Warsaw is currently the center of Polish audiovisual industry. The capital status makes the city a headquarters for most important media, including television. Since 1990s, parallel to broadcasting market, Warsaw has developed its position as the capital of Polish film industry.
The capital city hosts head offices of most important companies of the Polish audio-visual sector. Polish Film Institute (PISF) resides here; it is a national administration body which is to supervise and foster development of Polish cinematography and supporting its growth on the international market. PIFS main role is distributing grants, loans and other forms of support for: film production, distribution, film culture promotion, education and master classes for professionals of the film industry, archiving and preserving Polish film heritage.
Filmoteka Narodowa (National Film Archive) also resides in Warsaw. Filmoteka’s activity is based on three pillars: archiving, information and education. Collection of films and archival materials preserved by Filmoteka Narodowa are one of the biggest in Europe.
National Audiovisual Institute (NInA) in Warsaw is a culture institution which was created in order to digitalize, disseminate and promote polish audiovisual heritage. During few years of its existence, Institute delivered around 200 projects in various fields: publishing, production and recording of audiovisual work, artistic events and media education. NInA, as per a part of Multiannual Government Program "Culture +", is the coordinator of projects which support digitization of cultural resources, archiving and disseminate audiovisual collections.
Warsaw is also a place where you can find local offices of European program, dedicated to cinematography and audiovisual industry – Euraimages and Media.
The capital city is headquarters for several dozens of most important Polish film producers. The biggest public institution is Wytwornia Filmow Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych (WFDiF) in Chełmska Street. The film company offers a full range of production services, to begin with traditional methods, through Digital Intermediate, to Red One technology. There are over 30 objects on the premises of the Film company, which has been created in 1949. These include: professional stages, recording and sound editing studios, shooting equipment, Film – processing Laboratory, or Set Construction Department. There you will also find offices of many film and TV industry companies and that all makes this place a center of Polish cinematography.
Puławska 61 is a second, next to Chełmska 19/21, important address for Polish film, a historic office of Polish post-war cinematography, place where you can still feel the air of the legendary Zespoły Filmowe, famous production studios created in 1955. Today, the legacy is continued by three Film Studios, which belong to the most active Polish film producers: Kadr, Zebra and Tor.
Warsaw is also home for several dozens of private film producers of feature and documentary films. Most of these is also experienced in international cooperation.
Film services market in Poland is one of the best developed in this part of Europe, and majority of these companies is located in Warsaw. Next door to WFDiF there is a private film studio, adapted mostly for TV requirements, Warsaw branch of the ATM Grupa.
Warsaw is also full of high profile post-production studios: editing, sound, animation, special effects, digital and 35 mm film processing, also music studios and equipment rental companies. Several dozens of Warsaw film industry companies has state-of-the-art equipments on their hands and perfectly reacts to market demands and its technological development. More and more frequently, international companies decide to contract Polish companies as their professional service and fine equipment is highly appreciated.
Warsaw is also a television center with a vast production base. It is home to many TV stations, such as: Polish National Television (TVP S.A.), TVN, Polsat, Canal+, HBO, Puls Television have their head offices here. Economical and organizational conditions turned the capital into center of film distribution. Among over 20 companies specializing in film distributions, the ones which are representatives of global brands are the most important, e.g. Warner Bros, UIP, Forum Film, Imperial Cinepix, and the ones more focused on European, Polish and independent market, such as: Vivarto, ITI, Gutek Film, Against Gravity.
The growth of importance of Warsaw for the film industry has caused a dynamic growth of film related academic and education centers. The prestigious Frederic Chopin University of Music forms sound engineers and National Academy of Dramatic Art – perfectly prepared actors. Capital city is also proud of known and appreciated private schools. In Wajda School, founded by an Academy Award winner, Andrzej Wajda, young directors improve their skills in documentary and drama film direction. Wajda Studio closely connected with the School, is currently a known and appreciated producer for the generation of young artists. Warsaw Film School, currently a university, founded by a director – Maciej Ślesicki and actor – Bogusław Linda, educates directors, actors, editors, make-up artists and photography directors. Akademia Filmu i Telewizji (Film and TV Academy) runs classes in directing, production, dramaturgy, photography in two-year courses.
Perfectly developed network of NGOs, culture managers and social life changed Warsaw into a very lively place full of cultural and social events. Dozens of courses, workshops and master classes, addressed to all age groups: preschool children to high-profile professionals, make it possible to develop skills and talents in all areas of film creation.
Warsaw is also host to numerous reviews, contests and film festivals. The most important film event, not only in Warsaw, but nationwide, is Warsaw Film Festival (www.wff.pl), organized every October by Warsaw Film Foundation. In 2009, Warsaw Film Festival entered the group of fourteen events (previously referred to as "A" category), accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (www.fiapf.org) – joining such festivals as Cannes, Venice, Berlin.
The importance of the Planete+ Doc Film Festival (planetedocff.pl), organized since 2004, is constantly growing. The festival presents the most outstanding full-length documentaries from all over the world. Planete is not only a film contest, it is also a space for debates about the contemporary world. Next to these two fine events, other events are also important for Polish festival calendar: Wiosna Filmów (www.wiosnafilmow.pl), Watch Docs International Film Festival (www.watchdocs.pl), CINEMAFORUM International Independent Feature Film Festival (www.cinemaforum.pl) and Lodzia po Wiśle (www.lodziapowisle.pl), an annual review of Łódź Film School achievements. Warsaw is also an expert in national film reviews, Sputnik presenting Russian cinematography (www.sputnikfestiwal.pl), Afrykamera with African films (www.afrykamera.pl), Asian Pięć Smaków (En: Five flavors) (www.piecsmakow.pl), Spanish Film Week (www.manana.pl) or Ale Kino World Films Festival (www.facebook.com/filmyswiata).
Great shape of Warsaw cinema infrastructure also contributes to development of film culture. Multiplex chains: Multikino and Cinema City have opened at ten addresses since the 1990’s. Warsaw multi-room cinemas, such as: Atlantic, Kinoteka, Muranów, Kino Praha are also doing well, just like several dozens of small and studio cinemas.
Warsaw is a natural film cluster, created not only by a network of companies and institutions, but also thanks to the energy of its inhabitants. This is a place where you can find co-producers, fine professionals, well equipped companies, and also entrepreneurial and creativity spirit which shaped city’s character.