Great locations needn’t be beautiful, they only need to be appropriate for the project. While we have been bringing much attention to the more elegant aspects of classic Budapest, like the bridges and fin de siècle architecture of the older neighborhoods, there are also enormous location possibilities for industrial spaces within the city’s confines. Foremost, there is the abandoned industrial park on Csepel Island in District XXI. Before and, especially, during the socialist era, the park was an active hub of industrial manufacturing. Now the factories, foundries, and warehouses – and much of the park, is deserted, leaving behind a kind of industrial ghost town. And what a sizable town it is – at around 200 hectares, there is no shortage of open space and creepy, urban architecture.
Once presided over by an oversized statue of Lenin, the Csepel Industrial Park was the pride of the socialist regime, producing such wide-ranging products as safety pins, automobiles, and of course the iconic Csepel bicycle. At one point the state-run park employed as many as 30,000 proud workers. Though the area feels like the ghosts of Stalin and Marx still haunt it, it was actually founded in 1912, much earlier than their time, and several if the original structures remain.
These days, Csepel Industrial Park has become a paradise for skateboarders, a home to packs of stray dogs, and practice venue of heavy metal bands. You don’t get much grittier than its deteriorating brick buildings. It would not be a stretch to say that Csepel Industrial Park is prematurely ‘post-apocalyptic.’ Is it only a matter of time before the entire park is torn down and rebuild as a housing estate, or gated community? If so, it will be a bit of history sliced from the city’s underbelly. Csepel may be ugly, but it is ours.
PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. 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’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.