Krakow 50th Anniversary Special: Festival preview

Written by FNE Staff
The 50th anniversary edition of the Krakow Film Festival (May 31 - June 6) will present 89 documentary, animated and short films will participating in three competitions. The competition films were selected from among 2000 entries by an eleven-member team of programmers.

Festival locations: the audience will traditionally meet in the cinemas: Kijów.Centrum (al. Krasińskiego 34), Mikro (ul. Lea 5), Kino Pod Baranami (Rynek Główny 27) and - and this is new - in Centrum Kinowe ARS (ul. Św. Jana 6) , while the professionals from around the world meet in the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (ul. Konopnickiej 26) - for the workshops and Dragon Forum pitching and in the MCK (International Cultural Centre) (Rynek Główny 25) - where conferences, workshops and market will be located.


Every year, almost 600 professionals - filmmakers, producers, representatives of festivals and television channels and journalists are accredited at the Festival. Three competitions of the Krakow Film Festival are assessed by three juries. Artists, filmmakers and journalists sit in these juries. This year, the competing films will be judged, among others, by: Krzysztof Zanussi, director, scriptwriter and film producer, Marian Marzyński, the double winner of the first international edition of the Festival (1964 r.) for "Powrót statku" ("The Return of the Ship"); Grażyna Torbicka, journalist, film specialist and the author of "Kocham kino" ("I Love the Cinema") programme; Barbara Hollender, journalist, film critic and the journalist of the Rzeczpospolita daily; Todd Luoto - director, manager of the festivals in Sundance, Nati Baratz, Israeli director, the prize-winner of last year's Golden Horn and Borys Lankosz, director, author of the frequently-awarded "The Reverse".

The jury members are just a beginning of the list of excellent guests, who are awaited in Krakow. For 12 years, at the Krakow Film Festival the award for lifetime achievement has been given. On the occasion of the anniversary Jonas Mekas, the forerunner of the American avant-garde and this year's winner of Dragon of Dragons, will be joined by the laureates from previous years: Raoul Servais - a recognised Belgian animated films maker, Kazimierz Karabasz - author of classic Polish documentaries and Jerzy Kucia - most awarded Polish director of animated films.

Competitions: 89 documentary, animated and short films will participate in three competitions. The competition films were selected from among 2000 entries which came to the organizers and from among the films noticed at international festivals. The selection was brought about by 11-person Selection Committee, divided into three groups, which worked under the supervision of Krzysztof Gierat, the Festival Director, who watches over the event's entirety.

50th KFF's competitions:

1. International short film competition, to which documentaries, animations and short feature films, with duration up to 30 minutes can be submitted

2. International documentary film competition, to which documentaries can be submitted. They must have the following durations:

* 30 to 60 minutes

* over 60 minutes

3. National competition, to which films made in Poland can be submitted, with the duration of:

* documentary films- up to 60 minutes

* animated films - up to 30 minutes

* feature films - up to 30 minutes

Traditionally, the majority of the competitive films comes from Europe - film-strong Germany, France and Great Britain and always welcome in Krakow films from the Central and Eastern Europe take the lead. Scandinavia has its representation at the festival, and so do the warm, southern countries, including Israel, to which a special non-competing section, entitled "Focus on Israel", will be devoted this year. Also films from more distant parts of the world will compete, among others from Georgia, Singapore, Cambodia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil or Australia.

In the documentary competition, there are two exclusive tens of films, in which several motifs recur, among others, the motif of complicated family relationships as in the film "Beyond this place" in which the director tries to understand his father, a declared hippie. Others touch upon the difficult relationships between the lay and religious world. "As Lilith" is a story about a mother fighting for the right to cremate her tragically deceased daughter. "New Muslim Cool" in turn is a story of an ex drug dealer and rapper, who establishes a family and converts to Islam. Family atmosphere is also present in the search for pre-war treasure in Lodz tenement house. "Two Rembrandts in the garden" by Jerzy Śladkowski will certainly cause gale of laughter among the festival's audience.

