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Overview and productions

Hungary is looking to build on the international success of Oscar winner Poor Things and blockbuster Dune Part Two, both of which shot in the country. Among the four Oscars won by Poor Things were those of costume design and production design, and while Academy Awards may not have gone directly to the Hungarian crew, many local technicians worked on the movie, including renowned set decorator Zsuzsa Mihalek.

The country’s 30% rebate available for film and high-end TV sits at the low end of the soft money tree, but facilities across the country are fast improving. Rapid further expansion is planned at NFI Studios, the state-funded multi-soundstage facility in Fót, which is just 15-30 minutes from Budapest city centre.

The facility is increasing its capacity fivefold, to 12,700 square metres. The expansion is serving both international projects and catering to demand from local producers. Hungary has attracted some intriguing projects.

Pablo Larrain’s Maria, about the opera singer Maria Callas (played by Angelina Jolie) at the end of her life and written by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight, has now wrapped, having completed some of its shooting in Budapest. Dune: Prophecy, which is part of the expanded Dune television universe, was able to resume filming in December as soon as the Hollywood writers and actors strikes were over, as did the third series of CBS crime thriller FBI: International.

Johnny Depp’s Modi, a biopic of Modigliani starring Riccardo Scamarcio as the eponymous artist, filmed in Budapest late last year, as did Brady Corbet’s The Brutalist, starring Adrien Brody and Felicity Jones, and sold by Protagonist Pictures. Netflix’s Death By Lightning, executive produced by David Benioff and DB Weiss of Game Of Thrones fame and starring Michael Shannon and Matthew Macfadyen, is filming in Hungary.

First person to contact: Csaba Kael, Hungarian film — commissioner @

Overview and productions

Locations and permits

You are spoilt for choice in Hungary. The variety of landscapes is incredible. In popular Budapest alone you will find everything from dramatic history and flamboyant architecture to healing thermal waters, opera houses and sports stadiums.

All location palettes are on offer in the capital city, from classical to modern, industrial to upscale, hipster to retro, with castles and rural landscapes.  

Hungary’s countryside attractions include Lake Balaton, the largest in Central Europe, where The Last Kingdom was partly shot; Lake Héviz, the second largest thermal lake in the world; and Hortobágy, the largest natural grassland in Europe.

All locations are within a few hours of each other, and thanks to a mild four-season climate, the country can host productions all year round.

According to producer Andreas Hjortdal, the country’s main attraction was the locations, the production finding old-growth forests a 45-minute drive from Budapest. Hedegaard’s advice for international producers coming to Hungary is to find the right local service producer.

While Hungary offers broad historical heritage (there are plenty of castles of different styles – medieval, English, Hungarian, French, etc), Kovács also notes that the industrial buildings, abandoned factories, and brutalist villas from the socialist era are also spectacular as they can stand in for 20th century’s historical films as well as for futuristic sci-fis and action movies.

There are also plenty of historical baths in the country and in Hévíz filmmakers can find the world’s largest thermal lake. 

Infrastructure and crews

Studio facilities are fast improving, and the country is hosting US blockbusters and European arthouse pictures. The crews speak English and there are many top-level technicians who excel in everything from costume to make-up to production design. One small concern is whether there is enough A-list crew to service multiple big-budget projects at one time, but the skills base is expanding

Although extra studio space is currently available, it is not clear whether the crew base will be able to cover many big international projects arriving in Hungary at once. “It’s a little concerning how many good A-list crews we can put out,” acknowledges one insider. Mads Hedegaard’s Danish actiondrama Stranger, a survival story set 4,000  years BC in an age of huntergatherers, filmed in Hungary through Copenhagen-based Motor Productions.

Producer Andreas Hjortdal is full of praise for Proton Cinema, the Hungarian outfit that worked on Stranger. “They were the perfect combination of having a very well-trained and well equipped production service [team], but also understanding the needs of auteurdriven European arthouse films. They were the perfect match.”

Transport and logistics

Public transport is well-developed in Hungary; there are plenty of ports, and ferry systems available in Budapest and at Lake Balaton. Taxis are plentiful on the streets of most Hungarian cities.

No airlines currently offer direct flights from Los Angeles or New York to Budapest, but Hungary is easily reached via major European cities. The film and TV industry is centred on Budapest.

Size matters

Flights from most major US cities have a connecting stop to Budapest. New York can connect via Amsterdam or London.

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