London is a kaleidoscope of nations. Yet, ethnicities remain distanced and undiscovered, and encounters between them do not do enough to break down stereotypes.
The Ordinary Stories of Polish Londoners is a series of short documentaries investigating migration from an insider’s point of view. Through a mosaic of films documenting Poles in London, this project unveils an extraordinary city shaped by migration and nourished by multiculturalism, and aspires to highlight the value of the ‘ordinary person’ in the city’s machinery.
It is an insight into London’s best kept secret: the constant flow of personalities, ideas, dreams, philosophies…
“London is not, and never has been, a city of native Londoners. For nearly all of its history it has been fed my migration.”
(A People’s History of London, German & Rees, 2012)
The long-term idea is to tell stories of contemporary Londoners of all origins and ethnicities. It begins with the Poles.
There are approximately 750,000 Poles currently living in the UK, and Polish became the second most spoken language in England. This is mostly the result of immigration since Poland joined the EU in 2004.
There is also an older community that developed during WW2 and in the years after the Polish Resettlement Act of 1947, who established Polish institutions in the UK and raised two generations of Poles in exile.
There are also migrants who came to Britain as asylum seekers during the communist rule in Poland, up until 1989.
This project became, too, an attempt to find a common language between these different generations of Polish Londoners, who essentially emigrated from three different Polands, and did so for completely different reasons.
This is a zero-budget project.
This project has been screened:
- as part of Southbank Centre‘s exhibition on migration ‘Adopting Britain’ at Royal Festival Hall (April – September 2015)
- as part of BBC3 film ‘Life Through My Lens’ (BBC iPlayer 2015)
- as part of the permanent exhibition at Emigration Museum in Gdynia, PL
- on the BBC3 Fresh online platform – LINK
- at New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, US (2014)
- at London Metropolitan Archives – conference ‘Polish Londoners’ (March 2014)
- Web Series Channel – LINK
This project has been awarded:
- Best Documentary (2014) – ‘Film The House’ organised by The Houses of Parliament, nominated by Tessa Jowell
- 2nd Place – Strzelecki Award, Emigration Museum in Gdynia – LINK
- Finalist, Giant Web Series Competition – LINK
- Honorable Mention, London International Creative Competition – LINK
WebVee Guide February 2014 – LINK
“I was moved by the honesty of this project.”
“It is important that real people be given the opportunity to understand one another, to build a shared experience and understand the contexts of people other than ourselves. My hat goes off to the whole team.”
More Than Netflix: Finding the small fish, Courier Online 8 December 2013 – LINK
“Polish Londoners Project doesn’t just feel like a look at the city, it feels like a look at the City through another person’s eyes.”
“Polish Londoners Project shows what is often forgotten in the Web Series world: that sometimes less is more, especially when you only have a few moments to make your mark.”
The POLSKI Blog, November 2013 – LINK
“You have to admit, it seems easier to find out what Brits think about Poles rather than the other way round. Until now, that is.”
“This is great and I can’t wait to see the next episodes.”
Further episodes are currently being filmed.