That’s a Wrap on Toronto’s 9th Polish Film Festival!
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.
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.
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!