Jan Budař was born in Frýdlant near Liberec. He graduated from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno in 2000. He started his career in Brno's theatres under the tutelage of theatre director Vladimír Morávek. This creative partnership led to their first film, Boredom in Brno. Budař also co-authored the script and composed the music. The comedy was awarded five Czech Lionsin 2003, including Best Male Actor for Jan Budař's performance. Budař went on to roles in Marek Najbrt's debut Champions and Jan Hřebejk's Up and down, the Czech entry for the Academy Awards, which won several awards at the Czech Lion Awards 2005. Morávek and Budař created their second film, Hrubeš and Mareš best friends: come rain or shine.
Budař also sings with a band called the Eliščin Band, and makes short films, documentaries and videos. In March 2005, Budař won the Czech Lion award for "Best Supporting Actor" in Champions. In February 2005, Budař went to Berlin to represent Czech cinematography at the Berlinale 2005 Film Festival.