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Poland Proposes Production Rebate Scheme

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 Will Tizard
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Poland is heating up the competition for foreign coin in Eastern Europe with a proposed rebate scheme for film and TV productions that provides for up to 25% cash back, the country’s film commission said Wednesday.

The bill, introduced by the culture ministry, is the fruit of years of lobbying by Polish production companies, which have seen major international business flow to neighboring nations such as the Czech Republic and Hungary after the passage there of similar incentives.

Backers hope the measure will be approved and go into effect later this year, said the commission’s Anna Dziedzic. The money will be paid out of an annual 22 million-euro fund and will offer 25% back on spends for productions that meet certain criteria, including using Polish crews, goods and services. Feature films – live-action or animated – documentaries and high-end television dramas will qualify under the proposal.

Caps on specific productions are still under negotiation, and projects will need to have 50% of their budgets in place before applying. As with the Czech and Hungarian sweeteners, international productions will need to partner with a local company, but there will be no fixed deadline for applying, which should make the funds more user-friendly than some versions floated in past years in the region.

Also, “bigger international productions” – a category not yet clearly defined by the film commission – will need to “provide training places and production data” to qualify.

Poland has become an increasingly popular filming destination in recent years. Cold War thriller “Bridge of Spies” (pictured), starring tom Hanks, was shot there.

The draft bill will undergo more refinements before reaching the legislature, according to Dziedzic, but its basic form is not expected to change.

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