In the short films competition, the feature films, representing the genre cinema, will surprise the viewers. For example, the black thriller "The Blue Bus" or absurd "Alice in Modernland" with Emir Kusturica in the cast! Documentary animations will awaken discussions, among them "Don't forget" by Yoram Gross, the nestor of Australian animation, born in Krakow; or "Tussilago", a Swedish film returning to the times of terror under the aegis of the Fraction of the Red Army. Another kind of animation, sensitive to the phenomena of our civilization, is represented by Oscar-winning "Logorama" by French collective of directors, which creatively reforges in a fascinating film story the everyday nystagmus of people living in the world of brands and tags. The Oscar atmosphere will be sustained by the film "The Kinematograph", arousing admiration because of its precision and making technique. The film's author, Tomasz Bagiński, was nominated for the Academy Award for "The Cathedral", which won the Silver Dragon in 2003 in Krakow.

In Polish documentary cinema, a clear change of the guard occurred. This year, we will not find any films by our classic directors, and slowly the previous years' debutantes dominate. Tomasz Wolski, last year's winner of the Audience's Award for "The Lucky Ones" will show two films "H2O" and "Pomału" ("Slowly"). Marcin Koszałka, the author strongly connected to the Krakow Film Festival, will also compete with himself, as his two documentaries, dealing with eschatological subjects, "Deklaracja nieśmiertelności" ("Declaration of Immortality") and "Ucieknijmy od niej" ("Let's run away from her") qualified to the competition. Paweł Łoziński, who won the Silver Hobby-Horse for "Chemo" last year, will bring a reflexive "Inwentaryzacja" ("Stocktaking") to Krakow.

Krakow Film Festival does not have to introduce parities; the female directors themselves pave their own way to success. During the 50th edition we will see, among others, "Viva Maria!" - a new film by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, the winner of the 2008 Silver Dragon for "Aria Diva"; a moving story of Asian émigrés for whom Poland is the promised land - "Hanoi - Warsaw" directed by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, or animated variation on the famous Berlin rabbits by Izabela Plucińska and Anna Jadowska ("Esterhazy"). Alina Mrowińska - the winner of the 2003 Silver Dragon ("Obudzić Olę!" /"To Make Ola Wake Up!') and Renata Gabryjelska, the author of warmly-appreciated "Janek", will both return with new films to Krakow.

Awards: The soul of each edition of the festival is in the competition sections, whose winners receive statuettes and monetary awards. Their pool will be 250 000 zloty this year in Krakow. In the international documentary competition the films compete for a relatively new Golden Horn award, in the international short film competition the Golden Dragon is the main trophy, and the winner of the Polish competition leaves Krakow with the Golden Hobby-Horse. Also the audience gives their own award.


Focus on Israel. The Israeli cinematography will the special guest of the anniversary edition. The organizers, inspired by the last year's knock-out (Israeli films "The Unmistaken Child" and "Pizza in Auschwitz" won in both international competitions) and the growing popularity of this country's cinematography around the world ("Waltz with Bashir" nominated to Oscar, "Lebanon" the winner in Venice) decided to have a closer look on the films from the Holy Land. In the programme of "Focus on Israel" there are seven screenings of the latest documentary films (all from 2009), which provide a great opportunity to get acquainted with the phenomenon of this success, of which the invited guests (directors, producers and distributors) will also speak. The Israeli films will also be present in the competition sections.

Top Ten Krakow. During the 50 years of the Festival's existence, many outstanding films, worthy of noticing and remembering, appeared on the Krakow screens. On the occasion of the anniversary, the organizers decided to remind the audience about the most interesting of them - these which in their time delighted the audience, and these which caused vivid emotions. This intention lighted the way for the organizers of the Festival in preparing the jubilee cycle, subsequent episodes of which have been shown in Krakow and Malopolska cinemas since October, and whose culminating moment would be the TOP TEN Krakow screenings during the Festival itself. In the exclusive ten of Polish films there are, among others, "The Musicians" (1960) by Kazimierz Karabasz, "Seven Women of Different Ages"(1978) by Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Oscar-winning "Tango" (1980) by Zbigniew Rybczyński. From among the foreign films there will be shown, among other, the Oscar-winning "Wasp" by Andrea Arnold, whose second full-length film "Fish Tank" could be watched in the cinemas recently. "Bread Day" (1998) by Sergei Dvortsevoy and "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1981) by Jan Švankmajer.

