Poland

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Overview and productions

Poland has grown in popularity as a filming location boosted by streamlining its 30% cash rebate for productions including features, TV series and documentaries introduced in 2019 and administering all big-ticket funding via the Polish Film Institute. Richard Wright, executive producer of the Castille Landon-directed boxing drama Perfect Addiction for Germany’s Constantin Films, prepped production in February and March 2022 before shooting in April and May in Poland. No stranger to mounting films in Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania, Wright says the good value of the dollar makes Poland an affordable production cost centre, with the high level of skill among local crews an added bonus.

“We were able to hire almost completely within Poland — everyone except for the stunt/fight co-ordinator and the editor,” Wright reveals. “We were happy with the quality of the Polish crew, especially the production design team, the director of photography and the costume designer. The entire camera and lighting departments were especially great.” Wright’s film secured the rebate from the Polish Film Institute (which must be applied for in Polish). Despite speaking several languages, Wright warns that Polish — which uses the Romanic alphabet — can prove tricky. “Over time you pick up words and phrases, but I found myself pulling up Google Translate on my phone 10 times a day. Simple things like getting a ticket from a parking machine, getting gas for your car or navigating a grocery store can take on a whole new dimension,” he notes.

Poland offers a wide variety of landscapes, from sandy beaches in the north to rocky mountains in the south, and from bustling cities to wild and primeval nature. It is particularly well known for its greenery, with forests covering around 30% of Polish territory. Warsaw was rebuilt after the Second World War, making for an interesting downtown area. It includes the ‘new-old’ Warsaw Castle and the colourful old town, which contrasts Soviet-era buildings such as the Palace of Culture and Science with more contemporary architecture, including the super modern Zlote Tarasy shopping centre.

The Polish Film Institute has an extensive locations database to scour, covering everything from university buildings to mine shafts in the southern city of Zabrze. But be warned: no-one should come to Poland expecting sunny weather in the autumn, winter or even spring. As Wright says, with a laugh: “Bring a raincoat.”

Locations

Poland offers a wide variety of landscapes, from sandy beaches in the north to rocky mountains in the south, from bustling cities to wild and primeval nature. Forests cover about 30% of Polish territory, which left the producers of The Woods spoilt for choice when picking a backdrop for their drama.

Warsaw was rebuilt after the Second World War, making for an unusual mix of architecture in the downtown area. It includes the ‘new-old’ Royal Castle in Warsaw and a colourful old town, which contrasts with Soviet-era buildings such as the Palace of Culture and Science and the modern architecture of Zlote Tarasy shopping centre.

The Polish Film Institute has an extensive locations database that covers everything from university buildings to mine shafts in the southern city of Zabrze.

Infrastructure and crews

Crews are flexible, hardworking and generally speak English. International producers are required to have a Polish co-producer and Polish creative elements to access the cashback system distributed by the Polish Film Institute.

The main studios are found in Warsaw, Wroclaw and Krakow. They include ATM, which is spread across two sites with 10 state-of-the-art soundstages, the largest being 1,500 square metres. Alvernia Studios offers two soundstages that include a 3D blue screen and artificial skydome. All are close to the German border within easy reach of each other by air or road.

Travel

Poland is situated at the very centre of Europe and can be reached by air from every major European city in two to three hours. It also has the fourth-largest road network in Europe.

European status

Poland is a member of the European Union and participates in the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the zloty. 

Size matters

Poland is located at the very heart of Europe and has borders with seven countries: Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It can be reached by air from every major city in Europe in only two to three hours, and boasts excellent road and train networks.

First person to contact

Agnieszka Szczerbiak, Polish Film Institute: agnieszka.szczerbiak@pisf.pl

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