FNE at Krakow 50th Anniversary: Interview with Krzysztof Gierat

{mosimage}The 50th edition of the Krakow Film Festival started on the 31st of May and will last till the 6tth of June 2010. Festival Director Krzysztof Gierat talked to FNE about the influence that the event has on the industry and plans for the future.

1. How did the Krakow Film Festival (ww.kff.com.pl) change over the last 50 years? What were its most significant breakthrough moments?

Half a century is a long time; for example it covers to different political eras. We are covering it all in the jubilee album that will be published during the festival. I'd like to focus on the last 10 years, on my time. Firstly we changed the name to make it more approachable; secondly the time of the event was increased up to a week, several new sections emerged outside of the main competition and two years ago we added a new competition for the best feature documentary film with the Golden Horn Award. It resulted in a lot more movies, screenings and festival buildings. It was all established for our viewers, but we also engaged in taking care of film professionals from all over the world. For the last five years we have been hosting an Industry Zone, including the digital video technology market and project pitchng during the Dragon Forum.

2. How is the jubilee edition going to differ from the previous festivals? Are there any special events planned to celebrate this anniversary?

Krzysztof GieratThis jubille consists of summaries. It is important to pay attention to the Top Ten Krakow - two golden sets composed of the best Polish and international films presented during the Krakow festival. We are also recalling the works of filmmakers awarded with Dragon of the Dragons, a prize that we've been granting for the last 12 years to the greatest animators and documentary directors for their input in the world of cinema. This year's award will be given to the legend of New York avant-garde Jonas Mekas. Our special events also include screenings of the Israeli cinematography works. The Focus On Israel program includes a documentary film review and a conference with the representatives of the Israeli film industry. The accredited guests will also be invited to take part in jubilee concert held in the Juliusz Słowacki Theater, the place of the first film screening that ever took place in Poland.

3. What are the future plans of development for the festival?

We are focusing on strengthening two spheres, one for the viewer and the other for the international network of film professionals. A festival has to have an audience, its most important mission is to enable short and documentary film lovers to have contact with the most important trends of the international and Polish cinema. We are planning a novelty especially for them - a selection of feature films close to the documentary genre. But a modern festival has to be a place where the industry members can meet. Here the projects are being discussed, here the co-productions are established and also here a selection from other important international festivals is taking place. For the filmmakers Krakow very often was and should be a trampoline to a career on the international level.

4. What is the place of the Krakow Film Festival on the map of Polish film events?

This oldest Polish film festival and was the only international cinema event in our country for a couple of decades. Right now we have a couple of significant festivals of an international rank, but Krakow still remains the fortress of the short and documentary film. It is of great importance that this event is a place of confrontation between the best Polish works of the genre and carefully picked representatives of international cinema.

5. What are the main criteria of film selection for the festival, does the event have a certain "profile"?

Krakow have always been associated with artistic cinema. We are not interested in film sociological commentary or a fervent reportage written with a camera. The movies that we present here contain a reflection of the world in all its complexity : with wars, religious conflicts and other nightmares of the present times. But we always see it trough the prism of a human being. The biggest satisfaction comes from discovering new talents and observing the consecutive successes of "our" filmmakers like the recent awards won by Marcel and Paweł Łoziński for their films Poste restate and Chemo, which started their international careers in Krakow.

6. What is the meaning of the festival for the Polish filmmakers, is the event playing an important part in the promotion of Polish cinema?

First of all we are the only festival in Poland that enables its winners to be a candidate for the American and European Academy awards. Krakow was always attractive not only because of the prize pool (250,000 PLN). Here filmmakers such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mike Leigh, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Werner Herzog were presenting their works. Here a career of Sergei Loztnits, awarded with a Gold and Silver Drason as well as the Golden Horn, fully took off. Finally it is here that the representatives of several international festivals come to watch the Polish productions of the year which qualified for the competitions, the Polish Cinema Panorama and are nvited to participate at the Market. The festival is just the beginning of the promotional supervision, but the Krakow Film Fundation (www.kff.com.pl/fundacja) is working on it during the whole year with projects such as Polish Shorts and Polish Docs supported by the Polish Film Institute.

7. What are the most interesting points of this year's program?

Obviously the competitions are always the most exciting, especially this year's edition of the modified documentary competition (10 full feature titles and 10 semi feature titles), the features and animations in this year's short film competition are very attractive and the highly rejuvenated Polish competition will surely surprise the viewers. It is worth it to take a chance and familiarize oneself with the works of Mekas. The Israeli films are not to be missed. For the young audience I would recommend the student étude and video clip nights. If the weather will let us the Szczepański Square will be reigned with musical cinema.

