The title The Magic Tree, which is in fact an ancient oak, is felled during a storm. Its wood gives life to magical, enchanted, objects which perform miracles – both good and bad. One of such objects becomes the main protagonist in the film – it is a red chair, which fulfils the dreams of all who sit on it… The chair is found by three children – Tosia, Filip, and Kuki.
This is the starting point in a book written by Andrzej Maleszka, which has already been twice adapted for the big screen. The first time, it was made into a 13-episode series, and then as a full-length film, which won a plethora of awards all around the world.
The film by Andrzej Maleszka triumphed worldwide and won a lot of awards at film festivals dedicated to children and young people. It was distributed for young audiences in such countries as Germany, Finland, Norway, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Greece, the USA, India, Egypt, Taiwan, Cuba, Ukraine, and Belarus.
The leading characters in the film were played by Andrzej Chyra (a three-time winner of the Golden Lions Award in Gdynia, and twice winner of Polish Film Awards: Eagles) and Agnieszka Grochowska (she has won two Golden Lions Awards and one Eagle Award of the Polish Film Industry for her performance in Shameless).
The film crew filmed in many locations in Bydgoszcz. They included such places as the Fish Market, the “Venice of Bydgoszcz”, situated on Mill Island, ul. Cieszkowskiego, ul. Stary Port, the Sulima-Kamiński bridge, and fragments of ul. Gdańska. During the première of the film in Bydgoszcz, Andrzej Maleszka was quoted as saying “Your city is very filmable. The boulevards by the Brda River afford a very-picturesque landscape which virtually any film Director would find attractive. (…) Every film Director would be enchanted by this city.
Elwira Pluta, responsible for the production design that brought the film an award at the Gdynia Film Festival, went into similar raptures: I was in love with your city at first sight”.*
There is also a very-tangible souvenir, which the film crew left in Bydgoszcz, when the film was done. It is a big red chair, a copy of the “magical” chair used in the film. The chair was put in a playground within the area of Mill Island, where parts of the film were shot.
Magiczne drzewo / The Magic Tree
Poland 2008, 90′
Directed by: Andrzej Maleszka
Screenplay: Andrzej Maleszka
Cinematography: Mikołaj Łebkowski
Music: Krzesimir Dębski
Produced by: Agencja Filmowa Telewizji Polskiej, the Polish Film Institute, Studio Lunapark
Cast: Agnieszka Grochowska, Andrzej Chyra, Hanna Śleszyńska, Maciej Wierzbicki, Dominika Kluźniak, Filip Fabiś, Adam Szczeg, Maja Tomawska, Joanna Ziętarska, and others.
The Zlin Film Festival – Best Film; the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival –the Rights of the Child Award; the Munich Film Festival – the Audience Award; the Shanghai International TV Festival – Special Mention; the Oulu International Children’s and Young Peiple Film Festival in Finland – an award; the New Latin American Movie Festival in Cuba – The Garabato Award; the BAMkids Film Festival in New York – the Grand Prix; the Taiwan International Children’s Film Festival – the Grand Prix and Audience Awards; the Kristiansand Internasjonale Barnefilmfestival – the Grand Prix and Audience Awards; the International Festival of Films for Children in Artek, Ukraine: awards for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor, and a Special Award of the Russian Children’s Radio Station for Best Music; Minsk International FF Listapad – Grand Prix of the Children’s Jury Dziecięcego and a Special Award of the Professional Jury; The Ale Kino! International Young Audience Film Festival in Poznań – The Platinum Goats Special Award; and others.
*An interview published in Gazeta Pomorska on 21st September 2009