"Judges under pressure" to open 21st WATCH DOCS

"Judges Under Pressure" directed by Kacper Lisowski will open the 21st WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film IFF!

The world premiere of the documentary will take place on November 20 at the most important international documentary film festival IDFA in Amsterdam. Starting December 10, the film will be presented in the program of this year's WATCH DOCS."Judges Under Pressure" is a film about the clash between man and the system - a story of unruly judges who stand up for the Constitution and the tripartite government. When the Law and Justice party took over the government in Poland in 2015, the authorities took aim at independent courts. One of the heroes of the film is Judge Igor Tuleya, who, against pressure, passes judgments unfavorable to those in power. For the authorities, he is enemy number one; for the protesting citizens, he is the face of the judicial rebellion. The film shows the consequences of his uncompromising attitude - it shows how political pressure affects his life. At the same time, it documents the extraordinary expressions of solidarity shown to him by both judges and ordinary citizens. Meanwhile, there comes a moment when the dismantling of the rule of law becomes glaringly apparent. After the politicized Constitutional Court ruled on abortion, the largest wave of demonstrations in history swept through Poland. Judges are taking to the streets to stand shoulder to shoulder with citizens in defense of the rule of law.

"Judges Under Pressure" is a film full of emotion and born of emotion. It is born out of anger and frustration at the fact that a handful of cynical politicians are squandering the achievements of generations of Poles. We tell the story primarily with a handheld camera, observing the experiences of our protagonists up close. When Judge Zurek is disciplined, we are at his place at 6 a.m. to film what he is really going through. When Igor Tuleya has his immunity lifted, we see his real reaction. What's important to us is the truth of the event, the truth of the experience," say the filmmakers: director Kacper Lisowski and producer Iwona Harris.

Film protagonists:

Igor Tuleya - a judge hated by the authorities for his uncompromising verdicts and strong justifications, who lost his immunity and the right to adjudicate. His commitment and charisma make him an iconic figure in the current protests.  Member of the IUSTITIA Polish Judges Association.

Waldemar Żurek - one of the most persecuted judges in Poland. Former spokesman of the National Council of the Judiciary, which was dissolved unlawfully. A hero of several disciplinary proceedings and trials in European Court of Justice. Member of THEMIS Judges Association.

Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram - Polish lawyer and human rights defender, co-founder of the Free Courts initiative and the Committee for Defense of Justice. Among others, she was an attorney in cases concerning the prohibition of distribution of "LGBT-free zone" stickers and an advocate of judges complaining (including Waldemar Żurek) before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Krzysztof Parchimowicz - the main face of resistance against politicization of the prosecutor's office. For his critical statements he was transferred from the General Prosecutor's Office to the district level. Former president of Lex Super Omnia Association of Prosecutors.

Krystian Markiewicz - President of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia, Professor of Law at the University of Silesia. Lecturer and author of several dozen publications on civil procedure and constitutional law. He initiated the March of a Thousand Togues, the largest protest of judges in the history of Europe.

The film was created by the Lollipop Films duo. Although they divide their duties –Iwona Harris is responsible for the production-related and financial side, and Kacper Lisowski for the artistic – all strategic and creative decisions are made together. 

Iwona Harris is a producer and production manager. She is a graduate of PWSFTviT in Lodz, who previously studied political science at Warsaw University. Since 2010 she has been working under the Lollipop Films brand. She is a co-producer of the feature film "To Kill a Beaver" directed by Jan Jakub Kolski, awarded at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary. In her own production, she debuted in 2018 with the feature-length documentary "Pani na Korczewie," directed by Slawomir Rogowski.

Full filmography: http://www.lollipopfilms.pl/en/iwona-harris

Kacper Lisowski is a director and cinematographer. He is a graduate of PWSFTviT in Lodz and the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Directing in Warsaw. His filmography includes a full-length documentary "Master of the World" and a short film "Father You", awarded with Prix de Jeunesse at Clermont-Ferrand Festival and Silver Lajkonik at Kraków Film Festival.

Full filmography: http://www.lollipopfilms.pl/en/kacper-lisowski

The 21st WATCH DOCS IFF will start on December 10 and will have a hybrid form. The screenings will take place in Muranów Cinema and Kinoteka in Warsaw until December 16, and online at mojeekino.pl until December 19.