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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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.


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.

cucumbers

In the Hungarian media, August is known as the ‘cucumber season, ’ a time when everybody is away on vacation, and there is little news, so the yield of the cucumber crop is what gets reported. Lucky us that we stumbled upon a real cucumber story, that of the very Hungarian-sounding Sandor Katz, an artisanal pickle and sauerkraut maker, or ‘fermentation revivalist’ in rural Tennessee who has become something of a cooking celebrity. In addition to being an in demand speaker, his book on fermenting foodstuffs, The Art of Fermentation, was a New York Times bestseller.

sandor katz

What’s so great about fermentation? Wildfermentation.com, Sandor’s site, explains it as such: “Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms – our ancestors and allies – transform food and extend its usefulness. Fermentation is found throughout human cultures. Hundreds of medical and scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods help people stay healthy.”

“Many of your favorite foods and drinks are probably fermented. For instance: Bread, Cheese, Wine, Beer, Mead, Cider, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Pickles, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Salami, Miso, Tempeh, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha.” Pro tip: you can get Sandor’s sauerkraut recipe here.

Sandor teaches workshops around the world. Though he has none scheduled for Hungary, we are confident he will drop by, as there is a strong culture of fermentation here, along with glorious produce and a love of home cooking. Fans of Hungarian cuisine know that summer is the season of the ‘kovászos uborka,’ Hungary’s famous dill pickle that can be seen fermenting in the sun in jars filled with gherkins, bread, dill, salt and lots of garlic. Perhaps that a second theory as to is why August in Hungary is called cucumber season.

Koviubi

Below, courtesy of the New York Times Opinions short documentary series is Sandor’s tale. Sandorkraut: a Picklemaker, by filmmakers Ann Husaini and Emily Lobsenz. Perfect for a hot day in cucumber season.

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.

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.

There is no better way to beat the current heat wave than to get out of the concrete and brick corridors of Budapest and out into the country.

The Hungarian countryside claims a wide range of rural landscapes. For instance, only 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Budapest rests Balaton, the biggest freshwater lake in Europe. The entire Balaton region offers a charming shooting location with 215 (130 miles) of long coastal roads with an abundance of orchards, vineyards, and wooded areas that manifest a perfect Provence-like atmosphere.

As an example of the unique, highly filmable locations you can find, we would like to direct your attention to the viaduct of Balaton. As you can see, this expansive waterway stands around 88 meters (fifty yards) high and is 23 feet wide. It is supported by 16 pillars, ranging from 18 to 80 meters high. The site is conveniently located by a highway connected to Budapest, on the way to the smaller Lake Zamárdi.

viadukt2

Regionally, Badacsony is known as one of the most beautiful in Hungary. It is most famous for its white wines, which are considered national treasures. The wine culture of Badacsony has been around since 1375, when Cisterian monks planted the first grapes. The area is ideal for wine production due to the soil, which draws minerals from the lava of several inactive volcanoes in and around the area. This makes for a mineral and complex white wine, which is much loved around the country. Can you not imagine yourself sipping a crisp white wine while taking in the panorama below?

gyenesdiás

badacsonyi bortura-1

Some of our favorite whites come from the Pannonhalma Apatsagi, or the Pannonhalma Archabbey.  This Benedictine abbey, built in 962, is one of the oldest structures in Hungary.  The foot of the hill it rests on was believed to be the birthplace of Saint Marton of Tours. Importantly, this is the second largest abbey in the world, with spectacular features like a Baroque refractory, Gothic basilica,  cloisters, a 360,000 volume library, a botanical gardens, and of course the vineyard that produces grapes for the Pannonhalma brand of wine.

Copyright Civertan Grafikai Stúdió via Wikimedia Commons

Copyright Civertan Grafikai Stúdió via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia commons

via Wikimedia commons

The Archabby is at home in the gorgeous region of Badacsony, which invokes lush rural areas like Provance and Umbria. In this heat, don’t be surprised if a goodly portion of Budapest’s population have taken respite there, where the wine and water are cool.

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.

Louis CK

via Wikipedia

Little known fact: America’s most subversive, some would say radical comic, Louis C.K., was actually born Louis Székely. The star of the TV sit-com Louie and actor in films like Blue Jasmine, American Hustle, and The Invention of Lying, has a Hungarian grandfather, Dr. Geza Székely Schweiger, a Hungarian Jew who fled war-torn Europe in favor of Mexico. C.K.’s father went to university in the States, eventually emigrating there.

Interestingly, Székely got his start as a comic opening up for Jerry Seinfeld, another famous TV star with Hungarian roots on his father’s side. (On a side note, Hungarians can also claim comedy pioneer Rodney Dangerfield, sit-com star Mayim Bialik, and Get Smart’s Don Adams as comics with Hungarian roots).

Among C.K.’s credits include a whopping thirty Emmy nominations in the fields of writing, acting, producing, editing, and directing. Thus far he has actually won five Emmy awards, primarily for his work on Louis, and another for his TV special, Live at the Beacon Theater. Just how big is Székely in the States? He is the only comedian to ever sell out three shows at Madison Square Garden on one tour.

Sadly, Székely has yet to return to Hungary or Székely-land in Transylvania on a professional level. But with so much film production happening in Budapest and Hungarian environs, we wouldn’t be surprised if he was tempted back soon.

They say that Hungarians are professionals at swearing, and in this Louis C.K. shows his roots. There is not much – if any – of his stand-up comedy that is suitable for a professional blog, but here is a mostly clean clip from the only slightly more TV friendly Louise.

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.