Frequently asked questions


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1. Operation of the financial support system for audiovisual production, the so-called incentives

What are the legal foundations of the financial support system for audiovisual production?
The principles, conditions and procedure for granting and accounting for financial support are set out in the Act on financial support for audiovisual production of November 9, 2018, and the Regulation of the Minister of Culture of February 11, 2019 on a detailed list of Polish eligible costs, parameters of audiovisual works and documents related to granting financial support for audiovisual production by the Polish Film Institute and the Act of March 31, 2020 on the amendment to the Act on special solutions related to the prevention, prevention and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, as well as certain other acts.
What productions are eligible for a 30% refund?
Feature films, documentaries and animated films as well as series, animated series and documentary series are eligible for a 30% refund.
Are there any requirements as to the minimum runtime of specific production?
Yes, only productions with specific runtime are eligible for reimbursement:
  • feature film - not shorter than 70 minutes;
  • series - each episode not shorter than 40 minutes;
  • documentary feature - not shorter than 40 minutes;
  • documentary series - the season not shorter than 150 minutes;
  • animated feature – not shorter than 60 minutes;
  • animated series - at least 10 episodes, season not shorter than 50 minutes
What are the minimum spending thresholds?
The thresholds for minimum expenses depend on the type of production and the agreement specifying the conditions for the production of the work - a co-production or audiovisual service is possible. The value of Polish eligible costs must exceed the values indicated in the table below.
TYPE OF PRODUCTION MINIMUM RUNTIME SPEND TO BE EXCEEDED (PLN)
FEATURE FILM co-production 70 min. 2 500 000 (in 2019) 3 000 000 (in 2020) 4 000 000 (from 2021)
service 1 000 000
SERIES co-production 40 min. / episode 1 000 000 / episode
service 1 000 000 / season
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE co-production 40 min. 300 000
service 300 000
DOCUMENTARY SERIES co-production 150 min. / season 1 000 000 / season
service 300 000 / season
ANIMATED FEATURE co-production 60 min. 1 000 000
service 500 000
ANIMATED SERIES co-production 50 min. / 10 episodes / season 1 000 000 / season
service 500 000 / season
Is there a limit of support for the project?
Yes, the limit is PLN 15 million for one audiovisual work.
Is there a support limit for the applicant?
Yes, the support limit for one applicant is PLN 20 million in a calendar year. This means that if an entrepreneur applies for support for more than one project, support for all its production in total cannot exceed PLN 20 million in a calendar year.
Is the reimbursement available for Polish production, i.e. production carried out without the participation of foreign partners?
Yes, Polish co-production can be reimbursed if it meets all the criteria required by the Act on the financial support of audiovisual production and the regulation of the Minister of Culture.
Does the production of one episode of the series qualify for reimbursement?
Yes, but financial support can only be granted once per season, i.e. you will not be able to apply for support for the rest of the season.
Is there a minimum number of shooting days to be completed in Poland?
No, the number of shooting days carried out in Poland is one of the criteria for the qualification test, but there is no minimum required number.
Is it possible to use both the Polish Film Institute grant and financial support from the incentive scheme for one project?
Yes, as long as you keep limits on the use of public funds specified in the Act. The maximum share of public funds together with the amount of support from the incentive scheme may not exceed: a) 50% in the case of national or international co-production in which co-producers from outside the European Union and Member States of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) participate; b) 60% in the case of an international co-production, in which one of the countries of origin of producers or co-producers of an audiovisual work is the Republic of Poland, and other producers or co-producers of an audiovisual work come from other European Union Member States or from Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area; c) 70% in the case of a difficult work which has limited commercial value because it is directed at children under 12 years of age; d) 70% in the case of a difficult work, which has limited commercial value by promoting Polish historical or cultural heritage in the world and at the same time the Polish eligible costs of its production exceed at least twice the minimum values ​​of Polish eligible costs entitling to submit the application.

2. Beneficiaries

Who can apply for granting financial support?

An entrepreneur who is a producer of an audiovisual work, a co-producer of an audiovisual work or an entity providing a service for audiovisual production with achievements and based in Poland. An achievement is at least one production (feature film, documentary film, animated film, series, animated series, or documentary series) distributed in cinemas, broadcast on TV or on VOD or presented at the FIAPF accredited festival and the applicant shall be its producer, co-producer or service provider. The criterion of having appropriate achievements can also be met if the entrepreneur hires a person responsible for production with adequate experience. Before submitting the application, the entrepreneur must conclude a co-production agreement or for the provision of an audiovisual service on the territory of Poland. The entrepreneur must also meet the requirements set out in the provisions on state aid.

