MTL Maxfilm, together with the affiliated company ARTRAMA (belonging to the same owner), currently has three major, prime-time TV series airing on Polish television with a total of eight episodes each week.
One of these is the biggest Polish television hit of all time, the series ‘L for love’ (first aired in 2000) and which has been the most popular television series among Polish viewers for over ten years.
“The series still draws regular audiences of eight million viewers and at peak times even as many as eleven million viewers,” says Project Manager Piotr Belka. “These are outstanding numbers for the Polish market. The programme also has an interntional following. We sold a license to broadcast the series in Russia, and it is very popular there as well.”
Other successes that have translated well abroad include the cop series ‘Kryminalni’ (2004 to 2008), which was successfully sold to Lithuanian television. Another big hit for the company was the series ‘Złotopolscy’ (1997 to 2004). In the cinema, the company is known for feature films covering genres such as comedy and romance. Its films play to audiences of 1.5 million people in Poland and can therefore rightly claim to be hits.
“Our first real success came in 2004 and the release of the romantic comedy ‘Never Ever’,” says Mr. Belka. “It drew an audience of 1.6 million and heralded a golden age for Polish cinema. Since then we have released one big cinema hit almost every year.”
However, a production company is only as good as its next hit. As the experience of the big American film studios shows, it is not always easy to know in advance which films or television programmes will find an audience.
“We try to give audiences what they want,” says Mr. Belka. “That does not mean dumbing down content or sticking to a trusted formula, but it does mean catering to the prevailing mood of the audience. At the moment they want to be entertained, and many of our most successful productions in recent years have been comedies.”
Audience demographics also play a part. Around 60% of its viewers are women across all age groups. Production is due to start on a new feature film in a month’s time. The new film will also be a comedy, and it is hoped it will repeat the success of its predecessors. Flops have been few and far between in MTL Maxfilm’s history, and its successes have invariably set new trends in Polish television and entertainment cinema.
“If our track record does not speak for itself,” says Mr. Belka, “then our experience certainly does. We have been in the business since 1991 and work with the leading actors and writers in the profession. We have modern production studios and state-of-the-art equipment operated by highly experienced film crews.”
MTL Maxfilm controls the whole process of making a film, meaning that artistic, creative and also financial control is entirely in its hands. It is a highly influential player in the industry, and its owner and founder Tadeusz Lampka is revered as one of the leading lights of the Polish film and television world. He was recently honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Polish Television Academy.
“It is nice to look back on past achievements, and we are extremely proud, but we owe our success to his vision of the future, and that is where we must focus our attention,” says Mr. Belka. “The Internet is becoming more and more important as a medium. This is a trend we will keep an eye on and react to accordingly. We are currently looking at new television productions as even the most popular series cannot run forever.”