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Gdynia for Children - Masters and apprentices

Gdynia for Children - Masters and apprentices

16th - 21st september | 09:00AM - 03:00PM | Pomeranian Science and Technology Park
Films for children and teenagers are an immensely important segment of any film industry – we all know that as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined. Which is why for nearly two decades the Polish Filmmakers Association has catered for the youth by organising a special section of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. This year’s 16th edition features the latest releases as well as all-time classics.

Polish cinema for the young audience has had its ups and downs. One year, a shower of prestigious awards at important festivals and crowds teeming in screening rooms and in front of TVs, another – not so much. Only five years ago in our book Polish Film for Children and Teenagers, Anna Wróblewska and I were sceptical towards the future, looking back at the golden age of this branch of Polish cinema. But we saw the light at the end of the tunnel that sucked children’s cinema during the transformation. It wasn’t blinding, but it was there.

This situation, however, has changed and the sun is finally rising above children’s cinema, both features and animation, as proven by the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival award for innovation and originality for Jacek Piotr Bławut’s feature debut The Day of Chocolate, a stunning adaptation of Anna Onichimowska’s bestselling novel, or Tomasz Szafrański’s Rock’n’Roll Eddie awarded by children themselves at the festival in Rzeszow.

There has been a huge boom in animation as well, especially in the area of television series for children: Mami Fatale from Gdansk-based Grupa Smacznego, Jim and Screw from the Animated Movies Studio in Bielsko-Biala and Agatha from Warsaw-based Serafinski Studio, to name but a few. A special mention goes to a long-running cycle, Polish Fairy Tales, created by the Poznan-based TV Studio of Animation Films, in which well-known stories are given a new and immensely attractive auteurial twist.

Years ago, Polish animation for children turned out to be a real goldmine. Not only did it win numerous trophies at prestigious festivals but also promoted Polish film abroad. Episodes of the most popular TV series, about the adventures of Bolek and Lolek, were sold to over 80 countries on every continent. This success was repeated by Rex, a dog created in the 1960s by Lechosław Marszałek from the Animated Film Studio. Some digitally restored episodes of the show will screen in this year’s Gdynia for Children.

The achievements of prominent animators, such as Lechosław Marszałek, Władysław Nehrebecki – Bolek and Lolek’s “father”, Tadeusz Wilkosz – the master of puppet animation, Witold Giersz – the author of a spectacular adaptation of Ludwik Jerzy Kern’s Please, Mr. Elephant and many other fantastic “living paintings”, and Zofia Ołdak – the owner of The Chequered Pup beloved by children, could only be matched in feature film, in terms of both popularity and festival acclaim, by magnificent films of Maria Kaniewska, Krzysztof Gradowski, Kazimierz Tarnas, Janusz Łęski, Wiktor Skrzynecki, and Stanisław Jędryka, who passed away a few months ago.

Paying tribute to the late director, Andrzej Jasiewicz, Chairperson of the Polish Filmmakers Association Children’s Film Section, confessed that: Stanisław Jędryka’s films were something of the third pillar of education, perfectly supplementing school and family in the process of raising a child. He himself was diminishing this “didactic” valour of his works claiming that he only wanted to tell captivating stories about children characters. It gave him a lot of joy that, though black and white and old, his films stay alive. They do. Universal and timeless just like the legacy of Kaniewska, Nasfeter, Nehrebecki, Marszałek, Serafiński, Gałysz…

Jerzy Armata


Gdynia for Children is organised by the Polish Filmmakers Association, in co-operation with the Pomeranian Film Foundation.
The programme is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. (logo)


SET I

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 59 min



1. THE FLAX (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Joanna Jasińska-Koronkiewicz, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2005

The first adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Flax. A beautiful, poetic and incredibly subtle children’s film about the joy of discovering the world and one’s own self. About an uneasy challenge of accepting life for better or for worse.

This metaphorical story about a seed of flax carries a philosophical message about the sense of passing time. Once planted, the plant blooms and ripens only to be reaped, turned into canvas, then into paper and finally – burnt.

