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Another great year of Polish film
By Noelle Rivera
Posted May 9, 2007

           The Seattle Polish Film Festival recently wrapped up an amazing 15th year showcasing the best feature films and documentaries to grace the European country.

            The original Polish Film Festival took place in Gdansk, Poland in 1974. In 1982 the country came under martial law, and the festival moved to the city of Gdynia where it currently resides. The festival has local sister festivals in Toronto, Canada, and Seattle where Polish culture is celebrated every year.

           Polish community leaders Tom Podl and Dr. Michal Friedrich founded the Seattle festival in 1992. From 2002-2005, local attorney Krys Kooper lead the festivities, and in 2006 Greg Plichta, a local patent attorney, took the wheel.

All brought together by their avid interest in cinema, these directors have established this as one of the largest Polish film festivals in North America.

            “I do all this for fun, it’s a way for me to volunteer,” said Plichta.

            In only his second year of directing the festival, Plichta opted for a change. The festival took place in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall in Seattle’s renowned McCaw hall—an upgrade from previous venues. Plichta also added an Independent Submission Prize in addition to the Seattle Spirit of Polish Cinema Award. The winner of the Submission Prize went to αΩ (Alpha Omega), a film about everything from A-Z or from alpha to omega, which concludes ‘the unknown is our only hope’. Mateusz Droba was the director, screenwriter and cinematographer along with Pawel Dunia.

            The festival showcases many feature films popular in Europe. At the 2006 Gdynia festival, Emily Cries took home the Best Independent Movie award and Wszyscy Jestesmy Chrystusami’s, We’re All Christs, swept the event by winning Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Screenplay.

All the films are in Polish with English subtitles, but by being Polish doesn’t grant access. Plichta recognizes the greater Seattle has a relatively small Polish community, but the festival’s goal is to share it with all audiences.

            “At least half to more of people aren’t a Polish audience base,” said Plichta.

            Furthermore Plichta acknowledges that many of the filmmakers are from all over such as Minnesota, Holland, and Los Angeles.  A majority of the films take place in Poland, but are not limited. Guidelines state the films must be Polish-themed or consciously connected to Polish culture, language, or people.

            The festival was produced and presented entirely by volunteers of the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association, a non-profit organization that promotes educational, cultural and business exchange between the northern Polish seaport cities of Gdynia and Gdansk and the Seattle area.

             The festival accepts submissions of any class including full-length features, short films, music videos, documentaries, animations or experimental videos. All films are to be associated with Poland with English subtitles.

            Preparation for the 16th annual Seattle Polish Film Festival will begin in July and if it is anything like past celebrations, it is sure to please.



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