An interview with Vladek Juszkiewicz, director and founder of Polish Film Festival Los Angeles


14th Edition of Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles opens on October 8 and continues until October 17. In order to learn more about 2013 the Polish Film Festival, Los Angele, we had the opportunity of talking to Vladek Juszkiewicz director and founder of the festival.

Bijan Tehrani:  Please tell us about Polish Film Festival , LA and what will be new in 2013 edition of the festival?
Vladek Juszkiewicz : This is the 14th edition of the Festival. We will be screening 56 features, shorts, documentaries and animations.
For the first time ever we will be screening films at two different locations, to make it more convenient for the moviegoers: : Laemmle’s NoHo7 on the East side and Laemmle’s Royal on the West side. Also, to make it more affordable, all screenings are free for high school and college students. Screenings of the documentaries, animations and short programs will be free of charge for everybody. You can get a pass for $120.00 which will give admission to all screenings.

BT:  Polish Film Festival, LA is one of the longest film festivals showcasing films of a certain country in US and has more films than most of them, how challenging is organizing this festival?
VJ: To organize a film festival in a foreign langue it is challenge itself. To organize a film festival in Los Angeles, where there are so many different festivals and in a city as long as 80 miles and 60 miles long, where traffic is a big problem, is very difficult. In a city where you cannot count on local media, it is challenge. But besides all those obstacles the Festival continues to grow each year by screening more films and drawing larger crowds.

BT:  There are always Polish/American celebrities attending your festival, who should we expect for 2013?
VJ: We have a great selection of Hollywood jurors, including Dennis Dugan, David Lago, James Plannette, Mike Stoller, Del Weston, Daniel Assael, Chris Kenneally, Sylvia & Martin Kistler, Greg Brooker, Paul Debevec, Craig Zukowski. Beside them we will have Hollywood Celebrities, but to the end we do not know exactly who will show up.

BT:  Are there US premieres and Los Angeles premieres among the films screened during the 2013 festival?
VJ: Generally speaking all films are Los Angeles premieres and there will be many US premieres. We are not trying to keep track of it. Some festivals make a big deal of it. We are happy to present films to our audience and this is more important to us than counting premieres.

BT:  Will there be guest filmmakers or guest actors attending the festival?
VJ: From Poland we will have actors and directors: Sonia Bohosiewicz, Ryszard Bugajski, Bartosz Gelner, Kuba Gryzewski, Andrzej Jakimowski, Julia Kolberger, Liliana Komorowska, Bodo Kox, Ivo Krankowski, Maria Mamona, Maciej Michalski, Jakub Paczek and Janusz Zaorski

BT:  Are there any events held during the film festival?
VJ: We are trying not to organize different events during the Festival. We would like to keep people in the movie theater. There are extra screenings in collaboration with different organizations; we have a screening at the California State University, Northridge with a panel discussion composed of local scholars, a screening at the Senior Living Community in Sherman Oaks and a screening at the Amity Foundation in Down Town Los Angeles.

BT:  Does Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles screenings help Polish films to find US distribution?
VJ: We are giving the producers and distributors the opportunity to present their films in Hollywood, we are giving them a trampoline. The rest is up to them, if they will put it in use.

BT:  Who are the sponsors of 2013 festival?
VJ: Polish Film Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, POLAM Polish American Federal Credit Union, Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Polish Filmmakers Association, Chiltern Consultancy, ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America), Polish Center of Los Angeles and private donors.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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