02-04-2020

Polish Film Institute Launches Plan for Film Industry in Crisis

By

WARSAW: The 16-person crisis team formed by the Polish Film Institute (PISF) issued its first decisions after the first meeting on 20 March 2020. Their aim is to support the film industry and its members through measures ranging from changes to the grants procedure, to a special fund providing assistance for those in need.

"The problems we are facing can be divided into: how to help here and now, and how to prepare the market for the moment when the pandemic ends", said Radosław Śmigulski, Head of PISF.

The crisis group agreed on the need to extend the period of financing promises already granted by PISF up to three years. This applies to all already granted financing pledges, i.e. about 45 projects. The producers are no longer obliged to distribute long films supported by PISF in cinemas and they can choose to launch them online.

All domestic films will have their classification switched to "difficult", which will allow to raise the threshold for public aid to 70%. PISF will also implement a quick information path on awarded grants. Producers that receive a grant for development will get a bigger amount of funds in the first installment, which was increased to 70% of the grant.

The group will also work on supporting the development of online systems that would allow festivals to take place on the Internet.

There are also plans for establishing a special film fund to provide quick assistance to those most in need. 

The President of the Polish Filmmakers Association, Jacek Bromski, introduced an initiative of an earlier payment of advance royalties for film professionals, while Mariusz Łukomski from Monolith Films announced high investments in productions after the crisis.

A special bill on the Artist Status is developed by the Ministry of Culture and it is planned as a lifeline for creative workers in need. 

The crisis team is headed by Radosław Śmigulski and is composed of: Małgorzata Szczepkowska-Kalemba, Head of the Production and Development Department of PISF Film Projects; Leszek Bodzak, President of Aurum Film, member of the board of the Polish Producers Guild; Jacek Bromski, President of the Polish Filmmakers Association and director; Marlena Gabryszewska, President of the Studio Cinema Association; Alicja Grawon-Jaksik, President of the Polish Producers Alliance; Roman Gutek, organiser of the New Horizons IFF, distributor, producer; Dariusz Jabłoński, President of the Polish Film Academy, director, producer; Tomasz Jagiełło, President of the Management Board of HELIOS S.A.; Andrzej Jakimowski, Chairman of the Polish Directors Guild; Robert Kaczmarek, Board of the Association of Artists for the the Republic of Poland; Leszek Kopeć, Director of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; Joanna Kotłowska, Director of Development at Cineworld Cinemas Polska; Anna Limbach-Uryn, Vice-President of Kino Świat, Programme Director of the Canal + Platform; Mariusz Łukomski, President of the Board of Monolith Films; Urszula Malska, President of the Board at United International Pictures Poland; and Mariusz Spisz, President of the Board at Multikino Media

A total of 182 film productions have been shut down since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. "The level of losses that the Polish cinema suffers is impossible to evaluate now, because the situation is dynamic", said Radosław Śmigulski, the director of the Polish Film Institute, in an official statement.

The group estimates that the market will be threatened by the "cannibalisation" of domestic productions, especially in the autumn of 2020, and they plan to create a special schedule of premieres to avoid this.