2. AGATHA AND SUGAR EATER (SERIES: AGATHA)

directed by Andrzej Kukuła, 10 min, Serafiński Studio, 2015

Agatha and her friend, Cyril the Hamster, meet Sugar Eater, who dwells in a sugar bowl. Agatha likes sweets a lot, and Sugar Eater arrived because he needs help. In his land, there is a contest for the best cake. The girl agrees to help him win and all three of them travel to Sugarland.

3. THE LITTLE KNIGHT (SERIES: JIM AND SCREW)

directed by Marek Burda, 13 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 2016

A wooden sword and a rocking horse are enough to take the boys back in time to the Middle Ages. Screw the Knight and his squire Jim want to participate in a knightly tournament to win the hand of a princess. But on their way, they’re attacked by a thief who used to be a knight but then picked the wrong side. Jim and Screw end up in a castle dungeon.

4. THE MISSING NOTE (SERIES: MAMI FATALE)

directed by Marcin Wasilewski, Szymon Adamski, 10 min, Grupa Smacznego, Studio Miniatur Filmowych, 2018

Mami Fatale and her pets enter the forest to find ingredients for a soup. Suddenly, everyone hears a beautiful melody and starts to follow it to the source – a composer’s hut. The man has been so engaged in writing a new song that he forgot to eat and now is too weak to carry on.

5. THE LYING GOAT (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Andrzej Kukuła, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2008

Once upon a time, there was a Hostess. She had a dog named Noisy, a cat named Whiskers and one very, very spoilt Goat. The Hostess takes a small girl, Zazula, under her roof. Her task will be to keep an eye on the Goat grazing in the meadow.


II ZESTAW / SET II

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 59 min

1. CINDERS (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Paweł Czarzasty, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2017

We are masters of our fate. Our choices shape our lives. A Polish take on Cinderella story sheds new light on the well-known characters and their motivations. Princess Anusia is fed up with her father’s matchmaking efforts, leaves the family castle and finds a job as kitchen help in a neighbouring kingdom.

2. AGATHA AND COLD (SERIES: AGATHA)

directed by Jan Steliżuk 10 min, Serafiński Studio, 2015

Agatha has caught a cold. Her mum says that sleep is the best medicine, so the girl falls asleep. With Cyril by her side, she travels to the inner world of her body and stands against Viruses. Helped by Leucocytes, she manages to fight the illness.

3. HOCUS-POCUS (SERIES: JIM AND SCREW)

directed by Bronisław Zeman, Andrzej Orzechowski, 13 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 2016

You never know where the devil lurks. During an innocent game, the boys are joined by a cunning little daemon who drags them into his world. Seated on flying chairs, Jim and Screw enter the devilish realm.

4. RUN, BUTCH, RUN (SERIES: MAMI FATALE)

directed by Marcin Wasilewski, Łukasz Kacprowicz, 10 min, Grupa Smacznego, Studio Miniatur Filmowych, 2018

This time, Butch runs in a race to win a scooter. Competition is very strong, the very Doctor Meatball among them. It won’t be easy.

5. APOLEJKA AND HER DONKEY (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Joanna Jasińska-Koronkiewicz, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2016

Based on the eponymous novel by Maria Krüger. True happiness lies in charm, joy, modesty and affirmation of life.

SET III

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 59 min

1. UNUSUAL FRIENDSHIP (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Robert Turło, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2016

Based on a folk tale, A Story about Robbers. Life naturally leads to an old age. Respect for the elderly is a part of a good life.

2. AGATHA AND GRAFFITI (SERIES: AGATHA)

directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski, 10 min, Serafiński Studio, 2015

Dad takes Agatha, her brother, Julek, and her friend, Cyril the Hamster, to see a graffiti exhibition organised on a key chain factory wall. On their way home, they notice that someone has painted a blue boy with a skateboard on their fence.

