About this project
Polyland wants to Thank You for all your generous contributions. We could not have done it without you.Thank you for showing the world that mutual support still exist.
What is it about?
In 2016 the Polish city of Wroclaw became the European Capital of Culture. Wroclaw presents itself to Europe as the liberal, friendly and ‘alternative’ Polish city. This documentary lays bare another, darker side of Wroclaw…. Polyland is a story of three courageous Wroclaw women: Elmelda, Miriam and Ania. Very different from one another, they share a common experience: discrimination. We follow their brave and unrelenting fight for an equal and liberal society and experience what it's like be black, Muslim or homosexual in a place where an estimated 97% of the population are native Polish and 92% declare themselves Roman Catholic. Together with other activists, NGOs and public figures, they make a compelling and positive call for change.
You can see more about Polyland Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PolylandFilm
Why do we want to make this documentary?
We want to use this documentary together with a Virtual Reality Piece (see below) and Social Campaign as tools for change. We are fascinated by the courage of our 3 main characters to continue fighting for a more just and equal society. We want to challenge the status quo within Polish society – 'I am not a racist, but…' Far too often we encounter people with negative stereotypes and through our film we want the audience to emphathise with our protagonists and see them as full human beings and not just as caricatures based on groundless stereotypes. We also think that this documentary will contribute to the creation of civilised debate about multicultural society, patriotism and nationalism.
Strategy to create impact/social change.
Polyland, together with our Virtual Reality Piece and a broader social campaign has 5 goals.
1) Firstly we want a change of the law to include groups previously missed from the Hate Crime and Speech law. As a 2015 Amnesty International report highlights, Polish law does not sufficiently protect LGBTQ people, as well as disabled people, and people economically or socially disadvantaged. As Wroclaw will be the Capital of Culture in 2016, we will seek to highlight this and hope this cause is championed in both national and international media coverage of the celebrations.
2) We will focus on education of senior police officers regarding Hate Crimes through one to one screenings.
3) Our 3rd goal is to have educational programs in schools. We will present the documentary as part of a 30 day cycle. First the participants will take part in virtual reality piece challenging stereotypes, followed by workshops and at the end of the 30 days they will be shown the documentary Polyland with a Q&A with our main characters.
4) Through screenings in workplaces and public places, we want to contribute to the education and raise the awareness to these issues with the general public.
5) Finally, we want to support and encourage grassroots activism, encouraging people to speak up when they witness a hate crime and offer support to the victim. Also, we are seeking to support citizens initiatives that already exist, like the painting over of fascist graffiti in the streets.
Budget & Schedule:
We previously secured funding from LUSH charity pot to develop the project and so far used it to pay expenses only. We have already completed several extensive trips to Wroclaw and completed interviews with public figures, NGOs and activists. We discovered our three characters that the story will be based around. The money raised through will enable us to complete the filming, translate interviews and move on to the post-production. We are applying for other grants to help us with postproduction and distribution of our film.
Zofia Brom was born in Silesia, Poland. In 2007 she graduated with MA in Political Science and Journalism from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Today, she is based in London, England, but she divides her time between United Kingdom, Poland and Greece. Polyland is the first film she is taking part in but she has long history of political activism. She started as a so-called “eco-warrior” when she was 14, joining the well-recognised Polish environmental organisation Klub Gaja. Later, she was part of the Polish Anarchist Federation, Free Caucasus and numerous other groups. In the UK, she has worked with No Borders Network and Dissent! She has also been involved with the London Coalition Against Poverty. She has volunteered for Freedom Press: the largest publishing house of its kind, and the oldest in the English-speaking world. As for her working life, she busies herself with a large number of occupations, from being a push bike courier both in London and in Krakow, Poland (arguably her favourite!) to now, together with her brother, running a small gardening business in London.
Dasa Raimanova, originally from Slovakia, is a London based freelance filmmaker. She graduated with BA in Film, Video and Interactive Arts at Middlesex University. Her work explores socio-political topics, generally focussing on the stories of strong women. Her interest is in ordinary people with extraordinary lives. Her short documentary “1 Squat, 28 people, 10 dogs, 6 cats & a mum’s visit” got nominated for Best Documentary at the Portobello Film Festival and her more recently she was responsible for ‘Resistance Recipes’, a food and farming themed documentary highlighting the everyday struggles of Palestinians in the West Bank. The film has been selected for the London, Bristol and Toronto Palestine Film Festivals. Before moving to the UK, Dasa studied for MA in Biological Anthropology in Austria, and France and spent two years in India learning the art of Bharata Natyam – South Indian traditional dance. Apart from film and photography related work, Dasa is involved in various independent activist groups and arts collectives, regularly organising direct actions and cultural events stretching from alternative fashion shows to prisoner’s support benefits.
About our inspirational characters:
Elmelda is a student of theoretical physics with a father from Tanzania and a Polish mother. She feels a strong connection to Wroclaw, her native city. As a young child she spent a couple of years in Tanzania where she was considered to be white. As a child, together with her mother and siblings she moved back to Poland thinking she was white. But back in Poland, Elmelda faced a different reality of being black in a white society. Despite fierce opposition, she persists in trying to make Poland accept her.
Miriam, is a married mother of two children. She was born in Wroclaw to a Syrian father and Polish mother and grew up between Poland, Syria and Saudi Arabia. She married in Syria and gave birth to a child before the recent Syrian war erupted. Together with her husband and child, she fled to Jordan. She had a second son and because of the difficult situation they faced in Jordan, they decided to move to Poland. An old friend of her late mother started a campaign to raise the money needed for her to come home.
Ania is a mother of Oscar, a 16 year old boy with Down’s syndrome. She comes from an activist background and is one of the main organisers of the Equality March (Gay Pride) in Wroclaw. Through her many years of activism she has become a strong and outspoken figure, but she never feels safe in Wroclaw. She avoids public transport at night as she was previously attacked and never knows when the next person is going to call her a dyke or her son a retard.
Thank you for you support,
Dasa & Zosia
Risks and challenges
We are applying for funding to finish our project and not to start it. We have already invested lots of our time in this project and created a support network with various NGOs. We secured access to our three main characters who we keep in touch with regularly. We are confident of completing the project and achieving all of of our set aims as we truly care about them. So far we have given our time to this project purely because of our passion for it, and are determined to find ways to see it to its conclusion. We have camera and editing skills but we would like to involve more people, and feel it is important that they are paid properly.
The current political climate in Poland makes our project more difficult, and might lead to the possibility that official institutions and funders will be reluctant to support us, but this only makes us more determined. And there are many people in Poland who fight for a true democracy. If government funded institution are unwilling to publicise our film, we are determined to make this film available to the public through various grass-roots and citizen initiatives screenings, as well as online and through international film festivals and their networks.
Support this project
- (30 days)