Posts Tagged ‘poland’

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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“No human community can exist without culture.”

This is the wisdom shared by Vaclav Havel.

Vaclav, a former playwright and elected first president of the Czech Republic, shared this bit of insight as part of the Wisdom project.

Wisdom is the work of 34 year old New York based photographer Andrew Zuckerman who completed the project in 2008.

Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts a generation can give to the next is wisdom gained from experience, the project consists of a collection of 50 photographs/interviews that capture the wisdom of legendary leaders and visionaries, over the age of sixty-five, from the worlds of politics, science, sports and the arts.

Wisdom exists in the form of a book of portraits, a film and a travelling exhibition.

The latter (the exhibition’s Canadian premiere) is on display at Toronto’s elegant Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) until August 5th, 2011.

Each copy of the book comes with a download code for a 60-minute film comprised of interviews from the project.

Among the global personalities featured are people such as Actor/Director (and all around Dirty Harry) Clint Eastwood, Diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, first woman to become United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Actor Robert Redford.

There are also two notable characters as far as Poland and Canada are concerned. The first is Zbigniew Brzezinski, Warsaw born, McGill University educated, former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

The second, is world renowned architect Frank Gehry who was born in Toronto and hails from Polish Jewish ancestry.

Wisdom is an inspiring and rewarding exhibition. If you’re in need of a gust of in your sails make sure to check it out. Best of all, it’s free!

And if you’re looking to combine the show with a nice dinner – we recommend either Ki  (Modern Japanese) or the eclectic Marché which are just steps away.

Enjoy your dose of wisdom!

But before you dig in, check out this trailer for the film…

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Ontario Minister of Revenue Sophia Aggelonitis and Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller with members of YouNxt and the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce.

Recently YouNxt along with the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Garden Reception in the beautiful garden of the Polish Consulate in Toronto. The location overlooks the city skyline from across Lake Ontario and is really one of the most magnificent Consular spots in the country. If you’ve never visited the Consulate, we highly recommend it.

Toronto skyline as seen from the garden of the Polish Consulate

With Chopin’s music providing the soundtrack nearly one hundred business leaders, entrepreneurs and young professionals mixed and mingled to make some fruitful connections.

We were also very fortunate to be joined by some very distinguished guests and speakers including Ontario Minister of Revenue, the Honourable Sophia Aggelonitis, Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller, Senior Trade Commissioner of the Republic of Poland Wlodzimierz Leszczynski, the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Toronto Christian Frayssignes and “Canada’s Sales Coach” Tom Stoyan.

On hand was also Vice-Consul Wojciech Dziegiel to pass along greetings from our host the Consul General Marek Ciesielczuk.

Minister Sophia Aggelonitis

Ontario PC Finance Critic Norm Miller

Vice-Consul Wojciech Dziegiel

"Canada's Sales Coach" Tom Stoyan

Director of YouNxt Filip Terlecki

The aim of the Garden Reception is to provide business leaders and young professionals with the opportunity to meet and hear from Government Officials and to network with leaders and entrepreneurs from various industries. The event always attracts a diverse professional crowd including those breaking ground in social media, business and arts & culture.

Many thanks to Peter Calak from the Gravity Bureau for snapping the great photos. And, most importantly, thanks to you for delighting us with your presence.

The Gravity Bureau Inc. crew

Greetings from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

Greeting from Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak

If you didn’t have an opportunity to attend but would like to next year, please drop us an email at younxt@gmail.com in order to find out how you can be part of the event.

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Biking in Europe from Copenhagen Cycle Chic

By Izabela Stabinska

When I lived in Holland, I was impressed by how bike-friendly that country is. There are bike specific paths, bike parking lots as well as bike rentals and emergency repair bike shops. The variety of bikes is out of this world and they come in all colours, shapes and sizes

Although bikes were never strangers in Poland, there hasn’t been much infrastructure for them and they have never been top of mind. However, today many cities are including cycle paths in their development plans. And recently, one of the top national newspapers Gazeta Wyborcza initiated a campaign “Polska na rowery” (Get on bikes, Poland!) and organized a number of biking events to promote a bike-friendly lifestyle.

