their indoor and outdoor thermal baths and wellness center. What could be more relaxing and romantic than a hot bath, massage, and room looking out over the Danube? No amount of arguing can withstand that kind of couples' team building.

via Danubus Hotels

via Danubus Hotels

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Finally, as a nod to Mila Kunis’s most famous role of up-and-coming ballerina Lily in Black Swan, we recommend an evening of ballet at the Hungarian State Opera. One of the city’s most iconic sites and film locations, the State Opera is also home the the Hungarian National Ballet. Kutcher may even catch a performance of Swan Lake, which plays there from time to time. Built in 1884, the State Opera House has nurtured talents like Ferenc (Franz) Liszt, Béla Bartók, and Gustav Mahler. Using 7 kilograms of gold in its interior decorations, it is said to be one of the most beautiful opera houses both inside and out in Europe.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Ashton Kutcher, the city welcomes you. If you happen to have free time and still find yourself at a loss for what to do, just give us a shout.

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

A Hungarian in New York: the Life of Edit Deak

zita kisgergely

We don’t write much about the Hungarian art world too much here. Perhaps that’s because so much creativity was stifled or re-purposed under the Socialist regime, the affects of which are still lingering. But Hungarians have had a significant influence on the international art scene due mass emigration in the middle of the 20th century. We could bring up artists like Hungarian-born Rita Ackermann, whose drawings of sexualized adolescents earned her a worldwide reputation as being at the forefront of transgressive New York Art.

DeAk with Warhol

DeAk with Warhol

And then there were voices like Edit Deak, who spelled her name with a capital ‘A’, making it DeAk. Having fled the Socialist regime in 1968 at age 18, and, after a brief stop in Italy, DeAk very quickly managed to establish herself as a fixture in the downtown New York art scene. As a student at Columbia, she was able to connect with fellow art afictionados and start an art magazine, Art-Rite, that championed difficult art, with DeAk dubbing the effort “coverage for the uncovered”. The magazine was one of the first of its kind to promote video and performance art, street art, and also paid special attention to outsider art, meaning, non art-school trained artists.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Moreover, DeAk founded the influential downtown art bookstore and publisher Printed Matter. Through her magazine and other outlets she would champion now mainstream artists like William Wegman, Keith Haring, and even had Jean-Michel Basquiat decorate the walls of her Soho loft. Of course she was also friends with Andy Warhol.

Basquiat's Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump

Basquiat's Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump

As a writer she was highly praised, and indeed, other art critics were quick to pick up on the places she was leading, with William Zimmer saying in The SoHo Weekly News: “DeAk has been everywhere before anybody.”  You could say she was a Peggy Guggenheim for outsider art. DeAk died in early June of this year, and was mourned widely, though her passing garnered little notice in her home country.

Source material: New York Times.

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

Bizarre Foods get Real in Budapest

zita kisgergely

We love it when TV hosts from abroad come to Budapest to sample the culture and cuisine, then present it back to the world like a new discovery from some distant, unknown land. They all assume a similar attitude when confronted with a kitchen that is so different than that of its Slavic and Balkan neighbors: awestruck, confounded, impressed, and relived all at once. This is particularly true when it comes to famous cooks and foodhounds who are profiling Hungarian cuisine while trying to get their mouth around a fat véres huka (blood sausage), while forcing their tongue to do the acrobatics required to pronounce the Hungarian language.

This is true of American Andrew Zimmern, who hosts the popular show Bizarre Foods on US cabal TV's Travel Channel. Maybe it is because he is on his second trip to Budapest that he has forsaken such ‘bizarre’ delicacies as kakashere pörkölt (rooster testicle stew) and zúza pörkölt (gizzard stew) in favor of more conventional Hungarian dishes like stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikash (the only bizarre thing here is that they are not more popular worldwide).

Chicken paprikash

Chicken paprikash

That said, the host does make an effort to cover the range of price points, from a ‘street food’ lángos (fried dough) to a pricey dessert cake called Solmóli galuska from the city’s one-time most esteemed restaurant, Gundel.  In the in-between space we see visits to local treasure Rosenstein, where traditional Hungarian Jewish cuisine is served; to a hip new ‘Party District’ restaurant called Getto Gulyas that specializes in old-school Hungarian goulash and stews.

Somlói galuska

Somlói galuska

One of those interviewed proclaims that there is a ‘culinary revolution’ underway in Budapest. And he is right. Old dishes are being revamped for modern tastes, while Hungarian Millennials are seeing the value local cuisine as street food. It is fair to say that the the food scene reflects the city as a whole: vibrant, traditional, progressive, and always inventive.

