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Filming in Hungary: Blog

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Football Confidential: World Cup Video of Russia Shot in Hungary

zita kisgergely


Every four years Europe, and much of the world falls into the grip of football fever in a way that many North Americans, and non-football fans just can’t understand. The World Cup is not just a competition, but a cultural showcase and diplomatic opportunity for the nations involved, a kind of competitive UN of sports. There is a lot of pride at stake for each nation, but also a chance to build bridges with good sportsmanship. This year's World Cup takes place in Russia, but of course, despite not having a qualifying team, Hungary got to play to its strengths and was tipped to host the locations for the official world cup anthem, “Live it Up”. It’s not the first, or the last time Hungary will stand in for Moscow on film, as is well documented on this blog. It’s interesting that while many nations are represented in the clip by way of flags and ethnicities, Hungary does not get a mention. But those with sharp eyes will recognize that while much of the world will be subtly tricked into thinking it is Russia they are seeing (there are a few token shots from inside Russia, including a few stunners of Luzhniki Stadium), it is in fact mostly Hungary.

It’s not for us to comment one why the filming of “Live it Up”, sung by Nicky Jam along with fellow American Will Smith, and Kosovar singer Era Estrefi, took place in locations so far from Russia, except to speculate that as with so many projects, most recently the feature film Atomic Blonde, Budapest and Hungary make for superb stand-ins for Russia. Or perhaps our reputation for excellent craftsmanship and skilled crews had something to do with it. Either way, the result is phenomenal. The reaction to the video has also been awesome, racking up 25 million views in under a week.

Some of the memorable locations chosen for the clip, which to its credit passes over the more tried and true Budapest locations, are the K-Bridge, which Sziget fans will recognize as the path the to decadent summer music festival; the pleasingly green panel houses you can see from the commuter train that runs through Obuda; an abandoned market, and a few choice street scenes. It all communicates a friendly but gritty Eastern European atmosphere. It was a job well done by Hungary, even if our team is staying home. Or, maybe this is all just an audition, and the World Cup will be hosted in Hungary in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy to video.

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.