Every year, the third day of Krakow Film Festival ends with the award ceremony of the most important festival prize – the Dragon of Dragons, given for the outstanding contribution to the development of the international cinema. This time, Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Polish animated film, which falls this year, and honour two eminent veterans of this genre, Witold Giersz and Daniel Szczechura, with the Dragon of Dragons award.
“It would be very hard to determine, who of today’s two winners deserved the award more or earlier,” the Chairman of the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council, Professor Tadeusz Lubelski, explained the exceptional double award. “Of course, these are two very different artists, but they have a lot in common and this also supported this decision. Both Witold Giersz and Daniel Szczechura are outstanding representatives, the last Mohicans of this wonderful group, not only in a generational sense, but most of all, of the artistic group, which was later called the Polish School of Animated film.”
Professor Lubelski also explained that both of this year’s winners are the leaders of two characteristic varieties of animated film. The work of Witold Giersz is named, also by the artist himself, painting in movement and it involves treating animated film as a way of practising painting. In contrast, Daniel Szczechura is an eminent representative of the trend traditionally referred to as philosophical grotesque, often having the character of a political satire.
The Dragon of Dragons statuettes, designed by Professor Bronisław Chromy, were handed by Magdalena Sroka, the Director of Polish Film Institute, and Jacek Majchrowski, the Mayor of the City of Krakow. The ceremony ended with the screening of six films, highly acclaimed all over the world, by both award-winners.
The Dragon of Dragons award, given for the 20th time this year, is the highest distinction granted by Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council, the organiser of Krakow Film Festival, in recognition of contribution to the development of international cinema in documentary and animated film genre. Among previous winners of the award, there are many prominent film-makers, among others, Werner Herzog, Priit Pärn, Kazimierz Karabasz, Bohdan Kosiński, Bogdan Dziworski, Allan King, Albert Maysles, Jonas Mekas, Helena Trestíková, Stephen and Timothy Quay, Raoul Servais, Jerzy Kucia, Paul Driessen and Marcel Łoziński.
Witold Giersz is one of the most outstanding Polish animated film-makers, called “the painter of the screen.” He is the winner of numerous awards, including seven awards at Krakow Film Festival. His films are described as “moving paintings” because of the role which colour and the way of bringing colours to life play in them. For colour, as Witold Giersz used to say – is the protagonist of his films. In the Master’s retrospective, we will watch his most important films, among others, “Maly western,” awarded the Golden Dragon at the first festival in Krakow (1961) and his latest film “Singum” from 2015.
Daniel Szczechura is one of the most famous figures of Polish animated film. His creative explorations contributed to the creation of the phenomenon called “the Polish school of animated film.” “The films by Daniel Szczechura began with the description of the reality, a satirical, exaggerated, derisive one, but a description all the same. Quickly, the comic tone was replaced by more serious look, documenting our “externality” – penetrating issues which lie hidden somewhere deep in us,” wrote Jerzy Armata. We will have a chance to find it all out by watching a selection of the award-winner’s films.
On Wednesday, the 31st of May, at 12.30 in Małopolski Ogród Sztuki, the audience of Krakow Film Festival will have a chance to participate in the open master class by Daniel Szczechura, whereas on Friday, at noon in Kino Pod Baranami, the second of the award-winners, Witold Giersz, will give a public show of making an animated film.
Throughout the entire Festival, the viewers will have a chance to get acquainted with a comprehensive selection from the works by the Award-Winners.