Denis Villeneuve’s film “Dune”, produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, not only lifted the 78th Venice Film Festival with a parade of Hollywood stars, but also is expected to give a big boost to the Hungarian film industry, as the film based on Frank Herbert’s classics was partially made in Hungary.
“Dune” is the latest success story for Hungary, the second-largest film production center in Europe after Great Britain, as it not only survived the coronavirus pandemic, but breaking to record heights.
Although production in Hungary was suspended for a short time last spring, it was soon resumed by the Hungarian government and the sector has been running steadily ever since. Mid Atlantic Films, which worked on the Dune in 2019, recently finished filming Lionsgate’s “Borderlands”. The production house is currently making the third season of Paramount’s “Jack Ryan series”, Sony’s horror thriller “The Bride”, and Marvel’s “Moon Knight” series For Disney Plus. Meanwhile, new projects are already planned, including the new season of Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series.
Vivien Lászlóffy from Pioneer Stillking Films, who also worked on Dune, spoke about the industry’s introduction of strict protocols that have created an atmosphere of “calm and confidence” for international productions.
As she said, this year has proved to be a record year for the industry compared to 2019 and there is no sign of a slowdown.
“It’s the other way around. We’re getting more and more done,” she stressed.
The government has introduced a number of measures to keep the film industry alive during the pandemic: it has helped freelance film workers from an emergency fund and provided more than $3 million (HUF 880 million) in support to local distributors and cinemas. It also allowed entry for certain key industries, including television and film productions, when travel was halted in much of the world.
Part of the reason for the film industry boom in Hungary is the generous financial arrangement offered by the country: foreign productions can be reimbursed 30 percent for their expenses, and skilled staff and production costs are 30 to 35 percent lower than in the U.S. or England and 25 percent lower than in Western Europe.
According to Csaba Káel, the government commissioner responsible for the development of the motion picture industry, quoted by Variety, the direct film production expenditures of the productions in Hungary have exceeded $350 million (HUF 102 billion) every year since 2017. However, instead of resting on its laurels, the industry is constantly looking for opportunities for development.
“I firmly believe that our industry will only be able to maintain its leading position and competitiveness if we are constantly focused on development,” Káel told Variety.
Title image: Rebecca Ferguson poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘Dune’ during the 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Friday, Sep, 3, 2021. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)