FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             MEDIA CONTACT
October 15, 2018                                                                            Joanna Gutt-Lehr                                                           Tel: 512 750 5263
joanna.guttlehr AT

This year’s 13th edition of the Austin Polish Film Festival coincides with celebrations of the 100 years of Poland’s regained independence. The history of Poland is intimately intertwined with the history of Europe and the United States. Art and culture are the best story tellers. We devote several special events to these centennial celebrations.

The festival kicks off on November 8th and continues through November 11th at the AFS Cinema, 6259 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. A full day on November 18th is entirely devoted to the centennial independence celebrations at the Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712. A local company specializing in Polish food caters November 8th poster exhibit opening reception at the AFS Cinema event hall and the formal dinner on November 11th at the Holiday Inn, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752.

Detailed film and event program can be found on the festival website: 

Among festival highlights is “Cold War”, the newest film by an Oscar winner for the best foreign film, Paweł Pawlikowski (“Ida”). “Cold War” keeps gathering praises from audiences and critics alike worldwide for its beauty and masterful storytelling. “The Guardian” which gave it 5 stars writes: “Paweł Pawlikowski won the best director award at Cannes in May for this sweepingly intimate love story about a star-crossed couple falling together and apart, through the iron curtain of postwar Europe. It is inspired by (and dedicated to) his parents, whom Pawlikowski has described as “the most interesting dramatic characters I’ve ever come across … both strong, wonderful people, but as a couple a never-ending disaster”.

Another festival highlight is a film “Clergy” that just had a world premier at the biggest national Polish film festival in Gdynia this fall. The film depicts the Catholic church in Poland suffering from sins of lust for power, greed, and pedophilia. Controversies and high emotions have been accompanying the film from the very start and continue on. There are two main reasons: the gravity and relevance of the subject matter and the caliber and the reputation of the film’s director and writer, Wojtek Smarzowski (his “The Rose”, “Hatred” were both screened at the APFF in the past.)

The APFF 2018 is presenting several recent debuts. Alek Pietrzak, only 25 years old, comes to Austin with two films: a short “Me and My Father” about an adult son’s relationship with his father who suffers from Alzheimer’s and his full feature debut, a comedy, “Julius” about a frustrated art teacher’s life going topsy-turvy. Alek will be present for Q&A after both films.

“Silent Night”, 2017, another feature debut by a young filmmaker, Piotr Domalewski, won the best director and best script awards, as well as the Discovery of the Year prize at the 2017 Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, the local equivalent of the Oscars. It is a story of a family in a Polish village dealing with consequences of having to leave the country in order to make a living.

“Panic Attack”, 2018, a “tragedy meets comedy”, is a debut by a young director, Paweł Maślona. Six stories about ordinary people put in extreme situations, which cause them to experience panic attacks. A brilliant satire that cuts through society with razor-sharp humor.

“A Dog With A Cat”, 2018, is the newest work by an accomplished Polish filmmaker, Janusz Kondratiuk. It is a story inspired by true events about the last years of life of the director’s brother, Andrzej, also an accomplished film director, when he became paralyzed after a stroke. It is a film about dying, human dignity, and brotherly love that isn’t always simple. We will be hosting Bożena Stachura, the main female actress in the film, for a Q&A after the screening.

“Squadron 303”.True Story, 2018, is a film about the highly regarded fighter squadron of Polish pilots who fought in the skies above England during WWII. The pilots of squadron 303 distinguished themselves with bravery and skill. The creators of the film were inspired by Arkady Fidler's book of the same title.

We are also presenting an award-winning short thriller, “On the Road”, 2016, by Bartosz Nowacki who will be present for a Q&A after the screening. Another guest, author Roma King, comes from LA with a documentary “Footsteps Through the Snow” a story of the family’s escape from Siberia during the WWII. We are also excited to show an award-winning documentary “Over the limit” by Marta Prus about a Russian rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun. Our Children Program includes films and activities.

This is the fourth year of APFF International Short Film Competition. The categories include narratives, animations, and docs. The winning entries will be screened and the winners announced during the festival.

Traditionally, a Polish Poster Art Exhibit and sale is a part of the festival. This year, all posters are by Polish artist, Ryszard Kaja. Some are for film and theater productions but most are from his series “Poland” with witty and beautiful portraits of Polish cities, towns, and regions. We will also display the posters at the Blanton Museum of Art on November 18th.

Please note that slight changes and adjustments in the program are not expected but may happen.

APFF’s mission is to build cultural bridges between people in Austin and Poland and increase awareness of the cultural diversity of Austin. Our festival guests often meet with students and faculty at local universities. The festival runs an international short film competition for independent filmmakers and contributes to the UT student scholarship fund at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies that helps fund a study abroad program.