Debate about Regional Film Funds in Kraków

How local government can support film production – a discussion among guests from Poland and Europe in Kraków.

A conference entitled “Regional Film Funds – participation of local governments in the development of the audiovisual industry” took place from January 24-25. The discussion topic was the creation and future activities of Regional Film Funds in Poland. Polish participants heard about European experiences in this field.

Representatives of local authorities, officials from culture and promotion departments, audiovisual producers, entrepreneurs interested in regional co-productions, and representatives of regional chambers of auditors were present at the conference. There were also many foreign guests.

Various aspects of the creation of the funds were presented during six discussion panels with specialists and European experts in the field: “Regional Film Funds – European Experiences”; “Local governments as Regional Film Funds initiators. Potential advantages for regions”; “Legal aspects and models of Film Fund creation and legal aspects of audiovisual productions coordinated by local governments”; “The process of granting subsidies for audiovisual productions”; “Digital technology as an opportunity for local cinemas”; and “Producers. Supply of audiovisual services to regions. How and when to apply for regional funds?”

Speakers in the panel discussions included: Jonathan Davis, Senior Adviser UK Film Council and Director of the British Screen Advisory Council; Henning Camre, President of the Think Tank on European Film and Film Policy, founder and former director of the Danish Film Institute; Anders Geertsen, member of the European Digital Cinema Forum; Paul Corcoran, General Director of the Kino Cinemas Holding; Patrick von Sychowsky, expert from Screen Digest; Manfred Schmidt, Director of the Mitteldeutsche Medienforderung; Suzanne Alizart from East Midland Media; Philippe Reynaert, Director of the Walloine Image Regional Film Fund in Belgium and founder of Cine Regio; Xavier Merlin, Director of European and International Affairs at the Centre National de Cinematographie; Emilia de Paola and Daniel Zimmerman from the European Coordination of Regional Funds; Jacek Fuksiewicz, Director of the Department of Film Production Programs and Film Projects at the Polish Film Institute; Monika Smoleń, Head of the Department of Cultural Strategy and European Funds at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage; Krzysztof Gierat, President of the Polish Film Foundation; Joanna Wendorff, Director of MEDIA Desk Poland; Marta Materska-Samek of the Cinema Development Foundation; Cecylia Gasz-Płońska, Director of the Silesia Film, and Piotr Kletowski, a Ph.D. from Jagiellonian University.

Both local government officials and filmmakers said they want to co-operate in the framework of the Regional Film Funds. The financing system of film production was discussed. The discussions suggested that it is a difficult task that requires a lot of time and effort.

The problem of digitization was also mentioned. European examples proved that this irreversible process is a chance to revitalize local cinemas and promote effective competition in the cinema market.

The conference ended with a concert of film music by Wojciech Kilar, “Kieślowski in Memoriam”, by the orchestra Sinfonietta Cracovia. Before the concert there was a pre-premiere screening of the documentary film Legenda, part of the unfinished television cycle Ziemia Żeromskiego by the late Krzysztof Kieślowski.

The conference was organised at the initiative of the city of Kraków and the National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers in co-operation with the Polish Film Institute.


Translated by Monika Miziniak | Edited by Patricia Koza