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Archive for the ‘Locations’ Category

As autumn turns the leaves from vibrant greens to smokey reds and yellows, we thought it would be an ideal time to revisit one of the more intriguing locations in the city: the City Park. You may recognize the plaza Hero’s Square, which is front and center in the park, as the location for Michael Jackson’s video for “History,” but there is so much else to discover. With that in mind, we revisit Városliget, Budapest’s City Park:

In 1882 Nikola Tesla was walking through the Budapest City Park (Városliget), when he envisioned how to make alternating current work to power a motor. He claims that he looked out over the trees at the sunset, recited a line of Goethe, and the solution came to him in a flash of inspiration. He etched a rudimentary plan for the motor in the park dirt with a stick. His invention would bring him to American and make him both rich and famous. Who can say whether the conditions of Budapest’s strange and relaxing city park helped him come to his discovery, but it sure makes reflection easy, while offering up its own strange inspirations.

varosliger Budapest City Park

via Budapestnet.hu

The park comprises 302 acres of trees and paths, with museums, pubs, and even a zoo situated within its confines to keep park-enthusiasts entertained. OK, these amenities can be expected of any first-rate city park, but Városliget has a few peculiar monuments and structures that truly distinguish it and give it a unique character.

Budapest's City Park Ice Rink

via Wikipedia

First off – and if you are American you are likely to do a double take here – the Városliget is home to one of the only statues of US presidents in Hungary: George Washington (the other, of Ronald Reagan, was recently erected in District V). Hungary’s great leader Lajos Kossuth was commemorated in Cleveland, Ohio, with a statue; Hungarians returned the gesture in 1906 with a statue of Washington. According to the Hungarian American Federation, at the unveiling “Thousands lined the streets to watch the parade through Budapest as the ‘Stars and Stripes and the Hungarian colors intertwined were to be seen everywhere’. ” Amazingly, the statue remained through the Communist era, and still stands today.

In striking contrast is the nearby pub called Pántlika (ribbon) for its red ribbon-like shape. Built for the 1970s, the structure was originally used as an information booth for a Socialist-era trade exhibition, and the red shape was intended to resemble a red star from above. These days it is a great place to stop for a bowl of traditional Hungarian bean soup or a traditional American hamburger. Note that the interior is loaded with authentic Communist paraphernalia, making it feel like a step back in time.

hungarian restaurant

And, of course the Városliget is also home to Széchenyi Baths, which we paid homage to in a previous post, which you can check out here. Tesla’s etching of his alternating current motor has long been wiped away, but plenty more discoveries await at Budapest’s world class park.

via szechenyifurdo..hu

via szechenyifurdo..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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We’re proud to present the official video for Hungarian electro act Yvein Monq’s track TWUN. It seems to have become a ‘buzz’ clip, getting coverage for its high concept and high heels from such sources as nowness.com, thefader.com, and GQ online, which calls the video, “mesmerizing.” Additionally, Vimeo just named the video as one of their Staff Picks, heightening its profile significantly. Elsewhere, on YouTube, the video has been viewed over 100,000 times in just a month.

The Hungarian portion was co-produced by PPM Hungary and Umbrella. Along with the film collective Kinopravda, the three organizations have a proven history of collaborating on fun, lively videos (like this one, for Hungarian act Zagar’s track Space Medusa). Directed by Hungarian Viktor Horvath and Kinopravda, the video for TWUN was shot in both Barcelona and Budapest. You can see opposite ends of Budapest’s broad spectrum of appeal here, from the bleak Socialist panel housing, to the turn-of-the-century gilded interior of the sumptuous Boscolo Hotel (utilizing the lobby, staircase, and cigar room). The entire Hungarian portion was shot in one day, which is an accomplishment considering the trek from the outer 13th District location to the very central hotel.

Stylish, atmospheric, frustrating and funny, it is easy to see why the clip is getting so much attention. Along with the music, the shoes are the stars here, and stars don’t come without a little controversy. Apparently Lady Gaga was also in town shooting her own video, and her team coveted some of the unique shoes used in TWUN. In the end, a compromise was reached, and both camps walked (shakily) away with all the shoes they needed.

Women falling all over the place in fancy footwear: what does it all mean? Nowness.com puts it best: “A parallel can be drawn between broken beats and losing one’s balance, and Monq’s brilliantly skittish track matches perfectly the unpredictable and humanizing act of stumbling.” By all accounts, the shoot went smoothly, except for the few jaunty steps the models had to take in these ultra-high heels; but of course, that was part of the plan.