3. RED RIDING HOOD’S GRANDMOTHER (SERIES: JIM AND SCREW)

directed by Marek Burda, 13 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 2015



A funny adventure of the eponymous characters inspired by a European classic, Little Red Riding Hood. The film is not an adaptation of the fairy tale.

4. SMOG (SERIES: MAMI FATALE)

directed by Szymon Adamski, Łukasz Kacprowicz, 10 min, Grupa Smacznego, Studio Miniatur Filmowych, 2018

Autumn has come. At night, fire is crackling in the fireplace. Mami makes some hot chocolate to warm up. They need a lot of logs, but Butch is too lazy to chop wood. That doesn’t bode well.

5. THE LUMBERJACK AND THE DEVIL (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Jacek Adamczak, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2015

The devil is not so black as he is painted.

Once upon a time (or not so long ago), in a land far, far away (or not so far after all), there was a Gamekeeper who took care of the last three wolves very stressed by the birds singing. There also was a Lumberjack so bored that he kept building still new birdhouses. And a Devil who was supposed to do what devils do best: tempt and urge people to do bad things, but…

SET IV

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 59 min

1. THE WARSAW MERMAID (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Paweł Czarzasty, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2016

Based on Artur Oppman’s fairy tale The Mermaid. Love of freedom is the most important thing in life. Those who try to take it away will be punished.

2. AGATHA AND THE AIRPLANE (SERIES: AGATHA)

directed by Andrzej Piotr Morawski, 10 min, Serafiński Studio, 2015

Playing ball indoors, Agatha accidentally knocks a wooden plane, her dad’s childhood toy, off a shelf. Dad, Agatha and Cyril need a craftsman who makes and mends wooden toys, so they go to Mr Bartłomiej’s workshop, where Agatha travels to the world of toys and takes part in a toy race.

3. ISLAND OF TREASURES (SERIES: JIM AND SCREW)

directed by Bronisław Zeman, Andrzej Orzechowski, 13 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 2016

Screw discovers an old map on his tablet, and together with Jim, they set off on a treasure hunt. But on the Heat Islands, they stumble upon a pirate who wants the great treasure all for himself.

4. BOARWOLF (SERIES: MAMI FATALE)

directed by Szymon Adamski, Łukasz Kacprowicz, 10 min, Grupa Smacznego, Studio Miniatur Filmowych, 2018

Mami Fatale is looking for a dessert inspiration. Once she decides to make a blueberry pie, Dog and Butch go fetch some berries. There are a lot of fruits in the forest. Some of them they know well and some look strange – those Mami puts aside to find out if they’re poisonous. Until then, no one can eat them. But Butch can’t resist…

5. THE GOLDEN APPLE TREE (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Joanna Jasińska-Koronkiewicz, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2008



Once upon a time (or not so long ago), in a land far, far away (or not so far after all), in a village near a big town, there lived a widower, Jacob the Lumberjack, and his daughter, Dorothy. She was a good and hard-working girl, so her father often called her his treasure. A gossip about “Jacob’s treasure” travelled through the grapevine until it reached the ears of a greedy townswoman, Brunhild.

SET V

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 59 min

1. A BASKET FULL OF WITS (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Andrzej Kukuła, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2017

Greed, wickedness and cunning sooner or later will be punished, and selfless kindness rewarded. Greedy and wicked Voivode, his cunning servant Talon and a good-hearted boy, Jaś, know it all too well thanks to the mysterious Beautiful Lady, whose gifts forever changed their fate.

2. AGATHA AND THE ROBOT (SERIES: AGATHA)

directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski, 10 min, Serafiński Studio, 2015

Agatha is making a robot as a birthday present for her friend Staś. Unfortunately, she can’t glue his hands. The robot comes to life and takes her to a workshop in Żelazowo, where he can be assembled according to the design.

