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Maciej Cuske

He was born in Bydgoszcz, in 1972. He has been making independent films on 8 mm and 16 mm tapes, ever since his early years. In 2004, he graduated from the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw. Since then, he has been making documentary films. Maciej Cuske is fascinated by ordinary life, in which he looks for peculiarities, humour, and warmth. When looking at the reality that surrounds him – regardless of whether it is somewhere distant, or just outside his window – he always observes people and tries to find elements of cinema in their lives. Since 2009, he has been working as an expert in the Polish Film Institute. He also conducts workshops for children and adults all around Poland, and he is one of the contributors to Bydgoska Kronika Filmowa (Bydgoszcz Newsreel) – a place for young filmmakers and people with passion for cinema, in his hometown. He has been conducting classes on documentary at the Warsaw Film School and at the Film Kindergarten in Andrzej Wajda Film School. He has directed, among others, the following films: What Do You Think About It, Galuszko? (2000), Treatment (2004), Old Books Store (2005), Dekalog III — Pamiętaj abyś dzień święty święcił [Decalogue III – Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day, 2008], Away from the City (2011) and Warsaw Stories (2013).

Dawid Janicki

He is a producer and co-founder of the following companies: SHIPsBOY and VOSTOK8. He has graduated from the Department of Underwater Archaeology at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, and from the Department of Production at the Film School in Lodz, as well as completed a Course for Creative Producers at Andrzej Wajda Film School. He has collaborated with the Plus Camerimage IFF and Camera Obscura Festival for many years. His producer’s portfolio includes several films produced for the “30 minutes” programme in Munk Studio, including Battleheart, a film that received a special mention at Locarno IFF. His portfolio also includes several documentary films, including two made in Siberia. He debuted in the film industry as the producer of Out of Love by Anna Jadowska. Currently, he is working on a film series that combines documentaries, feature films, and animations. The series title is Portrety wojenne [War Portraits]. The series will have its premiere in September 2014, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War II.

Monika Kuczyniecka

She was born in 1982, in Bydgoszcz, where she has graduated from Leon Wyczółkowski State High School of Visual Arts. In 2007, she graduated from the University of Arts in Poznań (the Faculty of Multimedia Communication – Cartoon Studio). She makes all her films, using a distinctive technique of claymations, based on play-dough. She has created video-clips for such bands as: Czesław Śpiewa, Voo Voo, Dagadana, or Bajzel. Kuczyniecka’s works are fabulously colourful animations that demonstrate her extraordinary imagination and technical proficiency, which has already been appreciated by jurors, among others, at Yach Film Festival and Brasil Stop Motion IFF, where she was awarded with an overall achievement award. In 2010, Stopklatka website and Kino Polska TV channel awarded her with the OFFowe Odkrycie Roku (Independent Discovery of the Year) award. Monika Kuczyniecka is the author of such animations, as: Tadzik kładzie panele [Tadzik lays panels, 2006], Tram (2007), Escape (2009), Toys (2011), and Every girl has one boy (2011).

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The Rebels

The section Rebels has been an inherent part of the Tofifest International Film Festival for quite a number of years now. This section emphasises the main theme of the festival, which is to introduce characters and personalities whose rebellious spirit, perseverance, or talent makes them stand out among the others, and change the course of history (the contemporary one included). This section’s main focus is to present women and heroines with their strength, perseverance, and relentless consistency, shown when striving to achieve equality and civil rights. During the upcoming edition of the festival, a total of seven unique films are going to be screened in this section, offering an insight into the stories of the selected female protagonists. In ‘Dream’s Gate’, film director Negin Ahmadi will take us for a very personal journey to show us how a few Kurdish female soldiers of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fight for equality. It will mark the Polish première of the film, which was nominated for the Crystal Bear award at this year’s Berlinale Festival. Journalist Mariana Carbajal will take us to Salvador, to take a closer look at the fate of women suffering from the most ruthless anti-abortion laws that have ever been enforced in any country in the world. The hybrid film ‘My Name is Andrea’, which was screened during the Tribeca FF in New York, is a biopic about Andrea Dworkin, one of the most famous feminist, who had fought for civil rights, equality, and justice for women long before the #MeToo movement saw the light of day. The topic of women rights is also analysed in ‘Que sea ley / Let It Be Law’ by Juan Solanas, yet another documentary film made in South America (Argentina). The film depicts a historic event – a rebellion organised by Argentinian women to establish a legal and safe way to have a legal abortion in this country. We will also get acquainted with Monika Krause, a German and a private interpreter for Fidel Castro, who became a sex educator and earned the perverse nickname ‘Queen of Condoms’, during the turmoil of the Cuban Revolution. You will also have a chance to see why the Peace Film Prize was awarded to the film ‘Seven Winters in Tehran’, during Berlinale 2023. The film is a portrayal of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a nineteen-year-old interior decorator from Iran, who became a symbol of resistance and struggle for women’s rights. The last film included in the section is a story about Marin Alsop, an outstanding conductor, who has shown extraordinary relentlessness and determination to pursue her dream, overcoming countless obstacles, to become one of the greatest female conductors of all time. She has proven that the profession she chose is not reserved for men only. List of films: Dream’s Gate, dir. Negin Ahmadi, Iran, France, Norway 2023, 64' Judged Bodies, dir. Mariana Carbajal, El Salvador, Argentina 2022, 66' Let It Be Law, dir. Juan Solanas, France, Argentina, Uruguay 2019, 86' My Name Is Andrea, dir. Pratibha Parmar, USA 2022, 94' Queen of Condoms, dir. Silvana Ceschi, Reto Stamm, Switzerland, Ireland 2007, 76' Seven Winters In Tehran, dir. Steffi Niederzoll, Germany, France 2023, 97' The Conductor, dir. Bernadette Wegenstein, USA 2021, 90'