Country Focus: Poland
National digitisation programme still on hold
by Dorota Hartwich
23/12/2009 - Twice a year, Polish film industry professionals get together to take part in the film forum, an event whose main aim is to give distributors the opportunity to present their line-up for the next six months. At the latest edition (28th session) in Krakow, participants attended the conference by the arthouse and experimental cinemas network, a debate on the Polish market, and presentations of hardware and software for the film sector.
The most hotly debated topic during the Forum was the National Programme for the Digitisation of Cinemas, the fruit of a cooperation between the SFP (Polish Filmmakers Association), the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the PISF (Polish Film Institute) and the KIPA (National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers). The programme is intended above all for local cinemas. Its aim is to equip theatres with digital projectors including all the necessary software and installations, whilst providing training for projectionists.
The cost of the programme is estimated at PLN10m (€2.5m). First of all, there will be a pilot launch in 80 cinemas (out of a total of 350). The first theatres will be selected by the Digitisation Council appointed by the Polish Culture Minister. The selection will be carried out on the basis of factors such as audience figures, the number of screenings, programming, box office takings, available private and state financial support and the level of equipment in theatres.
The national programme includes the setting up of a digital cinema network. Every theatre to benefit from the programme will be become a member provided that it remains loyal to the programme for 15 years and puts on at least 300 screenings per year, including 15% for films produced or co-produced by Poland and 20% for European features. Every year, member cinemas will present a moving image education programme, which should represent 20% of the programming.
Whilst awaiting the implementation of this national programme, which is still under discussion, movie theatres can benefit from the E-Cinema programme with the reduced-price purchase of HD projectors. Around 150 theatres are currently digitally-equipped in Poland, in particular in the Multikino and Silver Screen networks.