Polish Film Institute to support the local film industry during coronavirus outbreak
by Ola Salwa
- The main funding body in Poland has called a special meeting of producers, distributors and other key industry professionals in order to assess the situation
Polish cinemas shut their doors on 12 March and film sets closed up shop soon after, while the festivals scheduled for spring and early summer, including Docs Against Gravity, Animator and Cinema on the Border, have moved their dates to the autumn. The Polish Film Institute (PISF), the main funding body in Poland, convened an online meeting with key industry players in order to assess the current situation and propose a strategy for the coming months. A few changes are already under way.
The PISF, in co-operation with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, has decided to extend its promise of subsidies to a period of three years, and that change will apply to all 45 projects that had already been given such a promise. The institute also agreed to classify all submitted projects as “difficult”, which means that they can apply for a subsidy covering up to 70% of their budget, instead of the usual 50%. Projects in development that received PISF support will get up to 70% of the grant in the first tranche. Further changes include the waiving of an obligatory theatrical release for films co-financed by the PISF.
Other sectors of the industry can hope for support as well. The institute will ease the rules applying to film festivals’ so-called “qualified costs”, so that organisers can cover all existing expenses from the PISF grant. The attendees hoped that the institute would introduce separate subsidies for developing online systems that would enable festivals to hold a digital edition. The PISF also offered its support to cinema owners and filmmakers. The Polish Filmmakers’ Association and the Union of Audiovisual Authors and Producers are already offering to pay royalties in advance. The other motions tabled during the meeting were related to scheduled theatrical releases, distribution deals and the cash-rebate system.
The meeting was led by Radosław Śmigulski, director of the PISF, and was attended by Małgorzata Szczepkowska-Kalemba (head of Development and Production, PISF), Leszek Bodzak (film producer, Polish Producers' Guild), Jacek Bromski (film director and president of the Polish Filmmakers’ Association), Marlena Gabryszewska (president of the Arthouse Cinema Association), Alicja Grawon-Jaksik (president of the Chamber of Polish Producers), Roman Gutek (distributor and director of the New Horizons International Film Festival), Dariusz Jabłoński (film producer and president of the Polish Film Academy), Tomasz Jagiełło (CEO of the HELIOS cinema chain), Andrzej Jakimowski (president of the Polish Directors' Guild), Robert Kaczmarek (member of the board of the Filmmakers for Republic Association), Leszek Kopeć (director of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia), Joanna Kotłowska (head of Development at Cineworld Cinemas Poland), Anna Limbach-Uryn (vice-president of Kino Świat, programming director at Canal+), Mariusz Łukomski (chairman of the board of Monolith Films), Urszula Malska (chairwoman of the board of United International Pictures Poland) and Mariusz Spisz (chairman of the board of Multikino Media). The meetings will be held weekly, with the second one scheduled for 27 March.
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