You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Polish Co-Productions Continue Apace as Film Incentives Wait for Final Legislation

Polish co-productions are clearly on the ascendant even with the country’s planned 25% cash-back incentives not yet in force. The sweetener package, similar to ones in effect in the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary, is still wending its way through the legislature as local producers continue to compete for business.

“In general, there were around 15 co-productions in 2017, be it minority or majority,” says Film Commission Poland’s Tomasz Dabrowski.

You might be hard-pressed to say the incentives delay is hurting the production sector, at least for the past year. Polish-U.K. co-production “Loving Vincent,” with each frame hand-painted in the style of the film’s subject Vincent van Gogh, recently grabbed an Oscar nomination for animated feature.

Hugh Welchman, based in Poland, co-directed with Dorota Kobiela and sought out U.K. participation in the partially Kickstarter-funded film to widen its appeal.

“We decided to make it a Polish-U.K. production because we wanted to make the film in English using a high-level British cast to maximize the reach of the project worldwide,” he says. “The painting animation talent on the film was majority Polish, and almost all the animation was done in Poland.”

The city of Lodz has also proven itself a sought-after resource for Poland.

In the summer the locale became a set for Moroccan-French-Polish documentary “The Director’s Chair, Mostafa Derkaoui,” directed by Sophie Delvallée. The German-Polish road film “Whatever Happens Next,” directed by Julian Porksen, was also shot in Lodz, with the help of co-producer Agnieszka Dziedzic from Koi Studio, responsible for set design, costumes, sound, lighting and production management.

Meanwhile, Warsaw-based Opus Film produced crime series “Ultraviolet,” commissioned by Sony Pictures Television Networks Central Europe. Inspired by Deborah Halber’s novel “The Skeleton Crew,” the series is directed by Jan Komasa (“Warsaw 44,” “Suicide Room”) and Slawomir Fabicki (“Loving,” “The Crime 2”).

In February, Lower Silesia hosted “Der Hauptmann,” directed by Robert Schwentke (“Red,” “Insurgent”), a fact-based WWII story about the feats of a faux captain and a group of deserters. It was filmed over three months in the area of Wroclaw and Zgorzelec for Berling producers Filmgalerie 451 and Poland’s Opus Film and Tempus Film.

One long-term project just wrapped following an eight-year collaboration: The 3D animation-doc mix “Another Day of Life” is a Spanish-Polish-Belgian-German-Hungarian project focusing on the life of foreign correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski.

In addition, historic tales making use of Poland’s landscapes continue to roll in: The upcoming production “The Painted Bird,” starring Harvey Keitel, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard and young Czech Petr Kotlar, is an adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s Holocaust novel of the same name, a Czech-Slovak-Polish-Ukrainian co-production; “My Name Is Sara,” meanwhile, is an American fact-based tale based on the life of Sara Guralnick, a 13-year-old Polish Jew who lost her family to Nazi death squads, produced with Poland’s Watchout Prods. Led by Polish actors Eryk Lubos and Michalina Olszanska (“The Lure,” “I, Olga Hepnarova”), the film will use Polish post-production facilities before release in fall.

Another co-production, Israeli-Polish “Scaffolding,” a gritty father-son story by Matan Yair taking on the entrapment of working-class life, screened to warm reviews in Toronto last year. Meanwhile Greek-Polish comedy “Pity,” by writer-director Babis Makridis, just screened at Sundance, turning on parallel reality of the kind his co-writer Efthymis Filippou created in “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

Poland also hosted two sci-fi projects in 2017: Claire Denis’ English-lingo debut “High Life,” with Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche as passengers on a prison spaceship, is a French-German-British-Polish project that filmed in the Bialystok region, while Scandinavian fantasy TV skein “Thannanaya” used multiple seasons and Polish landscapes, working with Warsaw-based No Sugar Films.

Two more international projects planned for Polish production are Netflix projects: an adaptation of “The Witcher” series created by Andrzej Sapkowski, and an alternate history TV series directed by Agnieszka Holland that is yet to be titled.

Polish settings will also frame three projects still in development: German-Polish-Canadian film “Adventures of a Mathematician,” directed by Thorsten Klein; the U.S.-British-Polish “Gareth Jones,” directed by Holland; and Israeli-Polish “A War Has Ended,” directed by Hagar Ben-Asher.

More Film

  • Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller

    Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller 'Blackwing' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Voltage Pictures will produce and fully finance screenwriter David Loughery’s latest thriller “Blackwing,” Variety has learned exclusively. The company will introduce “Blackwing” to buyers at the upcoming European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, which opens Feb. 7. Nicolas Chartier and Dominic Rustam are producing, and Jonathan Deckter is executive producing for Voltage Pictures. [...]

  • ‘Metro Exodus’ Opens Up Post-Apocalyptic Russia

    ‘Metro Exodus’ Author On Film, Possible TV Series, Expansive New Game

    Since the launch of the post-apocalyptic survival first-person shooter “Metro 2033” in 2010, the series has kept its action confined to the tunnels running underneath Russia. “Metro Exodus,” due out next month, takes the gameplay to the surface for the first time, going above ground with sprawling levels against a changing backdrop of weather conditions [...]

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Picture Tree describes the movie as a “contemporary female-led drama touching on [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]


    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content