3. THE KIDNAPPED PRINCESS (SERIES: JIM AND SCREW)

directed by Bronisław Zeman, Andrzej Orzechowski, 13 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 2011

4. THE FROMAGE BROTHERS (SERIES: MAMI FATALE)

directed by Szymon Adamski, Łukasz Kacprowicz, 10 min, Grupa Smacznego, Studio Miniatur Filmowych, 2018

Mami is throwing an elegant dinner party. The only thing that’s missing is the cheese sent by the Fromage Brothers straight from France. Not everyone likes it spicy taste. Mami’s pets try to get rid of the package. Luckily, she can always order more.

5. COBBLER KOPYTKO AND DUCK QUACK (SERIES: POLISH FAIRY TALES)

directed by Robert Turło, 13 min, TV Studio Filmów Animowanych, 2017

Once upon a time (or not so long ago), in a land far, far away (or not so far after all), little Cobbler Koptyko was an apprentice in Szymon Dratwa’s workshop. However, little did he think about cobbling and preferred to pull pranks instead: nailing heels to the front of the shoes, slipping a crayfish into someone’s pocket or shooting his sling so high that he knocked out one of the Moon’s teeth. Szymon Dratwa was so upset that he ran away to America across the sea. Cobbler Kopytko had no choice but to go into the world. On a crossroads, Kopytko met Duck Quack – a prankster just like him.

SET VI

Digitally-restored TV series Rex

(age group: kindergarten–1st grade): 50 min

1. REX AND THE ROOSTERS (SERIES: REX)

directed by Józef Ćwiertnia, 9 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 1981

An arrogant rooster is lording over the entire yard, so Rex invites a conspecific neighbour to teach him a lesson. This turns out to be a bad idea, as the guest starts terrorising animals, including Rex.



2. REX AND THE LAYING HEN (SERIES: REX)

directed by Halina Filek-Marszałek, 9 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 1981

Rex has a problem with a hen leaving eggs all over the place. He can’t get rid of her because she’s the best laying hen on the farm. Rex realises he’d better collect the eggs himself.



3. REX TAKES ON REPAIRS (SERIES: REX)

directed by Lechosław Marszałek, 12 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 1980

Rex wants to have his house renovated. He struggles to find the right materials and specialists as each of them destroys the other’s work. Pushed to the end of his tether, Rex takes the matters in his own paws.

4. REX THE MATCHMAKER (SERIES: REX)

directed by Józef Ćwiertnia, 10min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 1975

Rex reconciles two feisty roosters by finding each a nice hen.

5. REX’S SPRING (SERIES: REX)

directed by Józef Ćwiertnia, 10 min, Studio Filmów Rysunkowych, 1980

Spring is coming, and Rex starts tidying up his dog house. But a playful Cupid shoots him with an arrow, and Rex falls in love with a cuddly neighbour – forgetting all about the cleaning.

FEATURE FILMS:

HIJACK

directed by Stanisław Jędryka, 93 min, Polska, Bułgaria, 1985

(age 10 and above)

A group of children gets the taste of marine adventure aboard Hope, an old schooner to be sent for scrap and its Captain Angełow to retire. Meanwhile, a blackmailer forces the knife thrower Roger and his young daughter Francoise, a duet of circus performers, to find a valuable icon stolen by Angełow’s helper and hidden on the ship.

GO, GO PARAGON!

directed by Stanisław Jędryka, 94 min, Polska, 1969

(age 9 and above)

Paragon is the best player and a captain of a local football team. Before the boys win a tournament championship, their leader goes through many adventures. He falls from scaffolding and miraculously saves himself from drowning on a frantic escape to Java in a stolen kayak.

THE END OF THE HOLIDAY

directed by Stanisław Jędryka, 86 min, Polska, 1974

(age 10 and above)

Adaptation of a popular novel by Janusz Domagalik. Since the story is set in Silesia and director comes from Sosnowiec, Stanisław Jędryka made sure to capture the unique Silesian landscape and local vibe.

For 14-year-old Jurek, summer holidays have just begun. But back home from school celebrations, he finds out that his mum’s disappeared. His father, a coal miner, tells him that she went away to a sanatorium. The boy doesn’t believe him and struggles to come to terms with a new reality.



