News

Once again Polish documentaries are coming to Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival– which runs from Thursday April 25th to Monday May 6th in various venues throughout Toronto.

Ekran is proud to be a co-presenter with the fest with a special screening of  the full length documentary Symphony of the Ursus Factory (Symfonia Fabryki Ursus) directed by Jasmina Wojcik. 

Polish Filmmaker Jaśmina Wójcik

Polish Filmmaker Jaśmina Wójcik

With sounds and body memory, the ex-workers of the Ursus Factory re-enact one day of work in a plant that no longer exists. The resulting symphony consists of the choreographed movements of the workers as well as of the technical, administrative and managerial staff, accompanied by the recreated phonosphere of the heavy industry. Written by Wajda Studio

Showtimes

Sat, Apr 27 9:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Sun, Apr 28 2:30 PM Scotiabank Theatre 8

For Tickets to Symphony of the Ursus Factory (Symfonia Fabryki Ursus) Click HERE

Other Polish made films to look out for at Hot Docs 2019: 
Marek Edelman… and There Was Love in the Ghetto (dir. Jolanta Dylewska and co-directed by Andrzej Wajda)
Shortly before his death in 2009, Marek Edelman, former commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was interviewed by director Jolanta Dylewska about a seldom-discussed part of life leading up to the Holocaust: love. Sharing stories from his memoir And There Was Love in the Ghetto, the esteemed surgeon and activist reflected on his own and others’ brushes with tenderness, passion and yes, lust. Becoming visibly frustrated on camera, Edelman puzzles why anyone might be surprised that love became basic to survival. While the world around them went mad, Jewish men and women had to allow good and beauty to exist alongside the hatred that surrounded them. In stunningly recreated scenes co-written by eminent filmmaker Agnieszka Holland and co-directed by the legendary Andrzej Wajda, this captivating look back into one of the darkest corners of history comes to sensual, brilliant life. (Synopsis written by Myrocia Watamaniuk)
Showtimes

Mon, Apr 29 6:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Wed, May 1 12:30 PM Hart House Theatre

Sat, May 4 3:15 PM Scotiabank Theatre 3

For Tickets Click HERE

 

Love 404 (dir. Agata Baumgart)

Rena and her mom both try to find fulfilment in different ways online. Rena poses and posts on a multitude of social media channels, and her mother is on the hunt for a suitor. Instead of providing solutions to their problems, their fantasy lives drive a wedge between mother and daughter IRL. (Synopsis written by Eileen Arandiga)
Showtimes 

Sat, Apr 27 1:15 PM Scotiabank Theatre 8

For Tickets Click HERE

 

Strip and War (dir. Andrei Kutsila)

Outside the city of Minsk live an unlikely pair. A retired lieutenant-colonel stuck in a pro-Soviet past spends his days leading a regional veteran organization, writing military articles and patriotic essays, and organizing with students and colleagues. He shares his home with his grandson Anatol, who left his unfulfilling job as an engineer to pursue his true calling as a stripper, and dreams of one day founding his own erotic theatre. Their worlds could not be further apart—and they are still dependent upon one another and must navigate gently through their differences. But Anatol is growing restless and wants the freedom to be his own person. He must now face the difficult and painful dilemma of whether he should stay to care for his aging grandfather or break free to pursue his own dreams. (Synopsis written by Heather Haynes)

Fri, Apr 26 8:00 PM Scotiabank Theatre 8

Sat, Apr 27 4:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Tue, Apr 30 3:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

For Tickets Click HERE

Screening alongside Strip and War is the Polish short Connected (dir. Aleksandra Maciejczyk)
Hitting the slopes for a day of skiing becomes an exercise in blind trust for this couple. Connected by Bluetooth headsets, Wiola navigates and directs the way for her husband, Krysztof, who is visually impaired. When the weather turns, the outlook for the afternoon quickly dampens, but there is still a mountain to descend. (Synopsis written by Eileen Arandiga)
To keep up with the latest in Ekran news be sure to visit us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of Polish cinema with you.

Polish-born and Toronto based Director Marta Borowski has written, directed and produced a proof-of-concept trailer for the web series RESOLVE.

RESOLVE exposes the nature of forgiveness in a world connected by social media. Using the fictional app Resolv’r, a kind of Tinder for people with mutual unresolved issues, characters reach out to each other hoping that their swipes will be returned, and closure will be found.

Does convenience provide the illusion of simplicity? Should some things be left unsaid?

RESOLVE asks these questions, and others, as it explores the evolving needs of human re-connection.

LIKE THIS PREMISE? WANT TO SEE THIS SHOW GET MADE?

