Polish Art Europe Ltd & Pangea Magazine Ltd - Play Poland Film Festival
Impacts: Young people, Older people, Education, Community & social empowerment, International engagement and Polish Community integration and cohesion, promotion of culture and arts
Pangea Magazine provides information about Poles, their culture, tradition, history and many more. This bilingual, colourful and passionate periodical presents a wide range of articles in such categories as culture, history, business, people, lifestyle and news. It is a creative, comprehensive and dynamic magazine, which unites the international enthusiasts of Poland and aficionados of its traditions and culture. Pangea Magazine Ltd is relatively new business established in 2014. The director of the magazine has lived in Scotland for a few years and heard about the festival before the magazine was established and followed events organised by Polish Art Europe, especially Play Poland Film Festival in 2013. Once the magazine was created a meeting was arranged for directors in order to discuss the possibility of collaboration.
The main aim of Play Poland Film Festival has been, since the beginning, to introduce Scottish audiences to Polish culture, art and cinematography and to overcome the under-representation and marginalisation of Polish films in the British film-going culture. We believe that the best way to learn about Poland and its culture, especially now that the Polish community is the second largest in Scotland, is to listen to Polish voices and to view representations created by Poles themselves, as these often counter the stereotypes about Poland and its people.
Diversity has always been at the heart of Play Poland Film Festival, and that is why apart from film screenings we also organise accompanying events such as discussions after screenings, music concerts, exhibitions and workshops.
Our goals perfectly matched our sponsor’s values. The magazine was set up to write about Polish people, their stories and culture in order to support the integration and also to provide interesting articles and news. The festival’s programme was an ideal subject for the cultural section of the magazine. New films, guests, exhibitions are those kind of topics that would attract more readers. The magazine on the other hand, also wanted to contribute to the Festival’s development through advertising opportunities.
Play Poland Film Festival is an annual Polish festival, managed and run by Polish Art Europe Ltd, a non-profit organisation based in Edinburgh. The festival has grown consistently and steadily over the past years, attracting more fans and reaching wider audiences. The fourth edition of Play Poland Film Festival started on 9th October 2014 in Edinburgh with the screening of “Life Feels Good” by Maciej Pieprzyca. The film was followed by the meeting and Q&A with the director and then by the opening reception held at the Sheraton Hotel. During the reception, there was an opportunity to see a photography exhibition entitled “Through the director's eye" curated by Prof. Krzysztof Hejke.
On the 10th October in Meow Photography Studios, Edinburgh, a crowd of art lovers and friends of Polish Art Europe gathered to celebrate the opening of complex arts exhibitions organised as part of Play Poland Film Festival. All the rooms in the studio on Friday night were filled with Polish contemporary art. The exhibition "Reborn Babies", under the tutelage of Magdalena Swacha, presented the works of six young artists creating in the field of visual arts and new media: Marcello Zamenhoff, Seweryn Swacha, Anka Lesniak, Arti Grabowski, Diana Rönnberg and Michał Jankowski, who was one of the special guests of Play Poland. The talented painter appeared in person at the opening, which gave the audience a unique opportunity to talk to him about his work and inspirations. Another reason for celebration was the solo exhibition of Tomasz Płonka's graphics.
In 2014 Play Poland began a partnership with the Edinburgh Art Fair in order to present artworks of seven Polish artists at the Fair. Play Poland took place around Scotland, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberfeldy. Audiences had a unique opportunity to watch a selection of the best features and short films, attend arts and film poster exhibitions and participate in workshops, meetings with guests and other accompanying events.
Arts/cultural organisation story
Thanks to funding received from Arts & Business Scotland we had a chance to invite special guests to Edinburgh to participate in film screenings and exhibitions of their works. One of the guests was Maciej Pieprzyca, the director of “Life feels good”. Based on a true story and narrated with a sense of humour, the film describes the life of Mateusz, who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. A huge emotional response from the audience turned into a lively discussion. The director introduced them to the details of his work. He also shared valuable insights pertaining to the plight of disabled people in Poland in reference to the plot.
Another guest was Michal Jankowski – an artist whose works were presented as a part of a group exhibition “Reborn Babies”. Michal was present at the opening reception of the festival and at the opening of the exhibition on the following day. That was an excellent opportunity to question the author all about the secrets of his work, inspirations, as well as unobvious interpretation issues.
