Karbala, a film directed by Krzysztof Łukaszewicz and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, was released theatrically in Bulgaria on March 18.

Bulgarian Premiere

The Bulgarian gala premiere of Karbala was held on March 16, 2016 during the Sofia International Film Festival. On March 18, Krzysztof Łukaszewicz’s feature was released in Bulgarian cinemas. The film’s Bulgarian co-producer and distributor is Miramar Film.

Karbala was released theatrically in Poland on September 11, 2015, marking a total of over 411,000 admissions. The film’s DVD release was on January 29, 2016. Distribution in Poland is handled by Next Film.

Polish Troops in Iraq

Karbala is the story of Polish troops in Iraq. The film is inspired by the true story of Polish army officer Grzegorz Kaliciak who led Polish and Bulgarian troops in Karbala. Having participated in the depicted events, Kaliciak served as consultant on the film.

The story is set during the Persian Gulf war. On April 3, 2004, pilgrims arrive in the city of Karbala in Iraq to celebrate the Day of Ashura. The crowd-filled city is then shaken by terrorist attacks that are followed by an attack on the city’s strategic point: City Hall, the headquarters of local authorities and police. Only a handful of Polish and Bulgarian troops, with no outside support, are left in the city. They engage in one of the most heroic battles fought by Polish soldiers since the Second World War. Facing death, the Polish soldiers survive four days of hell. Their heroism and determination not only result in the Polish-Bulgarian victory in the battle, but do so without the loss of a single soldier.

The Crew

Karbala was written and directed by Krzysztof Łukaszewicz, author of Lincz (Lynch) and Żywie Białoruś (Viva Belarus). The film was lensed by Arkadiusz Tomiak and features performances by a stellar Polish cast, including Bartłomiej Topa, Antoni Królikowski, Michał Żurawski, Piotr Żurawski, Leszek Lichota, Tomasz Schuchardt, and Łukasz Simlat.


Karbala has received the 2016 Polish Film Award and the Polish Cinematographers Society Award for Best Cinematography (Arkadiusz Tomiak), and has received awards at Tofifest in Toruń (Golden Angel Award for Best Polish Film) and the Polish Film Festival in America.

A Film Supported by the Polish Film Institute

Karbala was produced by WFDiF in Warsaw, co-produced by Agora SA, Telewizja Polska, Canal+ Polska, Studio Produkcyjne Orka, and Miramar Film (Bulgaria). The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and the Bulgarian National Film Center.