Did you miss out on Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival? Or are you missing already the amazing experience you recently had attending this year’s fest? Well fear no more– we are happy to present to you the this year’s Ekran 2017 highlight reel!
What an amazing year of films, friends and foreign guests!
See you for the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival in November 2018!
It was a week full of films, industry parties, filmmaker networking and special guests. This year’s 9th Toronto Polish Film Festival was by far the biggest and a huge success!
Kicking off the week long fest was the film “The Art of Loving” (dir. Maria Sadowska) followed by an opening gala at Gallery 1313 in Parkdale. The red carpet was hot as some of Ekran’s Executive staff members wore gorgeous dresses from Fitzroy Boutique and accessories by Toronto based, Polish jewelry designer Eliza Kozurno.
As she did in previous year’s, our host and master of ceremonies Anna Cyzon performed songs at the opening gala.
CEO & Festival Director Marta Pozniakowski & Actor Robert Więckiewicz (photo cred. Fotographia Boutique)
Opening Ceremonies at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles. (photo cred. Fotographia Boutique)
Host Anna Cyzon serenades guests during the open night gala at Gallery 1313 (photo cred. Fotographia Boutique)
Closing events was a triple-film screening tribute to the Academy Award nominated Polish-Canadian documentary filmmaker Tadeusz Jaworski and a lecture at University of Toronto with director Krystyna Krauze for her documentary about famous film director Agnieszka Holland in “The Return of Agnieszka H”.
This year’s jury (which included TIFF director & CEO Piers Handling) chose the following winners for this year’s competition:
• Best Feature Film: “Afterimage” (dir. Andrzej Wajda) – According to Handling, “Afterimage” is “A timeless masterwork by a master director” and as “an extraordinary film by one of the great filmmakers of our times.”
• Best Short Film: “Mice & Rats” (dir. Kacper Anuszewski) – Described by Daria Ellerman, one of the jurors as “technically superb, a well told story, excellent performances and I loved the soundtrack.”
• Best Documentary – “By Stanley for Stanley” (dir. Monika Melen) – A moving and revealing film, which centers on the relationship between a man and a little boy. The director sheds light on disability and inclusion, not in an abstract way, but through the events of daily life
• Best Animation – “The Last Room” (dir. Marta Chyła-Janicka) – The jury especially appreciated its crisp Animation, clever dialogues, and the story that works well on several levels.
And a special award goes to “Loving Vincent” (dirs. Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman) for its creativity, originality and excellence and which the judges considered to be one of the best films they have seen this year.
Host Anna Cyzon & Consul General of Poland in Toronto Grzegorz Morawski (photo cred. Fotographia Boutique)
Strategic Planning Director Anna Bartula, Social Media Producer and Q&A Host Jasia Kiersnowski, Co-Founder/Owner of Studio Fitzroy Julie Buczkowski-Kalinowski, CEO & Festival Director Marta Pozniakowski, Host Anna Cyzon. (photo cred. Fotographia Boutique)
Actress Maria Mamoma from the film ``Blindness`` dir. Ryszard Bugajski (photo cred. Adam Miasik)
This year marked more guests than ever. Superstar Actor Robert Wieckiewicz attended Q&A Sessions for three of his films in this year’s festival. Award Winning Actor Lukasz Simlat appeared in two Q&A Sessions for films her performed in and director Jan Kidawa-Błoński answered questions after the screening of his 70s Polish football biopic “Stars”
Other guests included, Director Ryszard Bugajski & Actress Maria Mamoma of “Blindness”, Actor Robert Wrzosek of post WWII drama “The Cursed”, Doc filmmaker Monika Melen of “By Stanley for Stanley”, Director’s Katia Priwieziencew and Pawel Tarasiewicz of the feature film “Hel”, Director George Rethy & Actress Kat Inokai from the film “Sister Elisabeth”, Director Liliana Komorowska represented herself and co-director Diana Skaya for their historical documentary “Ojcu” and Producer/director Renata Kolacz returned to Ekran for her latest films “Cierpkapuram – the Story of a Friendship” and “People of the Sea, Work and Prayer”.
