Archive for the ‘Best of Poland’ Category

After months of planning and collaborating, we’re excited to finally tell you about an exhibition we have put together along with the Polish Consulate in Toronto and the Film Museum in Łódź.

On September 1st, 2011 the cinematic world of Krzysztof Kieślowski (director of such masterpieces as Oscar nominated the Three Colours Trilogy, Decalogue and The Double Life of Véronique) is coming to Toronto.

Marking the 70th anniversary of his birth and the 15th anniversary of his death, the Film Museum in Łódź along with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto and YouNxt proudly present the North American premiere of Kieślowski in Posters: The Films of Krzysztof Kieślowski in World Film Posters.

The collection consists of film posters from countries such as: Spain, Italy, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Poland. Its travelled the world and in September will debut in Canada during the Toronto International Film Festival.

On loan from the Film Museum in Łódź for a limited engagement in the epicenter of Toronto’s film festival action, the exhibition will be on display at the Steam Whistle Gallery from September 1-10 and subsequently at the Metro Hall Rotunda from September 12-17. Admission is free.

Anyone with an appreciation for stunning classic and retro movie posters is invited to view the exhibition and attend the opening reception on Wednesday, August 31 from 7pm – 11pm at Steam Whistle Gallery.

Complete details are available on our EVENTS PAGE

Hope to see you all at the OPENING RECEPTION!!!


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Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic (not actual wedding photo)

Love is in the air!

This past weekend Polish bombshell/supermodel Anja Rubik married her model fiancé Sasha Knezevic.

Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic in Majorca PHOTO: Modelinia Blog

From the looks of it, it was a model wedding (too easy 🙂 ). The couple tied the knot on the Spanish island of Majorca.

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Sasha (a former professional basketball player for club Varese in Italy, was born in Serbia but raised in Vienna) and Anja (recently named the most in-demand model) fashion god Karl Lagerfeld’s go-to-girl, got engaged after seeing the opera Dance of the Vampires directed by Roman Polanski (I am guessing that they are big fans of True Blood).  

An emerging fashion power couple of sorts, the two are the creative brains behind the Austrian fashion and lifestyle mag 25 Magazine

Check out the two love birds in action on Polish morning show Dzien Dobry TVN ( Good Morning TVN. )

And here’s Sasha at a Quebec based fashion shoot for Canadian fashion house RW&CO. ft

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On July 1, Poland will assume the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.  

This is a VERY big deal for Poland which has come a long way since the gloomy days of life behind the iron curtain. It’s also a great testament to the ambitious nature of the Polish people.

To commemorate the occasion the country commissioned celebrated filmmaker Tomasz Bagiński and the Platige Image company to create a short animated film titled Europe in Dance.

The film which took nine months to complete is based on a waltz metaphor and the transformations to which Poland is inviting Europe. You can view the film here.

But perhaps a more vivid showcase of Poland’s aspirations exist in a video which was shot last week.

On June 21st, the residents of Poznan, released 8,000 Chinese lanterns into the sky to mark Midsummer Night. The event was accompanied by the soundtrack Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. The effort set a national record and organizers are already planning to beat the World Guinness Record next year.

Poland’s future seems to be a bright one. And a sky filled with flickering lanterns seems like the perfect metaphor.

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We’ve got our passes and our program guide and we’re ready to doc!

Hot Docs (the Canadian International Documentary Festival) kicks off tonight with POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold . This is the much talked about new film by director Morgan Spurlock (famous for his Oscar nominated Super Size Me doc in which he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days)

There are nearly 200 documentaries from across the globe with topics as varied as Toronto’s diverse population.

It can be a little overwhelming trying to decide what to check out but that is also the fun part.

What makes festivals such as Hot Docs so great is that they are extremely social events. As you wait in line to pick up a program guide or to purchase tickets or grab a coffee, you naturally end up getting into a conversation about what’s on people’s “must see” radar.

Of course everyone has their opinions.