We invite you to have a look at the latest Budapest installment of Bizarre Foods, which can be consumed in bite-sized portions below.

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

Cityscape Budapest: the Mesmerizing Drawings of Stefan Bleekrode

zita kisgergely

used by permission of the artisit

used by permission of the artisit

If you look at Stefan Bleekrode’s drawings of Budapest, it’s impossible not to also imagine the artist squinting into a photograph of the cityscape and painstakingly recreating the streets and buildings in inky analog. But would you be surprised to learn that the artist relies on nothing but memory when rendering the intricate details of Budapest? Without this nugget of information, the drawings would still be amazing. Instead they are a unique wonder, like a trick produced by the slight of hand of a practiced magician.

Budapest is but one location of the series he calls Cityscapes, which also includes cites like Paris, New York, and London. In the Budapest drawings, we find such blue-chip locations as Keleti train station, Parliament, and Margaret Bridge, though he told us he is currently working on a new drawing of Budapest called Budapest at Night.

used by permission of the artist

used by permission of the artist

At age 30, Dutch artist Bleekrode has been training his memory and talent for drawing since he was a child, as he told odditycentral.com.  “At the age of 10 I wanted to recapture my impressions of places in France and Belgium I’d visited during a holiday the previous summer. Where I lived there was very little that pleases the eye – just 1960’s housing estates and offices. By doing these small pencil drawings I could drift back to those sunny and inspiring places where the world was colorful and eager to be explored. I continue to do the Cityscape drawings for as long as I enjoy it or until I run out of ideas.”

used by permission of the artist

used by permission of the artist

We expect Budapest to imprint itself of people’s memories, but this surprised us. Bleekrode is entirely self taught, which makes the feat all the more amazing. Our curiosity peaked, we contacted the artist, who made himself available to answer a few questions in a recent interview with Flatpack Films.

FPF: What about Budapest appealed to you as an artist?

In terms of artistic appeal, I find Budapest a fascinating city because, unlike most other cities in Europe, it is truly impressive, beautiful and distinctly different. The wide Danube crossing through the city in a gentle curve defines Budapest's two sided appearance, hilly, historic and green on the Buda side and imposing, stellar and energetic on the Pest side. In between a number of beautiful bridges connects these two halves. In particular Pest stands out for me as one massive monument to the great economic and artistic revival of the 2nd half of the 19th century, nowhere this seems to be more visible and so well retained as in Budapest. The combination between delicate, shapely and so often original architecture and the strict geometry of the city's layout I find most appealing for my work.

FPF: How did you train your memory to draw such complicated scenes? Or do you just have a photographic memory?

By focusing so strongly on the visible world around us and using this collected bulk of information in my artwork, I am convinced this trained my memory and made it easier for me to see and retain more details than let's say ten years before. But I always preferred images over written stuff or sounds, as a child I loved looking at picture books but didn't care very much about novels or music. Later on however I realised I could use my 'pictoral' memory also to memorise place names or to learn languages with greater ease. Even Hungarian doesn't seem to daunting for me!

FPF: Have you ever gone back and compared your pictures to the actual view?

Certainly, but I never intend to make an exact replica of existing cities, much more it's a composite view, an amalgamation of many impressions to recreate as truthfully as possible what I enjoyed and how a felt a bout a certain place. But I'm working on a Budapest at Night picture and that one must be fairly realistic.

FPF: How did you find Budapest as a city, independent of your artistic endeavor?

Budapest very much seems to me like some kind of boomtown again, it's very energetic, much more so than many (better known) cities in western Europe. Which greatly surprises me every time I go there because it's the capital of a fairly small country nowadays. Other than that I find it very safe, functional and surprisingly liveable for a city of 2 million. And to me it feels relaxed as well, mainly because of the spa's I suppose. On the downside there's a lot of work that still needs to be done, some areas remain a bit grim but I'm convinced it will look great in the future as well.

used by permission of the artisit

used by permission of the artisit

used by permission of the artist

used by permission of the artist

To see more of the artist’s Cityscapes, have a look here.

We expect Budapest to imprint itself of people’s memories, but this surprised us. Bleekrode is entirely self taught, which makes the feat all the more amazing. 

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

A Hungarian From History: The Remarkable Life of Tibor Déry

zita kisgergely

Hungarian literature – now more than ever – has managed to take a prominent place on the world literature stage, while at the same time remaining distinctly Hungarian. It’s fair to say that there has been a rush on Hungarian writers in the German and particularly English language markets. All that said, there are still any number of fantastic Hungarian writers whose work has not been fully explored outside of the Hungarian language.

