We talked with Polish animator Tomasz Siwiński, about his short film Moczarski’s case that is part of our festival program.

New Polish short films are screened at the Tampere Film Festival as part of our special program. Poland 1 and 2 screenings focus on fiction and documentaries. Poland 3 is all about Polish animation. In this screening we travel from the middle of historical events to space.

Could you please first tell something about yourself. Where did you study and what subjects? When did you start to make animations?

I always wanted my paintings to move. I saw a retrospective of Polish animation around 2005. It had a huge impact on me. I saw the films of Jan Lenica, Piotr Dumała, Walerian Borowczyk and other polish animators. I found that this visual language complemented with sound and music is something very moving for me. That led me to discover the animation film studio at Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. When you sit in dark cinema and images start to appear you immerse yourself into another world. Like you could dream the dreams of other people. It is fascinating.

Your animation film Moczarski’s case is the story of famous Polish journalist -Kazimierz Moczarski.  This film, in a metaphorical way tells the story of his life and his encounter with a Nazi general – Jürgen Stroop.  Stroop led the suppression or the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. Why did you want to make this short film? What message you want to convey with the film?

One evening Elżbieta Moczarska – the daughter of the protagonist called me and ask if I wanted to do a short film about her father. I already read Moczarski’s book about the subject. I thought it is a great opportunity to work on a theme that I found so interesting when I first read it.

The initial idea is of course from the book Conversations with an Executioner. It is the most interesting historical book I have ever read. The author depicts his 255 days of imprisonment with Jürgen Stroop very vividly. He is not judging but simply writes down Stroop’s answers. This way we  can understand what led him to do such horrible things and how the mechanics of history works. Of course my short animation gives only a glimpse of the vast content.

The world is full of political and war-based, historical films. Do you think it is important to make these types of films? Why?

The cliché answer would be that we do not want bad things to happen again, so yes, it is important. Personally I don’t like films with such a straightforward message. For me art and film is supposed to have space for interpretation and to ask questions rather than deliver answers.

How long it took to make Moczarski’s case? Could you tell us something about the process?

It took us about 5 months to complete the film. One month for the script and storyboard. Four months for the animation production. There were a lot of people involved in the process because of a tight deadline. After completing the outline animation, all frames were painted individually by hand. I worked closely with my composer, Adam Brzozowski to give the film a dense and vivid feeling.

What inspires you to make short films?

In this particular example it was external inspiration, but most of the time I come up with stories from my inner world. It try to find a way to communicate my own problems and issues to the outside world in a more universal way. Many inspirations and ideas for my films come from my dreams. I am trying to extract some of them into something beyond me. Sometimes you can find in a dream some deep archetypical needs and desires located in another space, they make you yearn for something beautiful. There is always this a question; will it be moving for other people or will I be the only interested viewer. After some time when my initial enthusiasm has faded a bit, I can evaluate the idea more objectively to decide if it’s worth fighting for.

Beside making animations you also paint. What are your future plans? Are you going to focus more on animations or painting?

I paint occasionally now. Most of my ideas have some sort of story within, so I try to find the best medium to express it. My next project is a short, called Olga’s Diamond. It will be about 25 minutes. I am now in the process of editing and post-production. It is a father and daughter story interwoven with a legend about the nature of time. There will be some animated elements but most of it will be a slightly oneiric live action drama placed in 80s. I am planning to stay with animation but also to expand my activity into live action films. We will see how it will turn out.

 

Screenings:

Puola 1: Thu 8.3. 10.00 Niagara | Fri 9.3. 22.00 Plevna 4
Puola 2: Fri 9.3. 12.00 Plevna 6 | Sat 10.3. 18.00 Plevna 4
Puola 3: Thu 8.3. 16.00 Pakkahuone | Fri 9.3. 16.00 Plevna 6