WATCH their awesome trailer, LIKE and SHARE IT (with everyone you know)! the trailer for RESOLVE 

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Jadiel Dowlin, Katie Ortencio, Spencer Macpherson, bracelets by Eliza Kozurno photo cred. Byron A. Martin

Jane Moffat, photo cred. Ola Walków

Jane Moffat, photo cred. Ola Walków

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Anna Douglas, Sharma MacDonald, Richard Lee<br /> photo cred. Ola Walków

STARRING: Jane Moffat, Joanne Boland, Mike Taylor, Matthew Isen, Kyal Legend, Chelsea Clark, Spencer Macpherson, Julia Lalonde, Kelly McNamee, John Healy, Jadiel Dowlin, Niko Ceci, Eric Hicks, Sam Kalilieh, Amir Bageria, Kaleb Laidman, Katie Ortencio, Nikki Graham, and Fiona Highet as the Voice of Resolv’r.

Polish Award Winning Costume Designer Monika Onoszko, who is now based in Toronto, created costumes for the film.

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Polish-Canadian Filmmaker Marta Borowski

Marta Borowski is an emerging DGC director and former script supervisor of 14 years on shows such as HannibalAlphas, Special Correspondents with Ricky Gervais & Eric Bana, and Star Trek: Discovery. As a director, she has worked on Family Channel’s sitcom Really Me and a handful independent projects, including her short film Jacob’s Arrow which premiered at the Phoenix Film Festival. In between projects, Marta has been shadowing accomplished directors and attending workshops to hone her skills. Marta is currently in working on an exciting new project, Resolve, with an ensemble cast including Jane Moffat, Joanne Boland, Chelsea Clark, Spencer

For more info about Marta Borowski you can check out her director’s reel at https://martaborowski.com/

To keep up with the latest in Ekran news be sure to visit us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of Polish cinema with you.

The second edition of the Pendance Film Festival kicks off this weekend February 1st to February 3rd at the Regent Theatre (551 Mount Pleasant Rd.) in Toronto.

The festival’s aim is to present a quality selection of indie cinema from all parts of the world. The festival spans over four nights with 50 short and features films, as well as, 4 filmmaker workshops led by industry leaders. Festival founder and director Robert Misovic is a Serbian-Canadian film director, and cinematographer. He’s a published author and a serial entrepreneur. Robert graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 and began working at a Boston hedge fund as a proprietary trader. In 2016, he launched Pensare Films, a Canadian film studio that has now produced 10 films which have screened at over 150 film festivals. Alongside Misovic he has an all-star staff of programmers backing him up: Anastasia Buterina (Designer & Senior Programmer), Robert Cormier (Shorts Programmer & Coordinator), Barry Germansky (Features Programmer) and Aharon Jinjihashvili (Operations & Programmer).

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Anastasia Buterina (Designer & Senior Programmer) & Robert Misovic (Festival Director & Founder)

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Woodkin (dir. Mateusz Motyka)

Opening night involves a series of short films in a program entitled “Masters of the Camera”. Polish short film Woodkin (dir. Mateusz Motyka) will make its Canadian debut here (February 1st at 6pm). (TICKETS are available HERE).

 

Motyka is unable to attend the festival but was extremely appreciative enough to have created a video expressing his regards:

We are looking forward to a weekend of superb filmmaking!

Wojciech Klimala was born on September 12, 1984 in Tychy, Slaskie, Poland. He is a director and writer, known for Elizabeth (2018), Hugo (2017) and Entropia (2014).

Last year Klimala was in Toronto attending the Hot Docs Festival , North America’s biggest documentary film festival.  

Ekran was delighted to have had to opportunity to spend time Klimala and to learn more about his film Hugo during an interview.

 

Hot Docs Festival will return to Toronto in 2019 from April 25th to May 5th, 2019.

 

To keep up with the latest in Ekran news be sure to visit us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of cinema with you.

 

 

Dorota Lech is a Polish born film curator and film festival programmer. Ekran had the pleasure to speak with Dorota Lech back in 2017 to discuss her role as a Programming Associate at the Toronto International Film Festival and the TIFF Doc Conference Programmer. 

In that interview Lech spoke of Polish film with such heart and passion it was clear that beyond programming and selecting festival films, Lech has a an art when it comes to articulating words to describe her love for the films from her native land Poland.  It’s only fitting that Vanity Fair selected her to interview Joanna Kulig, the star of Paweł Pawlikowski’s 2019 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film, Cold War (Zimna Wojna). 

After reading this article, I could not wipe the smile off my face. We are hoping you feel the same. Enjoy!

