Festival brings together Wellington’s Polish community and film industry
New Zealand's long-standing Polish community is celebrating its heritage with a film festival in the capital.
The second annual Wellington Polish Film Festival returns to a new home – Miramar's Roxy Cinema – seeking to bring the country's film industry and Polish communities together.
The festival runs from November 3-12 and aims to celebrate the art of Polish filmmaking and filmmakers, screening a selection of about 10 historic and contemporary Polish films to Wellington audiences.
Festival director Wanda Lepionka says this year's festival will focus on the legacy of renowned Polish filmmaker and Palme d'Or winner Andrzej Wajda.
"Wajda passed away on October 9, 2016, the last day of our festival last year. This was less than a month after the world premiere of his final film, Afterimage.
"For more than half a century, Wajda's filmmaking style captured the essence of post-war Poland and is a great legacy to the film world, and he was a well-respected filmmaker of his generation."
The focus on Wajda follows last year's tribute to Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, who is known internationally for his Three Colours trilogy released in the early 1990s.
Lepionka says showcasing traditional and contemporary Polish filmmakers to Wellingtonians was important as New Zealand's film industry continues to make connections with Poland.
Polish embassy spokeswoman Anna Golebicka-Buchanan says the festival offers Wellingtonians insight into a country whose links with New Zealand date back 145 years.
"The festival of Polish films is a great link to Poland for the Polish community in New Zealand, a strong contemporary Polish voice from homeland. However it can be equally attractive and valuable for New Zealanders.
"[Polish] films often show the energy of today's Poland and its variety. Poland's cinema is demanding and reflective. And we are proud of it."
Lepionka has been involved in the New Zealand film industry for decades and is herself a descendant of one of the Polish children who settled during World War II at Pahīatua.
She says she created the festival with the aim of making her love of Polish cinema accessible to all New Zealand film-goers.
"It's the cinematography that grabbed me all those years ago – the combination of a good story with the way a film is artistically shot brings it altogether to give its distinctive identity and character."
*The festival runs from November 3-12 at the Roxy Cinema in Miramar. Tickets and scheduling available closer to the time from http://wpff.nz/