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Wednesday, 28 April 2010 10:32

Hollywood in Budapest

Written by  James Thompson
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 Hollywood gala event celebrates Raleigh Studios in Budapest
Budapest DancersAs the Hollywood production industry looks to capitalize on production moving to other states and foreign territories, some of the leading companies that service Hollywood are joining forces to set up shop in these distant locales. Raleigh Studios has just announced a new state-of-the-art facility in Budapest that will house some of Hollywood’s elite service companies. “It’s truly going to be run like a Hollywood-style standard studio,” says Michael Moore, president of Raleigh Studios. “There’s nothing like it on the European continent.” The announcement came in the form of an invitation-only gala event held at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Attendees were treated to a wonderful evening of fine Hungarian food, wine tasting and entertainment by a group of Hungarian dancers dressed in the country’s colorful attire.

The capital of Hungary, Budapest is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and its extensive World Heritage Sites include the banks of the Danube. The city is also very western friendly and cosmopolitan. From a creative standpoint, its architecture and diversity of the surrounding areas give filmmakers a variety of options ­­–– they have a long-standing film culture and support a talented crew base. Many well-known cinematographers have come from Hungry, as the country boasts some very talented camera crews. Plus, Hungary currently offers a tax credit that covers up to 25 percent of production costs.

Raleigh Studios Budapest is slated to open in April 2010 and will feature nine sound stages, a 45,000-square-foot super stage and a 15-acre backlot. In addition, there will be a production training school at the facility to help build on Hungary’s existing pool of film crews. “We took the strongest American and European brands and brought them on the lot,” says Moore. “We wanted to make sure that the main departments had people with Hollywood experience running it.” These companies include FotoKem, which will be managing a postproduction facility onsite complete with a film lab, visual effects and digital capabilities, and Hollywood Rentals, which will provide a full set of location lighting and grip services. According to FotoKem Senior VP of Strategic Planning Mike Morelli, Hungary’s aggressive film incentive and the opportunity to gain new business and work with western companies filming in Europe were key reasons why FotoKem considered opening an office at Raleigh Studios. “It presents a good opportunity for us to go international,” he says. Through Hollywood Rentals, Matthews Studio Equipment recently shipped multiple quantities of over 465 different grip and lighting-control products to the Raleigh Studios Budapest facility.

Attendees at the Hollywood gala event seemed thrilled that Raleigh Studios is spearheading this international move. John Grant, who has been involved with movies and commercials filmed at Raleigh Studios since the early 1980s, says that since the Raleigh has such a well-defined history, he’s confident the Budapest studio facility will continue their success. Grant reminisced about the days when Kevin Costner worked at Raleigh as a foreman while amid some of Hollywood’s greatest actors, such as Gene Wilder and Dom DeLuise.

With Raleigh Studios in Hollywood and now Budapest, its easy accessibility and long-standing film culture seem likely to become a successful part of Europe’s future in entertainment.

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