Film studios


Film studios
   Film production in the Polish territories before World War I remained the domain of economically feeble, ephemeral studios. This situation also continued following the war. For example, 321 feature films produced in interwar Poland (between 1919 and 1939) were made by as many as 146 film production companies. Ninety of them ended their existence after making their first picture, and only twenty-five were able to make more than three films. The majority of the interwar studios were managed by producers of Jewish origin, such as Aleksander Hertz, Henryk Finkelstein, Samuel Ginsburg, Marek Libkow, and Maria Hirszbejn.
   The studio Sfinks (Sphinx), established in 1909 and headed by Aleksander Hertz, became the most important producer of films, including patriotic pictures and star vehicles for Pola Negri and Jadwiga Smosarska until 1928, the year marking Hertz's premature death. Another important studio, Falanga, was founded in 1923 by Stefan Dękierowski and Adam Drzewicki, originally as a film laboratory, and gradually expanded its offerings after building its own studio in 1929. Falanga dominated Polish cinema in the 1930s. Other prominent studios, producing between six and seventeen films, include Marek Libkow's Libkow-Film, Maria Hirszbein and Leo Landau's Leo-Film, Józef Rosen's Rex-Film, Eugeniusz Bodo's Urania-Film, and Henryk and Leopold Gleisner's Blok-Muza-Film.
   After World War II (1945-1989), films in Poland were produced by semi-independent cooperatives—film units.
   The new film legislation in 1987, implemented after 1989, abolished the state monopoly in the sphere of film production and distribution. Film studios were now responsible for both the content and the financial success of their products. At the beginning of 1992, the following film studios were in operation: Filip Bajon's Dom, Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Kadr, Tadeusz Chmielewski's Oko, Janusz Morgenstern's Perspektywa, Bohdan Poręba's Profil, Krzysztof Zanussi's Tor, Juliusz Machulski's Zebra, Jerzy Hoffman's Zodiak, and the Irzykowski Film Studio, managed by Jacek Skalski and Ryszard Bugajski.
   The current, less-than-perfect system combines elements of the pre-1989 cinema and free-market economy. Five state-owned and Warsaw-based film studios still remain active in Poland: Dom, Oko, Perspektywa, Tor, and Zebra. They produce films and also support themselves by owning legal rights to films produced before 1989. Among numerous, but mostly small, private production companies, some play an important role in the Polish cinema industry, such as Apple Film Production, Heritage Films, and Pleograf. State-owned and private television channels, such as Canal Plus and HBO, play essential roles in invigorating the industry. Polish Television remains the leading film producer in Poland.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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