November’s Online Short: The Shadow Forest

Filmmaker Q&A: Andrzej Cichoki

What inspired you to make this film?

This film was a real challenge. The production was really demanding and you have to know that it was a short fiction, very artistic film, so we had almost no budget, so many people helped me to make that movie. We can say it’s a war movie, even if I tried to apply artistic figures to make the film possible to shoot. I wanted the film to be authentic, real, touching, I knew only then it would be well received. The topic is very important to me, it’s my personal, artistic interpretation of those tragic events that took place in Poland during second World War.

What was your greatest challenge during the filmmaking process?

Making a war movie without almost any budget. I had to really focus on every take to make it reliable. There are so many interesting stories from the set how many circumstances occurred that helped us to make that movie.

The whole production

As I mentioned, pretending war time, real uniforms and costumes from that time, some effects like gun shots etc. One of my professors (artistic consultants) said he had never seen such a challenge in short film including directing a child and wolves.

Any thoughts you’d like to share about screening this film in a Jewish context?

I hope I made an important movie, from the bottom of my heart, even if it’s only a short picture. Here in Poland, we suffered so much because of war conflicts, communism etc. but Polish Jews, and all Jews who lost their lives here..that’s inconceivable, unimaginable tragedy… the history of Polish Jews reaches hundreds of years, and suddenly all that have been annihilated and the war provoked, awakened the most terrible demons of human nature. I hope I made a movie that will be a reflection, symbolic thought, that contributes to memory. I hope many young people see my film, and will realize how hard time was here in Poland, how hard time and tragic it was for Jews. I hope it will contribute to the Holocaust memory, which I believe should not be never forgotten. I have such a reflection, that we can speak through art, through touching art, also about such tragic events, hoping it will never happen again.

What film/media has inspired you lately?

I love the art of filmmaking so much, that I try to watch as many films , tv series, as possible, and there are so many titles that still inspire me to prepare my next film projects as a director and scriptwriter. Recently I had a chance also to explore and experience the Virtual Reality. That’s really amazing way of storytelling, immersion, that I find extraordinary that can importantly contribute to develop the film industry.

What do you do when you’re not filmmaking?

I love art, I can’t live without it. So I enjoy any new art discovery, artist, exhibition, photography, painting, book, thought that inspires me. I love traveling , but it’s hard to make films , teach , and travel at the same time. Oh and music… that’s another story..

Lastly, gefilte fish: delicious, or disgusting?

I love Jewish cuisine. Jewish art, culture including food.. what an amazing experience.

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Inspiring communities to expand their understanding of Jewish life through film, media and dialogue. Presented by the Jewish Film Institute! www.jfi.org

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