You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Polish Film Institute Helps Filmmakers Navigate Global Campaigns

With a dizzying number of film fests operating throughout the year and more launching all the time, navigating the optimal path to success abroad is a greater challenge than ever, as the Polish Film Institute’s Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik knows well.

Charged with the org’s substantial foreign fest support role, she oversees the investment of some $2.8 million annually to support the promotion of Polish films internationally, sending local pics and filmmakers around the world.

Kiszka-Hoflik also coordinates campaigns for the major worldwide awards, including top international festivals, and in the races for the Oscars, the European Film Awards and the U.K.’s Bafta.

Help for fund-challenged Polish producers, who are often short-handed or short of experience with international marketing campaigns, covers everything from travel expenses, translation and creating film prints and DCPs, to posters, Web design and appointing press agents.

The process proved its merits during the 2014 Oscar campaign for Pawel Pawlikowski’s critically acclaimed arthouse hit “Ida” (pictured). That film, which won the foreign-language Academy Award, began its run at the Telluride fest in 2013.

As Kiszka-Hoflik says of the publicity push, “It’s very important as it gives visibility and also a constant presence in the market.” That’s a factor particularly crucial for Polish films breaking into the U.S. territory, she points out.

“I truly believe that ‘Ida’s’ success is also due to the previous Oscar campaigns we led,” she says. Those included a strong presence for Polish films with the highest chance of crossover success in Hollywood, including Oscar noms for “Katyn,” Andrzej Wajda’s drama, and the Agnieszka Holland’s “In Darkness.”

Warsaw-based producer Joanna Solecka of the Wajda School says PFI help is “crucial” and can cover 90% of the costs of pushing a film through the A-category fests. “For many films, especially debuts or coming from emerging producers, this is really important help,” she says.

The costs of such campaigns “double the production costs” of smaller, but promising films, Solecka points out. “Without PFI, the professional Oscar campaigns would not be possible,” she says.

PFI does important matchmaking on the international level, not only at big film festivals and markets, but also investing in events and inviting film professionals to Poland, such as the Polish Days at Wroclaw’s New Horizons fest.

Other Polish fests have also embraced events from their counterparts abroad to help local producers and helmers connect and extend their reach.

The Torino Film Lab’s third edition at the Gdynia fest this year is a case in point, says Kiszka-Hoflik, as is the growing influence of the Wroclaw-based School of Film Agents, now in its third year of seeking out and mentoring up-and-coming film professionals in Eastern and Central Europe.

Young Polish producers have also turned a corner, she adds, with many from the busiest productions shingles, such as Otter Films, Alter Ego Pictures and Koi Studio, having been trained abroad and advanced through proven European training programs such as European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

  • Hui He

    RAI Com Takes World Sales on Italy/China Doc About Star Soprano Hui He (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italy’s RAI Com has taken world sales on high-profile documentary “Hui He, the Soprano From the Silk Road,” which is about the personal and artistic journey of one of the world’s leading sopranos and also marks a milestone Italian-Chinese co-production. Hui He was born and trained as a singer in the Chinese city of Xi’an, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content