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Archive for June, 2014

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Every now and then it is important to remember that Hungary is more than just a well-stocked pool of film professionals and great locations. With more and more tourists and international businesses discovering this great nation, recent years have experienced tremendous evolution in traditional cultures, like dining, fashion, and art. This extends to wine-making as well. Hungarian wines are not very well known outside the country, and most visitors are taken off guard by just how good they are, and how far they have come since the days of government-made ‘Bull’s Blood’.  But slowly the craft and care that goes into the centuries old tradition is beginning to be recognized abroad. Of course Hungary leads with its strong suit: the famous wines of Northeast region of Tokaj.

photo via wineflow.hu

photo via wineflow.hu

The big news is that this year – for the first time – Hungarian wines took home medals at the prestigious Sommelier Wine Awards in England. The big winner was Szent Tamás (St. Thomas) Cellar, which won three medals in the competition. According to the site Abouthungarianwine.com, “the “Furmint selection 2011″ from Percze-dűlő and the late-harvest sweet wine ‘No.3909’, also from 2011, won gold medals, whilst ‘Mád Dry Furmint 2012’ won the ‘Commended’ medal. Silver medals were awarded to the dry furmint 2012 from Royal Tokaj Cellar and the late-harvest ‘Katinka 2011’ of the Patricius Wine House.”

The Tokaj brand is becoming increasingly known around the world. And it is a brand worth watching, as evinced by the EU’s decision to make it a protected destination of origin, much like Champagne or Emmentaler cheese. It is of course the dessert wines, the Azsú and Essencia, that have gained international fame and are sought after by wine enthusiasts of every nationality. Much of the region’s success is due to its sweet wines. But as the Sommelier Wine Awards show, the dry wines are also making an impression. Hollywood may have its ‘Martini Shot’; can we humbly suggest when in Hungary to revising this to a ‘Tokaj Take’?

wine-toast

 

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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Plans for a fourth metro line in Budapest were conceived more than forty years ago, but it took thirty years for ground to be broken and ten to complete the continually delayed project. But finally, last spring, Budapest opened its stunning Metro line 4. Spanning ten stops, from Budapest’s Kelenföld train station, it runs under the river Danube and ends at Pest’s Keleti train station.  The line extends more than five miles underground. Critics claim that at over two billion US dollars, the metro line is the most expensive ever built (a claim refuted by contractors). The line expects to service over 400,000 commuters daily.

via Daily News Hungary

via Daily News Hungary

The cars – designed in France and manufactured in Hungary – have the ability to run without drivers, which also makes it the first automated metro route in Central-Eastern Europe. The metro stops themselves are modern and minimal, functional and beautiful. According to the official site for Budapest Metro Line 4 (yes, it has its own web-site) the Szent Gellért Square and Fővám Square stations of Budapest’s new metro line won the main prize of the architectural website Architizer.com in the Bus & Train Stations category. Popular tech/lifestyle site Gizmoto has this to say about the new line: “Metro 4 is an amazing engineering, architectural, and artistic achievement, a mix of stunning concrete structures and trippy ornamentation. It looks stunning (…)” Each stop has its own unique feeling, ranging from Bauhaus and minimal (Kálvin Square), to effervescent and bright (Gellért Square).

via bebudapest.hu

via bebudapest.hu

Previously, Budapest metro lines have been used to great effect as film locations, most memorably in Nimród Antal’s art house favorite Kontroll. Perhaps a sequel is in order?

via budapest.hu

via budapest.hu

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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Peter Lorre is an actor immediately recognizable to anybody with even the most cursory interest in film history. You know him as the slippery underworld figure in Casablanca who provokes one of the film’s most famous lines by Humphrey Bogart: “I stick my neck out for nobody.” He is equally known for his portrayal as a killer of children in the German in Fritz Lang’s M. In Hollywood, he was again paired up with Humphrey Bogart in the enduring film noir classic The Maltese Falcon. Known for his diabolically reptilian looks and suspicious accent, he was sought after throughout his long career as a character actor ideal for the role of the colorful villain, particularly in war movies. One of his final roles also brought one of his greatest distinctions: Lorre was the first villain in a James Bond film, playing opposite Peter Nelson in Casino Royale.

