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Democracy in Poland hanging by a fragile thread, as the government begins arresting judges whose rulings are not to their liking. In Judges Under Pressure the public and judges take to the streets.


Democracy in Poland is hanging by a fragile thread. Facing arrest and fines if they issue rulings that are not to the government’s liking, judges join their fellow citizens and take to the streets. Since regaining power in 2015, the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has portrayed judges as elitist and incompetent at best, and as dissidents at worst.  Judges Under Pressure follows Judge Igor Tuleya, the face of the protest movement, as he works inside and outside the courtroom with his fellow judges—risking their freedom to defend the rights of citizens. With a soundtrack featuring Polish independent artists that expresses the urgency and far-reaching impact of the situation at every level of society—the film culminates in the biggest protest in Polish history, with both Polish citizens and lawmakers from across Europe taking a stand to keep Polish democracy from slipping towards authoritarianism. 

“These are beautiful people—the judges, but also the citizens, who refuse to back down. They don’t always have a camera in their hands; sometimes it’s just a piece of paper. This is a film for them.”

- Kacper Lisowski, Director, Judges Under Pressure


Kacper Lisowski


Kacper Lisowski was born in Warsaw in 1972 is a holder of the Stanisław Wyspiański State Award for photography and a graduate of both the Cinematography Department of the Leon Schiller National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź and the Wajda School’s Development Lab programme. His cinematography debut came with Łukasz Barczyk’s I’m Looking at You, Mary (Patrzę na Ciebie, Marysiu), after which he worked as a camera operator and cinematographer, both in Poland and abroad, for a number of years. He has numerous documentaries to his credit, including Agnieszka Łukasiak’s Forgotten (Bortglömda), Paweł Łoziński’s Chemo (Chemia), which won the Prix Europa for the Best Documentary in 2009 and Jerzy Śladkowski’s The Real End of the Cold War (Prawdziwy koniec zimnej wojny). He has also been working independently as a TV mini-series director since 2007. "Father's day", made in frames of the Munk Studio’s 30 Minutes programme, marks his debut as a features director.

Iwona Harris