FNE Visegrad Country Focus: Poland 2009
Poland with the sixth largest population in the Europe and the seventh largest GDP has taken its place as one of the most important members of the European Union since joining in 2004. This year Poland is the only country in the EU that is posting economic growth despite the global financial crisis.
This position is reflected in the audiovisual sector with the country enjoying a healthy and growing production sector and a film law that is increasingly serving as a model for other countries. Poland has also become a serious player in European co-productions participating in films by directors such as Lars Von Trier and Peter Greenaway.
Attendance at Polish cinemas has increased by 33% from 2007 to 2008 and 2009 looks set to be a record breaking year with 19.8 million admissions in the first half of this year surpassing the previous record set in 2004.
Any overview of today's Polish audio-visual landscape has to start with the Polish Film Institute- PISF- (http://www.pisf.pl/) and the renaissance in the country's film industry that the establishment of the institute has brought about.
Polish film has a proud history and legendary directors such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Zanussi brought the country worldwide recognition in the 1970'sand 1980's. But it has only been since 2005 and the legislation that established the Polish Film Institute and a system of state support that the glory days of Polish film have returned.
In 2009 at the annual festival of Polish feature films in Gdynia (http://www.festiwalgdynia.pl/) the selection committee was able to choose from over 60 feature films. Perhaps more important 11 of the 24 films in the programme were debuts by young directors.
PISF has made it a policy to support a new generation of young Polish talent. PISF supported Polish film production in 2009 with 90m PLN of its 140m PLN budget and it looks like this policy is paying dividends for Poland. Gdynia winner The Reverse a feature debut by Borys Lankosz and produced by Kadr Studio (http://www.kadr.com/.pl) takes place during the building of the monstrous Palace of Culture a gift of Stalin to the Polish people is a black comedy that gives us a fresh look at Poland in the 1950's. Another standout was Snow White and Russian Red directed by Xawery Zulawski and produced by Film Media (http://www.filmmedia.com.pl/) a second film by the director that has won a string of prizes at festivals including the second prize in Gdynia. The film takes a tough look at contemporary Polish life with stand-out performances by its cast.