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Archive for January, 2014

Need a location that conveys small-town Central Europe while staying near to the film studios of Budapest? Then Szentendre is your next stop. The village lies just 20 kilometers from Budapest and is known for its quint, cobblestone streets and pristinely preserved city center. Not exactly a well-kept secret, Szentendre is routinely listed as the number one day trip in travel guides to Hungary.

via Wikicommons

via Wikicommons

Inhabited since the days of the Roman Empire, there is no shortage of historical sites and influences in the architecture. Though Hungarians currently make up over 90 percent of the population, Saxons, Slovakians, Greeks, Bulgarian, Turkish, and Serbians have all left their mark on the village, which remains somewhat multi-cultural. Named for Saint Andrew, there are any number of Orthodox (particularly Serbian) details to churches and public spaces alike. The prevailing Baroque architecture that characterizes the city center gives the town a universally European feeling, and would be an appropriate stand-in for towns from most European countries.

via Wikicommons

via Wikicommons

Don’t mistake the classic feeling for stodginess, though. Szentendre has long been a cultural center and arts hub. In past and present, it has been a location for artists’ retreats and home to a number of fine arts museums (including one dedicated to the beloved Hungarian sculptress Margit Kovács).

It is worth mentioning that Hungary’s largest film studios – Korda Studios, Raleigh Studios, and Origo Film Group – are all but a stone’s throw from Szentendre. The village has direct access from Budapest and its international airport.

With both wide streets and narrow cause-ways, classical churches, and scenic Danube views, Szentendre has been discovered by tourists, and it is only a matter of time before this unique location captures the attention of international film-makers.

via Wikicommons

via Wikicommons

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.

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WritersWorkshopBudapest

Writers Workshop Budapest

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127_HouseOfWax1953_Apr2013

3-D films: they are everywhere nowadays. From the most recent version of The Hobbit to X-Men, Captain America, and the Budapest-filmed 47 Ronin, filming in 3-D is more popular than ever. But this is nothing new. In the last century, during the original 3-D craze, sci-fi and horror films frequently utilized 3-D techniques to give audiences an extra thrill. The most successful 3-D film of the era was House of Wax, directed by Hungarian émigré Andre de Toth. Don’t be fooled by the name, de Toth was born Endre Tóth, who only added the aristocratic sounding ‘de’ once in America.

Long before he was directing Hollywood blockbusters like House of Wax and The Bounty Hunter, de Toth was writing plays in Budapest. He garnered the attention of Hungary’s most internationally famous playwright, Ferenc Molnár, who took him under his wing. It was in Hungary that de Toth began his career in film, directing five films before World War II broke out. De Toth fled to England, where he worked with fellow Hungarian, and film icon Alexander Korda before emigrating to America, and moving to Hollywood in 1942.

De Toth’s first films were low budget; he built his reputation in Westerns, bringing an innovative noir style to the genre. It took until 1953 for de Toth to find his greatest success in directing House of Wax, starring Vincent Price. In addition to being the highest grossing 3-D film of the 1950s 3-D craze, it was also the first of its kind to be filmed in color. The horror movie packed cinemas and drive-ins across America, making the director famous.That he had a 3-D blockbuster is somewhat ironic: de Toth only had one eye, and couldn’t appreciate the effect.

De Toth was never able to repeat the huge success of House of Wax, though he did leave his mark on such films as Lawrence of Arabia and Superman in the capacity of Second Unit Director.  Others believe his real value as a director came in his low budget crime films. Among his fans is Quentin Tarantino, who dedicated Reservoir Dogs to Hungarian Andre de Toth.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

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.

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Once and a while a video showcasing the beauty and romance of Budapest comes along that is too irresistible not to share. But this one is truly rare: A colorized travel clip from 1938. This is – of course – interwar Budapest, and things were about to change dramatically for the country and city. But as much as they changed, and will continue to change, it is amazing just what has stayed the same. Keep an eye out for gorgeous shots of Parliament, Pest’s shopping boulevards, mineral water spas, the Chain Bridge, the Hotel Gellért and its arificial wave contraption, and the views of the Danube.

Now which was your favorite part? Ours was definitely the whole thing.

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.

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It appears the documentary No Place on Earth, which PPM helped with in 2012, was selected as a nomination in the Best Documentary Screenplay category for a Writers Guild Award. This is of course fantastic news, and makes this the perfect opportunity to promote the spectacular location of the Aggtelek Caves in Northern Hungary. Though the story behind No Place on Earth takes place in the Ukraine, the filmmakers found the conditions for shooting in Hungary, and the caves themselves, to be best suited for the film.

Aggtelek is a system of 712 caves spread over 138,000 acres within the Aggtelek National Park. That’s all in the North Eastern Hungarian countryside. Inside the caves, the spaces are straight out of a fantasy book, with stalactites dripping from the cave roof like icicles. The underground system comprises five main caves, the most visited of which is the Baradla-Domica Cave, most of which runs along the Hungary’s northern border with Slovakia. With its counterpart on the Slovakian side, it is the largest system of caves in Europe. The caves were inhabited as far back as 5000 BC and have been used as a tourist attraction since 1932. But facts and numbers only go so far in conveying the staggeringly eerie beauty of Aggtelek. Have a look at the pics.

SONY DSCOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cast and crew of No Place on Earth – directed by Janet Tobias – recreated scenes for the documentary and withstood freezing temperatures, adding to the stress of shooting in a World Heritage site. As the filmmakers recalled in this blog last year, “The greatest challenge of the shoot was without a doubt the freezing winter temperatures and at some locations very deep snow.”

As reported in this blog previously: Aggtelek itself – unchanged for centuries – provided a stunning background, though the crew had to be mindful not to upset or damage the natural setting. Shooting in a cave proved challenging, but the experienced crews accomplished the task on schedule and without setback. The 30-member crew worked at a fast pace in these tough conditions with only one camera. “They work as hard as I‘ve ever seen on set, always helping, from the minor details to the big decisions,” said director of photography Edu Grau.

cave10TheCave

It is fair to say that the setting was almost another character in the film. Congratulations to everybody involved.

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.

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