You have many professions – director, screenwriter, actor, producer, publisher and organizer of the Grand Galas. Is cinema still your hobby or maybe it’s already a way of life?
Cinema always was and is my hobby. I like cinema, I like to toy with it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t treat it seriously. On the contrary. I treat everything about cinema seriously, that’s why I got some serious accomplishments. The Polish industry sneers at me, but I’ve grown accustomed to it.
Maybe they’re jealous? You are the only Pole to write screenplays for high budget Western movies and even star in the leading roles.
Yes, one film was shot in French ( Commed des Rois), the other in English (GubBlastVodka). Those films had screenplays by me and were distributed in cinemas and TV in many countries around the world.
Not everyone is a fan of your movies. That’s normal, you are on a free market after all. Your shooting more movies, so they have to make their budgets back. Am I right?
The Polish market is 0.5% of global market. I’m only interested in those larger markets. Polish cinema is made only for Poles – it’s like, if I was a cobbler that made shoes in Poland for Poles only, and if someone else, like a Hungarian, wore them, it would give him blisters. I’m opposed to this mentality. I would like to make films for a wider audience. When I showed “Polisz Kicz Projekt” during the Paris Film Festival, the attendance was so high they had to organize an additional screening. There were more people at the press conference than at other films’ screenings, including Jerzy Stuhr’s film “Pogoda na Jutro”.
Looking at your film industry experience, I can safely say that creativity not only helps you act onscreen, but also gets you there…
Of course. Working on a film set is a breeze. The hardest part is getting the role or getting money for the film in the case of a director. A Director should learn how to speak with financiers, a producer – with banks, and the actor should know how to reach the director. If you want to fulfil your dreams, you need to be creative. Even an inventor won’t amount to much if we only sits in his home and admires his own work. We, the vain artists, want our work to be admired most of all.
You’ve married the art world and the business world quite well…
Yes. I’m the originator of the “Art & Business Party” – an event that introduces one to the other. They were received really well. I like to live, meet people and different communities. I don’t avoid challenges. You need to remember that business and show business are connected. The film won’t shoot itself, you need to put some legwork into it. I don’t force myself to do anything. I like to party, I like to meet people, and this profession allows me to combine business with pleasure. I like what I do. I’ve organized big events. My biggest accomplishment was organizing the Grand Gala “Polish Night” in Cannes. It was held during the Cannes Film Festival in the most prestigious place in town, the Carlton hotel.
I remember, everybody in Poland was talking about it. Now we’re coming of another edition of the “Personalities and Successes of the Year” Gala.
MP: Yes. I spent a long, celebratory and eventful evening in the company of the most interesting personalities of our country, people who achieved success or are stubbornly still trying to achieve it, with smiles on their faces. People who find joy in challenges, for whom creativity is a lifestyle, and pursuing goals is a natural need, without which they can’t imagine a future. Their life journeys inspire us all to fight for our place in the world. They show how to bravely make plans and how not to be afraid of risks.
Everyday many businessmen wonder how to achieve success. What’s your recipe?
All you need to do is be an optimist and believe, even in extreme situations, that everything you do makes sense. Optimism is very important in business. I think if well-known businessmen weren’t optimists, they wouldn’t achieve their success. You need to believe in yourself even in the most hopeless situation. This optimism gives you faith that you will persevere and fulfil your dreams. You need to look back and realize that many of the people who at first lost their faith have ultimately – thanks to optimism – achieved their longed-for success, and their companies became stronger and more renowned.
Do you agree with the statement that personalities and optimists shape the world?
MP: More and more people are not afraid to show off their success. Such prominent figures as Einstein, Picasso or Leonardo da Vinci – they changed their times, they became important links in the shaping of the world. Optimists – each one in their own industry – create situations that let them achieve success. Only an expressive personality can defend their position, fight will all manner of adversities, have perseverance, optimism and self-confidence. Prominent figures shape everything that surrounds us. Personalities are curious of the unknown, they can face anything – or anyone.
For me, success is…
MP: A motivation that informs each of my actions, a need to distinguish myself from the others. Creativity, originality, optimism. Achieving success is setting goals and then fulfilling them, in other words, it’s believing in what you are doing and determination. The size of the endeavour or the amount of turnover need not be the only measures of success. Anyone can achieve success. It doesn’t matter if it’s an agrotourism cottage or a luxurious hotel, a small cosmetics factory or a car factory, a small parlour or a luxurious spa.
You’re the founder of the “I am an Optimist” foundation. What’s the goal of the foundation?
MP: Our goal is to reinforce the social capital by promoting optimistic attitudes, positive thinking and the joy of life, a kind manner towards other people and your surroundings, openness and a civic activity geared towards a “change for good” in a broad sense. We want to cause people and Poland and around the world to start thinking positively. We also want to create an annual mass event that will become bigger and more influential with each passing year – we declared 21 August the International Optimist Day!
Popularizing the ‘optimism holiday’ is also one of your contributions…
Poland is among the most optimistic countries in the world. This is a great foundation that will help inject Poles with more good humour and good vibes . Let us be an example to our neighbours. According to a CBOS study, satisfaction stemming from our economic situation is on the rise, yet we’re still in short supply of optimists who boldly look ahead to new opportunities. It’s high time to promote positive thinking and focus on assessing life outlooks, achievements and interpersonal relations. Such actions will raise the society’s level of life satisfaction. Let’s start valuing optimism! For this reason I would like to invite all the readers to the World Optimism Festival, which will take place on 19-21 August 2016 in Ostróda.
Jerzy Gruza said that you were born to organize events. What do you need to achieve success in this field?
You need to be very professional, and at the same time positively insane. You need to organize an event for 1000 people as you would be organizing for 20 – talk to everyone, pat everyone on the back and simultaneously create conditions, in which people can talk among themselves. You need to maintain a healthy distance, be a little indulgent and not stuck up, and above all, classy – and class is what Poland lacks. Many people from show business try to act like big stars and display a sense of uniqueness. Those people vanish quickly – they forget that to stay on top you need to be the best at what you do, being a great celebrity is not enough.
To this day banquets and galas are your thing. A personality so devoid of boredom probably has a different motto for each day of the week. Or maybe you do have a singular motto? Am I correct in assuming that such a credo wouldn’t be entirely serious?
“Success goes not to the eager, but to the one smiling” is my motto. To look at yourself with affection… this is what I wish for myself and for Poland. Generally, Day to day, I’m very busy: events, galas, writing screenplays, playing… I try to maintain a sense of normalcy, without renouncing the madness or professionalism.
Your wish list is probably very long. What’s your next one?
An Oscar, an Oscar and above all, an Oscar! Why am saying this? Once I was a mere extra, running around Paris in search of a role. Finally I got my breakthrough. I decided I wanted to play the leading role. But how could I play a lead in France, with broken French and a foreign accent? I’d have to write my own screenplay and cast myself in the lead, that’s how. Everybody who I told about my planned laughed it off. Again and again they said that no Pole has ever played a lead role in a French film, not to mention having written one. And I stubbornly claimed I would make it. Eleven years I’ve wandered from one director and producer to another, and finally I got to make my film, “Commes des Rois”. It got praised and screened almost everywhere. Steven Spielberg himself bought the rights to make a remake! What’s stopping me from saying that in 11 years time I will win an Oscar? I’m involved in the production of major projects, I’m writing two screenplays for the French, which might later get adapted for the American market, so… who knows? It’s really worth being an optimist!