Cold War’s Joanna Kulig Is Ready for Her Spotlight

The actress steals the show in director Pawel Pawlikowski’s new black-and-white film, a love story set in postwar Poland.

In the moments following the Cannes premiere of Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War,the entire auditorium burst into applause and turned toward one person. Joanna Kulig, projected on the 19-by-8-meter screen, sat with her face buried in her hands, flanked by Pawlikowski and Kulig’s co-lead, Tomasz Kot, as the audience roared. Sitting several rows ahead of her, I looked back and thought, Finally, a real movie star from our little country.

Three years since his drama Ida became the first Polish movie to win the Oscar for best foreign-language film, Pawlikowski has returned with Amazon Studios’s Cold War, the monochrome story of forlorn love in a divided postwar Poland. As a country girl turned talented ingénue, who must decide whether to keep performing with her folk ensemble when their shows turn into Stalinist propaganda, Kulig plays the character across 15 years and enormous transformations, displaying remarkable range and talent. At the film’s swanky Cannes after-party, Kulig hugged Pawlikowski and then took the stage that had been set up near the swimming pool outside an impressive French villa. She sang the heart-wrenching ballad performed by her character in the film, and once again all eyes were on her. Pawlikowski, whose international breakthrough came in 2004 with My Summer of Love, is widely heralded as the most exciting Polish filmmaker currently working. It’s a title that comes with a long legacy. The country has produced Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Roman Polanski, among others, but has struggled for global recognition in recent years. Pawlikowski and his films have not been entirely welcomed at home, though. Since 2015, Poland has been dominated by Law and Justice, its ruling nativist and right-wing party, which pushes an authoritarian agenda and uses the state public broadcaster, TVP, as an unofficial propaganda machine. After Ida depicted Christian Poles as sharing responsibility for the Holocaust, the station infamously interfered with the broadcast of the film, introducing it with a 12-minute editorial program that claimed it was inaccurate and adding title cards that disputed its story, a move protested by the Polish Directors’ Guild and the European Film Academy. Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the Law and Justice party, and former prime minister Beata Szydlo have both publicly criticized the film as well.

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Joanna Kulig photographed in New York City. Photograph by Ruven Afanador

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Photograph by Ruven Afanador

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Dorota Lech

At a time when many Poles living at home and abroad, myself included, feel despair at the country’s tilt toward authoritarianism, Pawlikowski’s success has been a beacon of hope, an opportunity to tell Polish stories of love and possibility, even in the most impossible of circumstances. And now along with him comes Kulig, Poland’s most exciting star in decades, offering another chance for our small and challenged nation to show its best self.

Kulig, 36, has spent a busy five months promoting Cold War since Cannes, and nearly as much time preparing for the arrival of her first child, with her director husband, Maciej Bochniak. On a brisk October afternoon in New York City, she had just returned from a five-mile walk around Central Park. Though her English is excellent, she was relieved to sit down for a conversation in her native Polish. “Jesus! Wonderful! This is fantastic—we can talk in our language!” she squeals after I introduce myself.

Like her character Zula, Kulig comes from a small Polish town, Muszynka, a place of approximately 400 people nestled in the mountains, where she was one of five siblings and countless cousins. “I like being in groups rather than alone—I’m very open to people,” she says. “Being from the countryside gave me a spine, and it’s why I’m so accepting—I don’t judge people for how they look or how they talk . . . I just accept everyone.” A graduate of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, Kulig got her start in Polish television—including a singing-competition series when she was 15—before making her film debut in 2007’s Wednesday, Thursday Morning.

Cold War is Kulig’s third time working with Pawlikowski. They first met in a restaurant in Warsaw in 2010, when she was trying for the lead in Ida, a role she readily admits she wasn’t suited for. “She sang me a mountain song over dessert—something from her part of the world,” says Pawlikowski, chuckling. The meeting led to a small role in The Woman in the Fifth, in which Kulig plays a Polish barmaid who tries to seduce the film’s main character (Ethan Hawke), and another role as a nightclub singer in Ida.

But Pawlikowski had plans for “Joasia,” the diminutive form of her name that he uses. “She has an aura and light—not starry, not actress-y, but genuine and charming,” he says. He wrote Cold War with her in mind, and Kulig and Kot both worked with him to fine-tune the script. Born in 1982, Kulig doesn’t remember Communism well. “But I think about my grandmother or mother and how hard it was for them,” she says with a clear tone of lament. “Poland is a country of strong women.” That includes Zula, who comes from the wrong side of the tracks and fights to improve her circumstances, even at the sacrifice of her own desires. Asked if Zula and Wiktor’s love story could happen today, Kulig says, “They loved each other deeply but just couldn’t catch each other at the same moment. That’s real in any period—something could be right, but the time is wrong and people can just miss each other.”