Just as every year, this festival would’ve not been possible without the amazing support it receives from its co-producers, patrons, partners, sponsors, filmmakers, jury members, executive staff and most of all the volunteers all the movie goers who came out to supported us through 7 nights of impeccable contemporary Polish cinema. Next year, 2018 will mark Toronto’s 10th Polish Film Festival and we cannot wait to do it all over again!
For a further look back at this year’s highlights and to keep up with the latest in Ekran news be sure to visit us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as we share the world of cinema with you.
The late great director Krzysztof Krauze and Joanna Kos-Krauze’s award winning drama, “The Birds Are Singing in Kigali” makes it’s Canadian premier at Ekran 2017.
Director Joanna Kos-Krauze
The story starts out in 1994 Rwanda, a Polish woman ornithologist saves a Tutsi girl from certain death. After a few years they both revisit Africa on an emotional journey full of painful memories.
Starring Polish Actress Jowita Budnick and Rwandan Actress Eliane Umuhire, both actresses shared the “Best Actress Award” this year the the 42nd Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic and at the Chicago International Film Festival.
There is no doubt that Umuhire’s performance stands out as an incredible moment for Polish cinema.
Actress Eliane Umuhire in Birds are Singing in Kigali
Ekran was fortunate enough a chance to catch up with Umuhire in an interview just before her win in Gdynia.
The Birds are Singing in Kigali is screening at Ekran on Saturday November 11th at 530pm at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles.
Kasia Adamik is one of the hottest names in Polish cinema right now. And there is no doubt that she is busy! The filmmaker and former storyboard artist has two films in Ekran – Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival, the dark murder mystery Amok, as well as, Spoor another murder mystery which she collaborated on with her illustrious mother, Agnieszka Holland. Spoor is also Poland’s contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. The Holland-Adamik-Mother-Daughter directing team are also currently working to produce the first Polish language original series for Netflix.
Agnieszka Holland & Kasia Adamik after winning Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the 67 Berlinale.
Here at Ekran, we were fortunate enough to have met Adamik at the 42 Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia. There Adamik won best director (along side Holland) for Spoor.
On the helm of screening Amok (Wed. Nov. 8 at 630pm) and Spoor (Thu. Nov. 9 at 900pm) at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles, Adamik took time out of her busy schedule to answered a few questions for Ekran.
EKRAN: You were exposed to filmmaking at a very young age. Did you always want to direct or did you ever aspire towards a different career in the past?
KA: Initially, I did not want to direct. This is because I was seeing it first hand at home and exposed to how much work and stress the job entails. As well, I was very shy and lazy and I did not think this was the job for me. But I always was very attracted to the visual aspect of it and I loved films, telling stories and imagining worlds. So I decided to become a comic book artist. This was early on in my life around the time I was 8 years old.
At the 42nd FPFF closing gala, Kasia Adamik & Ekran Social Media Producer Jasia Kiersnowski
EKRAN: So then how did directing come to be? When did you make the decision to direct films?
KA: I pursued my comic book idea diligently. I went to an art high school to study comic books in Bruxelles (Belgium). After I graduated I needed a job and that’s when I started to work as a storyboard artist. First with Agnieszka (Holland) and then I branched out to a lot of different productions. It took years before I got the opportunity or even the idea to direct. I jumped right in and very quickly directed my first feature film ‘Bark!’
EKRAN: It has recently been announced that you and your mother (Agnieszka Holland) will be directing the first Polish language original series for Netflix. Can you tell us what it’s all about? When do you begin filming and when is the show going to air?
Dir. Kasia Adamik on set for “Amok” with actor Lukasz Simlat
KA: Not really. I can’t give too much away. What I can tell you is that we will begin filming in January and the series will premiere in the Fall of 2018. It’s kind of a spy thriller in a parallel reality where the Iron Curtain never fell.
