Maria Bjerregaard: My journey to beautiful Poland
My name is Maria and I’m a 27-year-old woman from Denmark. I was honored enough to be invited to the New Horizons Film Festival and the workshop for young film critics A Sunday in the Country. This is my story of one of the best weeks of my life.
When I first got the invitation to a workshop and film festival in Poland, I couldn’t believe it. I had only been written reviews and film news for a few months, so the fact that they wanted me to represent Denmark was truly an honor. Before the festival I had been writing for the online film site, FilmBuzz.dk, which unfortunately now has closed. But I was still excited to get inspired and develop a great network.
I decided to spend a few days in Wroclaw prior to the workshop. It was my first time in Poland, so I wanted to soak in everything of a film festival experience. I arrived in Wroclaw the 26th of July and was invited to the opening ceremony. It was both exciting and slightly confusing, because most of everything was in polish. However, the staff were really nice and understanding, which helped me a lot fitting in.
I spend the first three days in Wroclaw at the New Horizons Film Festival just watching lots of movies and trying to see a bit of the city. Plus trying to survive the unbearably hot weather!
On the Sunday I met up with the rest of the film critics and we instantly clicked. We all had movies in common, but most importantly we could talk about everything, which was such a relieve. We all met at the New Horizons cinema and headed out to, Zagorze Slaskie, just outside of Wroclaw. It has got to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve every seen. If you ever get a chance to see Poland – please go there!
The first night was mainly about getting to know each other with introductions and our national drink. I made the mistake (maybe a bit on purpose) telling them, that is was my birthday the next day. And sure enough, everyone sang happy birthday in 6 different languages at midnight. So it was also the best birthday ever.
The following days were filled with movies, Q&A’s with film directors, dinners and conversations. We would normally get up and swim in the lake, get breakfast, then watch movies and discuss them afterwards. And of course there was the infamous hot tube in the evening, where people could talk and drink.
After a few days we headed back to the festival – and it was insane! In addition to the festival I also discovered the Arsenal Club and were introduced to previous workshop members. So there was a lot of partying as well. But hey – we were on vacation, so it’s all good.
I was one of the last members to leave the festival, because I wanted to experience all of it. And I don’t regret it one bit. I was truly the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. Also, for an aspiring film critic it was an important experience. I discovered that I still have a lot to learn. But that’s the whole point of the workshop; to get inspired and hopefully create something amazing. And not only have I met people with the same interest as myself, I’ve met people, who’s become my friends for a lifetime.
I would definitely recommend this experience to everyone, who loves films and social activities. I’m back in Denmark now and have a newly energy to write my bachelor thesis – thanks to this amazing experience.
A big thank you to the Danish Cultural Institute for this amazing opportunity.