And the coming attraction is… Poland looking to steal the show by giving incentives to international filmmakers

A number of big name films have already been made in Poland including David Lynch’s Inland Empire, The Chronicles of Narnia, High Life by Claire Denis and Tom Hanks’ Bridge of Spies. Fair Use

A new law giving incentives to international production companies is about to come into force.

The Polish Film Institute says it will reimburse costs of up to 46 million euros such as scouting and pre-production, scenography, costumes, studio rent, travel, equipment rent, montage, post-production, animation and even salaries.

Radosław Śmigulski, the Polish Film Institute’s director told PAP: “The general rule is that the producer or co-producer of a film or a series must bear the costs of production in Poland. 

“Thirty percent of the qualified costs incurred will be returned by the Polish Film Institute. 

Parts of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s 2018 film Never Look Away were shot in Poland. Fair Use

“Such a mechanism is present in virtually all European countries, we were one of the last ones where there was no such support.”

Similar incentive and reimbursement systems show profit after several years of functioning. 

Lithuania, which introduced their regulations in 2014, managed to attract 68 productions, leading to  $27.8 million in foreign production investment, according to Olsberg-SPI report.

 Polish Film Institute director Radosław Śmigulski said 30 percent of costs incurred by production companies would be reimbursed by the Institute. Bartłomiej Zborowski/PAP

Śmigulski added: “It is important that this mechanism is addressed not only to the creators of artistic films that the Polish Film Institute has handled so far, but also commercial productions that are less ambitious artistically.”

The applications will be considered under the formal and legal criteria, as well as the order in which they were submitted. 

At the same time the forms include information on the inclusion of “important cultural values and participation of Polish and EU artists.

The 2016 film The Innocents by Anne Fontaine was a French-Polish-Belgian co-production that was supported by the Polish Film Institute and the Film Commission Poland.Fair Use

There has recently been several international film productions in Poland, including the most recent “High Life” by Claire Denis and “Never Look Away” by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. 

With over 60 features made every year, it is hoped the new incentive system will boost the film industry in Poland, especially given the breadth of requirements which include films, TV series, animations and documentaries.

Due for release in March this year, High Life by Claire Denis about a father and his daughter struggling to survive in deep space where they live in isolation, used locations in Poland. Fair Use

“The resulting presence of international entities in our film market will force the adoption of certain solutions and mechanisms related to the financing of the film industry, which are present in Western European countries or in the United States. 

“Due to the fact that film producers do not receive money immediately, only after the production is finished, they will need funds to finance works, for example, dedicated film production loans,“ Śmigulski concluded. 

Director David Lynch is known to have a soft spot for Poland and his film Inland Empire was an international co-production between the United States, France, and Poland and shot primarily in Los Angeles and Poland.Fair Use

Developing financial instruments especially for the film industry should bring the production standards closer to those in the West. 

Śmigulski also hopes that the boost will be felt in other areas, such as tourism, similarly to what Croatia experienced after having episodes of Games of Thrones filmed there.