Protest against Roman Polański visit at Łódź Film School

Students employees and graduates of the Film School in Łódź, central Poland, called for cancelling a planned meeting with Roman Polański, an acclaimed Polish director, who graduated from that school.

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Mr Polański came to Poland to take part in the 24th Cinergia European Cinema Forum in Łódź. During the event's closing gala, he is expected to collect the Golden Boot statuette, awarded to “rebellious filmmakers going against fashion and trends”.

The director will also present his latest film “An Officer and a Spy” which brought him the Grand Jury and International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Awards at this year's film festival in Venice.

In his schedule for Saturday was also the visit at his alma mater, Łódź Film School.

A group of students, employees and graduates of the school protested against it. In an online petition addressed to the school authorities, they demand the cancellation of the meeting.

“The Film School like any other educational institution should be a place where sexual violence is condemned. Mr Roman Polański is accused of at least five such cases. The youngest of the alleged victims was ten years old,” they wrote in the appeal signed by 70 people.

In 1977, the director was involved in a sexual assault case in the US involving then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. According to the law of the state of California, sex with a minor is treated as rape.

He fled the US before his sentencing in 1978.

Mr Polański said he believed he had a plea agreement for time served after spending 42 days in jail and pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. However, believing an LA Superior Court judge was prepared to sentence him to prison, he fled. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

For the past 40 years, the US authorities have pursued Mr Polański and he has had to fight extradition in the Swiss and Polish courts. At the same time, the Academy honoured him with an Oscar for his 2002 film “The Pianist”.