The History of Polish Film Festival in Gdynia

In Entertainment, Gdansk, Gdynia
The history of Polish Film Festival, photo: Jakub Wozniak/Tricity NewsThe history of Polish Film Festival, photo: Jakub Wozniak/Tricity News

The Polish Film Festival in Gdynia is the most important film event in Poland. Throughout the years, the organizers have been fighting with various external factors. Despite the challenges though, the characteristic, unforgettable atmosphere of the festival remained without changes.

The beginnings

It all started in 1974. Since the very beginning, it was gathering the best movies and the best authors in the country. “Potop” by Jerzy Hoffman received the highest price of the first edition. Shortly after, the movie was competing for Oscars and became one of the most significant films in Polish cinematography.

The screenings were taking place in an old Technician’s house in Gdansk. Constant technical problems became a part of the festival. This, however, couldn’t damage its amazing atmosphere. The festival was gathering the best filmmakers in the country allowing them to discuss their movies and inspire one another.

Why Tricity?

“The diversity of the area, it’s attractiveness, available infrastructure, as well as cultural and academic societies, created a great base for the festival” – said Anna Wroblewska in her book “40 years of the Film Festival Gdansk, Gdynia”. It is true, that for years, Tricity has been a very diverse area. The existence of ports connecting Poland with the rest of the world added to an exchange of cultures and openness of the area.

A break in history

Due to a declaration of the state of war in 1981, the organizers had to suspend the festival. 3 years later, in 1984 the festival came back to its activity. Its spirit, however, had to revive.

When the festival came back to life after the break, it was struggling due to political issues. The communist authorities were censoring the movies appearing at the festival. What is more, they were afraid of the closeness of the Solidarity movement developing in Gdansk. Therefore, in 1987, the festival changed its place. Since that time, Gdynia became home of the Polish Film Festival. Though the decision was shocking at first, the Polish community continued to build the legacy of the Festival.

Polish Film Festival in Gdynia

The Musical Theatre in Gdynia became the new home of the Polish Film Festival. Throughout the years, the two became inseparable. Every year, the citizens of Gdynia are looking forward to enjoying the incredible climate of this event. Streets fill up with film enthusiasts and film creators.

Gdynia has become a place of meeting. Both creators and fans can meet, talk, exchange their opinions, points of views and inspire one another. This phenomenon is something that has never changed. The festival unites members of the film industry, simultaneously connecting them with their audience.

Why is it worth visiting?

The main role of the festival is to promote the Polish cinematography on the wide scale. It also gives you the opportunity to experience an exciting and emotional week full of movie screenings and press conferences. Most of the recent Polish productions premiere during this event. It is worth visiting because all the screenings in the Main Competition have English subtitles. As a result, it is a great opportunity for English speakers to get to know Polish culture and film industry. You can also meet many Polish film stars and enjoy a small talk with them.

Click here to read more about the last year’s edition.

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