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Polish Ministry of Culture Announces Decision to Remove Magdalena Sroka As Director of the Polish Film Institute Featured

2017-10-10
Magdalena Sroka Magdalena Sroka photo: Marcin Kułakowski, PISF

WARSAW: The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has announced its decision to remove Magdalena Sroka as the Director of the Polish Film Institute. Earlier the same day the Board of PISF found that the Ministry has no legal reasons to remove the head of the Institute.

Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage said in an official announcement that it had decided to remove Magdalena Sroka as the Director of the Polish Film Institute, due to an alleged breach of her professional responsibilities. The Minister announced the decision on 9 October 2017, after he asked the Board of the Polish Film Institute for an opinion on the matter and got a resolution that the Board members, headed by Jacek Bromski, didn't find any legal reasons for Magdalena Sroka to be removed from her post. Nonetheless the Minister has announced that Ms Sroka will be dismissed.

The Board of the Polish Film Institute, headed by Jacek Bromski - the President of the Polish Filmmakers Association, met on 9 October 2017 and presented its opinion addressed to Piotr Gliński, the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, who had asked the Board for an official position on the issue of Magdalena Sroka being dismissed from her current post as Director of the Polish Film Institute. The Board of PISF decided that there are no legal reasons for the replacement of the head of the Institute at this time.

The official statements of both the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Polish Film Institute follow.

Official statement of the Ministry Of Culture and National Heritage issued on 9 October 2017:

“Acting upon article 14 point 6 in accordance to article 10, passage 1 of the Cinematography Bill from 30 June 2005, after making an official inquiry together with the Board of the Polish Film Institute, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage has dismissed Magdalena Sroka from the post of Director of Polish Film Institute.

The reason for the dismissal of the Director of PISF from her position is a violation of her professional responsibilities as well as the violation of legal regulations connected to the letter from the PISF Director to Christopher J. Dodd, the President of the Motion Picture Association of America.

In an official letter issued by PISF (PISF-080-14/2017), Director Magdalena Sroka jeopardized the image of Poland and Polish cultural institutions on the international arena.

The Minister of Culture and National Heritage, executing the tasks of the state administration in the field of cinematography and supervising the activity of PISF, can't allow the Director of PISF to act in contradiction to the tasks performed by the Institute in the fields of promotion and creating conditions for the development of Polish cinema.”

The full resolution presented by the Board of the Polish Film Institute on 9 October 2017:

“In response to the issue of a letter sent from the Polish Film Institute to the Christopher Dodd, the President of the Motion Picture Association of America, we would like to explain that the content of the letter is known to the Board and that it was a topic of the Board meeting, that took place in the beginning of June 2017.

The letter was intended to procure a license parts of the Oscar ceremony devoted to Polish filmmakers in order for them to be used in special film material promoting Polish cinematography in Cannes,

The Board found the content and the form (language) of the letter to be scandalous and asked the Director Magdalena Sroka for an explanation. The Director informed the Board, that this letter was written by a Polish Film Institute employee with the use of the facsimile stamp of her personal signature. Magdalena Sroka assured the Board, that she did not know the contents of the letter and when she was familiarized with it, after coming back from Cannes, she made the employee responsible take the consequences and the person was fired immediately.

The Board believes the explanations put forward by Director Sroka and found them to be sufficient, especially when - after appropriate explanations - the image damage connected to the Institute sending a letter of this kind was inconsiderable.

It is the opinion of the Board, that the circumstances named in the article 14 point 6 of the Cinematography Bill from 30 June 2005, which would allow the possibility of Magdalena Sroka to be ousted as the Director of the Polish Film Institute, did not occur in this situation.”

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