WHY: Poland has one of central Europe’s most active and energetic film commissions, the Polish Film Institute, which has a revolving annual fund worth $65 million to support cinematography.
Grants of up to $1 million for domestic productions and $2 million for co-productions involving a Polish partner have helped revitalize an industry that was in the doldrums before the PFI launched the initiative in 2006.
Lures include a strong network of studio facilities, talented English-speaking crews and easy access to other European Union countries, along with locations ranging from urban postwar Soviet Stalinist and traditional European pretty (Warsaw) and medieval (Krakow) to grimy industrial (Silesia) to vast plains (much of the country) and alpine meadows and mountains (southern borders with Slovakia), and an increasingly attractive climate for foreign investment as its economy rapidly modernizes.
The PFI is working with finance and culture ministries to simplify 22% value-added tax rebates that would give it the power to authorize fast payments, greatly benefiting business plans and cash flow and is lobbying to extend automatic VAT refunds to the U.S., Russia, China and India, among other important film-producing countries.
BONUS: A swathe of regional film commissions — 11 created in the past two years — also have money to offer international co-productions, often with few strings attached. The funds in key regional towns and cities across the country — including Krakow, Lodz, Wroclaw and the capital, Warsaw — have annual budgets of $367,000 (in Posnan, double that amount) and are open to producers worldwide.
SHOT THERE: “Spring 1941,” “Contact High,” “Whisky With Milk,” “Whirlwind”
Hot spot: Groundbreaking on a government-backed $30 million permanent backlot re-creation of pre-World War II Warsaw that could double for other northern European cities of the time is skedded for August. Backlot is critical for plans to produce two major epics marking the wartime Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Polish Film Institute: pisf.pl
Polish Filmmakers Assn.: sfp.org.pl
Telewizja Polska: international.tvp.pl