Celebrating 2022 Madison Polish Film Festival

2022 Madison Polish Film Festival poster

Questions of family, happiness, and self-fulfillment dominated the 2022 edition of the Madison Polish Film Festival as another selection of new Polish films reached the UW campus. As usual, the event attracted a significant crowd from the Polish-American, student, and the larger Madison communities to experience how Polish filmmakers—two female and two male directors—use cinema to tell stories about life in contemporary Poland.

A few hundred viewers gathered in Union South over two chilly Sundays (November 13 and 20) this year to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of Polish film. For some people in the community, like members of the Madison-based Polish Heritage Club, the festival provided yet another opportunity to experience firsthand the latest in Polish cinema but to meet in person, chat, and socialize. Organized by the UW–Madison Polish Student Association (PSA) and Polish Studies faculty, the event was also a chance to catch up with old friends, make new connections, and support the promotion of Polish culture in Madison and Wisconsin more generally.

» Interested in all things Polish at UW–Madison? Download our free brochure

The 2022 edition of the event showcased four new Polish films ranging from wholesome family comedies to moving emotional dramas. The opening feature, Illusion (2022, Pol. Iluzja) by Marta Minorowicz tells the story of parents—and the mother in particular—who deal with the emotional trauma of a disappeared daughter. The theme of female protagonists exploring their identities continued into the screening of F*cking Bornholm (2022) by Anna Kazejak, in which a vacation trip to the eponymous Danish island becomes an opportunity for the main characters to re-evaluate their life and overall happiness. The third feature, Black Sheep (2021, Pol. Czarna owca) by Aleksander Pietrzak introduced much-needed comedic relief—and received the biggest applause from viewers as they followed how the Gruz family navigates unexpected life changes. Bartosz Blaschke’s drama Sonata (2021) closed the festival with its pungent message about the unequal distribution of talent and opportunities.

“The 2022 edition marked our full return to the classical format. We were very happy to be able to reconnect with the community and welcome new Polish film aficionados.”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly difficult for the film industry, the festival continued. “We did our best to preserve the continuity of the Madison Polish Film Festival throughout these challenging years, which necessitated moving the festival online for the first time in history,” Łukasz Wodzyński, Assistant Professor of Polish and the festival co-organizer, stated.

“The 2022 edition marked our full return to the classical format. We were very happy to be able to reconnect with the community and welcome new Polish film afficionados. Our sincerest thanks to our sponsors and all of you who support our Polish cultural events with your presence,” he said. Prof. Wodzyński also hinted at a possible festival expansion in the future to include new films and formats such as documentaries and short stories.

» UW–Madison Dr. Ewa Miernowska Recognized for Her Polish Film Promotion

Launched by the UW–Madison longstanding Polish lecturer Dr. Ewa Miernowska, the Madison Polish Film Festival complements regular course offerings in Polish film and culture in the UW Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+. In Fall 2022, Prof. Łukasz Wodzyński is teaching a course titled History and Ethics on Film: Polish Cinema, in which he and his students discuss some of the classic achievements in Polish cinematography. In the Spring 2023 semester, Dr. Krzysztof Borowski will teach a course titled Politics and Comedy in Poland, which surveys the genre of political comedy in Polish film and literature.

» Search for all Polish language, literature, and culture courses at UW–Madison

UW–Madison Polish Studies promotional brochure

Are you curious about what is happening in the UW–Madison Polish Studies program, or interested in our current and future Polish language, literature, and culture course offerings? View our promotional brochure now to learn more about recent events, initiatives, and awards, and to hear from our chair, Prof. Łukasz Wodzyński. You can also download the brochure, share it on your social media, or email it to your friends and family.

Welcome home. Witaj w domu.

UW–Madison Polish Studies promotional brochure (front page)
UW–Madison Polish Studies promotional brochure (see https://go.wisc.edu/polish)

Donate to UW–Madison Polish Studies program

The UW–Madison Polish Studies program is actively involved in researching, teaching, and promoting Polish film, language, literature, and culture. Since its establishment more than 80 years ago, our faculty has trained hundreds of students in these areas and disciplines, in addition to organizing numerous events such as the annual Madison Polish Film Festival. If you would like to help us continue our rich tradition of promoting Polish culture in Wisconsin and beyond, consider donating to our program using the Donate banner below. You can also consider setting up a fund to support our students or faculty in their studying, teaching, research, or outreach activities. To learn more about our program and what we do, click here.

Questions? Email Rebecca Forbes Wank, our Financial Specialist, or Dr. Łukasz Wodzyński, our Professor of Polish, to start the conversation today.

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Celebrating Polish cinema at UW–Madison since 1991

The annual Madison Polish Film Festival is co-organized by the UW–Madison Polish Studies program and the Polish Student Association in collaboration with the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+ (GNS+), Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee, and the Polish Heritage Club, Madison–Wisconsin. Inaugurated in 1991 by our longstanding Polish language lecturer Dr. Ewa Miernowska, the festival has quickly become an annual celebration of Polish cinema. Since then, it has attracted hundreds of viewers each year and is now a major cultural event at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Greater Madison Area. In 2021, the Festival’s longstanding director Dr. Miernowska received a prestigious distinction from the Chicago Society for Arts for her outstanding merits in promoting Polish cinema in North America. The award ceremony took place at the Polish Film Festival in America in Chicago.

More from the #UWPolish blog:

UW-Madison Polish Studies program blog

Announcing 2022 Madison Polish Film Festival with Four New Polish Feature Films

UW–Madison Dr. Ewa Miernowska Recognized for Her Work in Promoting Polish Film

Students’ Mapping Projects Explore Diverse Heritage of Poland, Central Europe

Announcing 2022/2023 Lapinski Winners: Victoria Chowaniak and Julia Paciorek

Was There a Viking Poland? An Expert Discusses Archeological Facts and Myths

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UW–Madison Polish Studies Program

Educating the Wisconsin public about the Polish language, literature, and culture since 1936.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Polish Studies Program is the oldest academic program in the United States focused on the study and teaching of the Polish language, literature, and culture. UW–Madison Polish studies offer a comprehensive package of Polish language, literature, and culture courses, a generous scholarship program designed exclusively for its students, and various extracurricular activities each academic year.

The program, dating back to 1935, offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced Polish language courses, in addition to intensive Polish courses for heritage speakers and (under)graduate students. In 2011, the program received the prestigious 2022 Award Distinction from the University of Warsaw for its achievements in promoting the Polish language and knowledge about Polish culture and history. The UW–Madison Polish program also offers a broad range of Polish culture courses on Polish film, contemporary Polish culture, Polish migration to the Americas, a survey of Polish culture from the Middle Ages to modern times, Polish comedy culture, and post-communism.

Each year, the UW Polish program awards scholarships for tuition through the Lapinski fund to undergraduate and graduate students studying the Polish language, literature, and culture. The Polish Student Association (PSA) provides a space for all students interested in events, activities, and learning about Poland and Polish culture. In collaboration with the Polish program faculty, the PSA also co-organizes the Madison Polish Film Festival, an annual celebration of Polish cinematography in Madison, Wisconsin, now more than 30 years old.