Filmic new ad launched to promote Polish literature abroad
A new initiative to promote Polish books abroad has been launched with the aid of a cinematographic video ad.
Entitled ‘New Books from Poland 2020’ the three-minute video spot released this week by the Polish Book Institute resembles a film trailer and is aimed at key markets for book translations, including Britain, Germany and France – but also the wider world.
This year’s catalogue “New Books from Poland” is a selection of new titles from the Polish book market directed at international publishers.
It is published each autumn and helps the Polish Book Institute as well as Polish publishers and literary agents to convince overseas publishers to publish Polish authors in translation.
The Institute came up with the initiative after all key international book fairs where Polish books were to be presented this year were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Produced in Poland by Polish filmmakers and directed and written by Grzegorz Jankowski (Christening, The Trail of Koberg), the spot opens with the image of a semi-human robot washed up on a beach at twilight, asking viewers if they want to know what it means to be human.
This is followed by other frames including a woman in an inflatable hamster wheel against the backdrop of Warsaw Central Station, a chef cooking in the middle of a landfill site, a young woman with uncovered tattoos looking at her phone in front of the Christmas light display, and a man putting an umbrella over the statue of the Virgin Mary on an empty country road in heavy rain.
Each of the eight stories portrayed in the film are intended to be a thought-provoking representation of one of the eight books being promoted, whose covers and authors are shown at the end of each frame.
Some of the titles represented include ‘The Old Axolotl’ by Jacek Dukaj and ‘Humbel’ by Szczepan Twardoch who later complained on social media that he thought the video was “embarrassingly stupid.”
Dariusz Jaworski, Director of the Polish Book Institute, said that the aims of the institute were to help Polish writers and publishers to compensate the losses they have suffered as a result of the pandemic.
He said: “We are convinced that due to the wide range of promotional activities being undertaken by the Polish Book Institute in key overseas book markets, we will be able to recoup losses resulting from the cancellation of this year’s international book fairs.”
The video spot is only the first phase of the Polish Book Institute’s international promotional campaign.
In the second phase, it will be translated into other languages including Spanish, Russian, German and French and international partners in the publishing industry as well as Polish Embassies and Polish Cultural Institutes will be invited to help with its distribution and social media promotion.
In the third phase, the Polish Book Institute says it will produce nine more films promoting selected titles.