Celebrating Polish culture at the University of Rochester’s film festival

by Bob Deutsch

Celebrating Polish culture at the University of Rochester's film festival

Since 1986, the University of Rochester’s five-day Polish Film Festival has been held annually in Rochester, New York to celebrate the accomplishments of local and international Polish filmmakers. This year, the festival’s movie screens will play host to works from veteran and rookie auteurs, including one based-in-reality film that will be submitted for nomination at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Vying for recognition in the Best Foreign Language Film category at next year’s Oscars, Poland’s “80 million” – from accomplished screenwriter and director Waldemar Kryzstek – is a drama covering the tense real-life conflict between competing political interests in 1980s Wroclaw. Originally released in 2011, the film will be presented at the festival on Monday, November 19.

Other films on the schedule include the highly acclaimed, uber-stylized “Suicide Room” from Sala Samobójców. The film tells the story of a teenager who, after suffering emotional abuse and ridicule at the hands of bullies, secludes himself in a virtual world. The innovative film mixes live-action footage and computer imagery, and its gripping story helped it earn a bevy of awards from international and U.S.-based film festivals and review boards.

The festival will run from November 15 to November 19, and as many as a dozen films will be screened from the University of Rochester’s Little Theatre. Though it had humble beginnings, the Polish Film Festival has grown to become a leading event for Polish actors and directors, with many making the trip to Rochester to headline the event. In addition, the festival is supported by a major grant from the internationally based Association of Polish Filmmakers. The scope and span of the event – and other major cultural festivals – begs the use of high-quality indoor and outdoor movie screens and state-of-the-art production equipment.

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