Magazine article Screen International

Poland Industry Rides High atop Impending Production Incentive

Magazine article Screen International

Poland Industry Rides High atop Impending Production Incentive

Article excerpt

The Polish film industry is on a high. Agnieszka Holland's Spoor, backed by the Polish Film Institute, screens at this year's Berlin Film Festival in Competition and in 2016 there were a record 52 million admissions at the local box office. Of those 13 million were for domestic titles, a market share of nearly 25%.

It is a figure few other European countries can match, but local arthouse movies can be very big business in Poland. For example, Wojciech Smarzowski's Hatred (Volhynia), the first film to deal with the highly sensitive and contentious subject of the massacre of Poles by Ukrainians during the Second World War, garnered 1.4 million admissions in 2016.

Now the Polish government is aiming to put Poland on the international location map as the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage pushes through a 25% cash rebate scheme that is set to give the industry a huge boost.

"The Polish film industry has earned an excellent international reputation in recent years and the only thing lacking has been financial incentives," says Tomasz Dabrowski, head of Film Commission Poland, of how the industry has serviced projects such as Mick Jackson's Denial, starring Rachel Weisz, various German productions including Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Work Without Author and Korean crime drama Unfinished, directed by Noh Gyu Yeop.

All being well, the incentive scheme will soon be signed by the president and could be available as soon as this summer. The new incentive, available for local as well as international productions, will give producers a 25% rebate on qualifying Polish production costs. High-end TV drama should also be able to use the scheme.

With an annual fund of $23m (euro22m), the mechanism will be run on a 'first come, first served' basis. It should be easy to use for any productions that pass the qualifying test and the expected minimum expenditure in Poland. The aim is for the rebate to be paid to the Polish producer within a month of the application being made. If it works to plan, the scheme will be self-financing: the amount Poland earns in inward investment will cover the costs of the rebate.

This new measure will not affect the funding already available to international producers through the country's regional film funds, the Polish Film Institute's fund for co-productions and the recently established Polish-German Film Fund. …

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