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Posts Tagged ‘locations in Budapest’

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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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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chemical_brothers

via chemicalbrothers.com

Every now and again a clip comes along that doesn’t feature Budapest’s most recognized, blue-chip locations (The Chain Bridge, The Castle, or the State Opera House) but rather uses the gritty urban feel of the inner city of Pest. One such video surfaced recently in the Chemical Brothers single “The Boxer”. Here you can see a hyper-kinetic basketball bouncing around of its own volition deep in Districts VII, VIII, and IX. These are streets that are filled with apartment buildings erected post WWII (socialist block houses) and Bauhaus-influenced office buildings. You can also see a healthy bit of what the city streets that have yet to be renovated and pedestrianized look like. In short: the part of Budapest tourists don’t usually visit.

Not long ago, businessinsider.com asked if Budapest was the hipster capital of Europe, and this video makes a case that it is. The vibe is a kitsch, retro, 70s feeling that is very hip indeed these days. And for added hipster cred, check out the Lada (the boxy car) and rotary phones. Retro and nostalgia rule. The song is not necessarily new either: it comes from the 2005 album Push the Button and features Charlatans’ singer Tim Burgess on vocals. But it took the 2011 previously unreleased alternate version of “The Boxer’ to rate this super video.

So here we have one more niche Budapest can fill: hipster heaven. Berlin, eat your heart out (and wipe your beard: there are crumbs in it).

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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Recently, CNN Travel published a list of the best of the bath houses in Hungary. Oh, in case you don’t know, Hungary is wildly famous for its thermal baths, which were introduced during the Ottoman occupation, but popularized during the Hapsburg era. According to CNN’s article, there are more than 1,000 hot springs that lie beneath 80% of the country. Needless to say, if you are looking for a thermal bath in Hungary, there are lots of options.

viagellertbath.hu

via gellertbath.hu

Conspicuously missing from the list, however, is perhaps Budapest’s most sumptuous bathing experience: the Gellért Baths. Located in the nether regions of the 5-star Gellárt Hotel, it is Buda’s most famous bathhouse, and the choice for high-end travellers and well-heeled locals. Though references to healing waters on the Danube-side site go back to the middle ages, and the occupying Ottomans had a bath there, it was not until the twentieth century that construction on the hotel that houses the baths began. Ground was first broke in 1912 and the project was completed in 1918 employing the (Secession) Art Nouveau style. Much attention was put into the Zsolnay ceramic mosaics and intricate interiors of the light, open space of the baths. The hotel itself was damaged during World War II, but reconstructed. The baths received further renovation in 2008, fully recreating it’s original opulent feeling.

Budapest_Gellert_baths_01

via luxuryhotelsbudapest.com

via luxuryhotelsbudapest.com

You can see from the photos just how atmospheric the baths are. It is no surprise that a few film-makers have already taken a advantage of the Gellért Baths as a location. Czech director Jan Sverák filmed scenes from his 1994 sci-fi film Accumulator 1 there, and later in the 90s, New York artist Matthew Barney used the baths as a backdrop for portions of his art-house Cremaster series. So come, get your feet wet at this under-utilized Budapest 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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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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Budapest is one of the few cities that has expansive lush rural areas within its city limits. Deep in the twelfth district there are thick woods for hiking and caving; but exactly in the center of the city, in fact on the river that runs through Budapest, is Margaret Island (Margit Sziget), a picturesque location filled with diverse sights and panoramic views. It is the city’s favorite park and natural wonder.

08Margit

At 2.5 kilometers long, the park was first inhabited in the 1200s by the Knights of Saint John. Since then, several other religious orders have maintained churches on the Island, including the Franciscans and the Dominicans; ruins of their long-abandoned structures still stand. The Island was used as an area for convents and cloisters up until the Ottomans invaded, after which it became a place to house the occupiers’ harems. When the Turks were banished, the Island was turned into a royal garden, then later, a public one. Juxtapose the centuries-old ruins with a Communist-era thermal spa, contemporary sculpture, and modern sporting facilities (including a water park), and you get a location that can be placed almost anywhere in history, from medieval times to modern day.

via Donauinsel at Wiki Commons

via Donauinsel at Wiki Commons

Amongst the highlights on Margaret Island are:

An octagonal Water Tower built in Art Nouveau style in 1911. It stands 57 meters high. These days it is used as a lookout tower and an exhibition hall. The water tower, like the Island’s ‘Singing Fountain’ is a protected UNESCO site.

The Grand Hotel Margitsziget, done in fin de siècle style.

406_maxi

A small Japanese Garden with a fish pond.

Margaret Island is a location with a diverse and exotic history, and worth the attention of film-makers, locals, and tourists alike. Want to be in Budapest, but not in Buda and not in Pest? Here is your chance.

margaret-island-margitsziget

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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Oh but there have been a lot of videos making the rounds lately touting the elegant gorgeousness of Budapest past and present. If you look back through this blog’s posts, you will find but a few. Or just click here and here.

The latest addition to our video library comes from the Hungarian Board of Tourism, and goes beyond the borders of Budapest in its scope. Highlighting the unique beauty of the entire country, over the course of the video you will be taken to such destinations as Héviz, home to the world’s largest thermal lake, then on to Lake Balaton. Of course, Budapest is not left out, with stunning scenes from illustrious sights like New York Café, Heroes’ Square, the National Theatre, the Chain Bridge, and even a ruin pub. Recent Hungarian technological innovations like light-transmitting concrete also get some play, as does a deconstruction of some local cuisine. So, thanks tourism board, for this awe-inspiring tribute to the nation’s wealth of singularly tourist – and film – friendly sights.

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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