Filming in Poland
Poland has long been a favourite with filmmakers, with a rich history visible in its historic buildings and varied natural landscape. Here at KFTV, with the valuable help of Film Commission Poland, we have put together a Top 4 of the locations Poland can offer to filmmakers.
With its history of 400 years as a capital, Warsaw is Poland’s largest city and an economic, cultural and political centre. Within the city is a great number of historic sites as well as a busy, modern metropolis with contemporary urban architecture.
Warsaw offers filmmakers a mix of historic sites, such as the Old Town, the Wilanów and Łazienkipark-palace complexes, and the Royal Route (Trakt Królewski) with its many Baroque churches and palaces. The Old Town was rebuilt after being totally destroyed during World War II, and has since been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Warsaw is very green, with over a fifth of the city’s total area consisting of parks and gardens. The beautiful roof garden on top of the University of Warsaw Library is one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe, covering over 10,000 sq m. Most of the country's film industry have their HQ in Warsaw, as well as all national institutions and television broadcasters.
Productions to have used Warsaw include: Letters to M (2011) directed by Mitja Okorn and Wojtek Smarzowksi’s Traffic Department (2013). Other productions to have shot in the capital city include: the BBC mini-series Spies of Warsaw (2013); In Darkness (2011) directed by Agnieszka Holland; Essential Killing (2010) directed by Jerzy Skolimowski and the multi Oscar-winning The Pianist (2002) directed by Roman Polanski.
Krakow - the second largest city - is the former capital of Poland. Dating back to the 7th century, it is the oldest city in the country.
The city is in the Małopolska region, on the Vistula River. It has been one of the most important centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life. Authentic historical sites from various periods are plentiful, providing rich pickings for filmmakers and location managers.
A plethora of films and TV dramas have been shot in Krakow over the years, many set against the backdrop of World War II, including The Karamazovs (2008) directed by Petr Zelenka; Katyn (2007) directed by Andrzej Wajda; John Kent Harrison’s TV movie Pope John Paul II (2005) starring Jon Voight and of course Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary Schindler’s List (1993) which swept the board at the Oscars.
Tatra Mountains – Pieniny Range
A rich landscape, the range provides a stunning natural backdrop for filmmakers, particularly along the picturesque Dunajec River. The river is surrounded by crags and peaks, steep rocky walls and several hundred metre high precipices dropping down to the water.
There are forests of mixed beech and fir, barren slopes and ledges covered with small pines, all making this part of Tatra Mountains almost a fantasy landscape, as seen in the feature film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) directed by Andrew Adamson. Other notable films to have been shot in the Tatra Mountains include Essential Killing (2010) from director Jerzy Skolimowski and Janosik: A true story (2009) from directors Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik.
The Masurian Lakes
Dubbed the Land of a Thousand Lakes, Masuria provides an exceptional natural backdrop for filmmakers, with forests and lakes covering extensive areas of the province. In 2011, it was the only European location among the fourteen most beautiful regions which made it through to the finals of a competition to find seven new natural wonders of the world.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is among the productions to have filmed at the lakes. Other more recent productions include Rose (2011), directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, about a Masurian woman struggling to survive running a farm alone following the death of her husband.
We would like to thank FIlm Commission Poland, the Mazovia Warsaw Film Commission, the Krakow Film Commission, the Promotion Dept of the Marshal's Office of Warmia and Mazury voivodeship. Thanks also to the photographers: Krzysztof Bednarski, Andrzej Klimkowski, Pawel Mazur, Wojciech Skruczynski 'Stroop' and Tomasz Szejbut. To find out more about filming in Poland, please visit the Film Commission Poland website.
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