Polish-Indian Filmmaking Co-Operation
The audiovisual co-production agreement signed between Poland and India on July 4, 2012 has born its first fruit. Based on this intergovernmental agreement, Polish producer Artevision signed a co-production agreement in November for the production of a feature animated film project entitled Hot Heart Story, co-produced with Auracine Entertainment, a producer from Calcutta.
Polish-Indian Agreement on Audiovisual Co-Production
Signed in 2012, the agreement on audiovisual co-production between Poland and India is the fourth such agreement signed by the Polish government, following similar agreements with the governments of France, Israel, and Canada. The Indian side had prior agreements on audiovisual co-operation with Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, and New Zealand.
The scope of the agreement signed between Poland and India is rather wide and, in addition to film co-productions, also encompasses other audiovisual productions, mainly television. The agreement regulates the scope of financial investment of participating co-producers (between 20 and 80 percent), the requirement for financial involvement of both sides, and the rules for distributing awards and other forms of recognition. The agreement also serves to facilitate the transfer of film equipment and infrastructure necessary for co-production. The agreement also enables producers, screenwriters, directors, film technicians and actors to enter the territory in the partner country for the duration of film production. Each co-production undertaken under the agreement is regarded as a domestic production by both Poland and India.
Hot Heart Story
The 44th International Film Festival of India in Goa featured the Film Bazaar film market, which noted November 23 as the Polish Day. It was on that day that Artevision, producer of the feature animated film Hot Heart Story signed the first co-production agreement within the scope of the 2012 intergovernmental agreement on co-production.
Anira Wojan of Artevision believes that Poland and India share a temperament and a certain type of romanticism, also noting that “Poland is a bridge country between Indian productions and Western productions. Thanks to the Minister of Culture, we signed an extremely important agreement on co-operation and film co-production. This places us alongside such filmmaking powers as the United Kingdom, making us into reliable partners that can enter into trilateral co-production agreements in places where financing is available by producers unable to take advantage of this governmental security such as the Swiss, the Canadians, or the French. This gives us an advantage of about two or three years, before India signs further such agreements.”
Auracine Entertainment, Artevision’s Indian co-producer, has invested in a film that tells the story of a young Polish woman named Dunka, who sets off from her small fishing village in the snow-covered Hel peninsula in search of her first job, which ends up being in the kitchen of a Spanish freighter sailing the coast of the Canary Islands. The stereotypical view of the world by the protagonist is shattered when the freighter is boarded by a group of stranded African refugees, one of whom is David, a seven-year-old boy from Sudan. Crossing paths with Barum, an Indian doctor holding a French passport, allows Dunka to not only live through an exciting African adventure, but also to understand that the most important things in life aren’t things at all.
“Animation studios in India today have begin providing services to the world’s leading film studios, such as Warner and Disney. Hot Heart Story has the kind of potential that might lead us very far. These Polish artists have a fantastic story to tell, and our animators know how to do it,” says Roy Sukankan of Auracine Entertainment.
Dzieci Jam Saheba
Film Bazaar was also attended by Maria Krauss of Tramway, who along with director Magdalena Łazarkiewicz travelled to Goa to present the current status of a creative documentary entitled Dzieci Jam Saheba, the story of Polish children saved during the Second World War by Indian maharajah Jam Sahib.
“Since the beginning of the development phase, we have been co-operating on this project with our German co-producer Frank Stehling of Primehouse. We’ve also long been in discussions with our Indian co-producer Aparna Sanyal of Mixed Media Production. This [event] gave us an opportunity to meet in person to discuss our co-operation. Our co-production contract under the intergovernmental agreement on audiovisual co-operation will be signed by the end of this year,” says Maria Krauss, adding: “There is no doubt that there is mutual curiosity between Poland and India, and our two nations have a lot to offer to one another, in terms of both co-production and film services.”
Film Bazaar in Goa
Poland is becoming one of the key partners of the Goa festival. Film Bazaar was attended by a group of Polish filmmakers, including two producers from ADHD Warsaw: Roman Jędrkowiak and Wojciech Lepianka. Their project entitled Incredible, to be directed by Piotr Trzaskalski, was selected for the festival’s co-production market a one of only a handful of non-Indian projects. Incredible tells the story of a couple who travels to India to make their dream of having a baby become a reality with the help of a surrogate.
“Together with Wojciech Lepianka, we had about thirty meetings. We’ve received great feedback about Incredible‘ – two serious co-production offers (one from the United States, the other from Australia). We’ve also been invited to the Toronto co-production market. Everyone we spoke to emphasized that this should not be a local, contained Polish story. It has been our assumption from the start that Incredible is going to be filmed in English. International markets are great venues for securing financing, given that the project has a universal feel and will be understood by an international audience,” says Roman Jędrkowiak about his participation in the film market.
Film Bazaar ran from November 20 through November 24, 2013. The trip of the Polish representatives was supported by the Polish Film Institute. Further details are available at www.filmbazaarindia.com.
Film Market in India
India produces over 1,000 feature films each year, while Poland’s annual production is at about 45 films. The highly developed condition of Indian cinema stems from the fact that this country has the world’s largest audience. It is estimated that Indian cinemas receive approximately 12 million admissions per day; that’s almost half of total annual admissions in Poland. As Magdalena Łazarkiewicz, who attended this year’s Film Bazaar, notes: “The awareness of Polish cinema in India is incredible. I have never met anyone who knew as much about Polish cinema as people in India.”
Translated by Karolina Kołtun