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Two evenings with Przemyslaw Wojcieszek

May 20, 2007

THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE PRESENTS two evenings withthe emerging polish playwright and filmmaker Przemyslaw Wojcieszek

New York, May 14, 2007 – The Polish Cultural Institute in collaboration with Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY, The New York Theatre Workshop and Two Boots Pioneer Theatre presents the works of Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, one of Poland’s best emerging playwrights, screenwriters, and directors who started his career as a successful film director, and quickly became a leading representative of Polish independent cinema. Though he won the most important awards in Poland and his films were widely presented abroad, in 2004 he turned to theatre, staging mostly his own scripts and exploring themes of tolerance, personal and national identity.

The discussion with Przemyslaw Wojcieszek and reading of his two acclaimed plays, Made in Poland and Whatever Happens, I Love You will take place at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY on June 7 at 6:30 PM.

His first play, Made in Poland, marked Wojcieszek’s debut both as playwright and as theatrical director at the Modjeska Theatre in Legnica. A story about a rebellious young man from the outer-city housing projects was an absolute hit with audiences and critics alike. The play was regarded as the best in Poland in the 2004/2005 season by theatrical critics. His second play, Whatever Happens, I Love You, a story of difficult love between two young women, was staged at the TR Warszawa Theatre, one of Poland’s best-known stages, soon becoming it’s most popular production.

The discussion with Przemyslaw Wojcieszek will be moderated and the readings will be directed by Linda Chapman, Associate Artistic Director at the New York Theatre Workshop.

The Two Boots Pioneer Theatre will screen Wojcieszek’s prize-winning films on June 9: Louder Than Bombs, honored at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2002, will be screened at 4:00 PM and Down the Colorful Hill, for which Wojcieszek was named Best Director at The Polish Film Festival in Gdynia 2004, will be shown at 6:15 PM. Both films demonstrate Wojcieszek’s command of the medium: they speak with an original voice, have a distinctive visual style, and offer an insightful view of life in contemporary, capitalistic Poland. Each screening will be followed by Q&A with the director.

Having just brought the Wunderkind of Polish literature – Dorota Maslowska – to the PEN World Voices Festival in New York, the Polish Cultural Institute continues its effort to present emerging young artists from Poland to American audiences. Przemyslaw Wojcieszek is a great representative of both film and theatre. He directed Maslowska’s first theatrical play, A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, at the TR Warszawa Theatre in Poland. The play had its English reading premiere at the PEN World Voices Festival this spring.

Detailed description of programs and a biography of Przemyslaw Wojcieszek follow.

LISTINGS:
WHAT: Discussion with Przemyslaw Wojcieszek and a reading of his acclaimed plays
Made in Poland and Whatever Happens, I Love You
The discussion will be moderated and the reading will be directed by Linda Chapman, Associate Artistic Director at the New York Theatre Workshop
WHEN: Thursday, June 7, 2007, 6:30-8:00 PM
WHERE: Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York City, tel. 212-817-1860
TRANSPORTATION: subway: 6,B,D,F,V,N,Q,R,W to 34th Street/Herald Sq.; bus: M4, M16, M34
ADMISSION: free

WHAT: Screenings of two films by Przemyslaw Wojcieszek: Louder Than Bombs and Down the Colorful Hill, followed by Q&A with the director.
A presentation of two film works by Wojcieszek, a leading representative of Polish independent cinema. Louder Than Bombs was honored at the Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT). For Down The Colorful Hill Wojcieszek was named Best Director at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia In 2004.
WHEN:   
    Saturday, June 9, 2007
    4:00 PM Louder Than Bombs
    5:45 PM Q&A with the director

Synopsis: The story of 21-year-old Marcin, a huge fan of James Dean and The Smiths. After the death of his father, he must contend with the funeral arrangements while hosting his buffoonish out-of-town relatives who disparage his small-town life as a mechanic in his father's garage. At the same time, he faces his lifelong girlfriend’s decision to leave Poland to live in the US. Marcin's coming-of-age closely mirrors the coming-of-age of an entire nation, struggling to redefine itself and its future after the fall of Communism in Poland

6:15 PM Down the Colorful Hill
8:15 PM Q&A with the director

Synopsis: The story of a twenty-some-year-old man who tries hard to start life after being released from prison. He comes back to his native town in the hope of restoring a relationship with his girlfriend. She, however, is now married to his brother, and the newlyweds are planning on selling the family home in order to move to Warsaw.
WHERE: Two Boots Pioneer Theatre, 155 E. 3rd Street (bet’n Avenues A & B), New York City, tel.212-591-0434
TRANSPORTATION: subway: F,V to Lower East Side / Second Ave; bus: 9,21 to Houston Street & Avenue A; 14A to 3rd Street & Avenue A.
ADMISSION: One screening: $10; members, students, seniors: $6.50; two screenings: $13; members, students, seniors: $10.