But that’s not all. Cycling is being promoted in style!

A few months ago the All For Planet Foundation came up with an idea to design bike racks that would reflect the spirit of the city that they would serve. Under the banner “Zaparkuj klimatycznie” (Eco parking) they selected five cities: Krakow, Wroclaw, Sopot, Rzeszow and Bytom and commissioned a team of designers to come up with ideas.

The designers returned with five concepts for each of the five cities and people all over country were encouraged to vote for their favourite design as well as for the prefered locations. Close to twenty thousand people (including me!) voted. Here are the 3 top designs that will be installed in each city:







One of the designs in particular, sparked a lot of controversy. With lots of sunny beaches Sopot is one of the most famous Baltic Sea destinations but some were offended by the “naked” sun-bathing female figure. Then again, the design got the most votes.

Moreover, seeing all the buzz around the beach-lady, the organizers didn’t want to miss a good opportunity and so they announced a little surprise…

… a little beach companionship.

The first bike racks are being installed this month. So, if you travel to Poland this summer and see any of them, let me know how you like them. Until then, get on your bikes people!

Izabela Stabinska

Izabela is Toronto based fashion designer who studied fashion in California. After receiving the Best Graduation Collection award, she traveled all over Europe where she collaborated on art projects, fashion shows and photo shoots. In Toronto, she is freelancing in fashion design and production. Currently, she is working with a local enterpreneur on a specialized sportswear line and is developing her first Canadian collection.

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The official greeting ceremony of the President of the U.S. at Poland's Presidential Palace.

As noted recently in the New York Times, the United States might not have the same pizazz in the eyes of young Poles as compared to that of their parents, but when the “Leader of the Free World” pays you a visit you roll out the red carpet.

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama made a 24-hour visit to Poland as part of the final phase of his European tour.

He visited four countries over six days with his flying fortress, Air Force One, touching down in Warsaw on Friday evening.

He met with Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He discussed security and energy issues, met with leaders of Polish democracy, and, along with Poland’s President, co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central and European states.

Obama called Poland a model for the world and praised the country for it’s peaceful and succesful transition to democracy after the fall of Communism in 1989.

He also confessed to a personal Polish link.

“If you come from Chicago and you haven’t become a little bit Polish, something’s wrong with you,” he joked.

President Obama greets young leaders at The Presidential Palace

President Barack Obama pays his respects while visiting the memorial to the victims of the Smolensk plane crash at Field Cathedral of the Polish Military in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011

President Obama is greeted by Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski at the Presidential Palace.

President Barack Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski review troops during the arrival ceremony in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Pres. Obama meets with Polish politicians, activists & Solidarity leaders to learn about Poland's experiences in a peaceful democratic transition.

Presidents Obama & Komorowski co-hosted a dinner for leaders of Central & Eastern European States.

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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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This past Thursday Toronto’s premier film location TIFF Bell Lightbox hosted a special promotional screening of Jerzy Skolimowski’s new film Essential Killing.

Starting Vincent Gallo the film delivers a vivid and at times shocking portrayal of a desperate man on the run; and in the European tradition of thought-provoking cinema it  calls for an analysis that extends past the simple thumb up or down review.

Hence, YouNxt asked two film aficionados to give us their take on Essential Killing

Essential KillingREVIEW BY Kasia Kaminska

Archetypes revisited. Without giving too much away, Skolimowski’s Essential Killing is a surprisingly well rendered re-telling of the old “man vs. himself, man vs. nature and man vs. other men” themes.

It is peculiar in that there is very little dialogue, with none from the lead, played by Vincent Gallo, at all. The limelight is effectively stolen by the spectacular cinematography which sets and follows the story of an Afghan prison escapee making his way through the snow-laden wilds of some unknown and completely foreign land (which, from the snippets of local dialogue, is evidently Poland).

Gallo is evocative as the classic Anti-hero. A fugitive by accident, he stumbles, shivers, shakes and whimpers through the grueling and physically daunting performance. Given the harsh terrain and weather conditions it is plausible that Gallo is not so much acting as struggling to survive the duration it takes to capture the shot. Every step of the way Gallo is terrified and frantic and there isn’t a single ounce of showboating or bravado here. No revelry in violence or killing.

