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Filming in Hungary: Blog

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The Wild Work of Filmefex, Budapest's Premier SFX Company

zita kisgergely

That Budapest has become the center for film production on mainland Europe is not new news. Major publications and periodicals have covered this angle, from Daily Variety to the Guardian. Less discussed are the creative aspects of a production that are also expertly handled locally, things like animation studios and special effects studios. This is too bad, because there is a wealth of talent that has contributed to so many major productions that, while not totally unrecognized, is perhaps under-reported.

One such studio is the special effects facility Filmefex, which has quietly made some of the most astounding effects for films such as The Nutcracker, Blade Runner 2, Hellboy 2, Season of the Witch, Emerald City, and the Last Samurai. The company, led by Ivan Poharnak, SFX makeup artist and a protege of film effects legend Dick Smith, specializes in prosthetics, human and animal dummies, puppets, and models. Most recently, they helped with much of the gore for the horror series The Terror, based on the popular book by author Dan Simmons. The AMC 10-episode series ran last spring and summer to strong public appeal and critical acclaim. While some of the nautical portions of the production were shot in Croatia, the ship's interiors were constructed in Budapest, where much of the series was made. Poharnok, like so many other Hungarian talents, is a graduate of the Hungarian College of Fine Arts, where he studied sculpture. Later, in Hollywood, he worked at Dick Smith's studio.

“When American productions come to Hungary, there’s a kind of distance at first,” Poharnok told Daily Variety. “We have to prove ourselves on each film. The way it happens usually is that we get a smaller stake of the work and then when they feel we can handle it, they start giving us more.”

For some time, SFX were done digitally, until the limitations of that work were discovered, and artists began to return to modeled effects, which have a warmer, more life-like feel. Have a look at some shots of the models used for The Terror. But be warned, they do look just like the real thing, and some of the images may be disturbing.

For Emerald City via Filmefex

For Emerald City via Filmefex

For Emerald City via Filmefex

For Emerald City via Filmefex

The below video gives you a look at Poharnok's crew at work on Mr. Pump, from the film Going Postal, adapted from the beloved Sir Terry Prachett novel.

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.