PRZEMYSLAW WOJCIESZEK
Przemyslaw Wojcieszek (b. 1974) studied journalism and Polish literature but debuted as a film director with Kill Them All in 1999 and quickly became a leading representative of Polish independent cinema, opening his own distribution company in 2001 and launching a Polish counterpart of the Sundance spin-off with the annual Slamdance Poland for independent and fringe filmmakers. His feature film Louder Than Bombs was presented at the 2002 International Film Festival in Mannheim-Heidelberg and was honored at the Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT). His third movie The Perfect Afternoon, shown at the Forum of Berlinale 2006, was also honored at The Love Screens Film Festival in Verona (Italy) and the New York Polish Film Festival. In 2004 Wojcieszek was named Best Director at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia for Down The Colorful Hill. The author of his own screenplays, Wojcieszek won the prestigious 2005 Polityka Passport award in film, honored by the weekly magazine for “his unconventional work as a manifesto of those born in the 1970s who are trying to find a place for themselves in today’s reality”.

But by 2004 he had already begun working in theater, exploring themes of tolerance, personal identity, and being Polish. Made in Poland, about a rebellious young man from the outer-city housing projects, marked Wojcieszek’s debut both as playwright and as theatrical director at the Modjeska Theatre in Legnica. An absolute hit with audiences and critics alike, the play was regarded as the best in Poland in the 2004/2005 season by theatrical critics. Wojcieszek then directed 3 hits in Warsaw – Whatever Happens, I Love You and Darkroom, his own plays, and Dorota Maslowska’s A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians – before returning to Legnica as author and director of Personal Jesus in 2006. His newest production, I Am the Resurrection, was staged at the Dramatyczny Theatre in Walbrzych in 2007.

FILM SCREENPLAYS:
Monday (Poniedzialek, 1998) – directed by Witold Adamek
FILM SCREENPLAYS AND FILM DIRECTION:
Kill Them All (Zabij ich wszystkich, 1999)
Louder Than Bombs (Glosniej od bomb, 2001)
Down The Colorful Hill (W dol kolorowym wzgorzem, 2004)
The Perfect Afternoon (Doskonale popoludnie, 2005)
THEATRICAL SCRIPTS AND DIRECTION:
Made in Poland – Helena.Modjeska Theatre in Legnica (2004)
Whatever Happens, I Love You - TR Warszawa Theatre in Warsaw (2005)
Darkroom, based on a novel by Rujana Jeger – Polonia Theatre in Warsaw (2006)
Personal Jesus - Helena Modjeska Theatre in Legnica (2006)
A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, based on a play by Dorota Maslowska – TR Warszawa Theatre in Warsaw (2006)
I am the Resurrection - Dramatyczny Theatre in Wałbrzych (2007)

SELECTED FILM AND THEATRE AWARDS:
Monday
1998 Kinga Preiss, Best Supporting Actress, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
1999 Grand Prix, International Debut Film Festival ”Youth and Cinema” (Koszalin)
Louder Than Bombs
2001 Magdalena Schejbal, Best Debut Actress, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
2001 Krzysztof Czeczot, Best Actor, International Debut Film Festival “Youth and Cinema” (Koszalin)
2002 Jolanta Dylewska, Kodak Vision Award For Best Cinematography, Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT, US)
2002 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Nomination for Grand Jury Prize, Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT, US)
Down the Colorful Hill
2004 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Best Director, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
2004 Przemyslaw Bluszcz, Best Debut Actor, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
The Perfect Afteroon
2005 Association of Foreign Organizers of Polish Film Festivals Award, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
2005 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, the President of Warsaw Award for his ”social awareness”
2006 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Youth Jury Award, The Love Screens Film Festival (Verona, Italy)
2006 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, the Krzysztof Kieslowski ”Beyond Borders” Award, NewYork Polish Film Festival, (New York, NY, US)
Made in Poland (theatrical spectacle)
2005 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Best Performance (first prize) and Best Director (second prize) in National Competition in Staging a Polish Contemporary Play
2005 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, the Konrad Laurel Award For Best Direction, Festival of the Art of Theatre Directing (Katowice, Poland)
In 2005 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek received the prestigious Polityka Passport Award in film, honored by the Polityka weekly for “his unconventional work as a manifesto of those born in the 1970s who are trying to find a place for themselves in today’s reality”.