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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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Filming in Budapest is not just for huge-scale productions, like Ridley Scott’s The Martian, which was filmed partially in Budapest last year and is currently topping the box office, but guerilla filmmakers also find a lot to love here, and come away with fresh takes on the city and its scenery. Take, for instance, the video we stumbled across below, by videographer Devin Graham, who goes by the handle Devin Super Tramp, of Hungarian jump rope performing artist (and World and European Champion) Adrienn Bánhegyi as she works that rope at some of the city’s most iconic sites.

Graham’s handmade, DIY videos are hugely popular on You tube, all of which combined have over 600,000,000 views. Graham travels the world recording unique, complicated-yet-seamless videos of extreme sports and remote travel locations. This makes him a good match for Bánhegyi, also known as ‘Jump Rope Girl.’ The jump rope performing artist, among many other accomplishments, holds two world records, and has a recurring gig with Cirque du Soleil. While most of her accomplishments come from abroad, this video features her in her hometown: you can spot her moves at Heroes Square, Basilica, the City Park, Deak Ferenc Square, and Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side of the city.

Looking for backdrops and settings for film productions of any size? Dare we say, Budapest is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

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.

via Scandic Hotels and Wikipedia

Cooking at a Scandic Hotel via Wikipedia

The past few years have seen the arrival of several celebrity chefs, from Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa, whose restaurant Nobu is still going strong as the local power-broker commissary, to Anthony Bourdain’s visit for his TV special, Parts Unknown. The latest news on the fast-developing culinary scene in Budapest is the imminent arrival of one of the most recognizable celebrity chefs around: Jamie Oliver, who will be helping open an Italian eatery in the Castle District come spring. Budapest will then join Rotterdam, Moscow, and Istanbul in the distinction of hosting a Jamie’s Italian brand restaurant.

Jamies_Hero

Oliver became one of the world’s most recognizable chefs via his cooking show The Naked Chef in the UK and his heroic efforts to bring healthy, whole food to school lunch programs in the US on his show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Oliver’s global brand includes dozens of Jamie’s Italian restaurants, over 20 cookbooks, and multiple TV series that run from reality-based cooking shows to culinary travelogues. As his reach has extended even into video games, he might be the most diversified chef on the planet. Various sources list him as the second wealthiest celebrity chef, behind America’s Alan Wong. While Oliver has never before visited Budapest on a professional level, his series Jamie at Home ran on Hungarian television, so his face will also be familiar to local food enthusiasts.

Jamie’s Italian will take over the space currently occupied by the restaurant Hadik in Buda’s Castle District. While it is not known how much involvement Oliver will have in the restaurant’s day-to-day operation, all the cuisine will be based on his recipes and concept. So, while we don’t expect to see him pinching fruit at the Central Market Hall, we are confident Jamie’s Italian and Budapest will pair well together.

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.

Space medusa

We return this week with more big news on the local music video front. PPM produced and co-produced videos were big winners recently at Hungary’s video award ceremony, Magyar Klipszemle, held in Budapest at the Toldi Cinema. Both videos were for local indie/electronica star act Žagar.  The Dream of A Machine, co-produced with Kinopravda (just like the buzz-generating Yvein Monq clip), won for Best Camera Operator (Gábor Garai), while Space Medusa won for Best Director (Danila Kostil).

While the atmospheric videos are both conceptually straightforward, the band itself exists between genres, bridging the gap between indie and electronic music in a way that has captivated local and international audiences. According to their Wikipedia page, “Their sound is based on contemporary electronic music, jazz and indie rock adding with experimental scratches by DJ Bootsie. The results are heavy beats, atmospheric mood and sound clips from the psychedelic era of the late 1960s.”

About to embark on a European tour that includes stops at Prague’s legendary Roxy and Berlin’s Badehaus, Žagar is an outfit on the rise. In addition to numerous local accolades, their music has also been featured on the American series CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, and CSI: New York, and on BBC radio. Moreover, Žagar was nominated for the best local act in the MTV European Music Awards in both 2008 and 2009. Both PPM-produced clips were from the band’s 2013 album release Light Leaks, which, according to the band’s site, “received warm critical acclaim in the international press and left quite an impression on music blogs and radios worldwide.”

Both clips are embedded below. Look, listen, and enjoy.


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.

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.

spy

You know you have a good thing when people do your PR for you. We stumbled across this press clip for the recently released Hollywood film Spy, where director Paul Feig and comedic rising-star Melissa McCarthy absolutely gush about Budapest as a location. Along the way, they highlight the reasons we return to again and again that make Budapest one of the most attractive locations for shooting. But don’t take our word for it: here’s an excerpt of an (edited for clarity) transcription of Paul Freig’s interview, followed by a word from the film’s star.

“We went to Budapest where you can make things a little cheaper. There’s good tax breaks, the nuts and bolts of movie-making…I’d always heard for years how beautiful it was…When we got there it was so beautiful, we looked around and we were like, this section of the city could double for Paris, and this section could double for Rome, but the whole second half of the movie was supposed to take place in Paris, so I was like, let’s just set it in Budapest, because Budapest is so beautiful, why would I want to hide that? I want to take full advantage of this place, because anywhere you point a camera in Budapest you’ve got an amazing shot. So when we were prepping I re-wrote the script to make it take place in Budapest, and I am so happy we did, because you get so much production value out of it.”

287630_galeria_a_kem_melissa_mccarthy

This is followed by a few breathless words from Melissa McCarthy: “There’s places we shot in that… I’ve never seen anything like…the architecture and the age of it and just how pretty it is, and the variety of locations we got, I think it would have been a very different movie without being in Budapest…a bunch of the film takes place in Budapest, and I love that.”

ct-spy-movie-review-melissa-mccarthy-20150604

To sum up: cost-effective, adaptable, beautiful, and unique yet universal. There you have it. We didn’t’ even pay them to say all that. Spy the clip below, with a longer version of the interviews, and you can see, Budapest as a filming location, is star-endorsed, and tough to beat.

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.

egg-budapest

Every now and again a product comes out of Hungary that creates an immediate international buzz. We’ve mentioned a few on this blog, like the Rubik’s Cube, and the Gömböc. Now, for all you design eggheads or hip tourists, comes the Egg Map. Essentially, it’s a traditional map, reinvented as a soft (but not soft-boiled) egg. Want to know where you’re going? Just squeeze! Rather than break, the desired portion of the map expands out in a bubble, enlarging street names, public transportation stops, hotels, and landmarks  enough so as to be readable. The Egg Map can easily fit in a fanny pack, pocket, purse, and, unlike traditional maps doesn’t require refolding. Oh, and even though it’s an egg, it won’t break when dropped (unlike your smartphone screen), though it may bounce a little.

eggmap2

The idea was hatched and designed by the enviably young Hungarian art-school grad Dénes Sátor. He has this to say on his Behance page: “Drop it, step on it, throw it against the wall—it’s simply indestructible thanks to its incredible flexibility. As it’s filled with 100% oxygen, you don’t have to worry about it making your bag heavier, either. To make it better, it’s made of water-proof material so you can use it even in unfriendly weather conditions like rain, wind, mud, or snow.” He satirically told design-maven site Designboom that, because it is soft and fits in the palm, it can be “thrown at a wall or angry locals.”

Currently, there is only a Budapest Egg Map, but we are sure this idea has wings, and will migrate to cities all over the world.

All photos via the Egg Map Facebook Page.

squishyegg

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.