All Q&As are either in English or with an on-stage live interpreter

Sebastian Smoliński - festival MC

Sunday, October 29 and Thursday, November 2 – Saturday, November 5

Fot. Piotr Gruchala

Mr. Smoliński, film and opera critic, comes to us from Warsaw, Poland. As the APFF 2017 MC, he will introduce festival films and will moderate Q&A sessions with the festival guests. In addition, on October 29, he will make an introduction to the Polish Animations Program presented by the Austin Film Society in cooperation with the APFF.

Sebastian is an award recipient of the 2017 Krzysztof Mętrak Competition for Young Film Critics and a frequent contributor to such Polish print and online media outlets like "Polish Film Magazine", "Kino", "Ekrany", and "Tygodnik Powszechny". He works as programmer and catalogue editor for Two Riversides Film and Art Festival in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, and additionally collaborates with other film festivals like Polish Film Festival in Gdynia or Terra Italiana - The Festival of Italian Cinema in Warsaw. Sebastian co-authored several books, including the Spanish-language monograph "La doble vida de Krzysztof Kieślowski" and a book about African American cinema. Some of Sebastian’s US experiences include film studies at the Cleveland State University where he received a scholarship from the Polonia Foundation of Ohio, and interning at BAMcinématek in New York in 2016.

Robert Wrzosek - actor

In attendance on Thursday Nov. 2nd 

Actor, director, screenwriter, producer. Graduated with a major in Acting from the National Higher School of Theatre in Wroclaw. Robert Wrzostek was an actor in The Henryk Tomaszewski Mime Theater, guest performed on many theatrical stages in Wroclaw, played in several TV series, among others: "Dom nad rozlewiskiem" ("The House on the Backwaters"), "Samo życie" ("Life itself"), "Tajemnica twierdzy szyfrow" ( "Mystery of the Codes Fortress"). He starred in several films, including "Revival paradise", "Dzień Kobiet" ("Women's Day"), "Imperator" ("The Emperor"), "Pre mortem", "Wyklęty" ("Cursed"). His 2005 directorial debut, "Stacja Mirsk" ("Mirsk Station") won several awards in Poland. In 2010, he made a full-length off-screen movie "JEDENASTE nie uciekaj" ("The ELEVENTH, do not run away"), for which he was also the screenwriter and the producer. Robert is still exploring new artistic career paths.He has played in all of Konrad Łęcki's films.

Robert Wrzosek is coming to Austin with Łęcki's most recent film, "Cursed".

Monika Meleń - director

In attendance on Saturday Nov. 4th

Director, editor, author of dozens of documentaries aired nationwide in Poland . She graduated from the Cultural Studies at the University of Silesia with major in film studies and also holds a degree in Journalism from the Jagiellonian University. She worked at several radio stations before joining the Polish Television, TVP. She is a regular contributor to the magazine "Ekspres Reporterów" for TVP Channel 2, TVP and the regional television stations.

Ms. Meleń comes to Austin with her film "Stanley for Stanley" and is interested in documenting her experience at the APFF as part of her work on Polish film festivals in the US.


In attendance on Friday Nov. 3rd

The filmmaker, writer, director, producer, Ryszard Bugajski studied philosophy at the Warsaw University and film directing in the Film School in Łódź. In 1976, he became a member of Studio X (Zespół X) headed by Andrzej Wajda where he made his first films – “A Woman and a Woman”, “Classes” and the famous “Interrogation” (“Przesłuchanie”). “Interrogation” was banned by the censorship and had its Polish premiere after eight years since the production had been completed, in 1989, winning many awards worldwide (1990 Cannes Film Festival - Palme d’Or for the Best Actress). In mid-1980s, unable to work in his field, Ryszard Bugajski emigrated to Canada where he directed feature films (“Clearcut”), as well as TV series. He returned to Poland in 1997. With numerous feature films and TV plays to his credit, he is also a novelist and screenwriter.

Bugajski comes to Austin with his latest film,  “Blindness” (“Zaćma”), that had its world premiereat the International Film Festival in Toronto in 2016.

MARIA MAMONA - actress

In attendance on Friday Nov. 3rd

A Polish theatre and film actress. When still a Theatre Academy student, she made her debut on the stage of one of the best Polish theaters, Teatr Współczesny in Warsaw, in 1977. She has played over 30 different leading and supporting roles of very diverse character under the helm of the most prominent Polish directors. She has also taken part in over 30 television productions – dramas, episodic series and novellas, and over 30 feature films.
She has earned many awards and honorary prizes, among them at the Festival of Contemporary Drama in Zabrze for her role as “Wife” in “The Nuremberg” by Wojciech Tomczyk. She was also nominated for Felix Award for the leading part in “The Wardrobe” by Yuko Mishima.

Maria Mamona comes to Austin with Richard Bugajski's film, "Blindness" in which she plays the leading role of Julia Brystygier. 


In attendance on Sunday Nov.5th

K. Krauze .jpg

A graduate of faculty of documentary directing in FAMU, director, translator. For last three years – deputy director of Polish Institute in Prague. Cooperates with Czech Television as a producer for cyclical journalistic programs. Author of the movie Nasz Vašek – siła bezsilnych (Our Vašek – power of the powerless) which had its premiere in December 2012. Main character of the movie is Václav Havel, his relationship with Poland and connections with Polish and Czechoslovak opposition. Also, she graduated from the Screenwriting Study Center at the Lodz Film School. She studied Political Science at the University of Gdansk.  

Ms. Krauze comes to Austin with her film "Returns of Agnieszka H."

Łukasz Simlat - actor

In attendance on Sunday Nov. 5th

A graduate of the Theater Academy in Warsaw, a television, film, and theater actor, Simlat recently starred in three high-profile films: "United States of Love" (dir. Tomasz Wasilewski), "Satan Said Dance" (dir. Katarzyna Rosłaniec), " Amok" (dir. Kasia Adamik"). He has won numerous awards: for the best supporting male role in"United States of Love" at the Gdynia Film Festival in 2016, for the best supporting role in the movie "Amok" at the Gdynia Film Festiwal in 2017. For his role in "Magma" (dir. Pawel Maslona), he received the best actor award of Jan Machulski's Polish Independent Cinema . Simlat played plenty of characteristic roles in Television Theater productions with the one in the lead role of Jan Karski in the play "Karski" (dir. Magdalena Łazarkiewicz) that won him an award at the Festival of Two Theaters in Sopot. 

Richard Karpala - screenwriter

In attendance on  Nov. 5th

Based in Los Angeles, Richard Karpala is a Polish-American filmmaker whose short film IRIS was featured in the horror anthology GALAXY OF HORRORS (2017). His debut feature as a screenwriter is the award winning crime thriller AMOK (2017). He is currently at work on his feature directorial debut.