Hungary production community on weathering the SAG/WGA strike storm

"The town continues to have activity." 

By Gabriella Geisinger 4 Sep 2023

Hungary production community on weathering the SAG/WGA strike storm
Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone on the set Poor Things; Cr:Atsushi Nishijima/Searchlight Pictures

Budapest is Europe‘s biggest film production base after London, and their National Film Institute studios is in the midst of a major expansion project.

The strikes, however, have had impacts on the production industry in Hungary. Speaking to Variety, several of the country's production industry professionals have revealed how they're keeping their heads above water. 

While they say they see business on the whole being down, strike waivers are offering a lifeline to the industry. 

Adam Goodman of Mid Atlantic Films, who work on Lionsgate's The Killer Game, said "the town continues to have activity." 

Other Hungarian based productions to be granted a SAG waiver include A24’s Death of a Unicorn starring Paul Rudd and Jenna Ortega, and Dust Bunny starring Mads Mikkelsen and Sigourney Weaver.

In addition to British productions (like The Day of the Jackal), other Budapest-based productions are shifting production schedules to accommodate the strike, pushing SAG actors off until the strikes eventually end and shooting Equity or non-SAG actors now. 

"It’s easier to find stage space, it’s easier to find crew," Ildikó Kemény, managing director of Pioneer Stillking Films who who provided production services on Poor Things (pictured), said. This has been a boon to projects that haven't had to halt production. 

Goodman also predicts a resurgence in production, much like in the aftermath of COVID restrictions lifting. "There will be a rush to production once there is an end in sight and producers and studios can see that a resolution is coming,” he says. "Stages, crew base will get sucked up very quickly, much like they did after the pandemic."

While the strikes are ongoing, Hungarian productions are keeping their heads above water.

However, "If we’re still in the same place in Q1 next year, it’s a different story," Goodman says. "But we can weather the storm without too much fallout for the rest of this year."

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