September 2018

For 6 days representatives for Ekran flew from Toronto to Poland to attend the 43rd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.  This event is the biggest, oldest and most influential Polish Film Festival to date.

There was a lot to see and do from September 17th to 22nd— watching films, attending press conferences and industry panels, going to meetings with filmmakers, actors and other Polish Film Festival organizations from all over the world!

A very interesting panel we attended was the “Kobiety filmu 50:50 w 2020” (Women of the film 50:50 in 2020) conference.  This conference was opened by award winning director Małgorzata  Szumowska and a video address by the incomparable filmmaker Agnieszka Holland.

Director Pawel Pawlikowski and the Cast & Crew of Cold War/ Zimna Wojna at the 43rd Polish Film Festival

The Cast & Crew of “Cold War”


Representatives from Ekran: Social Media Producer Jasia Kiersnowski, Executive Director Marta Pozniakowski & Board Memeber/Filmmaker Liliana Komorowska


Award Winning Director Małgorzata Szumowska after a screening of her latest film “Mug”

Polish cinema is full and strong of renowned female filmmakers.  This week Ekran was honoured to meet Małgorzata SzumowskaAgnieszka Smoczyńska-KonopkaZofia KowalewskaKasia AdamikOlga ChajdasJagoda SzelcKinga DębskaLiliana Komorowska, Katia Priwieziencew and Maria Sadowska (just to name a few).  The conference mentioned not only leading women directors but all women who work in all aspects of production from producers, to set designers, to camera operators and actresses.  The main debate surrounded the fact that female film directors in Poland only make 13% of the money granted by the Polish Film Institute for feature films.  To us, this statistic sounds unbelievable but it was backed up by panel members: RIS ZAPPE-HELLER, the deputy director at the Austrian Film Institute. PETER CARPENTIER, a FERA board member (Federation of European Audiovisual Directors).  MADELEINE EKMAN, an expert evaluating projects at the Swedish Film Institute. EWA GRACZYK – a professor at the University of Gdansk, as well as a literary expert and a social activist.  And finally, DR. MONIKA TALARCZYK from Lodz Film School who presented the results from research that’s been commissioned for several years now by Krytyka Polityczna. The statistics show that women in cinematography have fewer opportunities for professional development, are less frequently employed, earn less money than men and are faced with less favourable treatment when funding is distributed.

Olga Chajdas & Ekran's Marta Pozniakowski at the 43rd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia

Ekran’s Marta Pozniakowski with winner of the Visions Apart “Golden Claw” award for her film “Nina” dir. Olga Chajdas




Cast & Crew of “The Butler”

As representatives of the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival, we were so honoured to be a part of this conference, which was a moment of history in the making for Polish filmmakers.

Primarily movies were on the top of our list. Here’s some of the award highlights from the award gala held on the last night of the festival:

The Grand Prix or “Golden Lion” for the best picture went to Cold War by director Paweł Pawlikowski.

2nd place or the “Silver Lion” went to director Filip Banjon’s period epic The Butler.

A special award was given to director Wojciech Smarzowski for Clergy because of the films courage to explore a topic of particular importance to the public.

The Platinum Award, the prize for lifetime achievement, went to filmmaker / actor Jerzy Skolimowski.


``Cold war``


“The Butler” dir. Filip Banjon with his “Silver Lion” award.

Actor Arkadiusz Jakubik (photo cred. Jasia Kiersnowski)

Clergy Actor Arkadiusz Jakubik

A special moment for Ekran during the award ceremony was finding out that our friend in Toronto, Costume Designer Monika Onoszko, WON Best Costume Designer for her work in Jan Jakub Kolski’s The Pardon.  It was a proud moment. We can’t wait to catch up with Monika in Toronto to hear all about it!

Other award winning highlights were the winners of the “Visions Apart” competition, a separate category from the main competition which highlights more experimental work. The “Golden Claw” awarded for this competition went to Nina, directed by Olga Chajdas and the jury selected a Special Jury Award to Monument, directed by Jagoda Szelc.