EKRAN: You collaborated on the film “Spoor” with Holland. The film touches on many contemporary issues in Poland such as animal rights, patriarchy, religion, the environment, etc. What I find most interesting in the film is the main character, Janina (Agnieszka Mandat-Grabka). She is a very compassionate and empathetic woman. Extremely intelligent, a retired physicist who works part time as an English teacher for young children. Janina is looked at by the leader’s in her town (priest, mayor, police) as crazy because her beliefs, especially that in astrology. Does this reflect Poland today? Do you think that more people in Poland are stepping away from traditional forms of spirituality? If yes, why do you think so?
KA: I think the film shows mostly the deep division in how we see and perceive the world. About how as a society we treat the weak and elderly (especially elderly women). About how the frustration of not being seen can turn into anger. And this became true for us at the time we were making this film (which took a very long time). It all became very political. Somehow it became about this division. And the ruling political party, once it got to power it immediately attacked ecology and women rights, as though to prove us right.
“Pokot” dir. Agnieszka Holland & Kasia Adamik
EKRAN: Your feature film “Amok” (also based on the novel of the same name) is a true crime story about a narcissistic murderer in early 2000s in Wroclaw, Krystian Bala (played by Mateusz Kościukiewicz). The police detective in the film (played by Lukasz Simlat) becomes disturbingly obsessed with the killer, especially while investigating the book (“Amok”) which was written by Krystian Bala. What is it like directing a film with such a dark subject matter and characters that are based on real life? How do you remain balanced when directing such a dark story?
KA: Well the film is more of a take on the story of Bala rather than a book adaptation. But to answer your question, I am actually a very happy person in real life. It is true that I like dark stories, as well, I am attracted to dark tortured characters. Maybe it’s like therapy for me. Maybe that’s where I can let all my darkness go and grow. But what I like most is to show the complexity of my characters and their choices, dark or light aside. Also to leave something for the audiences to figure out on their own. Not to answer questions but to ask them.
EKRAN: Did you read Amok? From what I gathered from the film, the book it is fairly disturbing.
KA: Yes of course I read it twice, picked the passages that are featured in the film. Not a recommended read.
“Amok” on set dir. Kasia Adamik & actress Zofia Wichłacz:
EKRAN: If there is one message you want your audience to understand after watching Amok, what is it? Why?
As I said I try to understand all of my protagonists, none are good or entirely bad. They are complicated human beings with complicated emotions and there are complicated reasons behind their actions. I think we have to understand that our reality is more complex than black and white.
Amondo Kino is not your average blockbuster movie theatre. Hidden in the centre of Warsaw on Żurawia Street, this small vintage cinema houses only 33 seats, and beyond screening indie, classic and art house movies, the cinema is also a place for industry parties, lectures, creative discussions with special guests. As well, it acts as the meeting place and production office for their sister company Amondo Films.
While Ekran was visit Warsaw this past September, Producer-Director Paweł Tarasiewicz gave us a low-down on what happens in their art house cinema & bar.
Established in 2010, Amondo Films is an international group of filmmakers from Poland, Mexico and India. In 2015 Amondo Films produced their first feature film Hel.
Hel dirs. Katia Priwieziencew & Pawel Tarasiewicz
Hel, referring to the town in Northern Poland, is a psychological murder mystery centring around Jack, an unsuccessful American scriptwriter, who has come to the seaside town during it’s lonely and cold off season. Two locals get involved in trying to solve the murder and as the truth begins to unravel the plot takes a turn towards the unexpected.
Hel will be making its Canadian premiere this week at Ekran, Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival on Tuesday November 7th at 930pm at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles.
Hel actresses Katarzyna Paskuda & Malgorzata Krukowska
Directors Pawel Tarasiewicz & Katia Priwieziencew will be in attendance and answering questions after the film in a Q&A session.
Monday night marked the opening of Ekran Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival.
Once again the red carpet is laid outside the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles and before screening Maria Sadowska’s sexy biopic “The Art of Loving“, the audience was greeted by a warm onscreen shout out from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Opening Ceremonies at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles (photo cred. Adam Miasik)
After the film, guests headed out to the cozy Gallery 1313 in Parkdale for what was a night to remember.
