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Polish film and culture in Exeter

A rare opportunity to see some of the best Polish movies, documentaries and animations in Exeter will include screenings at the University of Exeter as well as in other venues around the city.

Exeter Polish Film Festival – Kinoteka on Tour 2010 is a satellite event of the Polish Film Festival Kinoteka, a flagship event of the Polish Cultural Institute in London. The festival runs from 10 – 15 March and begins with a documentary ‘The Runaway’, about Mr Piechowski, the last living fugitive and organiser of the most spectacular escape from Auschwitz concentration camp. The film will be screened at the University of Exeter in the Queens Building (Lecture Theatre One) and will be followed by a discussion with the movie director, Marek Pawłowski and the producer, Małgorzata Walczak. The free event also includes savoury delights of Polish cuisine prior to the screening at 6pm in the Queens Building (Lecture Theatre One). There will also be a short clip of the documentary ‘Kazik and Kommander’s Car’ by Katy Carr and Hannah Lovell.

Other film screenings will take place between 10 March and 15 May 2010. Over a dozen movies, including such titles as ‘Zero’ (15 March), ‘My Flesh My Blood’ (16 March), ‘Little Moscow’ (17 March) or even Poland's submission for Academy Awards, ‘The Reverse’ (12 May) are open to the public.

Beata Faracik a PhD student and member of staff at the University and the Festival co-ordinator said, ‘The festival was born in the minds of a small group of friends, who realised that despite the fact that there is rather a significant Polish community there are not many opportunities for students nor local population in general to discover and experience any aspects of Polish culture, learn about its past or understand the reasons behind the current migration to UK.’

She added, ‘We hope that the festival creates a space for English and Polish people to meet and experience some elements of Polish popular culture together. Several of the movies chosen have a strong historical background and recent releases we have selected show stories about love and hatred, sacrifice and betrayal in the context of a changing Europe. We hope that this selection will give the local public a chance to see Central-East Europe from a new perspective and understand it better.’

The University of Exeter has also participated in celebrating the success of MA Film Studies student Anna Raczynski, who is Polish and has recently had her (dissertation) film about Polish migrants working at the recycling centre in Exeter receive the honour of getting her film on the BBC Film Network page.  Such recognition is a prestigious move for a student; she said ‘To see the BBC logo in the left hand corner of my documentary is of course a great honour for any young film maker. Meeting the standards of the BBC at this stage of my film making career is exciting, as is the exposure resulting from being showcased online.’   Anna's film  Cos Fajnego/Something Great has been able to provide a fresh take on the subject of migration and is currently on the BBC Network Film site.

The festival will be accompanied by the Polish Film Festival Exhibition. Film posters, designed by artists of the Polish School of Poster Design lent from the Polish Museums collections together with artefacts selected from the holdings of the University’s Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, will be exhibited throughout Exeter. 

Phil Wickham, Curator of the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, said ‘Poland is justly famed for its imaginative film poster art and we are delighted to be taking part in this important festival with Exeter’s large Polish community, bringing cultures together in the city. An added bonus to the festival is that it is likely that a selection of books and catalogues about Polish film and its artists lent by Museum of Cinematography in Łódź for the purposes of the exhibition will be given to the Bill Douglas Collection after the exhibition.’

Jazz fans will not want to miss ‘Haunting Jazz Scores’ night (also part of the 'Vibraphonic Festival') with the movie & jazz duo of Polański and Komeda 18 March.  The introduction will be given by Steve Neale, Professor of English at the University of Exeter and the evening will feature ‘Knife in the Water’ and ‘Rosemary's Baby’. The festival events both at the University and in locations around the city seek to contribute to the increasing interaction between University and city, in addition to drawing on the wealth of academic expertise around this subject area.

Movie fans, who would like to learn more about Polish cinema, are invited to go to the Exeter Central Library Film Club on 29 April for the screening of the movie 'Mother Joan of the Angels' introduced by Dr Anna Misiak (University College Falmouth).

The Festival is organised on voluntary basis by the Festival Team and is co-organised by the Exeter Polish Culture Society, Polish Cultural Institute, Polish National Tourist Office, Exeter City Council, and in collaboration with Campus Cinema, Exeter Film Society, Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, Exeter Central Library, Exeter Phoenix, Museum of Cinematography in Lodz, Poster Museum in Wilanów, Poster Gallery in Warsaw, and is possible also thanks to support from other partners and sponsors.

Detailed information about individual films, programme brochure and festival trailer can be accessed at

Date: 10 March 2010

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