The 43rd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia was an exciting, emotional and inspiring week for Polish film. As well, it’s a sneak peak for what’s to come at the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival this year– please stay tuned to our website and our FacebookInstagram & Twitter for film announcements and schedule updates!

See you next year in Gdynia & see you all at the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival Nov 5-11 (Toronto) Nov 16-18 (Mississauga).


Award Gala Platinum Award Presentation for director/actor Jerzy Skolimowski


Winner of Best Costume Design for her work in the film “The Pardon”, Monika Onoszko


Monument dir. Jagoda Szelc


*All the photos, except the one of Monika Onoszko are care of Jasia Kiersnowski. 

September is a very busy month for Ekran.  Between TIFF events and then heading to the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, we make sure to never miss out on our chance to kick back with some pierogi and polka dancing at the Roncesvalles Polish Festival.polishDSC_0023
 Come visit the Ekran booth this weekend for your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to our Festival in November, as well as 2 changes to WIN an LED marquee style light box from our official Festival gift sponsor My Cinema Lightbox.
For an extra Contest Ballot be sure to take a photo at our Fun Photobooth and Wish the Toronto Polish Festival a Happy 10th Anniversary! Come out and say “Cześć”, we’ll be located in front of the Revue Cinema all weekend!
Plus, you can sign up on site to volunteer at our festival or learn more about supporting Polish Cinema and the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival.
See you there! Do zobaczenia!

It’s that time of year again! The Toronto International Film Festival is gracing our city and we are beyond excited for this year’s selection of impeccable filmmaking.  TIFF has a reputation as being a launching pad for many Oscar winners.  Our favourite to date is 2015’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida.  Pawlikowski returns to Toronto this year to screen his latest, Zimna Wojna (Cold War)Zimna Wojna won Best Director this year at Cannes.

Besides having our eye on Zimna Wojna, we are watching the short film Dziadzio.  This independent and dark comic drama is a creation by Polish-Canadian filmmaker Aaron Ries.  Ries is bang on with his 12 minute film depicting 20-something year old Stefania living in the Canadian burbs with her elderly Dziadzio.  The cultural and generational tension between the two at times makes us cringe and is can be embarrassingly relatable.

Dziadzio Director Aaron Ries

‘Dziadzio’ Director Aaron Ries

Ekran had the chance to chat with Ries about his film and what it’s like to have Dzidzio debut at TIFF 2018.

Ekran: So why did you make a film about a 22 year old college student living with her Dziadzio? What’s the inspiration behind it?

Ries: I lived with my Dziadzio one summer during university in North York. It was a great summer, and I love him very much. While I was there I was inspired by the landscape of North York, and intrigued by the idea of setting a story there. The expansive landscape of endless concrete, streets of quiet houses, furious highways and yet still expansive nature was at both times beautiful and haunting. Unlike what you’d expect a suburb to feel like, North York is alive and buzzing with energy and change, that is distinct from the downtown core of Toronto. The narrative of a young woman living with her Polish grandfather, and the lonely fantasy she slips into came out while writing. For myself, as a Polish Canadian, who’s been immersed in Polish culture since birth, but never been there, I drew on the idea of heritage that connects the children of immigrants with their homeland, and their unique view of it, living in another country from a removed perspective. That idea is a central force to the story of the film. North York and the other inner Toronto suburbs are full of stories, that we don’t often see on screen – despite being some of the places that make Toronto so unique. People from all around the world have made it home, living in a community that is like any other in the world.

Dziadzio Still 4


Ekran:TIFF 2018 is the film’s world premiere! Where were you when you found out the good news that the film was accepted into the festival? What happens to your film after it’s screened at TIFF?

Ries: I was at a lake preparing to go for a swim when I found out that we were accepted to TIFF, and it took my by serious surprise. I am so thankful to the programmers at TIFF – Lisa Haller, Jason Anderson with Anita Tavakol – for supporting Dziadzio, and believing in this short. It’s an honour to premiere the film in Toronto, the city in which it was set and shot, in front of a hometown audience. Even more, I’m humbled that we’ll play at a Festival with exceptional films from around the world, and one that I’ve enjoyed as a film goer for many years.

