Animated film Princess of the Sun shows competitive edge for Hungary


    Hungary proved to have the competitive advantage in landing the animation work for Princess of the Sun, a €5.5 million French-Belgian-Hungarian co-production that was recently presented in Hungary at a gala screening.

    Set in the ancient Egypt, the film is a coming-of-age love story between a fictional Princess Akhesa and the real-life Pharaoh, Tutankhamon. Directed by Philippe Leclerc, the non-digitally animated film took an all-Hungarian crew of 150 about 2 ½ years to complete the animation.

    An adaptation of the popular Christian Jacq novel, Princess of the Sun was produced by France's Belokan Productions, Belgium's Alygator Film and Hungary's Cinemon Kft. (www.cinemon.hu).

    Cinemon's Managing Director, Reka Temple, said Hungary's 20% tax rebate on production costs was not the only draw for the producers.

    "Had the film been done in Western Europe, it could easily have cost twice as much," Temple told FNE. "In digital animation, we can also beat the competition, cheaper Asian countries in particular. Last year, while making the TV series The Wumblers, we delivered a huge quantity of episodes, a lot faster than they possibly could have."

    French sources furnished 70% of the budget, while the Belgian and Hungarian co-producers provided equal shares of 30%. Among the financiers are Belgian funds and France's CNC (www.cnc.fr). Eurimages (www.coe.int/eurimages), the European Commission's film funding body, granted €580,000, while Hungary's Motion Picture Fund (www.mmka.hu) provided 5 million forints (€19,000), plus an additional 15 million forints for completing the dibbed Hungarian version.