The unbelievable story of Godspeed, Los Polacos! begins during the Cold War, Poland’s youth looked for any way to break away from the monotony of life under Communist rule. In the City of Krakow, a group of university students formed a kayaking club as a tool to explore their local rivers and avoid participation in Communist parades and rallies. After experiencing the thrill of Poland’s one and only class III rapid, club members Andrzej Pietowski, Piotr Chmielinski (who would go on to be the first person to paddle the Amazon river source to sea), and Jurek Majcherczyk set their sights on the impossible – leaving the Eastern Bloc to paddle whitewater. Godspeed, Los Polacos! tells the story of five university students on the edge of adulthood who skillfully pull the strings of the Soviet system, and find themselves on a kayaking expedition in the Americas with a six-wheeled military truck, homemade equipment, and little to no whitewater skills. The story follows their epic two-year journey that culminates in the record-breaking first descent of the world’s deepest canyon, and finds the kayakers in Soviet cross-hairs after they leverage their new found fame to fight for democracy in the Eastern Bloc. Director Adam Nawrot joins us for a conversation on the story behind the journey of fellow travelers who refused to accept the life they were being told by a soulless government they had to live setting out on an unbelievable trek around the world.
Director’s Statement – The film is set 40 years in the past, but it could not be more timely. Godspeed, Los Polacos! resonates in the current political climate, and seeks to offer some perspective on the fight for justice in the world. It reminds us that even though the journey is tiring and seemingly never-ending, it will not last forever; and that like the Canoandes, we may even look back on this time with nostalgia, and call it the best adventure of our lives. – Adam Nawrot
About Sourland Studios – Sourland Studios is Adam Nawrot and Sonia Szczesna making movies with their friends. They focus on documentary and commercial content, and tread lightly with a small but precise footprint. When they’re not deep in the edit cave or obsessing over how to most efficiently pack a pelican case, you’ll find them by the trail, in the river, or on belay. Sonia Szczesna is a New Jersey-based producer, photographer, and environmental advocate. Sonia brings her experience as a community organizer and activist into her work in film and photography at Sourland Studios.