Ewa Puszczyńska and Radosław Śmigulski on the Variety 500 list

Film producer Ewa Puszczyńska and Director of the Polish Film Institute Radosław Śmigulski were included in the prestigious list of the most influential people in the media industry, published for the fourth time by the American magazine Variety. Most of the world’s leaders in this industry come from the USA, Great Britain, China, France and Italy.

All the distinguished people from the media industry can be seen here: https://variety.com/variety-500/

Ewa Puszczyńska is a graduate of English Studies and film producer from Łódź. Since 1995, she has been associated with the Opus Film company, initially as a producer of commercials, and since 2005 – a producer of feature films. She specializes in international co-productions. She has worked on Franco de Peña’s „Your Name is Justine”, Dariusz Gajewski’s „Mr. Kuka’s Lessons”, Paweł Borowski’s „Zero” and Ari Folman’s „Congress”. She produced „Ida” by Paweł Pawlikowski, which was the first Polish film to receive an Oscar for the best non-English language film, in addition to the European Film Award, BAFTA and dozens of other awards at Polish and international festivals. She was also responsible for the production of another Pawlikowski’s film „Cold War”, nominated for the American Film Awards in as many as three  categories.

In 2020, the film „Kill it and leave this town”, produced by Ewa Puszczyńska and Agnieszka Ścibór, won the Golden Lions at the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia. She is also one of the producers of the international co-production „Aida” directed by Jasmila Žbanić.

Director of the Polish Film Institute

The Variety 500 list also includes Radosław Śmigulski, a lawyer, manager, entrepreneur, member of the European Film Academy, and since 2017 director of the Polish Film Institute. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw. In the years 2009-2010 he was the director of the Polish Television Film Agency, and then the General Director of Syrena Films sp.z o.o. For several years associated with Totalizator Sportowy sp.z o.o., where, among others, he was the President of the Management Board and a Member of the company’s Management Board. On December 7, 2017, after winning the competition, he was appointed the Director of the Polish Film Institute.

In recent years, Polish cinematography has flourished, which is confirmed by the numerous successes of films financed by the Polish Film Institute at the most prestigious events abroad. Starting from the Oscar nomination for the film „Cold War”, and a year later for „Corpus Christi”, through awards at the most important world festivals („Golden Palm” for Paweł Pawlikowski for „Cold War”, „Silver Bear” for Małgorzata Szumowska for the film „Face”), to a strong representation in the selections of festivals in Venice, Cannes, Berlin, San Sebastian and Shanghai. 2020 – despite the crisis and the challenges that the Polish film industry had to face – was also an excellent time for Polish cinema. Polish films were present at leading international competitions and were very successful. Jan Komasa’s film „Suicide Room. Hater” won the Tribeca Film Festival,  „Sweat” by Magnus von Horn turned out to be the best picture of the Chicago Film Festival, and the full-length animation „Kill It and Leave This Town” by Mariusz Wilczyński, winner of this year’s Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, won at festivals in Ottawa and Vienna and won the jury’s distinction at the festival in Annecy. The above-mentioned achievements of Polish filmmakers prove a new quality in Polish cinema.

Incentives and micro-budgets

The introduction in 2019 of the audiovisual production support system, the so-called incentives, regulated by the Act on financial support for audiovisual production, which offers reimbursement of production costs incurred in Poland in the amount of 30% of Polish eligible expenses, turned out to be a great success. Since the introduction of the incentives, support has been granted to 69 projects for a total amount of over PLN 136.6 million.

The original initiative of the PFI Director was the creation in 2018 of the Priority: Production of full-length microbudget feature films „First Film”. This priority is addressed to debutants – mainly graduates of film school directing departments, but also other filmmakers who can present their film achievements in a verifiable form. Thanks to this funding, every year debut feature-length films are made, which are then shown at the Feature Film Festival in Gdynia. In the 45th edition of the event, six of them competed in the new Microbudget Film Competition. All of them were of a high standard and their artistic value was appreciated by critics.

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