Can a foreign entrepreneur apply for financial support?

Yes, if it is located in another Member State of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and has a branch in Poland and this branch is the producer of the work to be reimbursed. The Polish branch of a foreign company must also meet the conditions regarding the relevant achievements, the prior conclusion of the contract and the requirements set out in the public aid regulations, which are described in point 1 above.

Can a Polish entrepreneur provide a service for audiovisual production for another Polish entrepreneur?

No, financial support for a company providing a service for audiovisual production can only be granted if the producer of the audiovisual work or any of the co-producers is not based in Poland.

Is it possible to apply for financial support from an entrepreneur who has so far produced only commercials?

The act requires that the entrepreneur applying for financial support should have at least one completed and publicly presented feature film, documentary film, animated film or series, documentary series or animated series as producer, co-producer or service provider for audiovisual production or employ a person responsible for production with adequate experience.

Can a cultural institution or foundation apply for a refund of eligible costs?

Yes, cultural institution or foundation can apply for a refund of eligible costs.

How large enterprises can apply for support?

Companies of any size can apply for support.

If I am an only producer of an audiovisual work, can I apply for financial support?

No, the Institute grants financial support to an entrepreneur who has contracted to co-produce a work in the territory of the Republic of Poland. It could be a domestic co-production or an international co-production.

Is it possible to assign the granted support to another entity?

No, as part of the audiovisual production support system "incentives" it is not possible to assign the granted support to any other entrepreneur.


3. Submission of applications

Is it possible to submit an application in English?
No, the application for financial support is submitted in Polish. All documents and attachments to the application should be translated into Polish, including a copy of the co-production contract or service (service) contract and the financing plan together with copies of documents confirming 75% of the total value of funding that must be translated by a sworn translator.
Is it possible to apply with more than one project?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of applications submitted; there is only a limit to the total amount of support for one applicant, which cannot exceed PLN 20 million in a calendar year.
Can I apply twice with one project if I have already received financial support for the project, e.g. in successive years?
No, only one financial support can be granted for the production of one audiovisual work. In the case of the series, support is granted for each season separately.
How many times can I apply?
The Polish Film Institute may consider, as part of "incentives", only one application for a given audiovisual work at a time. If, due to deficiencies or errors, the application is considered negative, you can re-apply for support for the project. If the entrepreneur signs the contract with the Polish Film Institute but does not start the works covered by support within 3 months from the date specified in the contract, the Institute may withdraw from the contract. After withdrawing from the contract, the entrepreneur may submit an application for support regarding the same audiovisual work again only once.
When can I apply for a certificate?
At any stage of production, but before submitting an application for financial support. The certificate is valid for 4 years.
Is the Certificate a guarantee of receiving cash rebate?
No, the certificate only confirms the fulfilment of the qualification test criteria.
How long does it take to process the certificate application?
Up to 28 calendar days.
Can I apply for a certificate if I do not have the participation of all required filmmakers confirmed yet (director, screenwriter, cinematographer, composer) or my script is unfinished?
In order to submit a certificate application, please attach a completed scenario. The application for a certificate should contain the names of the filmmakers (director, screenwriter, cinematographer and composer). There is no need to attach contracts with filmmakers , however, you need to specify the date of concluding the contract with the director.
Do I have to apply for a certificate before applying for financial support?
No, if the entrepreneur is ready, he can immediately apply for financial support. The certificate is not obligatory.
When can I apply for financial support?
At the earliest, 12 months, and at the latest on the day of commencement of the works to be financed. It should be noted that this does not always have to be the beginning of the entire production process, e.g. if only post-production is to be covered by financial support, the application must be submitted at the latest before the start of this stage. Example: the entrepreneur plans to start the supported works and thus incur the costs from July 1, 2021, then the first possible deadline for submitting the application is July 1, 2020, and the last possible deadline for submitting the application is June 30, 2021.
Are there any deadlines for submitting applications?
No, applications are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year. The funds are granted in the order of applications.
Is the fee charged for examining the application for financial support?
Yes, the Institute charges a fee for processing the application. The fee is 0.05% of the estimated financial support requested by the applying entrepreneur, however, not more than PLN 1000. If the application is not examined due to the depletion of funds in a given year, the fee will be refunded to the applicant.
How long does it take to process the application for financial support?
Up to 28 calendar days, if the application is submitted correctly.
Who decides whether to grant support?
The granting of support is determined by the fulfilment of certain conditions: the value of eligible costs, the type of production, the results of the qualification test. Incentives are based on an automatic scheme, which means that there are no experts assessing the artistic value of the project. The application is verified by the Polish Film Institute staff in terms of meeting formal requirements and compliance with the actual state.
Do I have to confirm financing of 75% of the costs of the total production budget or 75% of the costs of the work to be supported?
When submitting a request for support, it is necessary to confirm by attaching documents proving financing both 75% of the costs of the work to be supported and 75% of the total production budget
What kind of documents shall I present to confirm 75% of funding?
The financing of the audiovisual work is confirmed by documents that give rise to the parties' obligations, e.g. a co-production agreement, loan agreement, grant agreement, bank statement. Documents that do not confirm funding are e.g. letters of intent and certificates. In the event that the applicant cannot, for justified reasons, submit a contract for the provision of services for audiovisual production, the Director of the Institute may decide to submit to the Institute other documents on the basis of which it will be possible to examine the application.

4. Eligible costs

When the costs are eligible for a refund?
The cost is eligible for reimbursement if it is incurred during the period of works covered by the support in accordance with the agreed schedule constituting an annex to the contract between the applicant for support of the entrepreneur and PISF.
Can I qualify the remuneration of my employees employed under a contract of employment?
Yes, provided that they work on the project, for which the entrepreneur applies for cash rebate and if the income tax on remuneration is paid in Poland.
Can I qualify the remuneration of a foreign actor / filmmaker?
Yes, if the income tax on this remuneration is paid in Poland
Can I get a refund of travel expenses?
Yes, you can get the reimbursement of tickets for an airplane, train, bus or ship if Poland is the starting or ending place of your trip. The entity that provides the transport service must have its registered office or branch in Poland, operate on the territory of Poland and be entered in the relevant register.
Is VAT taxation eligible?
No, the eligible costs do not include VAT.
Can I qualify office and administrative costs for cash rebate, e.g. the cost of renting an office?
As part of the "incentives" only the costs incurred in the place of production other than the headquarters or other business premises of the entrepreneur can be qualified. e.g. the rent for the office will not be an eligible cost, but the rent for a production office dedicated only to the production of a given project constitutes an eligible cost.
Can I qualify the costs of social security contributions and income tax for the crew members?
Yes, as long as they are documented, paid in Poland and concern the labour costs of people according to the list specified in the regulation of the Minister of Culture.
Are the amounts of support limits and minimum expenditure thresholds gross or net?
Amounts of support limits and minimum expenditure thresholds are amounts in Polish zlotys without VAT tax. The Act on supporting audiovisual production excludes a value added tax from Polish eligible costs.
Does the catalogue of eligible costs for "incentives" coincide with the catalogue of eligible costs in grants awarded by the PISF?
No, the list of eligible costs for "incentives" is specified in the regulation of the Minister of Culture to the Act on supporting audiovisual production and does not fully cover the catalogue of eligible costs under the PISF Operational Programs.
Is the cost eligible if an invoice is issued after submitting an application or after the final granting financial support?
Only costs incurred in the period of supported works declared in the schedule are eligible for settlement.
Can expenses paid directly by a foreign co-producer / employer in Poland be eligible costs?
No, the entrepreneur applying for support can only get back the expenses he / she paid himself.

5. Report and refund

Can I pay the crew after receiving the reimbursement from the Institute?
No, if these costs are to be considered as Polish eligible costs. All obligations must be settled before submitting the final production settlement report to the Polish Film Institute. Documents confirming the settlement of obligations are a required attachment to the report.
What should the final report contain?
The report submitted after completion of the work covered by the support should contain company data, contact details, production information (title, language, literary basis, planned runtime, genre and type of audiovisual work, name and surname of the director, screenwriter, cinematographer and composer, and indication of whether this is co-production or service and whether production can be classified as difficult), a brief description of each stage of production covered by support, data on costs necessary for verification, data on meeting the criteria of the qualification test, the amount and percentage of public funds, the indication of producers or co-producers. The report shall be accompanied by: a list of eligible costs incurred together with invoices as well as financial documents confirming the payment; confirmation of payment of remuneration and fees and other benefits constituting the labour costs of persons engaged in audiovisual production; a qualification test completed on the basis of current data at the time the report was presented; name list of film crew members along with their functions and information on the number of shooting days / post-production days in Poland.
What additional materials, apart from the report and required attachments, should be submitted to the PISF by the entrepreneur applying for support?
In addition to the report and required attachments, the entrepreneur should submit an unused copy of the audiovisual work and the script, editing and dialogue list, photos, posters, list of credits and advertising materials within 30 days after production is completed, but no later than on the day of distribution.
In what mode is the qualification test verified if the financial support only covered the shooting period? Do I have to wait until the editing stage ends?
No, the report with an updated test shall be submitted after completing the work covered by the support. If the applicant applied for support only for the shooting period, he / she submits the report after completing this stage of work.

