Budapest shingle preps micro-budget English-language pix

Film biz vets Gabor Varadi and Luca Bercovici have launched Budapest-based BlueDanubeFilms to produce micro-budget English-language pics.

Its first production is “Lord of the Block,” a thriller about a man who discovers a humanoid living in his apartment block that feeds off the negative emotions of residents. Eric Roberts will star; shooting is due to start in Hungary next year.

Bercovici said: “We’re making world-class quality, genre-driven films for a price. These films have the best of all possible worlds, talented local writers writing in English, spectacular locations that fit the genre, and put tremendous value up on the screen, excellent crews and management to keep costs as low as possible.”

The company, which will also offer production services, has opted to go the micro-budget route partially in response to the crisis in public funding for Hungarian filmmakers. It will use mostly local or regional crew, talent and assets “while avoiding the vagaries of dependence on local direct subsidies,” Bercovici said.

Slate — with budgets of $700,000-$1.4 million — will “rely on conservative free-market distribution strategies” to get a return.

Savings will be found via strategic alliances, such as a partnership with U.K.-based Raindance, which promotes indie filmmaking. Raindance will provide crew as unpaid interns to “Lord of the Block” as part of training courses.Varadi has nearly 20 years’ experience as a producer with Budapest’s Eurofilm. Bercovici was head of production for Raleigh Film Budapest for the past two years.

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