Hungary plans pic studio

Development would deliver a crushing blow to Prague

BUDAPEST — Andrew Vajna and Magyar property tycoon Sandor Demjan will build the world’s largest movie studio in a quaint wine-producing village just west of Budapest.

Hungary cultural minister Istvan Hiller was expected to announce the ambitious project, located in Etyek, about a 15-minute drive from the capital, Sunday in Cannes.

If the audacious plan comes off, Hungary could be transformed into a Hollywood back lot.

The development would deliver a crushing blow to Prague, which has been the favorite location for Western producers and directors for years. It recently has found itself outmaneuvered by Hungary, which recently passed a film law with rebates and tax incentives that has made the Carpathian basin the most film-friendly territory in Europe, if not the world.

It’s being reported that Demjan and Vajna will spearhead the financing and construction of the studio, which will include state-of-the-art special effects technology.

Budapest’s major daily Nepszabadsag reported on Saturday that the studio will include underwater tanks, which would allow filmmakers to be able to shoot “Titanic”-like f/x.

No budget for the development has yet been announced.

The Hungarian-born Vajna, who built an indie empire in Hollywood with movies such as “The Terminator and “Rambo,” has been a crucial force in developing the post-Communist film industry through his local distrib/exhib/production company Intercom.