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Tin House Reels: Zbigniew Czapla

Zbigniew Czapla created this week’s Tin House Reels feature, This World–a short based on the poem of the same title by Czeslaw Milosz–at the invitation of the Fundacja Pogranicze, as part of a multimedia exhibition at the Museum of Czeslaw Milosz in Krasnogruda. Czapla calls his project “a catastrophic vision and poetic perspective on human life as a set of secrets, accidents, and misunderstandings.”

After graduating with a master’s degree in Graphic Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, Poland, Czapla decided that animation, which had been an early fascination for him, entailed too many cumbersome stages for creation. As such, he switched his focus, working for the next ten years in painting and commercial design.

But in 2010, he tried his hand at animation again as “a test of my ability and to try to redefine my artistic language.” He created Ritual, a film that establishes a vocabulary built through inky paintings. “Ritual” quickly received attention and has since been shown in over 100 film festivals worldwide. For Czapla, “it was a signal that I should concentrate on animation.”

“Poetry is a difficult subject for animation,” Czapla said. “It should at all costs avoid banality, infantile associations, and overwrought pathos. The text and sound work together around themes, as in jazz improvisation. Topics connect, overlap, and move away from each other in a game of associations.”

“Animated experimental film is a way for me to combine my various fascinations. Painting, music, theater and literature are like pieces of a puzzle, which I try to organize in a new way. If the end result for me is mysterious and unknown, that it is worth doing. The expected effects do not interest me. A lot of the work ends up being unsuccessful, but that always comes with artistic risk.”

Zbigniew Czapla is a screenwriter, director, animator, painter and graphic artist. He graduated from the Graphic Arts Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow and has won prizes at several festivals including KLIK!, Semafor, Tindirindis, and Message to Man. He has received scholarships from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, DAAD, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.

We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com. You may also send us a file directly.

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Posted in Poetry, Tin House Reels, Videos

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  1. [...] Czapla, a Polish screenwriter, director, animator, painter and graphic artist. It was recently featured on Tin House Reels, accompanied by one of their usual engaging write-ups. Zbigniew Czapla created [...]

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