For example, there is Tibor Déry, who philosopher Georg Lukács praised as being “the greatest depicter of human beings of our time”. The Hungarian satirist, whose novel, Képzelt riport egz amerikai popfesztiválról (An Imaginary Report on an American Pop Festival),  should have international appeal, as it is based on the Rolling Stones' notorious Altamont concert, where the Hell’s Angels biker gang took over security, and were subsequently accused of assaulting audience members before stabbing one to death during the Stones’ set. The novel was popular enough in Hungary that it was adapted into a musical production, which was staged in Berlin before touring in Europe and, in 1986, finding its way to Albany New York, where it was presented in English with an American cast. Yet nobody has taken it upon themselves to translate and publish that book. His classic novel, the 1200-page tome An Unfinished Sentence, also remains untranslated.

Born in 1894, the writer was persecuted throughout his adult life for his support for Communist causes and the political affiliations they brought. Indeed, he was exiled in 1919 for his views. Upon return to Hungary, he was imprisoned for translating Andre Gide into Hungarian. Towards the end of his life, Déry turned his back on Stalin’s brand of communism, and was expelled from the Hungarian Communist Party in 1953. During this period, Déry was imprisoned again, and sentenced to nine years for his writings and participation in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In support of Déry, artists and writers worldwide registered local protests, including: Picasso, Camus, Satre, Bertrand Russell, and E.M. Forster.

Déry died in 1977. Compared to greats like Bruno Schultz and Anton Chekov, Déry's has yet to receive the recognition of either of those writers. But he hasn’t gone totally ignored. Dery’s most popular novel, Niki: the Story of a Dog, is still in print, in its 1954 English translation, and his short story collect Love and Other Stories was put out in English on New Directions in 2005. But it is possible that his greatest and most accessible works are slipping us by.

For those courageous enough, below is thesoundtrack to the musical based on Déry's book An Imaginary Report on an American Pop Festival, with music by Hungarian band Locomotiv GT.

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

2017 Cannes Film Festival: Hungarians at the Gate

zita kisgergely

Cannes has been good to Hungarian films in recent years, with efforts like Son of Saul, which of course won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2015. In this, the 70th incarnation of the Cannes Film Festival, we see three Hungarian films entered in three different categories.

In the main competition, we find director Kornél Mundruczó’s feature Jupiter's Moon. The director is no stranger to Cannes, with his last feature White God winning the Un Certain Regard prize in 2014. A magic realist tale that follows the friendship of a refugee and a Hungarian local, Jupiter's Moon is the director’s fifth (fifth!) trip to the festival. He was quoted in the Budapest Business Journal as saying  “Jupiter’s Moon is set in a world where we have lost our moral handles/grip. We are falling. We have forgotten to look outside. In the Europe of our ages, amidst such life-changing situations as the refugee crisis, we have no compass for making the appropriate decisions. I am the most interested in whether there is a mutual belief that could tie us together. Is there salvation? What can give us hope in the worst of times?”

Screenshot from Jupiter's Moon via Screen Daily

Screenshot from Jupiter's Moon via Screen Daily

Indiewire gave high praise to the film’s direction and cinematography (by Marcell Rév): “Even the film’s lone car chase is a breathless experience, as Rév and Mundruczó strap a camera on the hood of a high-powered sedan and lead us on a winding, high-speed drive that always seems framed for maximum impact. These people are the film’s true miracle workers, and they could turn Hollywood upside down if given half a chance (a Marvel movie backed by this sort of talent would be a genuine game-changer).”

In the Un Certain Regard category, we can find Out, by Hungarian/Slovak György Kristóf. Out features an ethnic Hungarian/Slovak engineer who leaves home for Latvia to look for a better life, and some good fishing. There he lands work in a shipyard, and has to deal with xenophobia and a taxidermied rabbit. It is Kristof’s debut feature film. Daily Variety praised the pic’s performances, humor and look, saying “The visuals are among the film’s strongest suit.”

Screenshot from Out via the Czech Film Center

Screenshot from Out via the Czech Film Center

Finally, the short Invisibly by Áron Szentpéteri was selected as one of the sixteen film school films in the Cinéfondation category. The Hungarian National Film Fund, which also provided much of the funding for Jupiter’s Moon, describes the film as such: “Two everyday people meet in the dark. The darkness of an invisible exhibition. Through the film we follow them as they get closer and move apart from each other by crossing blurry boundaries. Boundaries that exist between and within people and are mostly invisible. Not only for the blind.” Szentpéteri attends the famous Hungarian University of Theater and Film Arts in Budapest.

Prizes will be announced on May 26, 27 and 28. Good luck to all the films - especially the Hungarian ones - being screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

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