Polish Film Festival – Interview with the Festival Director

Polish Film Festival – Interview with the Festival Director

The Polish Film Festival returns for its 10th presentation in Sydney with a program of nine of the best films from Poland, eight of which are Australian premieres.

The Polish Film Industry is a large market especially comparable to Australia with a very rich cinema history, and female film directors excel with 5 films in this year’s festival. Many Polish films have won Oscar Awards over the years including Ida (2013) and Cold War (2018) both directed by the highly respected director Pawel Pawlikowski. The Polish Holocaust Film The Zone Of Interest was the recipient of 2 Oscars at this this year’s Academy awards for Best International Feature Film and Best Sound.

“Polish cinema is definitely thriving, with over 20 high quality films produced each year boasting talented filmmakers,” Festival Director Magdalena Ambrozkiewicz enthused. “For many years it was difficult for Polish cinema to be recognized, but in the past decade there have been many award-winning films at Cannes, Venice Film Festival and The Academy Awards with hopefully many more to come!”

Returning to glory

The popularity of this festival was increasing each year until Covid shut down the entire industry, but it’s slowly rebuilding and catching up to the pre-Covid admission numbers.

When curating the festival program, variety is of essence so that there is a movie for all tastes. “We have a family movie, documentaries, action and historical features which highlight rising new talent and gender diversity,” she said.

A powerful drama not to be missed is the critically acclaimed and highly emotional drama Backwards, which delves on a mother who tries to secure the very best future for her autistic son.

“It’s a beautiful and very moving story with great performances, which won an audience award. This award for me is the most important as it is very telling.  A movie well worth watching.”

The Dog Who Travelled by Train is a heart-warming family film which was one of the top three box office hits in Poland. “A sickly girl comes across a dog who she loves dearly, but when the dog disappears her health declines – But I won’t reveal what happens!” laughed Ambrozkiewicz. “I actually tested this film on my own kids, and they loved it!”

Ambrozkiewicz explained that this film festival should be attended by all audiences regardless of ethnicity. “All movies have subtitles and they’re brilliant films which often won’t be seen, and they give a different perspective on life. Australian audiences have little chance of watching films from these lesser-known countries such as Poland, so this festival provides the chance to see something different.”

Magdalena’s Hot Picks for the Polish Film Festival

FILIP – A young Polish man escapes a Warsaw ghetto and disguises as a Frenchman working at a hotel and engages in romances with the local women. Love surpasses doom and gloom.

SCARBORN – A Tarantino-style action movie which touches on historical events concerning the American Revolutionary War Hero General Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Something quite different for Polish cinema.

DOPPELGANGER. THE DOUBLE – A psychological gripping spy thriller on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Multiple award-winning film including Best Director Jan Holoubek at the 48th Gdynia Film Festival.

June 23 – July 21. Place Central, Norton St.


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