Polish Film Institute Support During COVID-19 Pandemic


    WARSAW: As Poland re-opens its economy after the third wave of COVID-19, the Polish industry is set to succeed due to the continuous support from the Polish Film Institute headed by Radosław Śmigulski, which kept both filmmakers and cinemas afloat with a series of financial and legal solutions during the pandemic, as well as changes to the cash rebate that brings in more film productions to Poland.

    One of the most significant measures was the reduction of the threshold for Polish eligible costs for coproduction of feature films in 2021 necessary to qualify for the cash rebate for shooting in Poland. This measure has had an important impact allowing more productions to qualify for the rebate and enabling more regional coproductions to work with Poland.  

    The financial support for the audiovisual production of a fiction film with a length of not less than 70 minutes may be granted in 2021 when the value of the eligible Polish costs of this work exceeds 656 383 EUR / 3 m PLN. The annual budget of the scheme for 2020 was 25 m EUR / 108 m PLN. The cash rebate reimburses up to 30% of Polish eligible production costs incurred in Poland.

    Most recently, the support from the Polish Film Institute was aimed at local studio cinemas that suffered the most losses during the pandemic. A total of 112 cinemas received funding as part of the Promotion of Polish film: Cinema development grant funds from the Institute. “Aid programmes assume the opening of cinemas as soon as possible, so the cinemas can count on quite a lot of support”, Radosław Śmigulski, Director of the Polish Film Institute told the media.

    The total budget for the support of cinemas is 34.3 m EUR / 157 m PLN. In October 2020 the Polish Government approved an additional 27 m EUR / 120 m PLN support from the COVID-19 Counteraction Fund to help the cinema industry.

    These solutions follow a series of programmes introduced by the Institute as soon as the industry was hit by the pandemic in 2020. The allocation of the grant funds to the Project Development programme was increased. The first instalment of grants for development was increased to 70% of the grant. The period of financing for projects that had already been granted funding by PISF was extended to up to three years. Previously producers were obliged to distribute long films supported by PISF in cinemas but now they could choose to launch them online during the pandemic.

    The total possible amount of production funding for all domestic films was raised to up to 70% of the budget. 

    The closure of cinemas in March 2020 sparked a #supportPolishcinemas campaign promoted by PISF, during which viewers could support local cinemas all over Poland by purchasing voucher tickets online.

    A financial support programme for filmmakers was established on 7 April 2020 by the director of PISF, in cooperation with the Polish Filmmakers Association, the Polish Film Academy, the Guild of Polish Directors, and the Association of Artists for Rzeczpospolita.