Culture & Society News Poland

Movie and TV production to resume in Poland next week

Still from the Netflix show The Woods, adapted from a Harlan Coben thriller

Warsaw, Poland – Poland is set to become the latest European country to resume movie and TV production as part of the government’s gradual easing of anti-coronavirus restrictions.

Film production to re-start in Poland on May 18

Starting next Monday, film and television crews will once again be allowed to start shooting, two months after all productions were put on hold to fight the viral outbreak.

According to Deadline, more than 180 productions were interrupted at the beginning of March due to the spread of Covid-19, mostly feature films and TV series. Streaming giants HBO and Netflix both had to put the Polish production of The Thaw and Sexify on hold, respectively.

Film crews will however have to follow special precautions, and the Polish Film Institute has “recommended that all team members work in masks, as long as it does not prevent them from effectively performing their tasks and duties”.

Exceptions can apply to actors and hairstylists, who nonetheless should maintain a safe distance with other crew members. Depending on the nature of the production, limits on the number of people allowed on set at the same time can also apply.

The government is due to release more detailed guidelines to allow film and television productions to resume production as safely as possible.

Foreign productions on hold, majority of cinemas still closed

Poland has, over the past few years, gone to great lengths to boost domestic movie production and attract a growing number of international film crews, including by introducing a 30% cash rebate for foreign productions. The Netflix adaptation of Harlan Coben’s best-selling thriller The Woods counts among the most anticipated projects recently shot in Poland.

Most international productions, however, remain on hold as borders should stay closed until June 12.

As film crews gear up to re-start movie and TV production, outdoor cinemas and drive-ins should also reopen their doors on Monday. Indoor cinemas, on the other hand, remain closed until further notice, pushing some, like the historic art-house Kino Pod Baranami in Krakow, to come up with a full online offer and launch Poland’s first full-fledged e-cinema.

As part of its third phase of easing, the Polish government also announced that restaurants, cars and cafes will be allowed to reopen on Monday, along with hairdressers, beauty salons and outdoor sports facilities. Specific safety and social distancing measures will have to be enforced.

Poland recently unveiled plans to introduce a so-called “Netflix tax“, a 1.5% surcharge on the revenue of VOD and streaming platforms that would be used to support the local film industry.