Like every year, the Director of the Polish Film Institute (PISF) has announced new Operational Programmes, previously approved by the PISF Council. What novelties have been introduced to the Programmes this year? We present a summary of the most important changes, considering all grant applicants, but especially film producers, who can apply for funding for their film projects in this year’s first session from 30 January. The call will run until 3 February.
Session dates, allocation, no limit on the number of applications
Funding for film projects under the Project Development and the Film Production priorities can be applied for in three sessions – this year, they are scheduled on the following dates:
1) Session I/2023: 30.01-03.02.2023
2) Session II/2023: 24.04-28.04.2023
3) Session III/2023: 21.08-25.08.
However, producers of certain film forms need to be particularly vigilant, as, for example, the call for applications for the Production and development of film projects for young audiences or family audiences priority is only open during sessions I and III, and for the Development and production of animated series for children priority – only in session II. Meanwhile, applications for the Screenplay Development priority, as every year, are accepted on a continuous mode.
This year’s allocation is slightly smaller than last year’s, amounting to PLN 160 million (compared to PLN 183.7 million last year), of which PLN 115 million is earmarked for Film Production (vs. PLN 141.1 million in 2022).
A positive change is the abolition of application limits. Until now, one producer could submit a maximum of four applications per session (with further specific restrictions). Now, applications can be submitted without any restrictions on the number of applications.
The war in Ukraine and Operational Programmes
The situation beyond our eastern border has not left its mark on domestic cinema either. As early as last year, after the outbreak of war, Operational Programmes were updated with the addition of Operational Programme VI – Polish-Ukrainian film initiatives. It aims to support activities carried out jointly by Polish and Ukrainian producers and filmmakers and/or on Polish-Ukrainian themes. Funding can be applied for under four priorities:
Priority I: Development and production of documentary films
Priority II: Development and production of animated films
Priority III: Script development
Priority IV: Film festivals and initiatives
This programme is also maintained this year with an allocation of up to PLN 5 million.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several sanctions were adopted against entities linked to the Russian Federation. This was reflected in the need to supplement the PISF grant application procedure with an additional statement.
The entry into force of the Act of 13 April 2022 on specific solutions to prevent support for aggression towards Ukraine and to protect national security is complementary to the package of measures, binding for Poland, of restrictive measures (sanctions) adopted at the European Union and international level. To enforce these sanctions, an obligatory element of the application is now a declaration by the applicant that he/she has no links with sanctioned entities within the meaning of the Act in question. The same document must also be submitted with the application for funding under the so-called “incentives”.
Supporting technological development and increasing digitalisation
The dynamic development of new technologies, in particular artificial intelligence or virtual reality, does not go unnoticed in the film industry. These technologies are increasingly being used by actors in the audiovisual market not only in the process of film production but also in film distribution, audience research, data analysis or the development of software to combat so-called piracy in cyberspace. Starting this year, these activities are supported by the PISF through the introduction of a new priority in the Operational Programmes 2023: Technology Solutions and Initiatives, which will be available to state and local government cultural institutions, non-governmental organisations, schools, universities and other business entities. The allocation for this priority is PLN 2 million, while applications can be submitted in Session I.
This year’s Operational Programmes also show the progressive digitisation of proceedings before the Institute itself.
As of this year, grant agreements are concluded in the electronic form referred to in Article 78(1) § 1 of the Act of 23 April 1964 – Civil Code. They should therefore be signed by both parties with a qualified electronic signature. What is important, Operational Programmes do not provide for the possibility to sign an agreement using the Trusted Profile of the e-PUAP platform. These agreements (after affixing the abovementioned signatures) are placed in the PISF electronic system. The Institute does not print and send grant agreements by traditional mail.
We will also no longer submit some letters on paper. For example, ‘pre-session’ applications, such as a request to the Director of the PISF to apply to a project with a director who has not completed full-time directing studies, are now only submitted electronically and sent to the designated e-mail address.