From 2006 the Polish Film Festival in America has been honoring film professionals for their outstanding contributions to a promotion of Polish cinema in North America. with GOLDEN CIUPAGA (Polish Highlanders’ equivalent of tomahawk).  This prestigious group includes such respected names as Martin Scorsese, Michael Wilmington, Roger Ebert, Piers Handling, Milos Stehlik and Richard Pena. 

This year, film curator and critic ALISSA SIMON is a recipient of the PFFA GOLDEN CIUPAGA Award.

A film curator for more than 25 years, Alissa Simon is the Lead Programmer of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and a programmer for the Minneapolis – St. Paul international film festival and a consultant for many other international fests. She was named a 1999 Chicagoan of the Year for her innovative work as Associate Director/ Programming at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute where she worked for 12 years. Alissa began her career at the Film Department of Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN and at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. In addition to her curatorial work with festivals, she writes about films, filmmakers and film festivals for the U.S. trade paper Variety and has served on international film festival juries in Pusan, Belgrade, Amsterdam, Sarajevo, San Francisco, Torino, Ljubljana, Sochi, Cluj, Vancouver and Montreal. She is a member of FIPRESCI and the Chicago Film Critics’ Association. Many years ago, as an undergraduate at Yale, Alissa was a British Studies major and she now splits her time between London and Chicago.

Alissa has a special interest in cinema from Central and Eastern Europe, particularly that of Poland, former Czechoslovakia and former Yugoslavia. As part of her work at Variety, Alissa has written about the films of Wojciech Smarzowski, Andrzej Jakimowski, Borys Lankosz, Malgorzata Szumowska and many others. As a programmer at Palm Springs, Minneapolis, Dubai and Karlovy Vary, she has hosted numerous Polish filmmakers and promoted the work of countless others. She has attended festivals in Gdynia and Wroclaw, served on the jury of the New Horizons Festival’s Polish shorts section and is a longtime friend of the programmer at Facets Multimedia and the Polish Film Festival of America.

The 34. PFFA screenings will be held in conveniently located AMC NewCity 14 (1500 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago), AMC Rosemont 12 (9701 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont), AMC Village Crossing 18 (7000 N. Carpenter Ave. by Central Ave., Skokie), and Gallery Theatre (1112 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago), the festival’s primary location for showings of documentary films. The theatres offer free or validated parking.

Selected films will be available by streaming online.

Most popular among PFFA audiences Festival Pass valid for seven individually selected films in any theatre provides substantial savings compared to buying single tickets. Its price is $ 88.00 and is available for purchase HERE. For more information, call the PFFA at 773-486-9612, visit the official website or send an e-mail to

The 34th Polish Film Festival in America is organized by The Society for Arts, a non for profit 501 c (3) organization. Major sponsors are Startech Glass and Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.

All donations to PFFA are tax-exempt

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