Poland is becoming a leader in foreign film production thanks to world-class locations and crews available at a fraction of the price elsewhere in Europe.
Steven Spielberg recently wrapped up a top-secret week of shooting in the city of Wroclaw for what is billed as a 1960s Cold War-era spy thriller featuring fellow Oscar winner Tom Hanks.
Set and shot in the capital Warsaw this spring, Bollywood’s hit action-romance comedy “Kick,” starring A-list bad boy Salman Khan is on track to be India’s all-time top-grossing film, spurring talk of a sequel.
Two other Bollywood productions, “Bangistan” and “Shaandaar,” also chose Poland this year, as did Japan’s upcoming historical drama “Persona Non Grata,” while French director Anne Fontaine has scheduled a 40-day shoot early this year for “Les Innocentes.”
Native son Roman Polanski, who won an Oscar in 2003 for the Holocaust drama “The Pianist” filmed on location in Warsaw, is also considering a new project in Poland.
“Poland is beautiful, it’s exotic, it’s unique and it’s got a certain sense of style which we’ve not seen before,” said hit Indian filmmaker and “Shaandaar” director Vikas Bahl.
Naturally, there’s also the money factor. Most European countries offer tax rebates for international film producers starting at around 20% of production cost, with Ireland touting a 32% tax credit as of next year. While Poland still offers none, 100 local producers provide services at up to half the cost in western European states.
Add nearly 1,000 locations from modern cities to rugged mountains, beaches, forests, castles and pastoral countryside brimming with old-world charm, and foreign filmmakers are increasingly seduced.
According to Maciej Zemojcin, President of the Krakow-based Film Polska, business is good, but he worries that “foreign film production won’t really take off in Poland without tax breaks.”
“With tax breaks,” says Zemojcin, “in 2012 we would have quadrupled our business. We lost the last stage of a tender to Hungarian producers because they could offer tax breaks. It cost us $6 million in lost business,” he told the French press agency.
Source: Polonia Media Network