After a two-year stint in Prague, NATPE in Europe has returned to Budapest, and as a result, attracted 414 buyers from across Central and Eastern Europe (coming from 25 CEE countries in that region alone), as well as Western Europe.

The event will take place June 27-30 at the InterContinental in Budapest, not too far from the previous hotel, Sofitel.

Studio screenings will precede NATPE Budapest, with CBS, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. among the confirmed participants. And Paramount is back for the first time after a five-year hiatus.

We caught up with JP Bommel, recently appointed COO and Managing Director of NATPE (who is tackling his first NATPE in Europe) to find out what else is in store. Turns out some serious business, with a healthy dose of fun, he hopes.

VAI: What can we expect from the returning location in Budapest?

 Budapest is a vibrant location for the media business, and you could say it’s the media center of CEE. It’s also a lot easier to get to than Prague, and we responded to our clients from all over the world who requested that we move NATPE there.

What we try to do when we create local events is to make sure that logistically it’s easy for our clients, and the InterContinental in particular is great because everything’s on one floor, and it’s light. You’re not stuck downstairs in a basement.

VAI: What’s new this time around?

 There’s going to be a focus on local production from the CEE area. It’s a prolific and creative region of the world, and we wanted to make sure they had a voice.

The U.S. studios bring fresh content from the L.A. Screenings, and most of it has never been seen before. But it’s equally important for buyers to see the breadth and depth of local content.

We’ve created a format pitch contest for local producers within CEE called Pitch & Play Live — which is a partnership with CEETV and TVBIZZ — and three companies will compete for a prize in front of a panel of judges. The winners will be awarded a development meeting.

We’re trying to make sure that all the sessions and events happen during lunch and breakfast, and that all the screenings happen before the market. We don’t want buyers and sellers to be disturbed.

And parties are important too, and are really great for building relationships. Every night we’ll have a happy hour, and there will be lots of different parties. We want to make sure people have a good time, have fun and build relationships.

VAI: You’ve announced that many new companies are exhibiting at NATPE Budapest. Can you name some?

These are companies from all over the world, but here are some: Ananey Communications (Israel), Bonneville Distribution (USA), Comarex SA de CV (Mexico), EastWest License Ltd. (Hong Kong), HNFF World Sales (Hungary), Horizon Film (Turkey), Newen Distribution (France), One Connxt (Jordan) and Sonar Entertainment (USA).

VAI: What kind of innovation are you hoping to bring?

For me, local is the new global, and we’re putting an emphasis on local business and how people can connect with the U.S. and the U.K.

I want Budapest to be a celebration of television in all its forms. Television is a good word. Don’t go home to watch “content,” they watch television.

I want people to find a robust and productive environment to do business and have access to fresh content.

The region is facing some economic challenges, and in some cases some of these companies don’t have the means to travel, so we want to bring the shows to them.