Hungary offers a great 20% tax rebate, but a lack of studio facilities has meant that Budapest as a production destination has been less popular than expected. This is about to change.
After two years of negations and squabbling over building permits, production has started on what is to become one of Europe’s leading state-of-the-art studio facilities. The E100 million ($127 million) venture is financed by veteran producer Andy Vajna (“Basic Instinct”) and Hungarian businessman Sandor Demjan and will be located in Eytek, 17 miles from Budapest.
Named Korda Filmstudio, after the legendary Hungarian filmmaker Alexander Korda, the studio will boast six soundstages, the world’s largest in-ground watertank, post-production suites, workshops, screening rooms and a huge backlot.
“We’ll be a one-stop shop and provide everything apart from animation,” said the studio’s managing director Laszlo Krisan, adding that they are currently in talks with a London post house to act as a subcontractor for the studio.
“We’ll also help foreign producers access the Hungarian tax rebate and assist with permits, as Hungarian bureaucracy can often be somewhat of a challenge,” he added. Building works are expected to be completed by the end of the year, and Krisan and the studio’s other managing director, Istvan Sokorai, plan to hold a big opening party in Cannes next year.
However, by the time the studio debuts it might already face stiff competition.
The newly built Stern Film Studio north of Budapest is about to open its doors and is already taking bookings. According to Krisan, Stern will not be much of a worry to Korda, as it’s much smaller in size. In contrast, Barrandov Studios in Prague should become a serious rival given Barrandov’s capacities and the fact that Czech bizzers are currently lobbying heavily for the introduction of a Czech tax incentive.
“Production costs in Hungary are about the same as in Prague. But because we can offer a 20% tax rebate, we’re actually cheaper. However, the Czechs are bound to introduce a tax rebate so when that happens, we’re going to be competitors,” said Sokorai.