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Highlights - 22/02/2008


Homework Agency, Warsaw (Poland)




In recent years, film posters have appeared in Poland whose graphics and content were unlike any others, and immediately pleasing to the eye. Often announcing films from Eastern Europe (12:08 East of Bucharest), but also European (Lemming or Omagh) and Latin American (Macunaima) works, these posters, most often created for the independent distributors Vivarto/Art House and Manana, have a unique and immediately recognisable style, full of humour and finesse. We took a closer look and met Joanna Gorska and Jerzy Skakun, co-founders of Homework poster agency.

1 - What is Homework? Who are your clients?


We founded the agency in 2003, and both work here full time. Our principal clients are cultural institutions - theatres, film distributors and museums - whereby projects related to the cinema comprise half our work. In fact it was an accident that we started working in film! We'd already made posters for theatres, and simply felt like designing a poster for the Latin American Film Festival. One thing led to another, and our posters won several competitions. We worked for the 28th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and for the Krakow Festival for two years. Among other things, we produced the entire promotion package (design, catalogues, posters, invitations, etc) for the Spanish Cinema Week and the AleKino Festival. And for the last three years we've done the communication for the Era New Horizons Festival. But our main clients are independent distributors.

2 - What's your method?


First of all, we're not film buffs. We've never refused to work on any film. but that doesn't mean we like all the films we work on! More seriously, we want our posters to set themselves apart from the masses, simply through their quality. So our principle is not to use the actors' faces, or photographs taken from the film. Of course, it has happened that a client requires us to use a photo, but that's rare.
We've sometimes met clients who measured the size of the actors' names in relation to the size of the poster. A nightmare! For us, the title and the name of the director are perfectly sufficient (luckily we don't work on films with Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio). What counts, very simply, is that the words and the illustrations should go well together.
In general we view the film just once, then have a second look at certain excerpts. We analyse the film from our point of view, then present our ideas to the distributor. It has happened that they don't agree, but that's rare. In that case we submit another project.

3 - Do you consider your work part of a Polish film poster tradition?


It's not our intention, but yes, our work is part of this tradition. To sum up, what's important for us is the idea, the metaphor, proposing in a drawing a sort of synthesis of the work. It's a happy coincidence that our work with Vivarto/Art House has allowed us to work on numerous films from Eastern Europe. These films really speak to us, and let us give expression to our desire of realising metaphoric, spirited posters.
But coming back to this tradition, I'd say we don't really have "masters" in the discipline, even if we have the greatest respect for many artists.
In any event, we don't know any Polish agency like ours!
The interview was conducted over the Internet by Jb Selliez in February 2008.
Posters (from top): 12:08 East of Bucharest, Lemming, The Kid, Closely Observed Trains