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Archive for November, 2015

It’s amazing what you can do these days with a multicopter drone and a good camera. To boot, have a look at the elegant video Budapest at Night, created by Photo From Above, currently racking up views by people who like their cityscapes shrouded in the cover of darkness. With only the final rays of the disappearing sun and electrical lights of office buildings and historical sites to go by, this clip finds Budapest in a different, more austere mood. You’ll see such illuminated locations in Budapest as Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica, The Vígszínház, The Palace of the Arts, Heroes’ Square, the Liberty Bridge, Gellét Hill, and Parliament, among others. There is already a refined stateliness typical to locations in Central Eastern Europe, but this video brings out the regal historical qualities in a way that the bustling daytime misses. Filming in Budapest, or shooting in Hungary? Have a look through the lens of night, from the air. It is just one more dimension that makes Budapest a dynamic and multi-dimensional location.

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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gozsdu udvar

via Trip Adviser

Perhaps there is no stretch of Budapest that represents the city’s changing face more than the arcade that runs through the housing complex Goszdu-udvar (Gozsdu court), which is situated between Király street and Dob street in the red-hot inner District VII. But a mere ten years ago, it was an entirely abandoned, gray, and vacant place that you could only see when the gate happened to be left unlocked. These days, the gates are wide open, physically and metaphorically, as thousands of Budapest’s natives and tourists flock to the utterly revitalized Gozsdu-udvar, which is now home to a burgeoning café and restaurant scene. Where there were once abandoned storefronts, you can now find eateries offering cuisine representing cultures as far-flung and Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, and Yiddish. Weekly outdoor markets draw crowds looking for locally made crafts, antiques, and souvenirs. Cafes and shops fill the rest.

gozsdu udvar

Gozsdu-udvar has had many incarnations in its deep and textured history. Hungarian Romanian philanthropist, Manó Gozsdu, conceived of and build the complex in 1900. It was once a main artery of the Jewish community, then, during the WWII Nazi occupation, a place where Jewish families were rounded up and held to await deportation. During the Socialist era, it was left largely abandoned, only to be renovated and revitalized in 2008. Comprising seven buildings and six individual courtyards, reconstruction efforts included expanding it outwards to give access to new apartment buildings and opening an entrance to Madách Square.

Gozsdu u

I wouldn’t want to speculate on just how many people pass through the arcade daily, but it is enough so that every storefront is occupied. Restaurants, cafes, and even a live music venue are thriving, making it a must-see attraction for tourists and local scenesters. Even Jude Law and Mark Zuckerberg have been spotted there in recent years. Old and new, and old within new, and new within old: it’s what locations in Budapest are all about.

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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Last summer, in the blistering heat of mid July, the above spot for Hyundai’s Tuscon model of SUV was shot at the little-known location of the Tököli Airport in Tököli, Hungary (a stone’s throw from Budapest). The heat, and the flat terrain were ideal for the complicated undertaking of shaping the sand tunnel, or ‘sand circuit’ (watch the clip!) that the Hyundai skillfully drives through. If you were in Hungary last summer, you know it was an especially hot one, with temps before and during the shoot hovering around 50 Celsius, which is over 100 Fahrenheit.

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You would think that would put a lot of pressure on the stunt driver, but professional Zoltan Gulyas Kiss managed to maneuver through the tight curves in forward, virtually kissing the walls with the side-view mirror – and reverse (that is reverse, not the film played backwards) without a single blunder over his day of shooting, only aided by a custom-made seat belt and handbrake. Mother Nature, however, could not be counted on to be so agreeable. The shoot was delayed by a flash storm that destroyed part of the tunnel. This was, however, quickly reformed and the project was finished without any further complications.

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With this complicated, highly technical production – and one people are responding to, with over 6 million YouTube views – it can be safely said that film production in Hungary is more than just amazing backdrops and scenery.

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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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Castle in Transylvania

Castle in Brassó via Wikipedia

Lately, Budapest and Hungary have been named to multiple ‘best of’ lists in terms of travel and livability, including a penultimate spot in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice list of favorite cities, which saw Budapest at number two, behind only Florence, Italy. But last week also saw the release of travel company Lonely Planet’s choice of top travel destinations, and would you believe that Transylvania, formerly part of Hungary, and a region that still hosts a huge Hungarian population, was named the best region for travel for the year 2016?

Gate in the Székely Land

Gate in the Székely Land

So much more than Dracula (though there is a lot of Dracula in Transylvania, with three castles promoting themselves as the ‘Dracula Castle,’) the region has some of the few areas worth visiting in Europe that still feel untouched by mass tourism. Many of these are ancient villages tucked into the Carpathian Mountains which are still populated by wolves and bears. With so many cultures, from Székely, to Saxon, to Roma and straight-up Hungarian and Romanian at work, traveling around Transylvania (known as Erdély in Hungarian) is a textured, dynamic experience.

Oradea (Nagyvárad) from above, via Wikipedia

Oradea (Nagyvárad) from above, via Wikipedia

From the Art Nouveau architecture of the town of Nagyvárad (Oradea in Romanian), to the UNESCO-protected Saxon churches, along with the Hunyadi Castle in Vajdahunyad (Hunedoara in Romanian) and the Bran Castle (one of the Dracula castles) in Brassó (Romanian: Brasov), there are no end to interesting locations. The mountain ranges in eastern Transylvania mimic the Appalachians in America (and were used as such in the film adaptation of Cold Mountain) while the villages evoke medieval times. Hungarian traditions and folk culture are alive in the Székely region, which Lonely Planet recommends for its extra spicy gulash soup. What they say when touting Transylvania on their site: “A melange of architecture and chic sidewalk cafes punctuate the towns of Braşov, Sighişoara and Sibiu, while the vibrant student town Cluj-Napoca has the country’s most vigorous nightlife. Many of southern Transylvania’s Saxon villages are dotted with fortified churches that date back half a millennium. An hour north, in Székely Land, ethnic Hungarian communities are the majority. Throughout you’re likely to spot many Roma villagers – look out for black cowboy hats and rich red dresses.”

Wooden church interior, via Wikipedia

Wooden church interior, via Wikipedia

So put away the garlic and come see what makes this formerly Hungarian – and still Hungarian feeling – region so attractive from the point of view of film production and fun.

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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