Waterboarding torture scene

Gallo’s character could be anyone. Every time he desperately takes a life to preserve his own he is left shaken to the core, visibly weakened and bloodstained. Skolimowski does not soften nor censor the very desperate human condition in this film. He illustrates every painful act and decision with precise calculation.

We think along with Gallo and consider his next step as if it was to be our own. When he spies an opportunity we wonder what he’ll do: spare the fisherman? Kill the woman on the bicycle? What would any of us do?

The film's controversial and shocking "woman on bicycle scene"

With an army of nameless, faceless, masked commando’s with German shepherds hot on his trail, Gallo must survive in a harsh, unknown and unfriendly environment. The only thing keeping him going are delirious flashbacks into his past; a wife, a child, a home, a family. He was once like you or I. Normal. Not a killer.

There is, however, a small ray of hope for even the most hopeless. Our doomed Gallo experiences one last act of kindness in a world that has already chewed him up and spat him out. It is the literal saving grace, perhaps, for someone beyond saving.

And finally, the best thing about this film besides the acting and storytelling is the very light sprinkling of political commentary. The stage is set and the chase is on. We are left to form our own opinions.

Kasia Kaminska is a Toronto based painter, illustrator and graphic designer who holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from York University. You can learn more about her work at http://www.deepfriedchickenskin.com/

Essential Killing – REVIEW BY Thomas Jankowski

Director Jerzy Skolimowski

There are people who regard Skolimowski a living legend of Polish cinema and those that consider his work to have truly mattered, some two, three decades ago. For instance, Knife in the Water (1962), on which he collaborated with Roman Polanski, is still on mandatory viewing lists of many cinema studies program.

Known for his statement about making films for himself, he nonetheless managed to rouse audiences with an otherworldly Hands Up (shot in 1967, released 1981) and Ferdydurke (billed in some places as 30 Door Key) (1991), a notoriously difficult to adapt or translate modernist novel by Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz.

Then Skolimowski released Four Nights with Anna (2008), and Essential Killing (2010).  Audiences and critics worldwide seem to agree again that indeed, his voice is unique and that he matters. Not that he means to.

He shot Four Nights with Anna next to his house and had hoped to do the same with Essential Killing.  Instead, the film took him around Poland, Israel and Norway, and caused him to shoot in -32 weather and to contract an adverse form of pneumonia, deemed very dangerous at Skolimowski’s age of 72.  “Never again,” he claimed with a smile.

Director Jerzy Skolimowski with Emmanuelle Seigner on set

Essential Killing is a story of an Afghan citizen suspected of terrorism, taken captive by Americans and transferred to Europe for interrogation.  He escapes and finds himself a fugitive in the midst of a Polish winter, with his confused mind set on survival.  While the film takes several indirect passes at the politics of the moment, it is far more existential and “mockumental” than it is political.

Essential Killing is difficult because it’s antiheroic.  The antihero, Mohammed, played by Vincent Gallo, must remain on the edge of our emotional perception in order for us to feel contempt when he’s a predator and sympathy when he’s a victim.  We have to like him enough to let him in, but never enough to let him stay, just as the deaf woman (played by Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner) who helps him along the way.

The film is minimalist, quiet and yet intense.  It offers silence but no solace, neither to the protagonist nor the viewer.  Despite beautiful scenery and outstanding cinematography, it leaves the viewer feeling uncomfortable and forced to review his/her assumptions about the essence of life.

Skolimowski’s quest to do an easy film may have failed, but he has given us one of the most physically evocative chase films in a long while.  We can only hope that having found his voice again, he will continue to produce works of such exceptional quality.

Thomas Jankowski is an IT Consultant with an MA in Media and a BA in Literature. His company, QuasiLife, helps companies improve their bottom line through an effective application of new technologies and social media to business operations. He has also worked as a creative writer and a journalist, and still occasionally produces short works of fiction and film reviews.

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