Poland has the most robust pic production sector in the former East bloc, thanks in large part to its film-funding system, based on taxes on tickets, distribs and TV revenues. This coin, administered through the Polish Film Institute since 2005, drives most local filmmaking, although it provides for only a portion of budgets. The rest comes from partnering with foreign producers and, increasingly, from Polish pubcaster coin.
With nearly $40 million disbursed annually for 40 or so features, the institute, along with a dozen regional film funds, has become the country’s major development player. Its newly created department of international co-productions is the place to find out if a project from abroad could suit a local shingle and thus go forward with funding help.
To qualify for a Polish Film Institute grant, you must partner with at least one Polish producer. Such pics can get 50% of the subsidy before or during shooting, 40% in post, 10% after filing a financial statement but must spend 80% of the pic’s budget in Poland.
Young filmmakers on the rise seem to be everywhere and are increasingly working with foreign partners. In a typical arrangement, Andrzej Jakimowski, whose debut, “Tricks,” won dozens of kudos, is putting final touches on “Blind Watching,” the working title of a Polish-French-Portuguese co-production with U.K. involvement.
Crew depth is more than adequate for two major simultaneous features (five with various budgets were in production in October with nearly a dozen more in post).
Among the major facilities is Alvernia near Krakow, which specializes in sound — with a full orchestra on call — plus post and vfx. It’s prepping these for “Arbitrage,” a Wall Street thriller by Nicholas Jarecki.
Other big studio players are Warsaw’s sprawling WFDiF, with soundstages, TV studios and modern post and vfx; and Opus Film, in Lodz, with four soundstages and a reputation for impressive sets.
As for relative discounts, Polish crews are about 30% cheaper than those of Western Europe and just as valued for their experience.