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Film and TV Production Heats Up in Budapest

Flowing coin attracts Hollywood films

The Hungarian capital, Budapest, couldn’t be hotter.

“This year feels like one of the busiest the (Budapest production) community’s had since the tax rebate came into existence. The capacity of the town is at its maximum,” says Adam Goodman, who runs Hungarian production services company Mid Atlantic Films with partner Howard Ellis.

Recent pics that Mid Atlantic has serviced include Universal’s “47 Ronin,” Paramount’s “World War Z” and 20th Century Fox’s “A Good Day to Die Hard.” It’s now working on Brett Ratner’s pic “Hercules” for MGM-Paramount.

In TV, the company co-produces Showtime series “The Borgias,” NBCU’s “Dracula” and the pilot of HBO’s Cold War thriller “The Missionary.”

Goodman applauds the work of Andy Vajna, the Hungarian film commissioner, for making coin available for foreign productions to access the rebate should they fail to attach a local sponsor.

Global competition in the incentives sweepstakes is fierce. For example, the U.K. has recently upped the ante with the extension of its 25% film tax break to TV productions, but Goodman says Hungary maintains a huge price advantage. Daily unit costs can be more than 50% lower than those in the U.K. A grip, for example, will cost $130 a day in Hungary, compared with at least $300 in the U.K., while set construction is 35% cheaper, Goodman says.

Vajna will be at the Cannes fest, where he will be talking to potential co-production partners for Hungarian companies. His message for the international biz: “We are healthy, we are making movies, we have money, and we are out there. We are open for business.”

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