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Poland Finally Poised to Offer Filming Incentives

Poland is jumping into the incentives fray in Eastern Europe, with lawmakers expected to approve a 30% rebate for qualifying productions out of an overall kitty of €46 million ($53.8 million).

A draft bill in the Polish parliament is intended to make the country more competitive in the contest for international productions by offering the cash back on qualifying filming expenses. The rebate plan, to be administered by the Polish Film Institute, sets aside 10% of the money for animated films and animated series. Producers who submit final reports after spending in Poland will have their claims evaluated within 28 days.

Poland has been a relative latecomer to the filming incentives derby, although it has been ramping up co-productions. Tomasz Dabrowski of Film Commission Poland likened the rebates bill to “a Copernican revolution for the Polish film industry….Poland will finally find its well-deserved place among the other European film industries.”

The short claims-evaluation period and generous percentage will put Poland on par with Romania, which recently passed a similar scheme with the same rate, and Hungary, which this month bumped its rate from 25% to 30%. Hungary has led the incentives race in Eastern Europe since 2004, which has been credited with helping to bring a stream of foreign productions to studios around Budapest, including “Gemini Man,” starring Will Smith, and “Radioactive,” a Marie Curie biopic directed by Marjane Satrapi and featuring Rosamund Pike.

Czechs followed in 2010 with a 20% rebate, which fueled a similar boom in productions, most recently films such as Taika Waititi’s World War II satire “Jojo Rabbit” and the Amazon series “Carnival Row.” The Czech Audiovisual Producers Assn., the main industry body, recently pledged to lobby the government to boost the rebate to 25% following two years of slight declines in feature-film production levels.

The proposed Polish law makes the refunds available to productions that meet requirements on the use of local culture, facilities and talent – criteria similar to those in neighboring countries and throughout the European Union.

Polish producers, co-producers and contractors offering production services will also be eligible for a partial reimbursement on local spends under the proposed law. Before receiving the rebates, producers who have wrapped will be required to sign a contract with the Polish Film Institute and pay any taxes due.

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