6. Reimbursement

How is the reimbursement calculated?
Financial support is granted in the amount of 30% of Polish eligible costs, however, the Polish costs which constitute the basis for calculating the support may not exceed 80% of the total audiovisual production costs.
When will I receive a refund?
After verification of the submitted report. The report is submitted up to 60 days after the completion of the supported work, the Institute has up to 90 days to verify it.
For whom are the costs reimbursed in the case of international co-production or service for a foreign company?
The reimbursement is always paid to the applicant or entrepreneur who has concluded a contract with the Polish Film Institute, i.e. in this case a Polish co-producer or service provider (e.g. an executive producer).
My eligible costs were less than the amount indicated in the contract. How much will my reimbursement be?
The applicant will receive a refund of 30% of the current Polish eligible costs, provided that the minimum expenditure threshold set out in the Regulation is met. The difference resulting from the discrepancy between the amount accumulated on the escrow account and the amount actually spent will be transferred back to the pool of funds at the Institute's disposal.
My eligible costs were more than the amount declared in the application. How much will my reimbursement be?
The refund amount will not increase. The applicant will receive the amount originally specified in the contract and secured on the escrow account.
To what extent can the PISF control an entrepreneur who has been granted financial support?
PISF may conduct audit in order to verify the timeliness of production in accordance with the agreement on financial support and the reliability of information contained in the report and its attachments . The scope of audit is described in the Act on the financial support of audiovisual production (Articles 28-30.)
In what period can PISF audit an entrepreneur who has been granted financial support?
From the day of signing the contract to the date of completing the verification of the report.

7. Problem solving

What happens if my project does not reach the required 51% of the qualification test?
The project is not eligible for financial support.
Can I submit an application and complete some of the required attachments at a later date?
No, only correctly filled applications will be evaluated together with a set of required attachments and documents.
What happens if the application is incomplete or does not meet the requirements?
PISF returns application to the entrepreneur and informs in writing about the deficiencies found and the possibility to submit the application again.
What happens if the PISF has doubts about the item in the estimated budget in relation to the project production assumptions and the script?
The Institute provides the applicant with comments on the cost estimate together with a written justification and calls on the applicant to submit a modified cost estimate within the time limit indicated in the request, however not longer than 60 days from the date of delivery of the request (by post or e-mail). If the entrepreneur does not submit a modified cost estimate within a given time limit, the Institute sets the maximum amount of a given eligible cost that will be subject to settlement and presents it to the entrepreneur in writing within 14 calendar days from the expiry of the period on which the entrepreneur was to submit the modified cost estimate. The PISF has 28 calendar days to reconsider the application from the date of submission of the modified cost estimate or from the date on which the Institute presents the maximum amount of costs.
What happens if I submit an application and the pool of funds for a given year runs out?
PISF informs the entrepreneur about the non-processing of the application, returns the fee for processing the application and places the project on the reserve list of applications, which may be considered if the funds in pool occur, e.g. resignation from granted support by another entrepreneur.
What happens if I have been granted support but production has not started?
If the entrepreneur does not start the works covered by support within 3 months from the date indicated in the contract for granting financial support, the Institute may withdraw from the contract. After withdrawing from the contract, the application can be re-submitted only once.
What happens if, as a result of the audit, PISF concludes that the entrepreneur does not fulfill obligations resulting from the Act or contract for financial support?
The PISF issues a post-audit recommendation and calls for clarification or removal of irregularities within a period of not less than 30 calendar days. If, after the deadline, the entrepreneur does not remove the irregularities, does not provide explanations or provides insufficient explanations, the PISF may indicate the manner and date of removal of the irregularities. Failure to comply with the recommendations is the basis for withdrawal from the contract for financial support.

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