Films by Polish Directors at TIFF


September 5 marks the launch of the 38th Toronto International Film Festival. The festival’s lineup of films from around the world features two films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute: Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa. Man of Hope) by Andrzej Wajda and Ida by Paweł Pawlikowski. The festival will also screen Burning Bush, a mini-series directed by Agnieszka Holland, produced in the Czech Republic. Toronto audiences will also have an opportunity to see Suchy pion (Dry Standpipe), a short film directed by Wojciech Bąkowski.

Polish Films in Toronto

The 38th edition of the Toronto IFF runs from September 5 through September 15, 2013. The festival’s Special Presentations include Ida (formerly known as Sister of Mercy), a film by Paweł Pawlikowski, as well as the North American premiere of Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa. Man of Hope) by Andrzej Wajda. Alongside these two Polish productions, the Special Presentations section of the Toronto IFF will feature the latest projects by such directors as Steve McQueen, Atom Egoyan, Jasmila Žbanić, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jim Jarmusch.


The latest feature by Paweł Pawlikowski (winner of multiple awards, including the European Film Award and BAFTA), co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, is the first film by this director to be produced entirely in Poland. The screenplay has been awarded the MEDIA European Talent Prize. Ida is set in early 1960s Poland, and tells the story of an encounter between two women: a young novitiate nun who learns of her Jewish heritage, and a communist activist who is the sole survivor in her family. The film stars Agata Kulesza and first-time actress Agata Trzebuchowska, and features supporting roles by Joanna Kulig and Dawid Ogrodnik. Ida was lensed by Łukasz Żal. The film was made in co-production between Poland and Denmark, with Opus Film acting as producer on the Polish side.

Screening Dates:

  • September 7, 7:30 p.m.; TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
  • September 8, 12:00 p.m.; Scotiabank 14
  • September 15, 9:00 p.m.; The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Wałęsa. Czlowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa. Man of Hope)

Also co-produced by the Polish Film Institute, the latest film from director Andrzej Wajda is the story of Lech Wałęsa, legendary leader of the Solidarity movement. Following Wałęsa’s biography from the early 1970s until his inauguration as president of Poland, the film portrays the transformation of a simple everyday man into a charismatic national leader. It is the story of a husband, father, and simple worker; a man who brought to light the dreams of freedom that had been dormant in the hearts of millions. The film was lensed by Paweł Edelman. The title role was played by Robert Więckiewicz, with Agnieszka Grochowska playing the part of Wałęsa’s wife Danuta. Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa. Man of Hope) was produced by Akson Studio sp. z o.o., co-produced by Telewizja Polska, Telekomunikacja Polska, Canal +, and the National Centre for Culture (NCK), as well as sponsored by Energa Group and SNG.

Screening Dates:

  • September 11, 6:00 p.m.; Ryerson Theatre
  • September 12, 1:45 p.m.; Scotiabank 1
  • September 15, 9:30 a.m.; Scotiabank 1

The Special Presentations section of the Toronto IFF will also feature Burning Bush, an HBO mini-series directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced in the Czech Republic. Burning Bush is focused on the events surrounding the death of Jan Palach in Czechoslovakia in 1969.Wavelengths, a festival section showcasing daring, visionary and autonomous voices, features Suchy pion (Dry Standpipe), a short film by Wojciech Bąkowski. The film has previously received recognition at the 13th T-Mobile New Horizons IFF, winning the award for Best Experimental Film.

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

In 2010, Indiewire named the Toronto International Film Festival the third best film festival in the world (after Cannes and Sundance). Organized annually since 1976, TIFF is an event that showcases the latest trends in world cinema; the only awards at this festival are those awarded by the audience. Recent editions of the festival have featured a number of Polish films, including Galerianki (Mall Girls) and Bejbi Blues (Baby Blues) by Katarzyna Rosłaniec, Sponsoring (Elles) by Małgorzata Szumowska, W ciemności (In Darkness) by Agnieszka Holland, Róża (Rosa) by Wojciech Smarzowski, Imagine by Andrzej Jakimowski, Essential Killing by Jerzy Skolimowski, and Chrzest (The Christening) by Marcin Wrona.

Further details are available at:


Marta Sikorska


Translated by Karolina Kołtun