2009 was quite a special year for Polish cinema. Films by Polish directors haven't received this much acclaim in years. Multiple awards at festivals abroad, record-breaking admissions in Polish cinemas, general acclaim of the critics and audiences - all these factors suggest that the enthusiastic opinions about the rebirth of Polish cinema that appeared after last year's Polish Film Festival in Gdynia are fully justified. What was the past year like for the Polish Film Institute?
Jadowska Wraps Latest Shoot
Z miłości, the latest feature by Anna Jadowska, is the story of Ewelina and Piotr - a young married couple. Having recently had a baby, they are also having some financial troubles. Piotr doesn't have a steady job, nor any ideas for supporting his family. After a talk with friends, they decide to play in a porn film, which to them is an easy and fun way to make a large sum of money very quickly. Ewelina decides that she and Piotr will only shoot one such movie.
Festival of the Polish Institute in Berlin
The fifth edition of the filmPOLSKA festival will be held on 15-21 April 2010. Audiences in Berlin and Potsdam will have an opportunity to attend nearly 100 screenings in various venues in both towns.
New Films by Holland and Lewandowski
January 15 brought the launch of shooting for the political thriller Kret (working title). It is the feature debut by Rafael Lewandowski.
In early February, Agnieszka Holland will also start shooting her latest feature in Berlin. The shooting schedule will then have the crew moving to Leipzig, and on to Łódź in March.
Bad Boys... in Biarritz and Mexico
June will bring the theatrical release of the feature-length documentary entitled Bad Boys. Cell 425 (Bad Boys. Cela 425) by Janusz Mrozowski. It was filmed over the course of ten days spent in the Wołów prison, and portrays the everyday life of seven repeat offenders who share a single cell with an area of 16 square metres (172 square feet).
Polish 5D Project in Production
The film will not only be screened in stereoscopic 3D, but it will also be felt. Sitting in special screening rooms, the audience will experience a combination of scents, rain drizzle, and gusts of wind.
Asylum 5D will be a virtual tour of an abandoned mental institution, seen through the eyes of the viewers as they spend 12 minutes visiting a series of sinister rooms and corridors.
Xawery Żuławski Will Be Jury Member at Berlin Film Fest
Xawery Żuławski will be member of the International Short Film Jury at this year's Berlin Film Festival. Other members of the Jury are: Zita Carvalhosa, film producer and director of the São Paulo International Short Film Festival; and Max Dax, journalist and chief editor of the German magazine Spex.
The Berlinale Shorts Jury will award the Golden Bear and a scholarship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), in addition to selecting a short film nominee for the 2010 European Film Awards.
Before the Twilight Wins Filmland Polen
The 7th Filmland Polen New Polish Film Festival has come to an end. The Audience Award for the most interesting feature, also known as "Hannoveranen", went to Before the Twilight by Jacek Bławut.
Filmland Polen is the oldest Polish film festival in Germany. Screenings in four key cities of northern Germany (Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg and Lübeck) take place all year round; their purpose being to promote Polish cinema in Germany.
Feature Film About the Events of December, 1970
Czarny czwartek (Black Thursday), the first feature in Polish cinema dedicated to the events of December 1970 in Poland, is currently in development in Gdynia.
Five Polish co-productions have received funding from Eurimages, the Council of Europe fund for the production, distribution and international promotion of European films.
Polish Films in the US
In this last month of the Oscar campaign, Polish films will be screened at prestigious film festivals in the United States.
New Feature by Jerzy Skolimowski
Last Saturday Jerzy Skolimowski began shooting his latest feature, The Essence of Killing (working title). This latest feature from the director of 4 Nights with Anna will be shot this winter in Israel, Norway and Poland (in Warsaw and the Pieniny mountains).
Record Attendance in Polish Cinemas
Over 38 million tickets sold in Polish cinemas in 2009: numbers this high have not been noted in years! Polish films gathered a total audience of over 8.7 million.
Seven films crossed the 1 million mark in terms of admissions, with two Polish features among them: Love & Dance and Popiełuszko. The top box-office hits were sequels of popular animated films - Madagascar 2 (over 2 million viewers) and Ice Age 3 (almost 2 million), and the disaster film 2012 (almost 1.5 million).
The most pleasant surprise of the year is the cinema success of Mall Girls, with almost 550,000 tickets sold.
2010 Polish Film Awards
The final list of nominations for the 2010 Polish Film Awards (Eagles) will be announced in early January. December 23 is the deadline for film submissions.
Eligible are all Polish films at least 50 minutes in length that have had theatrical release and been screened in Polish cinemas at public screenings continuously for at least one week between January 1 and December 31, 2009.
The awards ceremony is to be held on March 1, 2010.
Nomination for Golden Globe
Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski received a Golden Globe nomination for his score to A Single Man. The complete list of nominations was announced yesterday.
Awards for Piggies
Piggies, the latest feature from Robert Gliński, received the Special Jury Prize at the European Film Festival in Les Arcs, France. The acclaimed Hungarian director István Szabó presided over the jury. The festival's artistic director is Frédéric Boyer, known for the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes.
Wajda and Łoziński Celebrate Awards Success
"I have the impression that my film will be much better received abroad. I think our audiences don't really like sad, melancholy films", said Andrzej Wajda, who received the European Film Academy Critics Award - Prix FIPRESCI for his film Sweet Rush last Saturday. On Monday he proudly presented his award to journalists at a press conference.
The second of Polish winners, Marcel Łoziński (whose Poste Restante received the award for Best Short Film), emphasized the rebirth of the short documentary form. "A lot can be told in 15 minutes; the documentary form is incredibly powerful", he said.
Awards for Wajda and Łoziński
Last night Marcel Łoziński received the prestigious European Film Award in the Best Short Film category for his documentary Poste Restante. Andrzej Wajda received the Prix FIPRESCI for Sweet Rush.
Awards for Infallible System
The debut feature from Izabela Szylko received another award - this time in Monaco at the 7th Angel Awards International Film Festival. Alina Janowska received the Best Actress award, while Izabela Szylko won the award for Best Screenplay. In early December Infallible System also won the main prize at a film festival in Armenia.
Echo Wins in Aix-en-Provence
Echo, the student film by Magnus von Horn, received the Grand Prix at the Tous Courts international short film festival in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Polish Golden, Silver and Bronze Frogs
Krzysztof Ptak received the Silver Frog for his work on Dark House, while Marcin Koszałka was awarded the Bronze Frog for Reverse. Both films competed in the Main Competition at the Plus Camerimage film festival, which ended last Saturday. The winner of the Golden Frog was the cinematographer responsible for Lebanon, Giora Bejach.