We had also a great pleasure to host artist Tomasz Płonka and the curator of his works Justyna Adamczyk, who is another artist living and creating in Warsaw. Tomasz‘s solo exhibition of graphics was displayed in Meow Photography Studios. One of the traditions of the festival is to invite a different artist to design the “play” symbol “>” for the festival. In 2014 Tomasz Płonka was the creator of the symbol which was printed on all promotional materials including t-shirts and goodie bags, which fans of the festival could win in competitions and draws.
Events attended by special guests such as directors or artists are always very popular and interesting for the audiences. More people attend those events as they are curious, like to ask questions, hear stories that they would never be able to read in magazines or press, get autographs or even take pictures of themselves with a guest. Quests increase the value of events and become more attractive. Their presence adds value to the entire project.
The relationship with the sponsor developed very well. Polish Art Europe delivered the art graphics for an A4 advertisement, which was printed on the back cover of the magazine. In addition to this, we enabled direct contact between the sponsor and our guests and arranged for interviews and photo sessions. Thanks to the business sponsorship, the festival had a full page colourful advertisement for three months (three issues). Pangea magazine wrote many interesting, extensive articles about the festival with photos and in two languages. The magazine which is distributed in many places across Scotland reached many people who learn more about the festival.
This has resulted in new collaboration opportunity with Belmond cinema in Aberdeen and Aberdeen Polish Association, which contacted us regarding a possibility of joining a list of cities hosting Play Poland in 2015, which would be a great achievement due to the large Polish community over there. Aberdeen is also considered as a culturally under-represented region in Scotland so expansion of Play Poland there would be an undisputable achievement.
Pangea Magazine Scotland received a lot of exposure in the media not only in Scotland but also in the United Kingdom and Poland. Logos of the sponsor were included in all promotional materials including posters, fliers, brochures and roll-up banners. The sponsor’s logo is displayed on the Play Poland Film Festival website (www.playpoland.org.uk) with a hyperlink to the sponsor’s own website. The sponsor was provided with the opportunity to meet the quests and conduct interviews. What is more, the sponsor’s employees had an opportunity to participate in many events which were enjoyable and fun. Many people saw Pangea Magazine for the first time. They liked it, found it interesting and good quality source of information and stories. Additionally, Pangea magazine became associated with the Play Poland Film Festival and its good name.
Audiences participated in the events during the Play Poland Film Festival and increased their awareness of Polish cinematography and art. Many people admitted that they expanded their knowledge about Polish culture and history. The Q&A session with the director Maciej Pieprzyca created a great opportunity to ask questions about the film making process and the Polish film culture. Audiences also enjoyed meeting Polish artists who travelled from Poland with their artworks. Polish participants of the festival had the chance to watch films which reminded them about Poland and their roots. It is important due to the on-going process of globalisation and social unification, which makes it very easy for people to lose their cultural identities. The audiences have been engaged and moved emotionally by the films and film poster exhibitions.
In addition, Play Poland provided opportunities for people to meet other people from different cultures and share stories. Participation in cultural projects serves to build social connections between them. Play Poland helps the Polish community integrate better with local people, makes them feel proud of the fact that the cultural achievements of the country they come from contributes to rich cultural life in Edinburgh and gives them the opportunity to get to know films and pieces of art that they would not have otherwise known.
The annual edition programme was varied and everybody could choose something they enjoy. In total we screened over 70 short films including animations, documentaries and ten new feature films. Those films were carefully selected by our partners in Poland such as film schools, film festivals, and film foundations.
The festival created an opportunity for volunteers to participate in the project, learn new things and became a part of a bigger group working together on a certain goal. We noticed that many people visited more than one of the events during the festival; many of them brought their relatives or friends. We received very positive feedback regarding the programme.
Receiving the grant means much more to us than just financial support. It proves that our project has been appreciated and recognized not only by the Polish authorities but also by those in Scotland. It also values the importance of the sponsor's contribution and co-operation between the sponsor and our organisation. Being awarded with a grant encourages us to seek further collaborations and to look for new sponsors, which can benefit from being associated with the festival.
The award allowed us to improve the quality of the festival by enabling us to invite the festival guests from Poland and to promote it.