Polish film crisis averted

By Katarzyna Grynienko
    The Polish film industry have effectively protested against the loss of the headquarters of the The Documentary and Feature Films Studio (WFDiF,www.wfdif.com.pl).
    On the 22nd of May a special press conference was held at the headquarters of WFDiF, where film professionals opposed to the City Hall's initial plan to take over the property and sell it to real estate agents. The Director of the Polish Film Institute (www.pisf.pl) Agnieszka Odorowicz and the representative of the Ministry of Culture Zenon Budkiewicz assured the gathered audience that they will do what ever it is possible to keep WFDiF from disappearing, as the grounds in question are owned by the State Treasury and the company itslef is a public instutition under the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (www.mkidn.gov.pl).

    "Chełmska hosts around 40% of Polish film production, employs 1,500 people, over 40 film companies and institutions is gathered here, including the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Directing. Most recently the works for General Nil, a new movie by Ryszard Bugajski, were completed and right now Jacek Głomb is using it to postproduce his new movie Operation Dunabe," Włodzimierz Niderhaus, the head of WFDID noted.

    Leading Polish directors including Andrzej Wajda, Juliusz Machulski, Janusz Morgenstern, Jacek Bromski and Wojciech Marczewski supported the significance of WFDiF, both for the history as for the future of Polish cinema. Maciej Strzembosz, the Chairman of the National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers ( www.kipa.pl) pointed out that it has turned into a specific "media cluster", gathering the most significant, film production oriented Polish companies in one place.

    The filmmakers' prostest and the press conference were preceded by growing media pressure on the authorities, whose representatives were supposed to appear during the meeting. As it turned out, the City Hall avoided confrontation and held their own competitve meeting at the same time, where it was officially announced that plans to remove WFDiF are going to be changed and that the city will try to dispose of the district in some other manner.