But, Lorre is on this blog for a reason: and that is because he was born László Löwenstein on 26 June 1904 in Rózsahegy, then part of the Hungo-Austrian Empire, now part of Slovenia. He got his start in German-speaking parts of Europe: Vienna and Berlin, working with both Fritz Lang and Bertolt Brecht. Like many Hungarian Jews who eventually made it big in Hollywood, he fled Europe due to the outbreak of World War II. His first credit is actually as a Japanese in the series Mr. Moto. Typecast as a creepy villain, Lorre was never fully able to break into leading-man roles. Towards the end of his life his career took a downturn and he sustained himself on television parts and guest appearances. Suffering life-long health problems, he became addictid to morphine, which was believed to have brought about his early death in 1964. Actor Vincent Price – whose career took a similar path – read the eulogy at his funeral. All in all, Peter Lorre has over a hundred acting credits, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not bad for a kid from Rózsahegy.

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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Increasingly Budapest is becoming the go-to location for a certain type of film. Typically derived from a comic book or fantasy novel, the city’s sometimes bleak and Gothic city-scapes make a perfect backdrop for modern ‘urban fantasy’ films. We are thinking of classics like Hellboy (both I and II) and the Underworld franchise. But it’s not just the locations that make the city an ideal place for this type of film, it is the technical infrastructure available locally that allows for hugely advantageous conditions – both monetary and artistic – when undertaking a lengthy shoot.

Take, for instance, the adaptation of Going Postal, one of the more recent fantasy films to be made in Hungary. The two-part TV film, made for British Sky One, and based on Terry Pratchett’s much beloved novel, was filmed in 2010 in Budapest and benefited greatly from local talent, especially the special effects house Filmefex Studio, who created the iconic look to the film’s post office golems.

In their own words, “Filmefex Studio is a special effects facility, where we design and create effects for the motion picture industry. Our speciality is creating creatures, puppets, models, special make-ups and costumes or the combinations of them.” Having contributed to other Budapest-made films like Hellboy, Amusement, and Season of the Witch, the ten-year-old company is well placed to handle assignments of any size. Indeed, the founder, Ivan Poharnok, cut his teeth working on other huge films of the genre like Alien vs. Preditor, and Underworld, and studied under the tutelage of master effects creator Dick Smith.

going-postal

The clip below gives you a good idea of the intricate, evocative effects used in Going Postal. Just one more example of a fantastic fantasy that was filmed in the cradle of technical expertise that is Budapest.

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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Note: This is a re-print of the PPM Hungary newsletter, which can be signed up for here.

What better way to enjoy the warm weather in Budapest than to take a casual stroll through a neighborhood that is a living history: the visually exciting and atmospheric inner-town 7th District. Let us guide you through the streets, past the architectural triumphs and haunted courtyards of Erzsébet Varós, the renown Jewish District.

Start in front of the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe (and the second largest in the world), a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. It is easy to gaze up and admire the Byzantine design incorporated by architects Christian Friedrich Ludwig Förster. But imagine looking up and seeing Alolf Eichmann, Hitler’s logistical manager of the deportation of Hungarian Jews, gazing back down at you. Upon arriving in Budapest and taking up an office in the synagogue, Eichmann reportedly said that they would, “eat the Jews with paprika.” The synagogue has recovered since those dark times, and is currently active as a place of worship and a must-see tourist sight.

Walking down narrow Rumbach Street, we arrive at lesser-known Rumbach Synagogue. Architect Otto Wagner created a brooding Moorish façade that could easily be mistaken for a mosque. Abandoned since WWII, the synagogue is undergoing restoration. Recently, when Yoko Ono was spending time in Budapest, she considered renting it as an artist studio. View the synagogue as a seed that has lay dormant for a long period, and is just about to sprout and come to life.

At the end of Rumbach Street, we turn right to find ourselves in Goszdu Udvar (courtyard), one of the more visually striking locations in Budapest, where light and shadow fall like spaces on a chess board. The row of residential buildings, connected by a long shopping arcade, has recently been renovated. There you can find cafes, art galleries and the storefronts of local artisans. But can you imagine, during WWII, families camped out in the courtyard, cooking over open fires? In history and appearance, Gozsdu offers both light and dark. Exiting the arcade on Dob Street leaves us within a few blocks of our starting point, the magnificent Dohány Street Synagogue.

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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