Every year, under the Director of the Polish Film Institute Order, the new Operational Programs for 2016 have been introduced, which differ in certain respects from the content of those from last year. As the PFI Operational Programs is a must read for any producer applying for funding with the institute, below we present important information on the changes in force for 2016.
First, it was confirmed that the group entitled to apply for funding excludes entities or natural persons, against which the PFI has taken legal action for the return of funding, as well as those who failed to fulfill their previous commitments, such as: loan repayment, return of a grant, failure to transfer due profits from exploitation to the PFI. This reflects Article 22, section 2 item 3 of the act on cinematography, establishing a ban on funding by the Institute of an entity which during the three years prior to submitting an application for funding significantly violated the agreement concluded with the Institute. The Institute has long applied the principle according to which an entity violating the concluded agreement was excluded from the possibility of applying for a grant for the next 3 years. Therefore, we can say that this change is primarily educational and informational to producers.
In the case of obtaining funding for the development of a film project, and then its production, in previous years the producer was obliged to return the grant received for the development of the project when the first installment of the grant for production was paid (the receivables were deducted). Currently, the Program provide for the possibility of requesting uplift by the producer in the amount equal to the grant for development in the case of the effective settlement of a grant for the development of the project. This means a producer who settles the obtained financing for development in the proper manner the Polish Film Institute will accept the settlement, and will be able to apply to receive the full amount for the production. This is obviously very good news for producers.
In the Film Production Operational Program a mechanism was introduced which was already in place in PFI co-financing agreements in the form of loans. PFI beneficiaries benefiting from funding the production of a feature film, a feature-length animated film or a series of animated films, are obliged to provide the PFI within 7 days from signing the grant agreement with a statement of voluntary submission to enforcement under Article 777 of the Code of Civil Procedure in the event of improper performance or non-performance of the obligation. The statement, in the form determined by the PFI, must take the form of a notarial deed and is attached to the production funding agreement. The production funding agreement comes into force on the date of delivery of the statement. The model statement will be published on www.pisf.pl after its adoption by the Council of the Polish Film Institute, no later than on 1 March 2016.
In simple terms, the voluntary submission to enforcement is a legal instrument which allows a creditor to recover from the debtor a certain sum of money without the need to sue him/her. With the debtor’s statement, who voluntarily submits to execution, the creditor may – in the circumstances stipulated in this statement – immediately apply to the court for a declaration of enforceability (and the statement is examined only from the formal point of view, rather than examining if the creditor “is right”; it takes a few days to obtain the clause), and then pass the case on for the debt’s enforcement. This is definitely one of the loudest discussed changes in comparison to previous years. There is no denying this is an additional burden on formal producers (also, financial; the notary fee is dependent on the amount covered by the statement, but, as a rule, amounts to several thousand zlotys) and in the event of a dispute the Institute is in a privileged procedural position. The introduction of such a requirement for securing the financing agreement by the PFI should not be, however demonized. It does not provide for additional grounds for withdrawal than it was before. In practice, it definitely helps PFI in the case of disputes with unreliable producers. Still, the producers have a number of legal tools to defend themselves in a situation where they have a different opinion on the situation than the Institute.
Also, the introduction of Priority IV Programs: Polish German Film Fund is new: as previously it was functioning only on the basis of agreements. The types of projects supported under this priority are the development of feature films, documentaries and animated films and production of feature films, documentaries and animated films by Polish producers in cooperation with producers from central Germany, Berlin or Brandenburg. This means separate funds for producers creating Polish-German co-productions. In addition, according to the Operational Programs, if the project earlier acquired a grant under the funding for the production of feature films, documentaries or animations, it is possible, with the consent of the Director of the PFI, to apply for a funding increase for the Polish-German co-production. Detailed information on the mode of the call for proposals and application forms are published on websites co-creating the Fund, i.e. the PFI, MDM and Medienboard.
In addition, currently producers are required to prepare two versions of the application: a summary and a full version. This is to speed up and improve the operation of the PFI for signing the agreements with future beneficiaries. The full version of the application contains documents that are required in a condensed form (e.g. such as: screenplay and its summary, director’s explication, the director’s CV and a description of his or her work, a description of the artistic and economic value of the film, an estimate), and an additional agreement to acquire rights for the scenario, copies of agreements on the basis of which the project will be financed by entities other than the Institute, registration documents of the producer, copies of registration documents of the co-producers/investors, a statement on the distribution of rights for the film projects, which is co-produced with a television broadcaster or if one of the sources of funding are the funds obtained from the television broadcaster, a letter of intent from the distributor of the film, along with the cost estimate of promotion and distribution. The loan application should also contain: the method of securing the loan, and the proposed installments of the loan.
Good luck in applying for financing!
The actual content of the Operational Programs in Polish can be found here: