Hungary is offering exemptions for U.S. cast and crew from the European Union ban announced Tuesday. Film production in the country rose by 50% last year, breaking records, and studios this year are booked solid for months to come. No wonder that many American directors and producers stated that Hungary must be the second most popular filming location on the European Continent.

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Variety reported that Csaba Káel, the Hungarian Government’s film commissioner stated that “Now that the state of emergency has ended, restrictive measures have been eased and the travel restrictions are continually being lifted; special exemption can be granted for non-EU residents to enter Hungary without mandatory quarantine, international projects are being prepared, making it possible to restart production at full capacity.”

For weeks now, Netflix has been building sets in two stages at the NFI Mafilm Studio complex in Fót, near Budapest, for its series Terra Vision and will start shooting mid-July. Moreover, the medieval backlot set has been booked by another U.S. production for the second half of July, and there has been an increase in interest from several international producers.

Soundstages across Hungary are booked up until the end of the year, according to Hungary’s National Film Institute. Three Hollywood productions are set to resume shooting this year at Origo Film Studio, and filming of Showtime’s live-action, scripted series Halo will continue at Korda Studio. Both studios are close to Budapest. Production was never entirely halted during the pandemic as a feature documentary about Hungarian Olympic swimmer Katinka Hosszú was allowed to continue filming throughout.

Records were shattered last year, with the amount spent directly on film production in Hungary reaching $565.6 million (HUF 164.4 billion), an increase of about 50% over the preceding year. In 2019, the output of 319 films was registered in Hungary, 228 of which were Hungarian, eight were co-productions and 83 foreign productions.

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