×

Backed By 30% Cash Rebate, Critical Acclaim, Polish Animation on the Rise

Bolstered by their country’s recently introduced 30% cash rebate and critical acclaim for animated features “Loving Vincent” and “Another Day of Life,” Polish animators have high hopes for their growing industry as they arrive at the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival this week.

With more than 30 animation studios active across the country, and a number of those developing feature-length films and TV series for the international market, Poland’s profile is rising. Seven Polish projects are competing in Annecy this week, in the short, graduation and commissioned films competitions.

Polish producers have good reason to be bullish thanks to increased support from the government, which earlier this year introduced a 30% cash rebate for feature films, TV series, documentaries, and animation projects. The rebate is funded for 2019 to the tune of $55 million, with 10% of that amount dedicated exclusively to animation.

The incentive scheme has already sparked interest from foreign producers, says Robert Jaszczurowski, CEO of the Polish Animation Producers Association. Markets have been buzzing about local toon talent since the breakout success of “Another Day of Life,” the animated feature about Polish war correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski which world premiered as a Special Screening in Cannes last year, and “Loving Vincent” (2017), the Vincent van Gogh biopic directed by Poland-born Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, which received an Academy Award nomination for animated feature. Both films relied heavily on Polish animation studios.

The cash rebate will give a big boost to Polish producers looking to finance similarly ambitious international co-productions. Another cause for optimism is the support of the Polish Film Institute, which allocated roughly $4 million of its $27.8 million budget this year for the development and production of animated content. “It will allow us to produce more and faster,” says Jaszczurowski. “That will have a real impact on the industry in the coming years.”

Public support is critical for the industry to grow, with private broadcasters reluctant to invest in homegrown content. Public broadcaster TVP – which also has a dedicated kids’ channel – has slowly upped its investment in the local industry, something Jaszczurowski hopes will help grow the domestic audience for locally produced animation—and, in time, build confidence in the sector.

“When [broadcasters] see it works, and their investment in production will bring them back money from merchandizing or commercials, they will be more willing to join other productions,” he says.

Jaszczurowski estimates there are more than 20 animated TV series currently in production. A number of feature films are also in development, but financing remains a challenge when exhibition prospects for domestic features remain limited. “We need to have some small successes to prove to distributors it makes sense,” says Jaszczurowski.

Among the Polish highlights screening in Annecy this week are “Rain,” by director Piotr Milczarek, a five-minute short about accountability and collective consciousness, produced by Fumi Studio and Milczarek; “Acid Rain,” by director Tomek Popakul, a 26-minute road-trip drama set somewhere in Eastern Europe, produced by Animoon and FINA; and “Story,” directed by Jolanta Bankowska, a five-minute reflection on modern man in the age of omnipresent technology, produced by Letko Sp. z o.o., the Polish Filmmakers Association, and Munk Studio.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • If I Were a Rich Man

    Filmax Nabs Alvaro Fernandez Armero’s ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Filmax has taken international rights to Álvaro Fernández Armero’s comedy “If I Were a Rich Man.” Produced by Telecinco Cinema, Think Studio and Ciskul, and backed by Mediaset España and Movistar+, “If I Were a Rich Man” is a Spanish remake of Michel Munz and Gerard Bitton’s French comedy “Ah! Si j’étais [...]

  • Baby

    Latido Takes Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s 'Baby' (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Latido Films has taken world sales rights outside Spain on Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s “Baby,” a drama with a psychological thriller narrative thrust starring Rosie Day (“Down a Dark Hall”), Harriet Sansom Harris (“Phantom Thread”), Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones”), Charo López (“All Night Long”) and young actress Mafalda Carbonell (“To Live Twice”). [...]

  • Noahs Ark

    India’s Symbiosys to Co-Produce, Co-Animate Gullane’s ‘Noah’s Ark’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Noah’s Ark – A Musical Adventure,” Brazil’s most ambitious animated feature ever, just got a bit bigger with the announcement that producers Fabiano Gullane’s Gullane, Walter Salles’ Videofilmes and Felipe Sabino and Daniel Greco’s NIP will be joined by leading Indian animation studio Symbiosys Technologies as co-producers and co-animators. The partnership marks the first occasion [...]

  • Navarra

    Navarre Film Commission Celebrates First Decade at San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —    Since the 1950s, Spain has been a favorite European shooting locale. One of the biggest reasons remains its easily accessible, unique and diverse locations. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this past June, the Navarre Film Commission kicked off a traveling exhibition which has been touring Spain over the summer and will present [...]

  • Rambo Last Blood

    Film Review: 'Rambo: Last Blood'

    Home has always been an abstract concept for John Rambo, which is what the last scene of 2008’s otherwise expendable “Rambo” sequel finally gave the iconic Sylvester Stallone character: a moment when this unsettled Vietnam War survivor, looking very much the worse for wear, lumbers up to a mailbox bearing the character’s surname. At last, [...]

  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith. Jada

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Inks Development Pact With Telepool (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s new media venture, Westbrook Inc., has signed a co-development agreement for feature films, television shows and digital entertainment formats with German-based film and TV company Telepool. The move follows the acquisition of Telepool last year by Smith and Elysian Fields, a Zurich-based investment company. Westbrook, launched this year by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content