To make it a bit easier we’re including links to the TOP PICKS as selected by Toronto film writers:

Toronto Life Magazine

Now Magazine

EYE Weekly

and the Toronto Star

Among the Hot Docs selection are 4 Polish films (2 features and 2 shorts) and we’re thrilled to say that both feature films have made the Toronto Star’s TOP 10 Festival picks. They are:

Polish Poster for "At the Edge of Russia"

At the Edge of Russia (Dir. Michal Marczak)

Synopsis: Hundreds of miles from the nearest town or tree, a smooth-faced young recruit arrives at his Arctic post. Here, etched somewhere into the endless white, is a border. The boy, Aleksey, joins five men, together charged with the absurd task of patrolling the invisible border for invisible enemies.

Through a crisp and unblinking lens, we watch as the gruff old soldiers, each a refugee from civilization in his own way, initiate the boy into their rigorous daily life. It’s a cold, hard routine, the discipline broken only by the occasional vodka and sad song.

Polish director Michal Marczak has assembled a formidable cast of characters in this breathtaking debut, both delicate and bold. At the Edge of Russia is a metaphorical portrait of a crumbled empire whose diligent men still busy themselves tracing meaning in the infinite white. Hot Docs

Sat, April 30 – 6:30pm, Cumberland 2
Tue, May 3 – 1:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Fri, May 6 – 7pm, Cumberland 2

Phnom Penh Lullaby (Dir. Pawel Kloc)

Synopsis: Among the many films that will spark discussion and debate in this year’s Festival is this intimate portrayal of the dysfunctional, sometimes disturbing, relationship between an alcoholic woman and her Israeli partner living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

She wants to get married and go to Israel, but he wants a new life, love and acceptance. Living on the margins, earning money by telling tourists’ fortunes, this fraught couple is also raising two young daughters. Drugs, crime and prostitution form the backdrop of their daily existence.

With his first feature, Polish director Pawel Kloc has chosen risky material and a potentially problematic approach. Yet the result is a gripping, formidable character drama with a climax as compelling and heartbreaking as any film this year, non-fiction or not. Hot Docs

Mon, May 2 – 9:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Wed, May 4 – 4pm, Cumberland 2
Sun, May 8 – 5:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

We’ll be running a contest for Hot Docs tickets so tune back for details.

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A few weeks ago, 4000 representatives from the tourism industry from all over the world gathered in Germany for ITB Berlin – the largest tourist fair in the world.

The host of this year’s edition was Poland (or more specifically the Polish Tourist Organization).

In light of its upcoming presidency of the European Council and before the Euro 2012 tournament it wanted to create a splash with an innovative campaign.

The company entrusted with this was Platige Image; the Warsaw based Film Studio that we have written about numerous times.

Oscar nominated Tomek Bagiński, a self-taught illustrator, animator and director headed up a team which included: Marcin Kobylecki,  Jakub Jabłoński, Rafał Wojtunik, Damian Nenow and Bartłomiej Kik.

The result was the “Move Your Imagination” campaign – a five film animated journey that emphasizes Polish culture, nature, active pastimes, preparations for Euro 2012 and dance.

Have a look and let us know if you think they are a HIT or MISS.


DIRECTOR: Tomek Bagiński

“The new film directed by Tomek Bagiński promotes Polish preparations to European championships that will take place next year. It was done in 3D stereo.

In the middle of concrete desert, there’s a fit man who starts spectacular dance. As the result the space around him changes. Huge pillars, spans – the elements of National Stadium in Warsaw are built. We also see other Polish stadiums that will host EURO 2012.” Platige Image

Here is the TRAILER which includes elements from all five films of the entire campaign. You can check out each film at the Platige Image website.

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As many of you can attest – seeing a great documentary film can leave you inspired, speechless and amazed.

From April 28 to May 8 the world’s best documentary filmmakers will be in Toronto for Hot Docs – North America’s largest documentary film festival.

This year, Hot Docs will present an outstanding selection of over 190 docs from around the world.

As last year, YouNxt and Ekran (the Toronto Polish Film Festival) are delighted to be official co-presenters of the Polish films at Hot Docs.

On May 4th we will also be hosting a special reception in honour of the Polish films at Hot Docs as well as local filmmaking talent.

Kultura Restaurant

The event will take place at the decadently delicious Kultura restaurant. Save the date and help us raise a toast to the creative, and often difficult, efforts of those that bring breathtaking stories to our eyes.

