By Daniel Mauro
This week marks the 10th year of the Austin Polish Film Festival and another year that the festival team brings Austin a taste for many of the great and unique films Polish filmmakers have to offer. Every year the festival highlights a wide variety of films, from dramas and comedies to documentaries and animation, from popular thrillers to indie gems. The team has worked very hard to bring this year’s selection of films—as well as several filmmakers—from Poland to Austin. For viewers in Austin and the Central Texas region, this week will be the only opportunity to see many of these films outside of Poland. If you are new to Polish cinema, the festival is a great introduction to Polish film; if you are a long-time fan of Polish cinema, the festival is an excellent way to explore more deeply the contemporary landscape of film and video in Poland.
The first year I attended APFF was in 2010, during the 5th annual festival. I had long been a fan of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s films ever since I was introduced to his work with the Dekalog series, but otherwise I had only seen films from a few other Polish directors. I attended a few screenings that weekend: Mniejsze zło (The Lesser Evil, dir. Janusz Morgenstern, 2009), which followed a young writer’s involvement in party politics in 1980s Poland; Królik po berlińsku (Rabbit á la Berlin, dir. Bartosz Konopka, 2009), a documentary about the history of the Berlin Wall told from the perspective of the rabbits between the walls of East and West Berlin; and Zero (Paweł Borowski, 2009), a narrative revolving around the intersecting paths of dozens of characters in modern Poland. The films were exciting, provocative, and, perhaps most importantly, very entertaining. The festival gave me a chance to see some of the fresh and innovative new films coming from Polish filmmakers.
Since attending APFF in 2010, I have looked forward to the lineup of films every year. This year promises to be another exciting festival showcasing a great selection of popular and award-winning films. With the addition of the International Short Film Competition this year, APFF will also be screening new work from up-and-coming artists not to be missed. Also now in its 10th year, the APFF Poster Exhibit will bring Michal Poniz to the festival to present his exhibit focusing on American film posters made by artists of the Polish Poster School dating from the 1940s to the present.
Tickets for all screenings and events are now available on the APFF website. We’ll see you at the festival!