Country Focus: Poland
2009 good year for audience figures and production support
by Dorota Hartwich
- Following on from positive comments about the state of the Polish film industry, which were echoed after the latest Gdynia festival in September, the Polish Film Institute (PISF) has just published a report that confirms this enthusiasm.
In it, the year 2009 is described as "exceptional”, owing to the various international successes enjoyed by Polish film, record audience figures in theatres and the level of financing for local productions.
Last year, over 170 Polish films were presented in competition at over 230 international festivals. Even though the level of success was not spectacular (except for Andrzej Wajda’s Sweet Rush [+see also:
film profile], which won the Alfred-Bauer Award at the 59th Berlin Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Prize at the European Film Awards), there was a strong Polish presence at the level of international distribution, spearheaded by Andrzej Jakimowski’s Tricks [+see also:
interview: Andrzej Jakimowski
interview: Tomasz Gąssowski
film profile], which sold to over 30 countries.
The year 2009 set a record for audience figures, with over 38m admissions (compared to 33.8m in 2008). There were also good results for Polish features, which drew 8.7m viewers and amassed €34.2m in takings.
There was also good news for production funding granted by the PISF: this stood at €33.2m in 2009 compared to €28.8m in 2008 and €12-17m the previous years. The Polish Film Institute last year backed 130 works, including 49 narrative films (€28m in funding), 65 documentaries and 16 animated films. To understand the significance of this level of support, it should be noted that the total combined budget of all films backed by the PISF is €59m.
The PISF, which allocated €7.2m for 18 debut films in 2009, is also contributing more and more to co-productions, with ten narrative works backed last year for a total of €7.3m. Beneficiaries included Jerzy Skolimowski’s The Essence of Killing, Agnieszka Holland’s Hidden and Peter Weir’s The Way Back.