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Polish-German Film Fund kicks off


- At connecting cottbus, the new Polish-German Film Fund revealed its first application deadline; Poland has also announced a minority co-production fund

Polish-German Film Fund kicks off
An image of the press conference announcing the launch of the Polish-German Film Fund that took place in Warsaw on 28 September (© Marcin Kułakowski/PISF)

First announced in Warsaw in September, the new Polish-German Film Fund, established by the Polish Film Institute (PISF), Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM) and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, has kicked off with its first call for entries, with the deadline set for 8 December. This was revealed at the Funding News panel at connecting cottbus on 6 November.

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The three funding bodies have already been co-operating for ten years on the Polish-German Co-Development Fund, and have now decided to broaden the scope of their joint activities. The fund will provide financing for project development as well as for the production of low-budget movies, including cinematic debuts and titles that present an innovative approach to narration. Beginning in 2016, the Polish-German Fund will have an annual budget of €300,000, with €100,000 coming from each of the parties.

Projects in development will be eligible for financing of up to €70,000, while the maximum amount of funding for international co-productions will be set at €150,000. 

“We'd like to attract people who have a smart idea and want to bring it to fruition in an easy way and don’t want to wait a long time for several funds,” said Oliver Rittweger, of MDM, at the Cottbus panel. “Maybe they are producers who met at a small market or festival, and they want to make a film together. They may have some form of in-kind investment, maybe their own equipment, and if they don't have a distribution contract, that's fine.” 

“Each year in Poland, we have a couple of independent films – those that were made without any public funding,” said Robert Balinski, head of international relations at the PISF. “These are films that are made because someone had an urge to make them; maybe they even sold their own apartment to do it and wouldn't wait for a public fund. This is the type of project we'd like to support.”

More detailed information and application forms should be available on the respective funds’ websites this week. 

In addition, Balinski announced the formation of a new fund within the financing scheme of the PISF, dedicated to minority co-productions. “It's still a project that has to be approved by the executive board, but this will happen in the next two weeks. We will try to make life easier for minority co-pros in Poland,” he said. “This means there will be a separate committee that will judge minority co-productions. The other new regulation is that both producers will be able to apply for up to 70% of Polish funding. Before, the Polish producer had to first raise at least 50% of the Polish financing to be able to apply to us. 

“We realised that it was very tough for minority co-productions because they were always the last to be taken into consideration by the selection committees. With a separate fund, we hope this won't be the case. So instead of having three or four minority co-productions a year, we hope to double the number. The most important change is that the committee that will decide about the project will first give its opinion, and the final decision will be made by the general directorate. This will also be a tool for funding policy with regard to co-operation with other national funding bodies, to address reciprocity.”

Each project can be supported with up to €500,000, and the minimum criterion for support is one head of department on the Polish side; the requirement is to spend at least 80% of the subsidy in Poland.

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