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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Photo by Alfonso de Mendoza via Wikipedia

Photo by Alfonso de Mendoza via Wikipedia

One would think that if you titled a song “Budapest,” you might have some Hungarian ancestors, or at least would have spent significant time in our city. But that is not the case with very non-Hungarian sounding singer and sophisticated-teen heartthrob George Ezra. It turns out that he did not do a semester abroad, fall in love, or hideout from the law in Budapest. Nor, despite what the lyrics would have you believe, does he have a house in Budapest, much less a treasure chest.

He does, however, have a lot of talent, and the world is responding. The young singer scored a huge hit last year with the song, which reached the top 10 in numerous countries around the world, hitting number one in Austria, Belgium, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic, though strangely, not in Hungary. As of May, it has sold over half a million copies in the US and ended last year as the 13th top selling record in the UK. Fifty-nine million YouTube viewers confirm that “Budapest’ is a monster hit. The singer, from Hertford in Hetfordshire (imagine if he had called the song that) did, however, stop by central Budapest’s Akvárium club to serenade local audiences (see video below).

Of course that is nothing compared to the Glastenbury festival, where Ezra played this year.  But could we not have at least scored some Ezra for Sziget? That’s not to say he hasn’t been busy: The video to his follow-up song “Listen to the Man,” featuring Ian McKellen, was released. Also, Ezra was nominated for four 2015 Brit Awards: Best British Album, Best British Male Solo Artist, Best British Single, and British Breakthrough; was selected by sensation Sam Smith for 16 dates on Smith’s headline arena tour across North America; and asked to share a bill with Irish recording artist Hozier on his sold-out 2015 North American tour.

So, if Budapest is on everybody’s lips, in a bluesy, poppy style, that’s why.


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We recently stumbled across this video love letter to Budapest, which is making the rounds on social media. What you will see is an attempt to show all of the city’s summer-time charms, from the now ‘iconic ruin’ pubs in the inner 7th District, to what has been deemed the best summer music festival in Europe, the Sziget Festival. In the video, narrated by “Mike” (who we suspect is a local with a great accent) we get taken on a whimsical, and professionally filmed video of ideal film locations in Budapest, places like Parliament and the Szent István Bazilika (Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the grandest and oldest church in Budapest). True, this is all well-covered territory, but one never tires of new perspectives on old favorites like Széchenyi Baths and the Dohányi Street Synagogue. Along the way, even seasoned Budapest fans might learn a thing or two. For instance: Want to know how Queen’s Freddie Mercury expressed his love for the city? Watch and learn. For that reason alone: thank you, Thank You 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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In addition to being one of the warmer weekends on record (forget about any notions of a gray, dreary eastern Europe, there was nothing but vibrant heat and sporting excitement this July), Hungary saw the completion of the 2015 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix, known as Hungaroring. Racing fans from all over the world flocked to Budapest to watch Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel take home first place. Red Bull’s 21-year-old Daniil Kvyat came in second while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took third.

Hungaroriing

Hungaroring (official site here) opened in 1986, making it one of the more modern tracks on the Formula 1 circuit. It also has one of the most challenging designs, calling on drivers’ cornering ability, with its sharp curves, though some drivers complain it is too difficult to overtake with so few straights.

hungaroring

The official Hungaroring describes the site as: “Classical. This is what it has become over the past years, the race track of Hungaroring. It was built almost three decades ago as a rarity of its time, for being the first one beyond the Iron Curtain, and now it is still special as the third behind Monte-Carlo and Monza to have continuously featured in the F1 race calendar.”

Zsolt Gyulay, president CEO of Hungaroring, adds: “The valley, the environment is beautiful and the proximity of the capital is a great attraction really to everyone.”

hungaroring

Just because the Grand Prix takes place in summer doesn’t mean the track is deserted in spring: locals are permitted to drag race monthly; you might even see a souped-up Trabant. Located in a valley, around 80 percent course is visible from most points, making it a striking and exciting location for spectators and film-makers alike.

The town Mogyoród, where the Hungaroring takes place, is just 11 miles from Budapest, making it an ideal day trip, and easily accessible. If you happen to be in a Formula 1 race car,  which can travel at speeds up to 250 mph, it should only take a few minutes to get there.

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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As we’re packing our suitcases for Cannes, we thought that it would be a good time to introduce ourselves. We’d love to get know you too, so feel free to say hi when we bump into each other at the festival or schedule a meeting right now at zita-at-ppm.hu

Meet Zita, our Executive Producer and a leading figure in the Hungarian commercial advertising world. For almost 20 years, she has been a producer of commercials and films as managing director of PPM, one of the top production companies in the region. Over the course of that time, she has worked with international clients like Nestle, Citbank, Kia, Sony and many more.

Zita Kisgergely

PPM’s Zita Kisgergely

Let’s see why she loves doing what she does:

1) What’s one advantage shooting in Hungary has over nearby areas like Romania or Poland?

