Given the challenges, pulling off a production on the scale of Villeneuve’s epic was a monumental achievement – one that would not have been possible without buy-in from all parties involved, Vermette said after he and Sipos received their award on Sunday.
If Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony were a validation for Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros., whose $165 million gamble on Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi tentpole “Dune” paid off in the form of six Academy Awards, it was no less a triumph for the Hungarian film industry, which hosted the blockbuster throughout much of production in 2019 and 2020.
None of that would have been possible without the continued support of the Hungarian government, which has consistently put its muscle behind the industry through measures such as a 30% cash rebate (that can reach 37.5% through the addition of qualifying non-Hungarian costs).
“Additionally, we were able to have our entire production office and art department on site.” “We were able to secure six large sound stages plus a huge area for a backlot as well as enough workshops to accommodate large manufacturing departments such as set dressing, costumes and special effects,” Gaines says.
The trophy haul, which included an Oscar for production design duo Patrice Vermette and Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Sipos, further cemented the status of an industry that last year broke records with $650 million in total production spend.
“We were looking for a production base that could support a film of this magnitude as well as be logistically feasible for access to our desert location needs,” says Gaines, citing the convenience of a hub in the heart of Central Europe once Jordan became the front-runner for “Dune’s” sprawling desert sequences. Herb Gaines, Legendary’s head of physical production, says the country ticked all the boxes to host a production on such a massive scale.
When you see Timothée [Chalamet] walking through a corridor, that corridor existed. “That’s why the final result is that huge and spectacular. You felt the atmosphere, and I think that helped the stars to get into the characters.” “With Denis, we see that he…wants to have a brick-and-mortar feeling: to touch it, to feel it, to feel the sizes,” says Origo’s Mihály Tóth. That craftsmanship was essential to director Villeneuve’s visual demands. It was not a green screen or blue screen.
Now there are relatively few,” he says. “Back in the day, we had many more foreign construction elements brought in to support a show. “I think that speaks to the abilities of the local companies…doing more and more complicated, high-concept, technically challenging movies.” Adam Goodman of Mid Atlantic Films, which serviced principal photography on “Dune” in 2019, sees that as evidence of the continued growth and evolution of Hungary’s below-the-line talent.
She said she hoped her Oscar triumph would be an inspiration for other Hungarians like her, adding: “I hope that it will open doors for many people who don’t believe that they could achieve what I have achieved.”” /> Sipos, who confirmed that she will be part of the production when “Dune 2” films in Hungary, cited the contributions to Hollywood made by Hungarians such as Adolph Zukor, a Hungarian-American film producer and co-founder of Paramount Pictures.
It was quite an extraordinary experience on that level of collaboration between VFX, cinematography, costumes, hair and make-up.” “It was such a collaborative effort between all departments,” he said. Being collaborative, everybody had their doors open. “There was very little drama.
“Creating a futuristic world is no small task and every interior set and piece of set dressing was built entirely by local Hungarian carpenters, sculptors, painters and fabricators.” “The quality of craftsmanship in the construction of our sets was quite impressive,” says Gaines. The highly skilled local crew base was instrumental in building the distinctive world of “Dune” from the ground up.
The studio, which also played host to Villeneuve’s dystopian sci-fi epic “Blade Runner 2049,” was able to meet “all our needs in one facility,” accommodating the production during both principal and additional photography in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Budapest boasts a number of world-class studio facilities – including Korda Studios and the state-owned Mafilm Studio complex – but Origo Studios soon emerged as “by far the best fit for ‘Dune,’” says Gaines.
The government was also instrumental in helping Hungary to become one of the first countries to restart after the coronavirus pandemic shut down global production last spring. The stringent COVID-19 protocols used on the set of “Dune” – including obligatory mask use; a rigorous daily testing regime; and a fully dedicated health and safety team monitoring cast and crew – would later set the stage for other productions in Budapest.

Unlike many location builds, which remain in place for a relatively short period of time, the “Jamestown” buildings are outdoor, stable structures intended to stand for years.
Carnival Films, the production company behind “Downton Abbey,” tackles 1620s America with the series “Jamestown” — a production that took place nowhere near Virginia, site of the original Jamestown colony. Instead the show was shot at locations just outside Budapest, where a Southern drawl has seldom been heard.
(Pictured above: Series writer, producer, creator and director Bill Gallagher discusses a scene with Naomi Battrick.)” />
… ‘Jamestown’ is based on a true story, and you want to honor that.” Like Pickles, costume designer Sharon Gilham was new in Season 3, and tasked with creating looks for three cultures concurrently: Pamunkey, European and that of newly arrived African slaves from Angola. She says working within historical limitations is “much more interesting than having lots of freedom, because it really makes you think.
The characters, she says, are “are far away from England,” and the fabrics need to reflect that. Gilham worked with a special team of craftspeople to age and break down her designs through methods that include dyeing, spraying, burning and painting so the clothes don’t look new. At times, they even used cheese graters on them.
The casting, too, is as authentic as possible, with First Nations actors portraying the Pamunkey people. and Canada to shoot their scenes in one- to two-week blocks. Though Queypo is based in Hungary for the duration of filming, the other actors who play the Pamunkey are flown in from the U.S.
