Madison Polish Film Festival

The Madison Polish Film Festival is a free annual event organized by the UW-Madison Polish Student Association in collaboration with the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+, CREECA, Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee, Associated Students of Madison (ASM), and the Polish Heritage Club of Madison.

The festival hosts a variety of films each year that explore Polish culture and identity as well as support the work of Polish writers and directors. Join us in celebrating Polish artists and visionaries at this years festival on November 14th and November 21st 2021.

2021 Festival Details

This year’s edition of the Madison Polish Film Festival will be held on November 14th and November 21st.
More details about the films, locations, and viewing times can be found below.

All the films will be subtitled.

This event is free and open to the public.

Please reach out to Krzysztof Borowski with any questions borowski3@wisc.edu

Sweat (2020)

Showing November 14th @ 3:00 pm (1h 46 min.)
Marquee Cinema at Union South
2nd Floor, 308 W Dayton St #245, Madison

Beloved fitness influencer Sylwia seemingly has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle.


Magnus von Horn (director):
Magnus von Horn is a Swedish film director and screenwriter. He graduated from the National Film School in Łódź in 2013. A few months after he arrived in Poland he was brutally robbed, which resulted in him becoming interested in violent people. His first film was a short documentary about a young Polish criminal. His 2011 short film Without Snow was nominated for the Guldbagge Award for Best Short Film. His debut feature, The Here After, premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Kill It and Leave This Town (Zabij to i wyjedź z tego miasta) (2020)

Showing November 14th @ 5:30 pm (1 h 29 min.)
Marquee Cinema at Union South
2nd Floor, 308 W Dayton St #245, Madison

Fleeing from despair after losing those dearest to him, a man hides in a safe land of memories, where time stands still and all those dear to him are still alive.


Mariusz Wilczyński (director): Born in 1964, Mariusz Wilczyński [MAHR-yoosh veal-CHIN-ski] is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, Poland. A film director, cartoonist, painter, set designer, and performer, Wilczyński also holds a doctorate in animation from the Leon Schiller National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź. His debut feature animation film, Kill It and Leave This Town, took 14 years to complete and premiered at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. It also won the 2020 Golden Lions, the Grand Prize at the annual Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, in addition to winning prizes at film festivals in Ottawa, Canada, and Vienna, Austria. Kill It and Leave This Town also received the award for the Best Film at the 2021 Polish Film Awards festival.

Back Then (Zupa Nic) (2021)

Showing November 21st @ 2:30 pm (1 h 34 min.)
The Cinematheque
Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Ave, Madison

Marta is a romantic and a school victim of fate. He shares a room with his sister Kasia and grandmother, who tells her granddaughters insurgent stories instead of fairy tales. In the room behind the wall, my parents – Tadek and Elzbieta – live their married life. He is a constantly humiliated intelligent by the system who silently envies his prosperous brother-in-law. She is the president of the company’s “Solidarity” with the need for freedom and a dream to finally break out of Poland. However, the real emotions for the whole family will start when the dream orange Fiat 126p stands under the block…


Kinga Dębska (director): Born in 1969, Kinga Dębska [KEEN-gah DEMP-ska] studied directing at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. A film director, screenwriter, and author, she is best known for such feature films as Playing Hard (Pol. Zabawa, zabawa, 2018) and These Daughters of Mine (Pol. Moje córki krowy, 2015). The latter won in two categories at the Polish Film Awards festival and was also awarded at the Polish Film Festival in America in Chicago. Dębska also directed a documentary about Elżbieta Czyżewska, a Polish actress who married The New York Times journalist David Halberstam and moved to the U.S. from communist Poland. In addition to films, Dębska has also directed for theatre. Her 2021 film Back Then is a prequel for the award-winning feature These Daughters of Mine.

Leave No Traces (Nie zostawiaj śladów) (2021)

Showing November 21st @ 4:30 pm (2 h 40 min.)
The Cinematheque
Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Ave, Madison

Poland, 1983. The country is shaken by the case of Grzegorz Przemyk — a high school student beaten to death by militia. Based on true events, the film follows the story of Jurek — the only witness of the beating, who overnight became the number one enemy of the state. The oppressive regime used its whole apparatus — the secret service, militia, the media and the courts — to squeeze Jurek and other people close to the case, including his parents and Przemyk’s mother, Barbara.


Jan P. Matuszyński (director): Born in 1984, Jan Matuszyński [YAHN mah-too-SHIN-ski] is a film and television directing graduate of the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School in Katowice. A film director, writer, and producer, Matuszyński also holds a doctorate in film and theatre arts. He is best known for his debut feature film The Last Family (Pol. Ostatnia rodzina, 2016), which won the Golden Lions, the Grand Prize at the annual Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The film also won multiple awards at the Polish Film Festival in America in Chicago, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, the Polish Film Academy, and other venues. Matuszyński has also directed several documentaries and TV series, including The Border (Pol. Wataha, 2017) and The King of Warsaw (Pol. Król, 2020), based on an eponymous novel by the bestselling author Szczepan Twardoch. His 2021 film Leave No Traces (Pol. Żeby nie było śladów) was selected for the Main Prize at the Venice International Film Festival as well as selected as Poland’s entry for the 2022 Academy Awards.