NYWIFT Success Story: Polish Filmmakers NYC


Still from Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s Flying Blind, one of the films screened at Polish Filmmakers NYC’s series Different Ages, Different Voices: Polish Women in Film.

April Hattori and Agata Drogowska, both members of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), met each other and a film series was launched. Hattori discusses this NYWIFT networking success story:

In 2012, Agata Drogowska saw the need to increase awareness of Polish cinema. Renowned directors of the Polish Film School, such as Andrzej Wajda and Agnieszka Holland, influenced the development of cinematography worldwide after World War II. They inspired a new generation of Polish filmmakers who continue their tradition in a modern context. 

Drogowska wanted to launch a screening series of Polish films that would create dialogue around the films through Q&As. As a filmmaker and artist herself, she understood all too well the importance of collaboration to get projects completed.

“I didn’t have much to work with, but I had a good idea and lots of people in Poland and the US who I thought would see the value in doing this,” she says.

To kick off her plan, Drogowska partnered with Studio Munka, a Polish organization that promotes emerging filmmakers, to hold a free three-day film series, The New Generation of Polish Filmmakers. It included the New York premiere of the award-winning film Women’s Day, directed by Maria Sadowska. Several organizations sponsored the series, including the Polish Film Institute, Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and NYWIFT.

Getting the word about the film series was Drogowska’s next challenge, including promoting it to an audience beyond the Polish community. She knew she needed more PR help, in addition to the consultants she already had on board. Drogowska and I had met about two months before the film series’ opening night, and given my expertise in PR and marketing, the timing was perfect. I was looking for a freelance work to sink my teeth into and was excited to be part of such a groundbreaking project.

I helped Drogowska establish a social media presence for Polish Filmmakers NYC, reach out to media to publicize opening night, create event registrations through Eventbrite, and identify organizations and individuals to contact to raise awareness about the event. These efforts led to a sold-out opening night and film series. It was only the beginning of Polish Filmmakers NYC’s steady growth.

“One of the amazing things about our screenings is that our films draw a diverse audience — not just those in the Polish community,” says Drogowska.

She also points out the efforts of one of the film series’ supporters, Polish Film Institute, in reviving Polish cinema during the last 10 years.

“It supports bold new projects and a new generation of filmmakers, many of them women, such as Kasia Rosłaniecand Małgorzata Szumowska, both of whom won major prizes at the 2013 Berlinale.“

Since its launch, Polish Filmmakers NYC has held monthly screenings and special events centered around Polish films, which consistently sell out. 

On its one-year anniversary, the organization held a sold-out three-day film series Different Ages, Different Voices: Polish Women in Film, which had its opening night at the Museum of Modern Art. The series was programmed by Drogowska and Michał Oleszczyk, one of the leading film critics and scholars in Poland, as well as a regular contributor to sites such as RogerEbert.com and Slant Magazine. Additional marketing help came from Kamila Slawinski, a NYWIFT member.

Drogowska says NYWIFT has played an important role in Polish Filmmakers NYC’s success.

“I couldn’t have gotten Polish Filmmakers NYC off the ground without NYWIFT’s support. The behind-the-scenes help and promotion of our films to its membership have been invaluable,” she says. “In addition, the networking opportunities at NYWIFT enabled me to meet April Hattori and other amazing NYWIFT members who have made important contributions to our growth.”

Find out about upcoming screenings from Polish Filmmakers NYC and more updates on Facebook.




nywift New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media.

View all posts by nywift

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




Related Posts

WIFT Around the World: Postcard from Cannes 2022

NYWIFT Member Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."


NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Producer Steffie van Rhee

Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.


NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Violet Du Feng

Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.


NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Signe Baumane

Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.