For Kulig, the timing has proved exquisitely right. With a baby on the way and other projects now or soon to be in release—including Wojciech Smarzowski’s Clergy,which broke opening-weekend box-office records in Poland—she is open to whatever else comes next. “I’m living in the now and so happy with the success of this film, but I don’t think about the future too much. . . . You can’t really plan with acting!” When I inquire if she holds Hollywood ambitions, Kulig plays it cool. “I’m still getting to know America and it would be great if I could do more here, and I’m open because I like new things.”

In reviews of Cold War, Kulig has been compared to everyone from the French star Jeanne Moreau to American sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence. Though she’s still relatively unknown internationally, comparing her to anyone else already feels like a disservice. “She’s unique. She’s original,” as Pawlikowski puts it. “I don’t think there’s anyone like her.” And now we can see her full potential.

Source: Vanity Fair

Dorota Lech can be followed on Twitter @dorotamischka

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 InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of Polish cinema with you.

Ekran, Toronto’s Polish Film Festival and The Royal Cinema (608 College St.) will be screening master Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski’s classic film The Double Life of Veronique, on Saturday, January 5th, 2019 at 8pm.

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Director Krzysztof Kieślowski (photo cred. Wojciech Druszcz)

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The Royal Cinema on College Street in Toronto

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Irene Jacob as Weronika/Veronique

Kieślowski’s international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irène Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, emotional bond, which Kieślowski details in gorgeous reflections, colors, and movements. Aided by Slawomir Idziak’sshimmering cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting, operatic score, Kieślowski creates one of cinema’s most purely metaphysical works. The Double Life of Véronique is an unforgettable symphony of feeling. (Source: The Criterion Collection)

The film was Kieślowski’s first to be produced partly outside of Poland, taking place in both Paris and Krakow.  It won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival for Krzysztof Kieślowski, and the Best Actress Award for Irène Jacob.

Come Join Ekran as we co-present this film with the Royal Cinema at 608 College St.

For Tickets Please CLICK HERE

For more announcements & details follow us on:  FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

1983 is the first original Polish television series created exclusively for Netflix. The thriller is set in an alternative-dystopian Poland, in the year 2003, where the Iron Curtain never fell and the Soviet Union remains in power.

The series is directed by Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik, Agnieszka Smoczynska and Olga Chajdas. It was written by an American, Joshua Long.

1983 premiered on Netflix globally on November 30th.

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During her visit to Toronto’s 10th Polish Film Festival, director Olga Chajdas sat down with Ekran to chat about her experience and the process of filming 1983.

The show also includes an all-star cast starring Robert Więckiewicz, Andrzej Chyra, Zosia Wichlacz and many more. 1983 is available around the globe for anyone who subscribes to Netflix.

“the show feels like a Polish version of The Man in the High Castle, only instead of the AXIS powers winning World War II, the USSR won (or survived) the Cold War. As such, 1983 seems to have bit more gritty glamour than the Amazon series. It feels like a daring spy thriller with a twist. The alt-history setting allows the show to flit through genres: cop drama, spy thriller, and revolutionary tale.”

Source: Decider.com

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Andrzej Pągowski is the artist behind many of Poland’s most significant movie posters.

He’s done work for the likes of such great filmmakers as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Skolomowski and Roman Polanski.

Born in 1953 in Warsaw, Pągowski attended the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, where he studied Poster Art under Professor Waldemar Świerzy, the Co-Founder of the Polish School of Posters.

Pągowski began his own advertising firm around 1989, KreacjaPro, which is still in business to this day. His work in art and graphic design has passed the test of time as he has managed to consistently maintain success, creativity and a career throughout Poland’s transition from Communism to Capitalism. Pągowski  has won various accolades for his Poster Art designs. His work can also be found at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.

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A Short Film About Love (dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski)

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The Butler (dir. Filip Bajon)

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7 Senses (dir. Marek Koterski)

One year ago the 42 Polish Film Festival in Gdynia celebrated Pągowski’s 40th Anniversary as a Poster Artist with a special exhibition dedicated to his work.

In recent Polish Movie Posters, Pągowski’s work can be seen in 7 Emotions (dir. Marek Koterski), Clergy (dir. Wojtek Smarzowski), Ether (dir. Krzystof Zanussi) and The Butler (dir. Filip Bajon).

