If you have taken to local Hungarian customs and eaten a bowl of lentils for the New Year, then you are in for a year of good fortune. If you haven’t, then we hope you are lucky enough to be living in Budapest, a place where good things are in store no matter what your New Year’s traditions are. Below are a few of the good things that we are predicting for Budapest and Hungary in 2018, which despite these dark, short days of winter, is looking very bright and sunny indeed.
Film production in Hungary will grow. As touted in several recent articles, the most prominent of which was in Daily Variety, Hungary is receiving its due as ‘Hollywood on the Danube’, with multiple big budget films shot here in 2017, including the blockbuster Blade Runner 2049. With no serious alteration to the film production tax incentives, and with state-of-the-art sound studios, Budapest will remain a low cost/ high quality destination for film-makers from Hollywood, India, and Asia.
More exciting film locations will be utilized. Budapest is more than just the Chain Bridge and the State Opera House. The city is loaded with unexploited locations, from the Kelenföld Power Station to the ‘Bálna’ or 'whale', on the Danube. And don’t even talk to us about the rest of Hungary, with Roman-era aqueducts, centuries old monasteries, and pristine prairies. Instead of a Spaghetti Western, might we see a Gulash Western?
Hungary will win another Oscar. With the short “Sing” and the juggernaut Son of Saul bringing home the coveted Academy Award in the past few years, you’d think Hungary would be passed over this year. But then About Body and Soul happened, which was Hungary’s nomination for Oscar consideration, ultimately making the shortlist for Best Foreign Language film. After multiple wins, including in Berlin, its momentum is undeniable, if not unstoppable.
Budapest will become popular with high-end tourists. Budapest is currently undergoing growing pains as it attracts more and more low-end backpacker type tourists. Protests in what is now known as the ‘party district’ (formerly the Jewish District) are pressuring lawmakers to crack down on noise and excessive drunken behavior. Meanwhile, Budapest’s luxurious attractions are raising their standards to meet the expectations of more discerning clientele. Hotels like the Gresham Four Seasons and the Aria continue to win awards for Best Hotel from upscale publications like Conde Nast Traveler, and Budapest restaurants continue to win Michelin stars, drawing the attention of a better class of tourist.
Speaking of Michelin stars, we predict another for Budapest. The only question is: who will get it? Candidates include restaurants Mák Bistro, Tigris, and Olimpia; or will it be a plucky country restaurant from the up-and-coming culinary destination of Tokaj? Our bet is on the very reasonably priced venue of Stand25 Bisztró. The owner/chef Tamás Széll was part of the team that brought a Michelin star to Budapest’s Onyx, and Stand25 Bisztró has the street food characteristics (they don’t shy away from classic Hungarian gulash, not to mention Stand25 is in a market hall) that is in vogue now with Michelin assessors.
Only time will tell if we are right. No matter what happens, it is looking to be a lively and busy year in Budapest for film production and more. We hope yours is fantastic.
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.