We strike the balance between cost-effective and quality
Krzysztof Sołek, a producer from Poland has silently been part of a lot of Hindi films. He has a production house called Film Polska Productions and has found a unique way to combine Polish sensibilities with the Indian culture. We got the chance to interview him at Film Bazaar and here is what he had to say.
What brings you here to Film Bazaar and IFFI?
I’ve been coming to IFFI for three years now and it’s more like a networking place for me. As a company we have been working in India for the past five years, line producing and now we are also sending talent to India. So, of course I am looking to hopefully co-produce a film with India. There is this connection between Poland and India, that we have created and it’s working very well. And I enjoy working with Indians. So, I am looking at the Co-Production market and there is a bunch of interesting stuff there. So whenever I am ready I think I am going to co-produce. I am currently co-producing with UK, so probably once that ends.
So, will this be the first time that Poland will co-produce something with India?
Three years ago a corporate action treaty was signed with Poland. But it hasn’t been used yet. But I think it will be interesting to use this corporate treaty to do something in India.
What are the changes that you have seen at Film Bazaar since the last three years?
Every year it is becoming better and better. More and more interesting people are coming. It has become more focused. It’s growing and people are working towards making it better. ‘The Knowledge Series’ is also very interesting. So, it’s getting much better. In the beginning there was only independent cinema that was coming but since last year big studios are starting to come as well. Even big Bollywood producers who have had multiple hits like The Lunchbox and Queen are also taking interest in smaller Indie films. The two (mainstream and indie) are now some how beginning to merge and trying to work with each other.
How cost effective or accessible is Poland to shoot?
Poland is very easy to shoot; we have been organizing shoots since the past five years. We always say you that you just bring your director and the rest will be done in Poland. We have top European crew. Locations are very accessible and in a span of a few weeks, may be two weeks, we can do pretty much anything. For example for Kick, we closed all the streets. And we are cost effective but I don’t want to say it’s cheap. We strike the balance between cost-effective and quality. Because quality is important and I think we can offer that in Poland.
Could you tell us a little about Film Polska?
Film Polska is a five-year-old company that was established in 2005 and almost immediately we started to work with India. We are based in Krakow which is a beautiful heritage city in the south of Poland. It has very interesting film festivals as well. So we have been mostly working from the beginning with international teams and international projects. We mostly don’t work with the Polish market and on Polish projects. It might come along the way, but at the moment we aren’t doing it. Our team varies from ten to fifteen people at the moment. We have done around forty to fifty commercials with India. We started with a film called Aasan five years ago and did some other South films like Saguni. But films like Shandaar, Kick and Fitoor were the most outstanding projects from us. And we are also doing some TV series like ‘Maha Kumbh’.
How did you get into the Indian market and balance the two cultures?
It was just an idea that we wanted to work with international crews and wanted to focus on India knowing that there is a large scale of work that happens here. Actually I discovered Indian cinema and made everyone watch Indian films from my fiance to her mother, her grand mother and so on. And I got interested in this country that is making so many films. I had only been making films for seven years so I was discovering everything. So, it was idea and then we started contacting people over emails and made phone calls and eventually this became something that we do almost exclusively.
Tell us about your talent management company.
It’s called ‘Choice Talent’ and also a casting agency that is called ‘Choice Casting’. Both of those companies are now working with India and sending talent for Hindi films. Our casting agency is sending actors for the upcoming Aamir Khan film Dangal and talents like action directors for films like Housefull 3.
-Transcribed by Devanshi Shah