The establishment of the Polish Film Institute in 2005 introduced a new financing system for the film industry in Poland. The functioning of Europe's best financing systems in France and Germany shows that regional film funds can be a significant source of financing for the film industry.
There are over 100 regional film funds in Europe: over 40 in France alone, and over ten in Germany and in the United Kingdom. Almost 50% of all film projects in Germany are financed using funding from regional film funds.
Regional Film Funds are established at the initiative of local authorities. Usually, local authorities reserve funding for filmmaking in their annual budget, then announce a competition, and the winning projects are selected by a team of experienced experts; these projects then receive financing. One of the conditions for participating in the competition is a link between the film's plot or subject matter and the city or region, which ensures that the film financing helps to promote the given region. Another common condition for receiving financing is the requirement to spend part of the subsidy in the region (local services etc.). This provides extra incentives for developing the local economy, whereas setting the production of the film in the region often creates new jobs.
In 2007, the Polish Film Institute and the Polish Audiovisual Producers Chamber of Commerce (KIPA) launched the Regional Audiovisual Initiative (RIA), aimed at establishing Regional Film Funds throughout Poland. The operational side of this initiative was placed in the care of the Polish Audiovisual Centre Foundation (FPCA).
Thanks to widespread promotion of the concept of Regional Film Funds and general positive response from local authorities throughout Poland, there are now eleven regional film funds across the country. The following regions have their own film funds: Łódź, Gdynia, Gdańsk, the Silesian voivodship, Poznań and Wielkopolska, Wrocław and Lower Silesia, Krakow and the Małopolskie voivodship, the Western Pomeranian voivodship, Lublin, the Mazowsze voivodship, Białystok. Another two film funds are due to be set up in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship and in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie voivodship.
Local authorities that have already launched a regional film fund or are planning to do so, can count on support within the framework of the RIA programme, which includes legal and financial advice, as well as strategy consulting.
One of the initiatives related to the Regional Film Funds is the RegioFun International Film Producers Festival, organized annually since 2009. This event is dedicated to Polish and international films made in cooperation with Regional Film Funds.
RegioFun is aimed at film professionals and film school students who are looking for film financing, as well as at audiences interested in contemporary cinema. The seventh edition of the festival took place in Katowice in October 2016.
Further details available at the following websites:
Production Guide Poland 2016 (page 10)
Regional Film Funds: www.audiowizualni.pl
Polish Audiovisual Centre Foundation: www.fpca.org.pl
RegioFun Film Festival: www.regiofun.eu
Translated by Karolina Kołtun