Films from Gdynia

Films from Gdynia

Films from Gdynia is a section of the 41st Gdynia Film Festival which presents films inseparably related to the city, and which year by year strengthens its position on the film map of Poland. Four documentary films treat of people and events related to Gdynia. Their creators are also related to the “city from the sea”.

It is not by coincidence that the Films from Gdynia section was included in the programme of the Film Festival. For a couple of years, film environment has been vigorously developing in the city, new films have been being made that are related to the city in terms of production and theme. Numerous institutions and undertakings have emerged around the Film Festival; they popularise the film culture in the city and stimulate the development of the film industry: Gdynia Film School, Gdynia Film Fund, and Gdynia Film Centre with a three-room, increasingly popular arthouse cinema.

“Przemek Dyakowski. Life in Jazz” is a portrait of an unusual 80-year-old, a saxophonist and traveler inseparably related to Gdynia. In a film about himself, Przemek Dyakowski gives simple answers to difficult questions. And in the constantly changing world, he recommends one golden rule to musicians: commission, performance, remuneration. The director of the film, Andrzej Mańkowski, is a figure well known to the Festival audience – during the previous editions, such titles of his were presented as: “Children Calling” and “Bokiniec and the Movie”. The director (born in 1973), working and living in Gdynia, is the initiator of the “DECALOGUE 89+” project, the director of the documentary “The Music Lesson” (among others, Prix Italia 2007) and of the comedy “The Ruby Wedding” (among others, Laboratorium Award at the 10. Polish Film Festival Los Angeles). Recently, he made a comedy “Pan Rudnicki i samochody” in the Munk Studio of the Polish Filmmakers Association. He is also the author of the documentary “Gdynia” and the feature “Yoko Ono’s Cups”.

“Pan Werner” is a 17-min-long documentary impression made by Wanda Dittrich, Mateusz Koldun, Mariusz Wirski. The protagonist of the film – Werner Feliks Rzeźnikowski – a scout, a member of the Grey Ranks, a former prisoner of the KL Stutthof concentration camp, a survivor of the Walk of Death – tells the story of his difficult life. History seen from the perspective of an inhabitant of a small town in Pomerania casts new light on the life of Kashubians in the pre-war times, during World War II and in the post-war Poland.

The film was made by… Polish philologists, graduates and employees of the University of Gdańsk, who have been related to the film culture of the Tri-city for years, including the “Love of a Blonde” Film Discussion Club. Wanda Dittrich (born in 1986), holding a PhD in humanities at the University of Gdańsk, is the organizer of numerous scientific conferences and cultural and artistic events, the screenwriter and co-author of independent films such as “Performance”, “Possession”, “Proces”, “Fa(e)ces”. Mateusz Koldun (born in 1987) works in the studio of the scientific television of the Gdańsk University of Technology. In 2013, he graduated from directing at the Warsaw Film and Television Academy. He is the author of a number of television and Internet productions (reportages, spots, interviews) and independent documentary and feature productions. Mariusz Wirski (born in 1984), a Polish Philology PhD student at the University of Gdańsk, is a film expert, a literature expert, a culture animator, an organizer of scientific conferences and artistic and cultural events. As an independent filmmaker and video artist, he made several hundred documentary, animated and experimental films, among others, “Performance”, “Somnus Redux”, “Passerby”, “Past Perfect”, “Fa(e)ces”, “W starym kinie”, “45-39”.

The full-length feature documentary film “Miejsce” directed by Maciej Buszman and Wojciech Kulling shows in a wide range the condition of the Polish education system through the prism of one school (IX LO in Gdynia). An image of the contemporary education system is drawn by statements of pupils, graduates, teachers and workers of the school. However, this is not a film about the education system only. It is a documentary about people, their dreams and desires, their fears and doubts.

Maciej Buszman is a recent graduate after his end-of-school maturity examination, a musiciana and a filmmaker, related to Gdynia, the author of the awarded short films “W bezkresie” and “Kontrast” as well as of video clips for the Tri-city rock bands. The film “Miejsce” is his first documentary. Wojciech Kulling (born in 1972 in Gdynia) for several dozen years has been holding the “Talking Heads” Film Discussion Club. He has published three poetic books, and lately, he has become a screenwriter.

The protagonist of the 40-min-long documentary “Cheerleaderki” is Monika, the captain of the dancing group Cheerleaders Flex Sopot. One day, the girl faces a huge challenge – she is to create the first in Poland team of dancers on wheel-chairs. Full of fears but also very ambitious and disciplines as she is, he accepts the offer. For a first time in her life, she – a fit, fully capable and beautiful girl – will have to work with people who are physically disabled but no less ambitious than herself. The director and screenwriter of the film is Sławomir Witek, the producer – Jakub Maj who permanently works in Gdynia.

Sławomir Witek is a graduate of history at the University of Gdańsk and of Gdynia Film School, an image operator and director. He is the director of cinematography of “Olena” by Elżbieta Benkowska and “The Mother” by Łukasz Ostalski as well as to the novel film “Nowy Świat”; the director and screenwriter of the films “Ostatni sezon”, “Real Honey” and “Seven Men at Different Ages”.

“As every year, we take care of the proper presence of films made in
Gdynia and/or by the Gdynia inhabitants,”
says Michał Oleszczyk, the
Artistic Director of the Festival. “Both to me and to the Festival
Director Leszek Kopeć, supervising this section, the presence of films
which are so closely linked to the very city in which our Festival has
been hosted for so many years, has a special and very emotional meaning.
I am glad that again, a few films have emerged thanks to which the
participants of the Festival will be able to get to know better the city
which is home to the most important national film festival”.