TRIP FOR ONE SMILE

directed by Stanisław Jędryka, 86 min, Polska, 1972

(age 10 and above)

Digitally restored story about two cousins, Duduś Fąferski and Poldek Wanatowicz, who were supposed to go to the seaside right after the end of a school year. Poldek’s father, who was meant to drive them, at the last moment leaves for a business trip to Gliwice. The boys are delegated to their teenage aunt, Ania. The trouble is, her sportsmen lover Franek aka “Crazyhead” threatens to leave her if she doesn’t go on holidays with him. In such case, the boys decide they can handle things on their own…

THE ISLAND OF DELINQUENTS

directed by Stanisław Jędryka, 85 min, Polska, 1965

(age 9 and above)

Set in a breathtaking riverside of Kazimierz Dolny, an adaptation of Zbigniew Nienacki’s eponymous novel with a screenplay written by the author himself.

In a small town by the Vistula River, there are legends of a nobleman’s treasure lost in World War II. Informed about some strange findings by Professor Opałko, an anthropologist excavating nearby, a young museum employee, Tomasz, arrives in town to solve the mystery.

THE RING OF PRINCESS ANN

directed by Maria Kaniewska, 99 min, Polska, 1970

(age 9 and above)

Three brothers, fans of Sienkiewicz’s Knights of the Teutonic Order, spend holidays at their grandparents’. Fascinated by ongoing archaeological excavations in a nearby castle, the boys use time machine and travel back to the 1406 only to end up in a castle dungeon.

FOLLIES OF MISS EVA

directed by Kazimierz Tarnas, 96 min, Polska, 1984

(age 9 and above)

It’s 1932. Doctor Tyszkowski, a bacteriologist, is called to contain an epidemic in China. Meanwhile, his daughter Eva is taken care of by despotic Mrs Szymbart. The girl and her dog escape Mrs Szymbart’s tyranny and find shelter at the Zawadzkis’.

THE LEŚNIEWSKI FAMILY

directed by Janusz Łęski, 89 min, Polska, 1980

(age 9 and above)

Residents are moving into a new apartment block. Among them are Mr and Mrs Leśniewski with their “little angels”: 15-year-old Agnieszka, 14-year-old Leszek and 6-year-old twins called the Bubbles, Beata and Pawełek. After the initial hustle and bustle of relocation, things get back to normal: dad goes to work, Agnieszka and Leszek go to school, mum takes care of the house and the Bubbles. One day, a TV crew interviews Mrs Leśniewska in a grocery shop.

THE CIRCUS CONNECTION

directed by Andrzej Roman Jasiewicz, 86 min, Polska, Wielka Brytania, Szwajcaria, 1995

(age 10 and above)



Amidst the Augustow Primeval Forest, there is a farm of tarpans – small sylvan wild horses occurring naturally only in Poland. Meanwhile, an old abandoned fort near the Port of Gdynia is used by smugglers and international wildlife dealers to hide stolen animals. On a neighbouring farm, Stadnicki breeds horses. One day, a tarpan escapes from the fort.

THE DAY OF CHOCOLATE

directed by Jacek Piotr Bławut, 75 min, Polska, 2018

(age 9 and above)

A family film depicting the adult world through the eyes of imaginative children. A tale about love and longing that balances between reality and fantasy, populated by an array of strange characters, such as Time Runner, Monday Eater, Evil Witch and a mysterious waiter.

ROCK’N’ROLL EDDIE

directed by Tomasz Szafrański, 101 min, Polska, 2019

(age 9 and above)

One accidental meeting, one kidnapping attempt, a reckless flight in a hand-made aircraft and an escape from the Oblivian Head-hunters. Does it sound like a normal day in the life of a regular teenager? Franek and Izka discover that you don’t have to be a superhero to go on a super adventure. By turning on a mysterious gramophone, they open the door to another realm and let in Eddie – a fugitive from Oblivio.