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FNE Visegrad 2010 special: Polish coproductions

2009-11-28

Poland has become significantly more engaged in international film projects, as a direct partner in coproductions or a host to several forums and meetings facilitating co-operation between European countries.

The main source of public funding for international co-productions are the grants offered by the Polish Film Institute (www.pisf.pl), which can be obtained by a Polish producer involved in the projects. Poland is still waiting for special legislation introducing tax rebates for foreign filmmakers and producers, for which PFI have been lobbying as a much needed change in the national film industry.

Poland is most often a partner in 2 or 3 country coproductions, but recently Polish filmmakers have become interested in taking part in more diverse production teams. In accordance with The European Coproduction Convention requirements Poland invests a minimum of 20% of the funding for a film produced by two countries and a minimum of 10% for a triple coproduction to qualify under the terms of the convention. To become a minority co-producer with the aid of public funding the Polish partner must have a 50% of input, provided that 80% of the grant is spent in Poland. The producers of international titles can apply for the same amount of incentives or loans as the local productions.

In 2009 Poland attracted eight international projects including the biggest Central European coproduction of the year Janosik. A True Story directed by Agnieszka Holland (Apple Film Production In Film, Telewizja Polska S.A., Charlie's, Eurofilm Studio, HBO Central Europe; 6 million euro), Antichrist from Lars von Trier (Zentropa International Poland; 25 million PLN), Miracle Seller directed by (Fabryka-Spółka Realizatorów Filmowych i Telewizyjnych Polish Public Television, Performance Marketing Group, Film i Väst, Republiken AB; 4.1million PLN) Pigglets directed by Robert Gliński (WIDARK - Produkcja Filmowa i Telewizyjna, 42film GmbH; 3.8 million PLN) The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler directed by John Kent Harrison (Hallmark Hall of Fame, Beata Pisula - K&K Selekt, Krzysztof Grabowski - Grupa Filmowa Baltmedia; 38 million PLN), Operation Danube directed by Jacek Głomb ( WFDiF - Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych, In Film Praha , Odra-Film; 2 million euro) and Within the Whirlwind directed by Marleen Gorris (TatFilm, Saga Film/Lorival, Telewizja Polska - Agencja
Filmowa; 9.8 million dollars ).

In 2010 the number of big international co-productions increased to over a dozen, most of them still in production. One of them was the 2010 winner of the special jury's prize in Venice , Essential Killing directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.A co-production between Skopia Film of Poland (www.skopiafilm.com), Hungary's Mythberg Films (www.mythbergfilms.hu), Ireland's Element Pictures, and Norwegian Cylinger Productions, it received 3.5 million PLN in financing from PFI. This year Poland again participated in one of the biggest CEE productions, the Czech war drama Lidice directed by Petr Nikolaev and produced by Bioscop. The planned total budget is 2.6 million EUR with a record CZK 20 million (770,000 Euros) financing from the Czech State Fund for Cinematography (www.mkcr.cz). The Polish co-producer is Dariusz Jablonski and

Apple Film (www.applefilm.pl), and PFI supported the title with 5000 PLN. One of the biggest Polish titles of the year is Hidden, a new film from Agnieszka Holland. The moving war drama is a coproduction between the Polish Studio Filmowe ZEBRA, Canada's The Film Works Ltd. and Germany's Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv. The production launched in September 2010 and will last till 2011, with a planned budget of 22.3 million PLN with 3.6 million PLN of financing from PFI. The untapped potential of European cinema made for the youth was noticed by the makers of Winter Daddy, a Polish-German co-production directed by Johannes Schmid. The title is produced by a Polish company Pokromski Studio (www.pokromskistudio.pl) and German Schlicht und Ergreifend GmbH (www.schlichtundergreifend-film.de) with a total budget of €1,940,000 and 1 million PLN (€254 000) from the PFI as well as support from the German- Polish Co-Development Fund (www.medienboard.de).

Tomorrow Will Be Better, the long anticipated new drama from Dorota Kędzierzawska, was also finalized in 2010 asa coproduction between Poland and Japan. The producer of the picture is KID Film, a company created by Dorota Kędzierzawska and Arthur Reinhart, in co-production with Pioniwa Film Inc (www.pioniwa.com),The Chimney Pot (www.chimney.pl), Non Stop Film Services (www.nsfs.pl) and Film Ilumination ( www.filmilumination.pl).The total budget of the film was 3 million PLN with a 2 million PLN input from the Polish Film Institute (www.pisf.pl). A Polish- American project titled The Winner also went into production in 2010, produced by the Polish company Saco Films Ltd founded by the director Wiesław Saniewski. The film is coproduced by The Society For Arts (USA) and Andrzej Niżnik (Switzerland). The total budget of the film is 13 million PLN (EUR 3.2 million) with 3 million PLN in financing from PFI. Further Polish co- operation with the American film industry was also established by a Polish company San Graal (www.sangraal.pl), producer of box office hit comedies Testosterone and Ladies, by signing a preliminary contract with Warner Bros. Pictures International ( www.warnerbros.com). The partners have agreed to collaborate on at least two new Polish-language films in 2010 and 2011, produced by director Andrzej Saramonowicz and San Graal while Warner Bros. Pictures International will hold worldwide distribution rights.

The Polish engagement in international projects in 2011 is due to increase, with the Polish Film Institute financing 35 titles realized in coproduction with other countries, most of which are set to start shooting in 2011. The supported titles include Blind Watching directed by Andrzej Jakimowski produced by Zjednoczenie Artystów i Rzemieślników (www.zair.eu); the adaptation of Stanisław Lem's sci-fi novel Futurogical congress, directed by Ari Folman and produced by Opus Film (www.opusfilm.pl); the long anticipated Salvation from one of the talented young Russian director Ivan Wyrypajew produced by Baltmedia (www.baltmedia.pl); and a new animated film from Brothers Quay titled The Hour-glass Sanatorium, based on the novel by Bruno Schulz, produced by Opus Film.