Playground

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    Playground

    Plac zabaw

    Directed by

    Poland

    2016

    81 min

    • Polish

    Drama

    San Sebastián IFFBFI London FF

    Final day of school in a small Polish town. It's the very last chance for 12-year-old Gabrysia to tell her classmate that she has fallen in love with him. She sets up a secret meeting and blackmails the boy to show up. But what was supposed to be an intimate talk spins out of control and leads to an unexpected ending.

    Festivals

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    Credits

    Cast
    Michalina Świstoń
    Nikolas Przygoda
    Przemysław Baliński
    Patryk Świderski
    Screenplay
    Bartosz M. Kowalski
    Stanisław Warwas
    Cinematography
    Mateusz Skalski
    Editing
    Bartosz M. Kowalski
    Music
    Krystian Eidnes Andersen

    Director's Statement

    I came up with an idea for PLAYGROUND by accident. One day, I read a crime story from years back and it left me absolutely shocked. I thought that we might be psychologically immune to a lot of things happening in the world, but there are some that will forever be unbearable. I was terrified and couldn't comprehand - how can one have no empathy? How can one be simply evil? I dug deep into the subject, spoke to psychologists and the police. It turned out that there are countless, similar cases involving violence among kids and teenagers. Child psychopathy (or conduct disorder) cases pose a lot of difficult questions but hardly give any answers at all. The majority of our cast are first-timers. We didn't want to hire any known actors because we thought that in this specific film, it would somewhat jeopardize the credibility of the story. And realism was our top priority. Therefore Director Bartosz M. Kowalski (with a viewfinder) and Cinematographer Mateusz Skalski DIRECTOR’S BIO & FILMOGRAPHY DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT working with our kid actors was the most important aspect. We had to make sure we'd have enough time to perfect the performances, so that they gave a feel of a real life instead of a stage play. I can't remember a single scene that would in any way be easy. Even the shooting days that were scheduled to be chilled out were ending up challenging. The risk was high: controversial subject, working with kids, animals, weather continuity (the story takes place over one morning), difficult supporting roles (like handicapped father), one take deals (like shaving head) etc. There were times when I thought that everything was against us: our actor has stomach problems, the dog playing in the scene goes nuts and runs off, it was supposed to be sunny and the rain is pouring down and so on... These were very stresfull moments, I though "maybe I should've written something easier". But from the get-go, the idea for the feature film debut was to set the bar as high as possible. To risk. And at the end of the day I think we managed to pull it off.

    Sales
    LATIDO FILMS
    Production
    FILM IT

    Press

    Kowalski gradually paints a subtle, tense portrait of today’s youth.

    Alfonso Rivera, Cineuropa

    It might be described as a modern-day Lord of the Flies.

    Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

    A calculatingly steely descent into real-life horror.

    Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

    Bartosz M. Kowalski

    Bartosz M. Kowalski

    Poland

    I believe that the sky is the limit if you’re passionate about something.

    Bartosz M. Kowalski was born in 1984 in Gdynia. He graduated from film schools in Los Angeles and Paris. Upon return to Poland he began his cooperation with HBO Europe. He wrote and directed 2 full length documentary films: A DREAM IN THE MAKING and UNSTOPPABLES . Bartosz has also directed c.a. 20 TV commercials and served as an editor for Polish national TV. He's a die hard fan of film soundtracks; on his projects he cooperated with Angelo Badalamenti and Kristian Eidnes Andersen.

    Selected Filmography