Sparkles seemed to be the theme of the night as we also saw Ekran CEO & Director Marta Pozniakowski in a two-piece dazzling dress from Studio Fitzroy.
When Polish celebrity Robert Więckiewicz walk in, that’s when the party really got going. Więckiewicz is well known for films such as Walesa: Man of Hope, In Darkness and Vinci. He will be in Toronto all week participating in Q&A sessions for the films: Convoy (November 8th at 9pm) and The King of Life (a double screening with the short film Romantic).
Ekran CEO & Director Marta Pozniakowski with Actor Robert Więckiewicz
Tonight will be another one for the books. Be sure to catch the following films and Q&A Sessions:
5:00pm – we are screening two documentaries: “Cierpkapuram – The Story of a Friendship & People of the sea, work and prayer”, Q&A with dir. Renata Kolacz and “To My Father”, Q&A with dir.Liliana Komorowska.
7:00pm – “Blindness”, director Ryszard Bugajski (Q&A w. Ryszard Bugajski)
9:30pm –“Hel”, director Pawel Tarasiewicz & Katia Priwieziencew (Q&A w. Pawel Tarasiewicz & Katia Priwieziencew)
See you there!
Ekran CEO & Director Marta Pozniakowski & Host / Singer Anna Cyzon (photo cred. Adam Miasik)
Opening Gala Guests at Gallery 1313
Host / Singer Anna Cyzon styled by Studio Fitzroy & Eliza Kozurno Accessories
From November 6th to 12th Ekran is celebrating their 9th year as Toronto’s Polish Film Festival.
As every November, the red carpet will be rolled out, the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles will have Polish films on the marquee and hundreds of people from around the GTA will flock to see the latest in contemporary Polish cinema.
Opening film will be director Maria Sadowska’s biopic about of the famous doctor/sexologist Michalina Wislocka, “The Art of Loving“. The event is SOLD OUT. Please click here for festival tickets to not miss out on a chance to see the rest these incredible film we have in store.
“The Art of Loving” dir. Maria Sadowska
One again, Polish-Canadian singer Anna Cyzon will be hosting the event. And this year we have
more guests and Q&A sessions than ever!
Ekran’s host Polish-Canadian singer Anna Cyzon
Guests include actors such as Robert Wieckiewicz, Lukasz Simlat, Kat Inokai & Robert Wrzosek.
Director’s include: Ryszard Bugajski, Jan Kidawa-Blonski, Liliana Komorowska, Renata Kolacz, Krystyna Krauze, George Rethy, Katia Priwieziencew, Paweł Tarasiewicz & Monika Melen. All guest’s will be present after their films to answer questions in a Q&A session with the audience.
We are screening Poland’s Oscar contender for 2017, Agnieszka Holland’s “Spoor” and we are screening 21 year old Zofia Kowalewska’s Award winning “Close Ties”, as well as, Andrzej Wajda’s final film, starring Boguslaw Linda, “Afterimage”.
“Afterimage” dir. Andzrej Wajda
See below for an official schedule for this week’s events.
What’s just as good as Polish films but tastes a lot better? Polish food of course! Just as Poland is renowned for some of the best in European cinema in the world, it’s also known for having amazing and delicious cuisine. Think about it: Bigos, Cabbage Rolls, a mouth watering variety of soups and without a doubt, pierogi!
In the spirit of Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival, what isn’t a better way to celebrate Polish cinema then dinner for two (2) to Roncesvalles’ favourite Polish restaurant, Cafe Polonez along with two (2) tickets to see ‘The Reconciliation” on Friday November 10th.
If you have not yet eaten at Cafe Polonez, it is truly an authentic Polish culinary experience. Located in the heart of Roncesvalles, Cafe Polonez is an establishment in what is left in Polish Roncesvalles.
“The Reconciliation” is a gritty and dramatic post-WWII drama starring Jakub Gierszał and Zofia Wichłacz as two lovers fighting to survive in war torn Poland. November 10th at 7pm at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles.