27th Jewish Cultural Festival

There aren’t many Jews left in Krakow since the war.  Around 200 reside in Krakow today as opposed to the 68 000 that was here before at the turn of the 20th century.  So why have a Jewish festival in a city with so few jews? The idea is to re-introduce jewish culture to a place where it once richly thrived.

Starting today and all week long Jewish workshops, seminars,  art shows, theater, tours, and most of all music will be held all around the city.  This year a new site for the opening party was settled upon; the Hala Targowa.  Tonight the music begins at 6:00 pm, in an old Jewish market house the Mahane Yehuda.

The main event of the festival, as always, is held next Saturday; Shalom on Szeroka street, or as some call it ‘Jewish woodstock.’  For one night a year Szeroka is cleared of all its restaurant terraces and parked cars and a stage is set-up in front of the Old Synagogue.  Starting at 6:00 pm and going to the last man standing or swaying.

If you’re in Krakow you will not want to miss this.

For more info check out http://www.jewishfestival.pl/en/

Wianki: The Reef fesitival

As the longest day has just come, it’s time to stay out all night and party! This celebration goes back to pagan times when bonfires and dances were had to ensure health and good harvest.  It’s called the reef festival because on this night girls make reefs and placed them on their heads like crowns.  At night these reefs are placed in the river lit with candles and set afloat.  If a bachelor finds your reef on the river he will be your future husband.  If your reef sinks to the bottom you will remain a spinster forever.  To this day a contest for the most beautifully decorated reef is held.

During the day our medieval fair for Saint John’s day is held alongside the river.  You can feel as though you are walking through a medieval village with blacksmiths, bakers, and wenches. You can listen to music of yore and party like its 1200.

The reef festival is also a festival of music and dance.  And if you have not noticed by now stages have been set up all around town; on the main square, Szczepanski square, Podgorze square, and even in Nowa Huta.

The celebration culminates with a fireworks display on the river at the foot of the castle at 10:45 pm.

All these events in Krakow take place free of charge and beverages will be plentiful. Remember if you rented a bike from us overnight drinking and riding can lead to a five hundred zloty fine.  Enjoy responsibly.

The Great Dragon Parade

In the VI century Krak, the founder of Krakow poisoned the dragon that once lived at the foot of the Wawel castle, with a sheep stuffed with sulfur.  All this weekend Dragons will once again infest the streets of Krakow.   The puppet theater Groteska hosts the 17th annual dragon parade.  This year’s theme will me influenced by Mediterranean history and culture. During the day you can see Dragon floats along the river and at night a fireworks and laser light spectacle on the riverside by the Wawel Castle.  Then on sunday, you can catch giant dragon shaped balloons floating above the main market square at noon.  This time rather than terrorizing the people the dragons will be a source of delight and fun.

Netia off-camera independent film festival

On April 28th Krakow will be holding the 10th annual Independent film festival ‘Off-Camera’

Guests of this year’s festival will include Barlomiej Tope, Katarzyna Herman, Arkadiusz Jakubika, Marta Minorowicz, Nevio Marasovic, Pawel Jadczak, Anette Hickinbotham, and Krzysztof Terej.

Four categories will be present at this years festival.

‘Till Death Do Us Apart’ will cover films that return to romance. Melodramas with a new face that will be sure to plunge tears into your eyes. So we shall see.

‘The Future Starts Now’ will look into what will be.

‘The Strong Sex’ for those interested in the roles of woman in modern society.

‘People are Fiction’ will focus on the human condition. A fresh look at humanity and its relation with the unnatural.

This year children are also invited as there will be regular day time screenings of family movies.

Seminars and QA sessions will also be taking place daily with the films actors, producers, and directors.  Some of the stars you can be sure to see are Maciej Musial, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Jacek Braciak, Venessa Alexander, Eryk Kulm, Malgorzata Kozuchowska, Urszula Grabowska, Bartlomiej Topa, Veronica Rosati and others. Movie central will be holding its regular location on Plac Szczepanski, just around the corner from our office. There guests can meet face to face with internet stars. On the plac you will also be able to enter the Netia tent where this year’s film stars will tell us some of the secrets in filming such movies as the Magic of Y, and innovations in tourism, and how to tell a story useing travel footage. (Lovelajft, Tastytrip, the World by Bus)

On May 5th Netia Off Camera will honor one of the most famous Polish directors in the history of cinema who recently passed away; Andrzej Wajda. In his memory we will be screening a polish literary masterpiece directed by Mr. Wajda himself; Pan Tadeusz.

This year the festival will be supported musically by its sister project Off Stage. During the 7 nights of the festival there will be 7 nights of concerts of independent music.

10 films will compete for best drama and the 300000PLN prize given by the Kulczyk Foundation. The winner of this prize will also receive the main award of  100 000 000 USD. All will be known of the 6th of May. The jury will consist of Victoria Thomas, who worked alongside Quentin Tarantino as his casting director, Joanna Johnston; British costume designer who is known for her work with Robert Zemecki and Steven Speilberg, and last but not least Walter Fasano, editor and director.  The honor of lead juror will be held by Agnieszka Holland.

The completion for best actor in a drama will be led by 7 actresses and 7 actors that will be fighting for the 10000PLN prize funded by Albert Riele and Gino Rossi.

 

This year’s inauguration screening will be Emir Kursturica’s ‘On the Milky Road.’

Cinephiles get ready!

For more info check out http://www.offcamera.pl/en/

Our pick of the festival