After the Festival we aim to screen at a number of Festivals around Canada, Europe and the United States. Specifically, we hope that this film will be able to play for audiences in Poland, so fingers crossed.

Dziadzio Actress Sydney Herauf

Dziadzio Actress Sydney Herauf

Ekran:What advice do you have for any young/aspiring directors who want to get their film into TIFF?

Ries: Creating a short film without the support of large financial resources is hard, but a very possible endeavour. As a filmmaker trying to make a short film, I think it’s important to just go out and do it if that’s what you want. I don’t claim to have it figured out at all, because I am a beginner myself (this is my first short film), but for me, working with a team that shares the vision of the film, and strives to create something to be proud of worked very well. Dziadzio was created as a collaboration with many people who I admire, trust and who’s creativity enlarged the scope of the film beyond anything I could dream.

Ekran:Your film is only 10 minutes. Was it hard to edit? Are there any scenes that you had to leave out of the film that you’re still thinking about today? Can you tell us about it?

Ries: We edited the film at length and over several months. The editor – John Gallagher – did a fantastic job of crafting this story, and brought its energy to life. The editing process took us through many phases of reforming and tweaking the story to what we thought was it’s best form – and in that process we had to cut several great scenes out, to serve the overall narrative. Stefania and Dziadzio had more conversations, at length in the car and later at dinner that we were sad to see cut, but in the end worked better for the story we were trying to tell.

Dziadzio Still 3

Ekran: Did your ACTUAL Dziadzio see the film? What are his thoughts?

Ries: He has seen it, and enjoyed it. I was worried because it’s not a film that would normally be in his tastes – but he enjoyed the ride and appreciated all the details about how a production like this was made. It was nerve-racking to make a film that was inspired by my family experiences – although it’s plots are completely fiction – but they have been very supportive.

Ekran: Any other films at TIFF 2018 you’re looking forward to see? Give us your top 3.

Ries: Jasmin Mozaffari’s feature debut Firecrackers is going to be an absolute riot – a story about two girls trying to escape their oppressive small Ontario town is going to be real and raw in a way we’re not used to seeing Canada portrayed in film.

Peter Strickland’s film In Fabric, the follow-up to the incredible The Duke of Burgundy is a World Premiere and he has consistently created the eeriest, spookiest film playing on screens in the last several years and it looks like the only way he can go is up.

My Boy – a Quebec short film about a young boy tagging along on his older brothers bachelor party – is another one I’m excited about. Quebec cinema is always ambitious and raw and I’m excited to see this short film continue that tradition.

Dziadzio’s debut premieres at TIFF as part of Short Cuts Programme 2.
Aaron Ries can be followed on Twitter @aaron_ries

This is the last chance to grab the Early Bird Discount for the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival. 



  • The festival passes are NOW on sale until Sep 9, 2018, get the 20% early bird discount.
  • $90 for the Toronto pass
  • $40 for Mississauga
  • Available online:
  • For the festival pass = access to all the screenings:
    • 14 screenings in Toronto
    • 8 in Mississauga
    • The movie line up will be announced mid-October 2018.



  • Good News: There will be a student discount (20% off during the entirety of the festival).
  • 20% discount – early bird: Festival pass Toronto is $90.00
    The full festival pass entitles the pass holder to enter any screening in Toronto from November 5 to 11, 2018. List of films and schedule of 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival will be announced in October 2018. Purchased tickets are non-refundable. The festival pass is non-transferable.




  • 20% discount – early bird: Festival pass Mississauga is $40.00
    Early bird price – 20% off the full price until September 9, 2018. The full festival pass entitles the pass holder to enter any screening in Mississauga from November 16 to 18, 2018. Purchased tickets are non-refundable. The festival pass is non-transferable.