The sounds of music. In the successive year, in Krakow the Sounds of music will be heard, also in the open air version. This cycle is especially appreciated for its "high energy" - films about music and musicians capture the viewers with enthusiasm, brought about by the joy of creating and listening to music. The music genres are a secondary notion, what really counts is the passion. This year, there will be a windfall for the fans of Jamaican music, a documentary reaching to the sources of the reggae music ("Rocksteady. The Roots of Reggae") and "Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Untitled documentary" - an impressive film about the making of the fanciful video-clips, for which the group is famous.

Krakow documentary premieres. All people yearning for novelty will be interested in Krakow documentary premieres cycle, which keeps the pace with the latest trends in the documentary cinema. In this section, there are ordinary, but noteworthy subjects - the famous American performance artist and director Susan Mogul will present a film "Driving Men" about the men of her life; and unusual, forgotten subjects, such as the strong Polish accent on the leaf of the spy history of the II WW ("In the Shadows of Casablanca").

The Festival Prize-winners, who have already managed to enchant the audience in other countries, will appear, among others, from the festival in Leipzig the winsome "La Casa" will come, the story of a Columbian married couple, the Syzyfs, making their living from collecting the waste. For these who believe that the documentary should lean over the human histories with a discerning look, the cycle Somewhere in Europe is prepared, and in it the hilarious portrait of a crazy Italian mayor, who installs a huge mirror on the nearby summit to light up his town, immersed in shadow for half of the year ("Mirror'). A totally different atmosphere will accompany the Night of Videoclips - the author's show of original videoclips which has been attracting the fans and "night owls" to the Kijow.Centrum cinema.

The opening and closing gala: During the Festival's opening (31st May, 6 p.m.) the competing film "Two Rembrandts in the Garden" by Jerzy Śladkowski will be shown. The festive closing gala will take place on 6th June, 7 p.m.

The gala concert: The anniversary edition of the festival cannot do without a gala concert, which will take place on 5th June in the most representative hall in Krakow - Juliusz Slowacki Theatre, and Motion Trio with 30-people orchestra of young accordion players from Koszalin, will play.

The exhibitions of posters on the Szczepanski Square; for the duration of the Festival, there will be an exhibition of the festival posters. A large number of them accumulated during the half of the century, and the Krakow event promoted itself with a different poster every year. Collected together, they provide a unique opportunity to trace the changes and trends which were in force in the individual years.

Accreditations, passes, tickets: The applications for the industry and media accreditations are accepted, and to 30th April there are reduced prices. The deadline for applying is the 15th May. For the viewers, there are passes sold for reduced prices, until 10th May they can be booked on the Festival's website (regular one: 100 zloty reduced one: 50 zloty). The tickets will be available in the festival cinemas' box offices.

Organizers: the organizer and producer - Krakow Film Foundation, co-organizer - Polish Filmmakers Association, and the co-producer - Apollo Film.

Project financed by:

  • The City of Kraków
  • Polish Film Institute
  • The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
  • MEDIA Programme
  • Małopolskie Voivodship

Partners and patrons:

1. Telewizja Polska SA

2. Krakowskie Biuro Festiwalowe

3. UPC Polska

4. Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych

5. Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny

6. European Film Academy

7. EMPiK

8. PKP Intercity

9. Wielki Ekran

10. DHL Polska

11. Telewizja M

12. RS Media

13. HBO Poland

14. Local Heroes

15. Vobis

16. Klubokawiarnia Pauza

17. Fundacja Rozwoju Kina

18. Israel Embassy

Patroni medialni:

1. Telewizja Polska SA

2. TVP Kraków

2. Gazeta Wyborcza

3. Polskie Radio Program 3

4. Radio Kraków

5. Radiofonia

6. Przekrój


8. Kino Polska

9. Karnet

10. Krakow Post

11. www.onet.pl

12. www.stopklatka.pl

13. www.cracow-life.com

14. Shorts International

15. Film New Europe

16. AMS

Krakow Film Festival is accredited by FIAPF.