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Hungary Remains the Top Destination for Film and Other Audiovisual Production in Europe

Hungary Remains the Top Destination for Film and Other Audiovisual Production in Europe

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Hungary has been traditionally the go-to hub for filming in Europe.

1. Is it still the case – has Hungary maintained its position as the primary destination for filming in Europe or has it been surpassed by another location?

Hungary has not only maintained its position as the go-to production location in Europe but has increased its significance and strength. Although other Central and Eastern European countries -- such as Poland, Czechia, Romania -- are trying to attract more production by applying similar incentives, Hungary remains the number one destination for foreign, especially US-based, production companies in Europe after London.

Recently, Jamie Lee Curtis referred to Hungary by the nickname “Hollywood East”. (Fun fact: Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of legendary actor Tony Curtis, whose parents were Hungarian emigrants.)

In recent years, movies and series such as Dune, Mrs, Harris Goes to Paris, The Witcher and Shadow and Bone have been produced in Hungary. Dentons has been involved in the new Alien movie entitled Alien: Romulus to be produced in Hungary.

2. Can you identify factors that impacted the area?

The 30% tax rebate on production costs is just one of the many reasons why Hungary remains such a highly esteemed production location. The country also offers highly skilled production professionals, as well as lawyers and accountants, who can help companies apply for the tax rebate, provide labor law advice on actor contracts, help protect intellectual property, and provide other assistance which is essential to the production of world-class motion pictures. Such professional expertise is also available in London, but the costs of production in Hungary are significantly lower.

In recent years, several high-quality studios have opened their doors to production companies. A state-owned studio in Fót, at the north-east border of Budapest, has recently been expanded due to the demand for increased capacity.

Actors and other members of the cast usually speak with great respect about the vibrant cultural and gastronomical scene in Hungary and especially Budapest. Several world-renowned actresses and actors have been known to frequent Budapest’s restaurants and nightlife.

It is expected that in the coming years artificial intelligence will play a large role in the movie sector, not only when it comes to special effects, automation or copyright issues, but across the industry.

3. How has legislation that promotes the sector evolved over the last 10 years?

Legislation in Hungary is very producer-friendly, the government has a declared its intention to attract as much movie production as possible by providing the tax rebate and by removing administrative and technical barriers.

4. What was the impact of the pandemic on the development of Hungary’s filming industry?

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, most studios were shut down due to lockdown rules. In Hungary however, lockdown rules and travel bans were not as strict as in the US or other EU countries. This allowed movie production to continue in Hungary in a time of unprecedented global crisis. Due to the looser rules, although the first year of the pandemic caused a slight drop in movie production, Hungary benefitted from a significant head start after lockdown rules and travel bans were lifted in other countries which led to a major rise in production in the first years after the pandemic.

By Timea Bana, Partner, Dentons

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