The Faces of West Pomeranian Film – Monika Szwaja

This block will present the work of filmmakers associated with the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Not many inhabitants of the region are aware of their long lasting cinematic activities.
For years, films in West Pomerania have been produced by Polish Television, Szczecin Branch. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the company's establishment. Throughout the years their archives have gathered a great amount of works by many excellent filmmakers. During this year's edition of Szczecin European Film Festival we will present the work of Monika Szwaja. Today she is known mostly as an author of bestsellers, previously she was a TVP Szczecin cooperator for many years. For almost 40 years she has been producing reportages and documentary films. Her most notable works will be presented during the festival. 
Photo: Marcin Przylecki
I am almost a native of Szczecin, and have been for over sixty years. I passed my matura exams at the famous high school no.5. Journalism has been a part of my life since high school, when I used to write theatre reviews for the “Filipinka” magazine's society of young theatre-lovers and later ran the school magazine “Kaktus” (my only managerial position ever!). I intended to study law in Warsaw, but failed to score enough points for... my background. By complete coincidence I then started working at the Base of The Television Film Studio. It was 1967, pioneering times, the Base employed people fascinated with cinema and television – my role models were most of all Janusz Pietrzykowski, an excellent cinematographer, and Bogdan Kondratt, a superb editor. I graduated from the department of Polish studies in Poznań extramurally, and after several years of working for the Base, and shooting “W wolnym czasie” and “Lepiej niż ptaki,” I was offered a part-time job at the editorial office. I was never a “quick shot,” I preferred longer forms, especially reportage. During martial law I was both out of a job and out of the city. For two years in the Karkonosze Mountains, and six more in Szczecin, I was a teacher. A priceless experience, although I was glad to return to TV in 1989, as did so many other journalists. Film reports (well received by Warsaw's pre-release committees), documentaries, journalistic programs, interviews, major broadcasts – these were my specialty. I retired early mostly because I could no longer keep up with the cinematographer. Currently I write novels, lyrics for my shantymen friends, I sail (i.e. cruise the seas and oceans), I grow roses and raise two funny little dogs, occasionally I dabble in live comedy...

This year's Faces of Westpomeranian Cinema are organised in partnership with TVP, Szczecin Branch.


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