"Latino Cracow" was my second film. The shooting took place between May and June 2007, while the editing was finished in July - just before I moved out from Cracow. Now you can watch it on Amazon and Youtube. So, why and how was it made?
In 2003 i started to train Wing Tsun Kung Fu. The teacher was originally from Macedonia, our master from Hungary, and there were some guys from Peru, Dominicana, UK, quite international school. Here I met Miguel who introduced me to the latin community in Cracow. We were meeting quite often to train, to talk, to party or... to go to the mountains.
In 2005 when I was working on my first film I needed some help. Miguel offered me to film in his house, while Koko was supporting us with transporting the equipment in his truck. Later I was working in the Mc Latinburger bar to earn some money for finishing the film. That was a fast food place with grilled peruvian chicken, salchipapas and anticuchos as the main specialities. It quickly became a place of gathering for many Latinos. Especially since the bar was located on the way to the popular El Sol Latino Club. So every weekend we went to El Sol for salsa, beer, parties. Actually, it was also the place where I organized the first public screening of my first film.
Poland was still a new joiner in the European Union and many people, also my colleagues, decided to relocate to UK or Ireland to have a better life. For me it was quite ironic, that my country already offered a better life to so many people from abroad. But I also gave it a try and during the summer break I went to live in Spain for almost 3 months. Now I was out of my comfort zone, surrounded by strangers, while learning Spanish on the go. Being a popular tourist resort, Estepona is located between Gibraltar and Malaga. It surprised me how many foreigners were living there. There are plenty of places owned by the britons and I worked at chirinquito where I met people from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina. Being there really helped me to understand the struggles of people who moved abroad. And here the idea for Latino Cracow was conceived.
Initially there was no screenplay. I wanted to record few situations to show the idea in a visual way, before pitching it to the right people. Whenever I had a chance to borrow a camera I filmed some sequences. The first video test was actually filmed by Koko and edited by me. Few weeks later I filmed another training with better quality. And in March there was this great cultural event happening - Noche Peruana. Beside live music performance and picture exhibition there was also lots of Peruvian food being served. The place was crowded, but everybody had fun.
The videos were showing different face of Cracow. I presented it to Rafal, who was a cinematographer on my first film. He suggested me to co-direct the film with his friend Piotr from local television. That made a deal. After consulting with Aldo about the idea I wrote a short outline, but of course we were improvising a lot. Only Miguel couldn't have more screen time as he was working mostly out of town. The title was suggested to me by Felix during party in El Sol. And the graphics in the background... in search for some ideas I looked around my room and noticed that crazy shirt of mine.
The first public screening happened in December 2007 during the European Festival of Young Cinema. Our film was nominated for Offskar award - as the best documentary of the year. Later it was presented on numerous other festivals and finally broadcasted on the satellite channel TV Polonia, which was our main goal. Now Jorge, Miguel, Felix and Koko could be seen by their relatives in the other continent. This was before the raise of Youtube, of course.
But the history didn't end here. In 2008 due to my work, I was participating in film festival in Cannes. I was shocked when I've seen there Jorge, who apparently was working there with Argentinian director, Lisandro Alonso. Still, beside some parties we were interested mostly in spotting El Che, Benicio Del Toro. Even more crazy was to see in the flesh the divine football star Diego Maradona, who was promoting a documentary about his life.
We finished the film the same month I graduated. Shortly before I started to study in film school and work for television in Warsa, which - in a way - prevented to do more shooting. There were always the plans to cover more topics, like the old Miguel and his story. Since I moved to live abroad, it was not easy to stay in contact with all the people from Cracow. But at least with Miguel we met often and even visited Spain: Madrid, Jerez, Ubrique, Granada, Cadiz... and his family in Saragossa.
Luckily now the new generation is on the rise. Ten years after working on "Latino Cracow" we filmed dozens of clips with Angele, who moved from acrobatics - to dancing - to fighting.
You can watch now the original Latino Cracow and plenty of additional videos on recommended playlists. You can also buy a DVD if you care to have something real in your hands. Have fun!