Hungary is imbued with film culture and history, with luminaries like William Fox (founder of 20th Century Fox) and recent Cannes winner László Nemes being Hungarian. Budapest itself is overwhelming; it’s a simmering pot of history and visual excitement. You can see the most gorgeously restored Habsburg-era buildings alongside industrial urban grit. There is a reason Budapest is used as a substitute for cities as varied as Paris, Munich, and Moscow. In addition to all that, we have several world-class film studios in and around town. Not to mention, you have top-tier production companies like PPM.

State Opera House in Budapest

State Opera House via Wikipedia

Film production in Pest

Shooting in Pest

2) What are your favorite locations in Budapest and/or the Hungarian countryside?

I personally love to shoot around the State Opera House and the old pre-war villas of Buda. There is an elegance in these highly accessible locations that is distinctly Old World Europe. In the countryside the Eszterházy Palace is a pleasure to visit. Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Europe, is also a personal favorite. There you can find broad vistas of well-preserved countryside, ancient monasteries, and rolling vineyards.

Hills of the Hungarian countryside

The Hungarian countryside

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

Eszterházy Palace

Eszterházy Palace

3) What surprises filmmakers most about Budapest (as a city) when they arrive?

People are always taken aback by the space: our ancestors had grandiose ideas when they built the city. Also, how Budapest is so widely divided by the river Danube, which makes for expansive, photogenic bridges. There is a huge contrast between the hilly Buda side and, buzzing, cosmopolitan Pest. On one side of the city, you can go hiking and caving, while in Pest the nightlife attracts people from all over the world. For all these reasons, it is also a great place for film and ad production.

Skyline of Budapest

Budapest from the air

4) Is there a lot to recommend Budapest after work-hours?

We have internationally acclaimed restaurants from Hungarian classics like Gundel to the latest outpost of the chef Matsushisa Nobu’s chain of sushi restaurants, Nobu. We have high-end dining with three Michelin-star restaurants, and also low-key friendly places, lots of Vietnamese and Thai, all accompanied by our greatest secret: Hungarian wine.

Restaurant interior in Budapest

Dining in Budapest

5) If you had to sum up Hungary as a location in three words, what would they be?

Class, Quality, Transparency

Girl on a swing in Hungary

High expectations in Hungary

If you want to speak with Zita about all the advantages of commercial and film production in Hungary please write her at zita-at-ppm.hu

PPM Film Services is a premium, full-service film production company based in Budapest, Hungary.  For over 20 years, PPM has been sought after by those who want to take advantage of the wealth of atmosphere, beauty, history and technical expertise that are on offer when shooting in Hungary. PPM has proven itself time and again with dynamic solutions in creating exciting television advertising for some of the world’s most recognizable brands and companies. As one of the top regional commercial production companies, we have had enough success in this field that we are currently expanding into feature production.

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Corinthia2It seems like with each passing week a new article appears dubbing Budapest a ‘Hollywood on the Danube.’ With commercial productions like the new Tom Hanks film, Inferno, and Ridley Scott’s film The Martian having been shot here recently, not to mention the Jude Law, Melissa McCarthy pic Spy, it is not for no reason. But the most recent article, (in the Huffington Post this time), interestingly supports this claim by positing that the Grand Budapest Hotel, of Wes Anderson’s lauded film by the same name, found its inspiration in Budapest’s Grand Corinthia Hotel.

Corinthia

Opened in 1896 on Budapest’s Grand Boulevard, the large circular shopping shopping artery, it became an immediate hit with Golden-age Hungarian writers like Gyula Krúdy. Designed in French renaissance style, it lived up to its reputation as a cosmopolitan luxury hotel. In addition to screening films, Béla Bartók regularly gave concerts in its Royal Ballroom, and Josephine Baker treated locals to one of her somewhat provocative performances in the hotel’s Oprheum Club in 1928. Post World War II, much of the hotel was converted to office space by the luxury-eschewing, tourist unfriendly government. It later was re-opened as a hotel, though its reconstruction destroyed all its original fixtures and interiors. A restoration was undertaken in 1991, and it has now returned to its status as one of the most sumptuous hotels in Pest.

corinthia3

Not only does the hotel itself speculate that they were the inspiration for the hotel of Wes Anderson’s film, Kathleen Beckett at the Huffington Post backs that claim up, lauding the hotel’s connection to film history: “Budapest’s standing as a film center was cemented before the Kordas, however. The Lumiere brothers, the inventors of film-making, showed a black-and-white film in 1915 in Budapest in the grand ballroom of the Corinthia hotel, then the Grand Hotel Royal. The ballroom later became the Red Star Cinema, showing news clips.” The Corinthia Hotel Budapest, like Budapest itself, has a lot of film heritage to celebrate, and indeed helps the city earn earn the moniker, ‘Hollywood on the Danube.’

the-grand-budapest-hotel-uk-quad-poster

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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