TRANSATLANTYK! POLAND

We thought our friend, film composer Jan Kaczmarek, was insane when he bought a ramshackle château – minus a roof, electricity and plumbing – in the middle of the Polish countryside.  Now, ten years later, we think Jan was a visionary. He transformed the château into Instytut Rozbitek, a cultural center for TRANSATLANTYK – POZNAN INTERNATIONAL FILM AND MUSIC FESTIVAL (www.transatlantyk.org)  As Founder and Director of the festival,  Jan invited us to join the talented group of film professionals, performers and composers who teach master classes, stage plays and concerts, and screen films for interested young filmmakers  gathering in Poznan.

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Roaming the grounds at the impossibly picturesque Instytut Rozbitek, we felt like landed aristocracy instead of commoners who were only there to teach a film design class.

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The attic in Rozbitek has a magical, spooky atmosphere – the perfect backdrop for plays.

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As part of the festival, actor Julian Sands gave two brilliant, moving performances of  his one-man show,  A Celebration of Harold Pinter.  I held back my tears with great dignity, only to discover that Waldemar was a sobbing mess next to me. Be sure to see this play in Fall when Julian brings it to New York City.

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 Rozbitek was also the venue for the party to end all parties! Sponsor ABSOLUT VODKA poured, and poured generously.

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The Rozbitek entertainment  started with an outdoor concert by inventive solo accordionist  Marcin Gałażyn…

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…and ended with a surprise a cappella version of the spiritual, “Beyond the Blue”, by Alexandra Kalinowski.

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Besides the rarefied country beauty of Rozbitek, we experienced 8 full days of crazy events staged all over the town of Poznan. There was a lavish gala at ADAM MICKIEWICZ UNIVERSITY auditorium.

In Hollywood they roll out the red carpet; in Poland it’s green Astroturf.

The concert featured the famous film score composers Ludwig Beethoven, Richard Strauss and of course, Mark Isham. The closing concert and ceremonies honored both established Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki as well as the 2012 winners of the Festival’s Young Composer Award and Instant Composition Competition.

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One of the most original festival events was staged by MEBLE VOX. They provided 50 beds outfitted with screens to show films throughout the week. Three people fit into each bed, or more, depending on how friendly you were feeling. The movies ranged from contemporary to Hitchcock’s 1938 The Lady Vanishes.

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CULINARY CINEMA was one of the most popular events at the Festival. Each night a food themed movie was screened, after which, the brilliant, energetic chef of Hugo Restaurant, Krzysztof Rabek (Stare Koszary ul. Wojskowa 4, 60-792 Poznań  Tel 0 4861 861 82 18) cooked an inspired dinner for over 100 people! Our favorite film in the series was Jerusalem on a Plate, a documentary featuring Israeli born London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi who, dish by dish, seeks peace in the Middle East.

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In between festival events we tried to explore the city of Poznan. Though the communism of my husband Waldemar’s youth has almost entirely disappeared, we let him be our  guide, translator and interpreter in all things Polish. Here he is explaining the new Polish-style sauna at Olandia Hotel and Spa.

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The Old Town of Poznan is historic and charming.

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But, nearby, it’s out with the old and in with the new

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Just down the road at the Old Brewery Mall ( Stary Browar) you feel like you’ve just boarded the Death Star.

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It would take years of full cultural immersion to figure out this sculpture at the mall.

Please explain this detail to me.

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Okay, so the next time I go to Poznan I want to get married on the red bridge…

…and I want to say it with flowers!

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 Thanks Jan Kaczmarek and all the brilliant young volunteers who served as guides, translators and anthropologists to all of us slightly baffled foreigners who invaded Poland for this exhilarating week of film, food and music.

2 thoughts on “TRANSATLANTYK! POLAND

  1. Wow, looks amazing. Thanks for sharing your arts & adventure! My new favorite cookbook is Plenty by Ottolenghi. So cool that you were able to taste his cooking! xx

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