‘Birds of Paradise’ is a drama film by Amazon Studios that follows the journey of two dancers at an elite French ballet academy as they compete for the institution’s highest award— a contract to join the Opéra national de Paris. Through their struggles, they form a deeper connection with each other, which is put to the test when they find themselves competing for the same opportunity.
Directed by Sarah Adina Smith, the film is based on A.K. Small’s 2019 novel titled ‘Bright Burning Stars.’ The film is set amidst the grueling environment of a dance academy and takes a detailed look at the lives of the ballerinas who are single-mindedly focussed on their goals but are also buffeted by the winds of life. Curious about where ‘Birds of Paradise’ was filmed? We’ve got the story!
Birds of Paradise Filming Locations
The production for the film reportedly began in February 2020 but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic the very next month. Production had been paused by March 12, 2020, and the cast and crew were headed back home. According to the film’s director, at that point, the team was a tantalizing six days away from wrapping up but had to stop filming nonetheless for overwhelming safety concerns. Filming then restarted in Hungary in August 2020 and was finally wrapped up around September 11, 2020. Now let’s take a look at the specific locations used to bring the film to life. And what we have learned might surprise you!
‘Birds of Paradise’ was filmed entirely in Budapest, Hungary, although the film is set in and around Paris, France. The production was done in the Hungarian capital, most likely for budgetary reasons. The fact that the city is known for its picturesque vintage architecture gave the filmmakers ample options for spectacular backdrops that could be used for shooting.
Filming was carried out mainly in Budapest’s Origo Studios, situated at Budapest, Felsőkert utca 9, 1151. The studio offers ten stages, of which two are for VFX/multimedia use. It also offers six hectares of empty backlot that can conveniently be transformed into any desired setting. The studio was the first in Europe to introduce anti-COVID protocols and invested heavily in infrastructure to ensure the safety of the cast and crew of the productions using the facility.
Furthermore, Origo Studios reportedly established its own private COVID testing laboratory on location. They also tied up with local hospitals for the treatment of infected crew members. Other local studios were also quick to conform to COVID-19 safety standards. Hungary was one of the fastest countries to restart film and television production. With the support of government initiatives, film crews were returning to the country as early as the summer of 2020 to resume their projects that had been interrupted due to the pandemic.
Despite the delay, filming for ‘Birds of Paradise’ was completed smoothly and seemingly without any significant complications. This is quite an achievement, considering the pandemic was still raging in parts of the world at the time. The film is a testament to the crew’s tenacity and the high safety standards provided by the Hungarian studios.
Read More: Birds of Paradise Ending, Explained