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Danton (dir. Andrzej Wajda)

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Andrzej Pagowski (photo cred. Jasia Kiersnowski)

Pągowski created the poster for the Polish Filmmakers Association film screenings of movies which celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Poland’s Regained Independence. The screenings of these Polish film masterpieces will be held throughout 2018 on Four continents: Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. The films can be seen this weekend in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum from November 24th to November 26th.

BUY TICKETS HERE

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The fact that Pągowski was commissioned to create the poster for this event is truly a testament to the respect and influence he has as a working artist in Poland’s past history and Poland today.

For more information on Pągowski visit his website Pagowski.pl or Poster.pl 

To keep up with the latest in Ekran news be sure to visit us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of cinema with you.

A Message from Ekran’s Jury:
This year the Ekran jury (Larry Anklewicz, Steve VealeS, Elizabeth Radshaw and Ottie Lockeyhad a very hard time choosing the best feature film in Toronto and Mississauga Polish Film Festival’s because there were so many fine films, including Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War (Zimna Wojna) and Olga Chajdas’ feature film debut NINA.

But the jury is happy to announce that the winner of Best Picture Ekran 2018 is Magdalena Łazarkiewicz’s haunting film Back Home (Pówrot).  The stark and powerful story of a young girls’s escape from a foreign brothel and her return to her family unrolls in a relentless psychological drama which hits hard at clerical abuse and dysfunctional family relationships.  The direction, screenplay, cinematography, and acting are exceptional.

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Dreaming of Warsaw dir. Mateusz Czuchnowski

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Don’t Cry When I’m Gone dir. Slawomir Grünberg

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photo of “Back Home” director Magdalena Lazarkiewicz

The Best Documentary Ekran 2018 award goes to Slawomir Grünberg’s moving Don’t Cry When I Am Gone (Nie płacz kiedy odjadę) a film based on the vibrant Jewish television actress, poet, and lyricist Wanda Sieradzka.  After she survived the Holocaust, Wanda did not dwell on the past, but instead built a rich and joyous creative life in Poland.  

The Best Short Film Ekran 2018 Dreaming of Warsaw (Sen O Warszawie) by Mateusz Czuchnowski tells a simple story of a refugee father and his young son who face huge obstacles as they try to live peacefully in Warsaw. The little boy urgently needs insulin, and as the father races to get a prescription filled, his son is at the mercy of brutal thugs.

Congratulations to the Winner’s! 

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Can’t get enough of Polish films? Join us this weekend (Nov 24-26) at The Royal Ontario Museum as we will be screening films which celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Poland’s regained independence. For More Information Click HERE.

Toronto’s 10th Polish Film Festival closes the curtain after an almost 2 week extravaganza of the best in contemporary Polish cinema.

The nearly 2 week long festival ended on a high note on Sunday November 18th with a second screening of director Filip Bajon’s epic period drama The Butler (Kamerdyner) and a vibrant audience for the documentary The Gorals (Ostatni Gorale) Co-Presented by The Polish Highlanders Association of Canada. Producer & Editor Maciej Pawełczyk attended the screening which was followed by a Q&A with special guest moderator, Anna Cyzon. Cyzon was a perfect pick to interview Pawelczyk, her father is a “Góral”from Rabka and relatives of hers were showcased in the film. She attended the screening wearing a dress made from a traditional Polish Highlander scarf created by Warsaw based fashion designer Kamila Zielinska and Maria Nowincka’s new clothing line, Goralove.

A Special THANK YOU to the Polish Highlanders Association of Canada for hosting a dinner after the screening which filled our bellies with food and our hearts with LOVE!BeFunky66-1100x511

This year the festival was bigger and better than ever. Between 2 cities (Toronto and Mississauga), 4 venues,  36 films (includes features, shorts & documentaries), 2 fabulous hosts (Anna Cyzon & Jolanta Mrotek) and of course SOLD OUT screenings of the most talked about Polish film of the year, Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War (Zimna Wojna). It’s safe to say that Toronto’s 10th Polish Film Festival was our most ambitious to date.

Stay tuned this week as we announce our Jurys selection for Best Film, Best Short, Best Documentary, but for now enjoy more Festival Phots here!

 

Although our 2018 festival is over, this coming weekend November 24-26th we will be involved in co-screening (with the Polish Filmmakers Association) films to commemorate Poland’s 100th Anniversary of Regained Independence.

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The Toronto Polish Film Festival would’ve not been possible without the amazing support from its co-producers, patrons, partners, sponsors, filmmakers, jury members, executive staff and most of all the volunteers and the movie goers who came out to supported us through 10 nights of impeccable contemporary Polish cinema in Toronto & Mississauga. Next year, 2019 will mark Toronto’s 11th 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 InstagramTwitter and Facebook as we share the world of cinema with you.