Country Focus: Poland
Tensions ahead for public film funding
by Dorota Hartwich
- While Polish cinemagoers seem to be blissfully unaware of the economic crisis and continue to frequent theatres (see news), the financial turmoil could, however, impact domestic film production resources and the distribution sector.
Up to 2008, production funding from the Polish Film Institute (PISF) had been regularly increasing, but 2009 could see a trend reversal. However, it should be noted that although PISF support for debut films has always been on a rising curve (€2.3m in 2006, €2.7m in 2007 and €3.33m in 2008), this hasn’t been the case for grants aimed at narrative works (except for debut features), whose total dropped to €7.8m in 2008 after peaking in 2007 (€9.8m compared to €7.2m in 2006).
Most of the funds that the PISF earmarks for production come from television networks, in particular from public TV, which is itself currently experiencing serious financing problems. In 2009, TVP will therefore invest only €1m in film production, instead of the €5m of recent years.
Of all the PISF’s funding programmes, production support (for narrative, documentary, animated and debut films) has for the last few years represented over half of the total funds invested (66% in 2006 and 2007, 71% in 2008).
Film promotion and distribution seem to have lost out in recent years with their budget dropping from €1m in 2006 to €600,000 in 2008. On the other hand, the budget for the promotion of Polish films abroad has risen from €600,000 in 2006 to €1.1m per year for the period 2007-2009.
But the only film professionals who really have no reason to complain are movie theatre infrastructure investors. Their subsidies continue to increase and have shot up from €500,000 in 2006 to €900,000 for 2009.