Aleksandra Kazmieruk, head of worldwide sales of films and TV series, TVP Poland, tells TVBEurope how her passion for film and TV has helped forge a career in the media industry, from working at Poland’s National Film Archives to Poland’s public broadcaster.
Talk us through an average day in your role
Broadly speaking I handle all export activities for TVP but in detail, the international sales department takes care of the sale of ready-made programmes (films and TV series) and formats abroad. We also export all the elements of the audiovisual works such as footage from our vast 70-year-old archives, language versions, or trademarks. We conduct theatrical distribution outside of Poland and help organise commercial and non-commercial screenings all over the world. The scope and scale of our licensing activity is much bigger than it might look at first sight and I wouldn’t be boastful if I say that we are the biggest Polish content sales agency.
How did you get started in the media industry?
I started my adventure in the film industry in the marketing department of a home video distributor in 2004. Due to my passion for films, a few months later I was moved to the acquisitions department and worked as an acquisitions executive for many years, focusing on genre titles from independent studios. Then I moved to the National Film Archives where I could immerse myself in the world of silent cinema, my beloved Polish Film School, and new but very interesting Polish school of animation with such stars like Oscar-winning Tango by Zbigniew Rybczyński, masterpieces by Walerian Borowczyk, Julian Józef Antoniszczak, Daniel Szczechura, or Piotr Dumala. At the National Film Archives, I was already on the sales side and I truly loved it. Following this I joined Polish Public Television (TVP) where I now have the privilege of working with a huge catalogue of Polish television productions to present and sell to the world.
What training did you have before entering the industry?
I graduated from the American Studies Centre at Warsaw University and soon after completed an International MBA. Both faculties prepared me for the industry I work in now very well – doing business in the world of culture. The fact that I’ve always loved cinematography helped a lot too – I grew up on the works of Kieślowski, Wajda, Kawalerowicz, Jarmusch, and Wenders.
Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
I am in this magic world where all dreams can be realised and expressed in the form of a motion picture. I meet and get to know great creators from all fields of this industry – directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, music composers, actresses and actors, film distributors and broadcasters, film curators, and educators. Through the relationships we build, we learn so much about the culture and history of all parts of the world. This is truly marvellous. Last but not least, the business itself is very satisfying; I sell Polish language content, which is a very challenging task to do. However, when I see the sales are growing year by year I get a strong feeling of accomplishment.
What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?
To be patient, open, curious, focused, and not easily discouraged. Love audio-visual works regardless of the format. Nothing motivates more than a strong belief in the content a person is going to sell. Enjoy being surrounded by people .