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

Sebastian Smoliński - festival MC

Thursday, November 8 - Sunday, November 11 and Sunday, November 18


Mr. Smoliński, film and opera critic, comes to us from Warsaw, Poland for the second time. As the APFF 2018 MC, he will introduce festival films and will moderate Q&A sessions with the festival guests.

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", "Filmweb", "Kino", "Ekrany", and "Tygodnik Powszechny". He works as catalogue editor and Q&A sessions moderator for the New Horizons International Film Festival in Wrocław (the biggest movie event in Poland), and additionally collaborates with other film festivals like Polish Film Festival in Gdynia or Octopus Film Festival in Gdańsk. He is a frequent guest at Polish radio and TV, including his regular video talks for Canal+, and at European film festivals (in 2018 he was a correspondent of "Tygodnik Powszechny" at Cannes). Sebastian co-authored several books, including the Spanish-language monograph "La doble vida de Krzysztof Kieślowski", book about African American cinema, and a recent bilingual monograph of David Lynch (the book was nominated for the Polish Film Institute Awards in 2018). 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.

Aleksander Pietrzak - director

In attendance on Thursday Nov. 8th and on Friday Nov. 9th


Born in Płock in 1992, Aleksander graduated from a music school in piano, and from the Warsaw Film School majoring in directing. He gained experience on the sets of accomplished filmmakers like “Obywatel” by Stuhr, “Bridge of Spies” by Spielberg, “Planet Single” by Okorn, or “True Crimes” by Avranas. He is still a student of Liberal Arts at Warsaw University. Alek’s diploma movie ‘Strong Coffee Is Not That Bad” (2014) has won many awards at various festivals in and outside of Poland. His next short "Me and my father" (2017) also travels the world through many international festivals. His feature debut "Julius" qualified to the main competition at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia this year.

Pietrzak comes to Austin with his short "Me and my father", and his feature debut "Julius".

Bożena Stachura - actress

In attendance on Thursday Nov. 8th

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A film and theater actress. She graduated from the Ludwik Solski State Scenic Art High School in Kraków. After her studies, since 1999, she has been employed by the National Theater in Warsaw where she made her debut acting the part of Kate in “The Wedding” by Stanisław Wyspiański directed by Jerzy Grzegorzewski. Her next important role was the main female part in a play “On All Fours” by Tadeusz Rożewicz directed by Kazimierz Kutz. She made her film debut acting a part of Solange in “Chopin: Desire for Love” directed by Jerzy Antczak (2002). She also performed one of the main parts in Wiesław Saniewski’s “Bezmiar Sprawiedliwosci” (2006) and in television series: “Miodowe lata” and “Na dobre i na zle”. Now she is recognized by lots of TV viewers as Grażyna from a series “M jak miłość.”

Bożena Stachura comes to Austin with Janusz Kondratiuk’s film, "A Cat With A Dog" in which she plays the role of Beata, Janusz's wife. 


Bartosz Nowacki - director

In attendance on Sunday Nov.11th

Bartosz Nowacki was born in 1985, in Koło. In 2010, he graduated from the Philology Department of the University of Łódź, where he majored in Film Studies and New Media. Bartosz graduated from the Organization of Film and Television Production in Cracow Film School and Audiovisual Communication. His master’s thesis was on the work of Val Lewton.
Bartosz Nowacki started working in the film industry as a member of a production team but quickly moved to directing. He had a chance to work as assistant of Andrzej Wajda („Wałęsa. The Man of Hope") or Michał Rosa („Time of Honor”). He also directed 190 commercials in Poland and abroad.

Nowacki comes to Austin with his short debut „On the Road”. 

Roma King - author

In attendance on Sunday Nov.11th


Roma King (Michniewicz) was born in Poland.  She lived with her parents in eight countries before settling in the United States, in the Los Angeles area. Roma was an Academic Advisor for the Departments of Fine Arts and Design/Media Arts at UCLA.  She loved working with UCLA students for almost 30 years.  She now devotes all her time to her family, friends, travel, and volunteering for many community projects. In addition to “Footsteps in the Snow”, Roma has written 3 children’s books: “Safari”, “My Guardian Angel” and “Grace Makes Potato Pancakes”.

Roma King comes to Austin with the film “Footsteps In the Snow” that is based on her book.

Łukasz Będkowski - co-producer

In attendance on Sunday Nov.11th

Zdjęcie do katalogu Łukasz Będkowski.jpg

Łukasz Będkowski  was born in 1981 in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland.  During 2015-2018, he was associated with the Film Studio Kronika in Warsaw. Łukasz has been active in promotion of the Polish Cinema in the US and Canada for many years. He worked as co-organizer and assistant director of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, co-creator of the Polish Film Festival in Miami, associate of the Polish Film Festivals in Austin, Houston, Rochester, Seattle, Vancouver, and Toronto. He also worked as Polish Representative of the Polish-American Film Society, was creator of the Polish-American „Young Cinema Forum”, and is director of the The Polish Films Promotion Foundation. Łukasz served as production manager of  “Generations” (2016), “Wajda 90” (2016), “Love and Empty Words” (2018), and “Stanislaw Skrowaczewski: Life as a Score” (in production).

Będkowski comes to Austin with his co-production documentary “Footsteps in the Snow” (2018).

Dr. Łukasz Jasina - International Affairs Analyst, Historian

In attendance on Sunday Nov.11th


Łukasz  Jasina was born in 1980 in Hrubieszów, Poland. He is a graduate of John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and Harvard University. Jasina’s specialty is history of Poland and Film Studies. He authored books and articles on Polish and British Cinema. Currently, he works at the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

Dr. Jasina will introduce the film “Nights and Days” with historical background and insights.