COTTBUS: Germany has discovered Poland, and Polish filmmakers are reaching out to German coproductions partners as a result of the Polish-German Film Fund and the new Polish film incentives. Some 40 German and Polish producers and funders, most of them with German/Polish coproduction experience or plans, attended a 7 November 2019 roundtable discussion at connecting cottbus.
The fund itself is not especially large. It now distributes 750,000 EUR annually, an amount that has stayed stable since 2017, gives out up to 150,000 EUR for production. The fund took off with the introduction of a Polish-German roundtable at Cottbus, that is held annually, alternating with Wroclaw’s New Horizons FF. The Polish-German Film Fund has supported 53 projects, both fiction films and documentaries, since it started in 2006. Brigitta Manthey said that the projects were equally divided between majority Polish and majority German coproductions. She added that there has been an increase in applications to the fund, with more coming from the Polish side at this point.
Poland’s new cash rebate programme is also increasing bilateral cooperation. To date, a German film that has taken advantage of the programme has received the biggest rebate thus far, expected to be 1 m EUR. In order to take full advantage of the cash rebate, the German crew was only around 10 percent of the team working on the ground in Poland. It’s too early to tell how much effect the cash rebate will have on German production in Poland, but Polish producer Aleks Wojtanowski of the Krakow production house Film Poland Productions said he was leaving directly from Cottbus to speak to another German company about shooting in Poland. He added that US companies are waiting to jump on the Polish rebate system, once they see it working effectively.
The good news extends all the way through the distribution phase. Poland is currently a strong market for films, both in cinemas as well as at films festivals. Marcin Pienkowski of New Horizons said that New Horizons’ American Film Festival in Wroclaw, which runs at the same time as the Cottbus Film Festival, will have 10,000 more admissions this year than last year. In cinemas, even Polish art house films have experienced outstanding box office success, with Jan Komasa’s Corpus Cristi (Aurum Film) outperforming all other films in distribution last month.