As Pickles says, “There’s almost no point in having a historical tale if it’s not going to be true to life.”
Yet tax incentives often speak louder than words, as do low labor costs. That’s why it was decided to re-create the historic Jamestown settlement in Central Europe, where the team worked with period experts and studied historical records to build an accurate reproduction of the town and nearby village of the Native American Pamunkey tribe.
But it’s all part of making the show believable.” “It’s kind of subliminal,” she says. For the Pamunkey characters, Gilham used items like necklaces to vary their costumed looks. “Some people will see it, and some won’t.
Series regular and indigenous American actor Kalani Queypo, who plays Chacrow, a character who speaks both English and the Pamunkey language, has red body paint on his shoulders and neck, but the area around his Adam’s apple remains unpainted. The story of the Pamunkey characters is also partly told through hair and makeup. “He was the bridge between his people and the colonists, so we wanted the separation of unpainted skin down the middle to represent that,” Queypo says.
21, production just wrapped in Hungary on Season 3. Dissatisfied with the results, she instead created a custom look with pieces normally applied as gunshot wounds. on PBS on Nov. Hair and makeup designer Katie Pickles, new for Season 3, led her team in helping to create secondary storylines that weren’t necessarily in the script. For instance, she explains, she made the townspeople look “a bit dirty, because [theoretically] they could have been working in the field.” When new character Willmus (Ben Batt) was added in Season 3, he was described as having pockmarked skin. The resulting craters appear seamless and realistic. Pickles tested a series of prosthetics that are typically used for such scars. With Season 2 about to premiere in the U.S.
“We went to Virginia,” says Gallagher. Each episode is based on recorded history, like a blacksmith punching the governor. “We spoke to the experts; we looked at the records.” Gallagher also works closely with First Nations expert Buck Woodard, who gets final say on Pamunkey details. Believability is key for Bill Gallagher, the series’ creator, writer, executive producer and sometime director.

Clearly there’s a cover-up, and the sudden arrival of ex-flame Krisztina (Réka Tenki), a shutterbug back in Budapest after documenting Nazi atrocities in Germany, provides him with an investigative partner as well as adding a little sexual tension. While snooping around he finds a thin dossier on the woman left conveniently half-concealed on the desk of police inspector Gellért (Zsolt Anger), but it doesn’t give him any answers. But like the inspector, Margó is careless about hiding things, and Zsigmond learns that the dead woman, named Fanny, was fleeing her parents’ disapproval after falling in love with a rabbi’s son. Hanging around a boxing ring/watering hole owned by Baron Andras Szőllősy (János Kulka) isn’t offering many clues, and Margó Vörös (Kata Dobó), madame to the ruling class, also isn’t very forthcoming.
Gárdos keeps the testosterone level as high as required for this sort of thing while injecting a note of strong-minded female independence in the character of Krisztina, who loves Zsigmond but won’t let herself be overwhelmed by his cynical personality. A mix of atmospherically designed studio sets and dogged location scouting among Budapest’s grand but decaying prewar structures gives the film a grounded feel and is the production’s most successful element.” /> Revelations come in expected intervals so that interest doesn’t flag, and there’s enough discreetly seedy shenanigans to raise the eyebrows of churchgoing ladies without crossing the bounds of good taste. One scene of anti-Semitic brutality and a number of references to the increased fear Jews were experiencing as Hungary began aligning itself to the Axis powers ensures that the dangerous political situation remains ever-present.
Some period films come across as homages to classics of the past, while others play perilously on the edge of imitation. “Budapest Noir” definitely falls in the latter category, channeling any number of noir films, including “Chinatown,” with the usual stock figures: hard-boiled investigative reporter, femme fatale, corrupt officials, sleazy underbelly, and an urban landscape used as if it’s one of the main characters. Instead, the movie feels like the pilot for a period detective series, which might not be far from the truth since Vilmos Kondor’s novel launched fictional newshound Zsigmond Gordon as a recurring character. It’s a tried-and-true formula, but to make it work there needs to be more than an ounce of originality, which editor-turned-director Éva Gárdos (“An American Rhapsody”) has a hard time locating in either András Szekér’s script or her own direction.
Then at a café he has a silent flirtation with a woman (Franciska Törőcsik) whose murdered, bruised body is discovered in an area frequented by prostitutes. Things open with preparations for the funeral of Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, whose political affiliations were very much with the right. For intrepid reporter Zsigmond Gordon (Krisztián Kolovratnik), it’s just another day: “On the crime beat, I’ve seen my fair share of death,” he wearily intones in voiceover, copying pretty much every jaded, unshaven, bourbon-swilling, macho film noir protagonist of the 1940s and ’50s.
As a fairly anodyne mystery, the film can be considered a mildly diverting time filler whose Jewish angle — anti-Semitism forms a key plot point — explains why U.S. specialty distributor
Menemsha Films picked it up. Put in perspective, “Murder on the Orient Express,” released in the same season, made $822,720. Whether her fellow countrymen also want to be reminded of certain similarities is less evident, considering the film only made $275,669 following a November 2017 opening. For foreign affairs junkies, the setting in 1936, soon before Hungary turned fascist, has a distinct resonance with the country’s direction today under Viktor Orbán, and to Gárdos’ credit, she wants those parallels to be felt loud and clear.