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Pola Negri: Life of a Star - a screening of the documentary film by Mariusz Kotowski

Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 7:30pm

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The Kosciuszko Foundation invites you to join us to see "Pola Negri: Life of a Star" – an eye-opening and inspiring documentary about Pola Negri (born as Apolonia Chalupec in present-day Lipno, Poland), the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood who achieved worldwide fame and became one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. The film screening will be followed by a discussion with film director, Mariusz Kotowski led by Prof. Andrzej Krakowski, an award-winning film producer, screenwriter and director. Wine reception will follow the Q & A session. 

Pola Negri: Life of a Star - a screening of the documentary film by Mariusz Kotowski followed by a discussion led by Prof. Andrzej Krakowski

Thursday, January 18, 2018, 7:30 p.m. 

The Kosciuszko Foundation: 15 E 65th Street, New York, NY 10065

The event is organized in cooperation with

Tickets: Regular - $15/ KF Members - $10

Pola Negri: Life of a Star" is a 2017 director's cut of Mariusz Kotowski's Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema (2006), an eye-opening and inspiring documentary for anyone who truly loves film. A passionate look at how this form of art came to be what it is today through the prism of the rise of one of its first stars and her groundbreaking work. 

Kotowski infuses the film with his knowledge and love of classic cinema, reviving one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of motion pictures. This enlightening documentary sheds light on the life of an extraordinary actress, and her significant impact on the beginnings of film.

The first European star to be invited to Hollywood by Paramount Pictures, Pola Negri paved the way for Greta Garbo and Marlena Dietrich. Yet few people today know much about this magnificent actress or the dramatic events of her life, including her engagement to Charlie Chaplin or her relationship with Rudolph Valentino.

Unique photographs and rare film footage of Negri's many dramatic and comedy roles make Kotowski's documentary a true gem. The film features insightful interviews with HAYLEY MILLS, an Academy Award winning actress best known for her roles in classic Walt Disney pictures such as Pollyanna, That Darn Cat, The Parent Trap and The Moon Spinners – also starring Pola Negri in her last movie role.

Oscar-winning actor ELI WALLACH (The Misfits and Mystic River) also makes an appearance in the documentary, alongside a renowned Hollywood producer A.C. LYLES. The film is narrated by Emmy-winning actress CYNDI WILLIAMS, and film historian and trustee of the American Film Institute JEANINE BASINGER shares with viewers unknown details and anecdotes about Pola Negri's life and her fascinating career.


  • The Golden Sword – Public Choice Award from International History and Military Film Festival in Warsaw (2013)
  • Pola Negri Appreciation Award from Pola Negri Cultural Association in Lipno (2011)
  • The Golden Halo Award for Directing and Producing from the Southern California Motion Picture Council (2010)
  • The Indie Fest Award of Excellence: Feature Documentary, LaJolla, CA (2010)
  • EMPixx Award – Gold (2009)
  • Special Jury Remi Award WorldFest Houston, TX (2006)
  • Best Documentary Film Award – Dixie Film Festival, Athens, GA (2006)

Cast and Crew: Hayley Mills, Eli Wallach, A.C. Lyles, Jeanine Basinger; Director: Mariusz Kotowski; Producer: Bright Shining City Productions LLC; Executive Producer: Heidi Hutter; Writer: Lynn Moran; Directors of Photography: Simone Zimmerman & Elke Stappert; Editor: John Larsen & G. Llewellyn Davies; Narration: Cyndi Williams



Title: Pola Negri: Life of a Star

Length: 55 minutes

Category: Documentary, Silent Film Star

Production year: 2017

Produced by Bright Shining City Production, Austin, TX, USA

Mariusz Kotowski is a Polish-born writer and director. As a director, he has gained a reputation for cinematic portrayals that are atypical of both Hollywood and independent film styles and that cleverly mix different film approaches into a cohesive whole.[1]

To date, Kotowski's feature films include Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema (2006), a feature-length biographical documentary about the silent film actress Pola Negri; the Holocaust film Esther's Diary (2010), which was originally released in 2007 as Forgiveness; and Deeper and Deeper(2010), an erotic psychological thriller starring Emmy-winning actor David Lago. All of these films have been released by Kotowski's Austin-based production company Bright Shining City Productions.

Prior to the launch of his directorial career, Kotowski worked as a renowned dancer and dance choreographer. As a dancer, Kotowski has the distinction of being the first Polish citizen ever to receive the rare Triple Fellowship in dance from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in London.[2]

Kotowski's first independent film project was the documentary Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema, that included interviews with Academy Award-winning actress Hayley Mills and Academy Award-winning actor Eli Wallach. The film premiered in 2006 at the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to sold-out audiences. 

Kotowski's next directing venture in 2008 was a feature length film, Esther's Diary (released in 2009 as Forgiveness), followed by the psycho-thriller film Deeper and Deeper starring EMMY award winning actor David Lago and Independent Spirit Award's Best Actress Nominee Cyndi Williams in 2009.

In 2012, Kotowski was the executive producer for the release of a DVD Box Set of four of Pola Negri's rare silent films entitled Pola Negri: The Iconic Collection "The Early Years". The films were re-mastered with English inter-titles and re-scored with original piano music. The box set received excellent reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other publications.

Kotowski is also the author of Pola Negri's biography Pola Negri: Legenda Hollywood. The book, published in Polish by Proszynski Media in 2011, was selected "Book of The Year" in the biography category by Książki magazyn literacki (Books Literary Magazine). Kotowski currently is engaged in the final stages of editing a biography of Negri (Pola Negri: Hollywood Legend) to be published in English by the University Press of Kentucky.

A prolific writer and director, Kotowski is continually seeking ways to further expand his writing and directing talents. He is focused on his latest project, the recently finalized screenplay for Moral Obligation, which is currently in the early stages of development.

Andrzej Krakowski, Ph.D. - Director, screenwriter, film producer, teacher, writer and cartoonist. Professor of the City University of New York, doctor of film arts. He has made over sixty films and TV series. Director of the awarded "Looking for Palladin", "Farewell to My Country", "Campfire Stories", "The Politics of Cancer". Producer of e.g. the Oscar-nominated "California Reich", winner of two Emmy awards for the series "We Are New York" and the popular Broadway musical "King David". Author of screenplays of eighteen feature films and books, including: "Triumph of the Spirit", "Eminent Domain", "Managua", "Tides of War", "Genghis Khan", "Pollywood: jak stworzyli?my Hollywood" [Pollywood: How We Created Hollywood], "Pollywood II: uciekinierzy w raju" [Pollywood. Volume II. Refugees in Paradise] and "The World Through the Eye of a Screenwriter". In the eighties, he was a cartoonist of the "Business of Film" magazine issued simultaneously in London and Los Angeles. Recently his cartoons have appeared on the blogs "Foreign Confidential" and "Reunion '68".

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