As the territory’s popularity has soared, so have costs.
For the past few years, Hungary has taken over from Prague in luring international productions. It has recently hosted shoots for Working Title’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Intrepid Pictures’ The Raven, Cinetotal’s Asterix And Obelix: God Save Britannia, and Stuber Productions’ 47 Ronin. Plan B’s World War Z is preparing to shoot in the territory in October.
Hungary is also doing strong trade in servicing international TV mini-series, with Korda Studios hosting Showtime’s The Borgias and Tandem and Scott Free’s World Without End.
The Raven shot for 20 days in Hungary, using live locations as well as a backlot at Mafilm’s Fot stages in Budapest. Producer Marc D Evans was attracted by Hungary’s 20% production rebate but found the rebate alone was not enough to offset the rising costs of production. “It’s gotten expensive there,” he says.
‘It’s gotten expensive’
Mark D Evans, producer, The Raven
Evans ultimately put together a production using locations in Hungary and in Serbia. “We were able to apply a portion of the Hungarian rebate to some of the costs of shooting in Serbia and bringing in furniture and carriages from other locations,” Evans says.
The Hungarian rebate tests projects for European cultural and production criteria but is sufficiently broad to pass even 47 Ronin, set in 18th-century Japan. The rebate is paid out as a tax certificate, which producers can then sell to a local taxpayer.
The rebate has been unaffected by the year-long disruption in support for local productions. The primary task of the territory’s new film commissioner, Andy Vajna, is to restore liquidity to the local industry. But the Budapest-born Hollywood producer is keenly aware of the needs of international film-makers and Hungary’s potential to draw inward investment.