One of the world's biggest and most hi-tech film studios is being built in Etyek, a small town just outside Budapest. Putting 150 million Euros into this project are a Hungarian real estate tycoon and a Hollywood producer -Andrew G. Vajna - whose credits include Terminator and Evita. The studio is said to be the most modern and best equipped in the world and will create job opportunities for over a thousand people in the region. So why has Hollywood come to Hungary? We spoke to Andrew Vajna:
"Etyek is the name of the town, that's where the piece of real estate is that we felt was appropriate for the studio. Here is a location that's very close to Budapest, a very quiet little town. It's a nice place to go, and there are no traffic problems and that's where we had the acreage to facilitate the studio."
Surely these days you can do a lot with computers so one would think you don't need such big artificial sights. How big is the studio going to be?
"The first phase will be about 40,000 m2."
Is this considered to be big?
"Yes, I think it's pretty big."
Headlines read it's going to be more modern and bigger than Hollywood. Is this true?
"Well, to clarify this, there is a sound stage that we're building that will be the largest sound stage in the world, which will be the size of a football field. So, that is the largest studio in the world."
Are we going to be in any sort of competition with Hollywood?
"I think there is plenty business to go around."
Will this help Hungarian filmmaking in any way?
"I hope so because there will be a facility here - an up-to-date twentieth century technically equipped studio where Hungarian filmmakers can go and use it and reap the benefits of having such a facility available to them where there is none today."
Why is the studio going to be in Hungary? Is it still so much cheaper than if it were somewhere else in Europe?
"I think that Hungary has a very interesting new film law where the government is contributing - of every dollar that's spent in Hungary, twenty percent will be rebated to the producer. Therefore it makes the possibility of utilizing Hungary much cheaper than perhaps in the rest of the world."
Will this create any job opportunities in the region?
"Yes. Very much so."
Is filmmaking going to be relatively cheaper than in the rest of Europe or in America, even in the long run?
"Filming is cheaper in Europe than in America automatically already today. We're hoping that Hungary will become more competitive but with great quality because it's got such a long tradition in filmmaking and they've got such a great technical personnel that we hope with this government aid of twenty percent, it will attract a lot of producers to come and do their films here."
When will the studios be ready?
"At the end of 2005."
Are there any big movies scheduled to be made here?
"Not yet. That would be way too soon."
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