There will be two Polish features and two shorts at Hot Docs 2011. The features include:

At the Edge of Russia (Dir. Michal Marczak)

Sat, April 30 – 6:30pm, Cumberland 2

Tue, May 3  – 1:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Fri, May 6 – 7pm, Cumberland 2

Hundreds of miles from the nearest human settlement, a young recruit arrives at his Arctic post, charged with an absurd task: patrolling the nothingness. A riveting portrait of silence, broken at times by vodka and sad song.

Phnom Penh Lullaby (Dir. Pawel Kloc)

Mon, May 2 – 9:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Wed, May 4 – 4pm, Cumberland 2

Sun, May 8 – 5:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Pushing the boundaries of documentary, this disturbing, highly compelling drama follows an Israeli man now living in Cambodia with his Khmer girlfriend and their two young daughters. A story from the fringes conveyed with an edge.

The two shorts films have both won numerous international awards. They are:

That’s Life (Dir. Daniel Zielinski)

Fri, April 29 – 9pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Sun, May 1 – 1pm, Cumberland 3

A middle-aged Polish man—the filmmaker’s retired father—selflessly and tenderly cares for his elderly mother. They live a quiet life in the solitude of the countryside. The son films his father and grandmother with a sensitive, impressionistic eye, but in conversation the father expresses frustration and loneliness. A family visit shows us why.

Out of Reach (Dir. Jakub Stozek)

Sun, May 1 – 11:30am, ROM Theatre

Tue, May 3 – 9:45 – The Royal Cinema

Young and headstrong, sisters Karolina and Natalia are realistic about their home life. Their domineering father may not take the best care of them, but they know any life with their mysteriously absent mother would surely be worse.

For ticket information please visit the Hot Docs website.

Over the next few days we will be showcasing these films in more detail so make sure to check out our blog regularly for updates.

We are very excited to be involved with Hot Docs once again and we are especially proud to collaborate with our good friends at Ekran in bringing these docs to you. We’re looking forward to some memorable cinematic stories and look forward to seeing you at the movies.

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Pustki Live in Toronto @ Bellwood Photo By Peter Calak / GravityBureau.com

They came. They played. And now they’re enjoying the Austin bedlam.

From March 13 to 19 over 350 bands from across the planet played in all kinds of concert venues across the city as part of Canadian Music Week (CMW) festivities.

CMW which is labeled as “Canada’s International Music Convention and Film Festival” is a showcase of all things music and every year it attracts a multitude of aspiring domestic and international acts looking to make waves on the music scene.

Among all the artists were two Polish bands L.Stadt and Pustki.

Both played a series of official CMW gigs in venues such as famed eatery Czehostki’s and Hard Luck but also added a small surprise to the mix.

L.Sadt Live in Toronto @ Hard Luck Photo By Peter Calak / GravityBureau.com

On Friday, March 11 L.Stadt and Pustki with the help of former Polish-Canadian music exec Stephen Klus organized a last minute free concert at the Bellwood Bar & Grill.

The venue, although not ideal for a concert, provided a fitting background for the gritty rock n’ roll vibe resonating in the rest of the city.

Pustki Live in Toronto @ Bellwood Photo By Peter Calak / GravityBureau.com

Both bands sounded really great live and proved to be just as interesting and engaging in person. Part of making it out to small shows like this is that you really get a great opportunity to connect with the artists. And it was a pleasure to meet all of them.

One point of interest – among the audience was Basia Bulat who was recently nominated for a New Artist of the Year Juno and will perform during the March 21-29 Juno Week festivities.

Juno Nominated Basia Bulat with Radek Łukasiewicz of Pustki Photo By Peter Calak / GravityBureau.com

And as for L.Stadt and Pustki – after their gigs in Toronto both bands packed up and headed down to the famed SXSW (South by SouthWest) music and interactive conference and festival taking place in Austin, Texas.

Check out these great photos courtesy of Peter Calak from GravityBureau.com from the performances at Bellwood and Hard Luck.

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And have a look at these videos – hope they give you a bit of a taste of the energy that these two great bands deliver. ft


Pustki Live in Toronto @ Bellwood

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