First look at Hungary's future-proofing studio expansion

The historical NFI Studios in Fót are expanding to meet demand from international film and TV producers

By Sponsored Content 20 Dec 2023

Backed by the National Film Institute (NFI), the studio’s capacity is increasing to 12,670 square metres, serving both international and domestic productions, while creating hundreds of new jobs.

Four new 2,500sqm soundstages will be built, increasing total studio capacity to 12,670sqm, with the ability to use the studios in pairs of 4,945sqm soundstages. These can be separated by a mobile 15m high soundproofed wall.

Ildikó Kovács, head of NFI Studios says: “The expansion is allowing NFI Studios to attract and host large-scale productions while still providing world-class facilities for high-end TV and film projects.

“The new soundstages are designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a variety of productions and are in proximity to the backlot sets and support facilities such as on-site set construction services, SFX, and transportation.”

The NFI Studios complex is situated on a 23- hectare plot in Fót on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital, a 30-minute drive from Liszt Ferenc Airport, 15 minutes from the city centre.

It has provided the back drop for all kinds of locations from medieval European towns to the US Wild West, 19th-century city centres and the  American suburbs.

The facility also offers a wide range of sets and props, more than 100,000 items of wardrobe and accessories from almost all historical periods. Of particular note is the  NFI armoury which has a vast catalogue of weapons spanning the Middle Ages to the 1960s, including one of the largest inventories of First World War and Second World War machine guns and revolvers in central Europe.

The armoury has specialised weapons for international productions, licensing for international weapons, and can manage export and import transactions.

NFI Studios also offers continental Europe’s largest outdoor water tank, measuring 47m x 39m at a depth of 2m with an inner tank 20m x 15m at a depth of 5.5m. It was specifically designed for large and deep sets, and has been used by films such as Warner Bros’ Blade Runner 2049 and Paramount’s Terminator: Dark Fate and TV series including See-Saw Films’ The North Water.

For the past year, Robert Lantos’ Canada-based Serendipity Point Films has been shooting the 10-part medieval epic Rise Of The Raven at the studios.

“I have been an eyewitness to the massive expansion, development and modernisation of the studio,” said Lantos. “I hope to have the opportunity to work here yet again.”

Rise Of The Raven tells the story of warrior Janos Hunyadi who defeated the Ottoman Army and defended Europe in 1456. Along with  Serendipity Point, it is being produced by Twin Media, HG Media, MR Film, and Beta.

With a tax rebate of 30%, diverse landscapes and experienced crews, Hungary is one of Europe’s biggest production hubs and prides itself on being second only to the UK in terms of the volume of international production it attracts. 

Rise of the Raven shooting at the newly built set of Belgrade fortress (Nándorfehérvár in Hungarian)

“That’s why the studio development is important and that’s why continually investing in new digital post-production technologies is also vital,” says Csaba Káel, film commissioner and chairman of NFI. 

The Fót production hub expansion is Hungary’s largest state-funded film studio development project to date.  “We firmly believe the Hungarian film industry will only be able to keep its competitiveness in the international industry if we focus continuously on development,” said Káel. 

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