8. How is the festival in Krakow "educating" the Polish audience?

Krakow is the academic city. The whole festival is a very specific educating process. Our mission is evoking love for the X Muse and enabling those already in love to get the next levels of knowledge, also the professional level. That's why we are hosting camera directing workshops with Marcin Koszałka and for the members of the film industry we propose the Dragon Forum (http://www.dragonforum.pl/) and this year also a guest edition of the Documentary Campus (http://www.documentary-campus.pl/). So before the summer session exams start, we invite you all to Krakow!

Krakow celebrates 50th jubilee

The 50th Krakow Film Festival (http://www.kff.com.pl/), one of the oldest European documentary film events, celebrates its jubilee between May 31 and June 6.

In cooperation with well-known film festivals abroad, Krakow will show films which have already managed to win audience`s hearts in Amsterdam, Leipzig or Jihlava.

This year 6 projects are presented in the section: „Winners of the world`s film festivals". „Last Train Home" directed by Lixin Fan, the winner of the IDFA, is a story about hard-working Chinese parents trying to earn money for their children`s education. Mostly, the solution is working far away from home and almost whole year separation. „Disco and Atomic War", the winner of the Warsaw Film Festival, directed by Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma, touches the issue of Finnish-Estonian television war in the Soviet Union times. Supported by opposing powers, both countries hit each other with propaganda-like contents. „Six Weeks", a documentary by Marcin Janos Krawczyk, appreciated in Amsterdam, is a story about mothers giving their children away for adoption. Women have 6 weeks to change their decision. „The House" by a Columbian filmmaker Tayo Cortes, the winner of the Leipzig festival, is based on dramatic narration and tells a story of a Sisyphean family of small sellers, living only to survive the next day. In his short and chamber film „Ivan and Loriana", Stefano Cattini observes a couple of deaf children who communicate with each other without a smallest difficulty. The project was mentioned by jury of the Pontenure Film Festival. In Tampere jury appreciated a Thai project entitled „Four Boys, White Whiskey and Grilled Mouse".

Krakow Film Festival is not only „importing" movies. During this year`s edition a large number of international representatives of film industry will come to Krakow in order to discover new talents and find films which they could show later on in their countries. „Panorama of the Polish Film" is a section created especially for international guests. This year 35 projects will be shown, including the most recent and most interesting documentaries and shorts that have been made in Poland lately, also those made as part of programmes for young filmmakers. This section is most interesting for international film festivals` programme selectors and television makers, and is a very strong „exporting" platform for Polish cinema.

In this year`s „Panorama of the Polish Film" there are many documentaries devoted to artists, musicians and filmmakers, i.e. a life story of Jerzy Kawalerowicz entitled „Żyłem 17 razy" directed by Tadeusz Bystram and Stanisław Zawiśliński or „Komeda - muzyczne ścieżki życia" by Claudia Buthenhoff-Duffy, presenting life of a music composer Krzysztof Komeda. „Doktor Jimmy" by Janusz Barycki and Tomasz Szwan is a biography of a journalist Tomasz Beksiński. Tomasz Stroynowski, a famous musician who invited celebrities and organized school radio programmes for children living in the countryside has become the main character of a documentary „Tournée" by Andrzej Mańkowski. Tadeusz Król made a portrait of Antoni Antoine Cierplikowski, an ingenious hairdresser living at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, entitled „Ręka fryzjera". „Dokumentaliści" by Jędrzej Lipski and Piotr Melecha is devoted to Polish documentary filmmakers. It is acted by Ewa Borzęcka, Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, Maciej Drygas, Andrzej Fidyk, Kazimierz Karabasz, Grzegorz Królikiewicz, Marcel and Paweł Łoziński. This film was made especially for the Krakow Film Festival jubilee edition. Polish film panorama will also present projects about characters whose activities were a matter of controversy, like "Dzieci wolności" by Miłosz Kozioła, presenting Paweł Zyzak, the author of a controversial biography of Lech Wałęsa.

Among features presented in this section, a couple of projects are worth mentioning. Jan Wagner, student of the Lodz Film School, is the director of "Syn", which is said to resemble Roman Polanski`s „Knife in the Water". „Dekalog 89+", vol. 5 describes a story of a TV presenter who caused a fatal car accident and fights with the image created by mass media. The project is entitled „Sprawa Janusza W.". Zbigniew Hołdys, Krzysztof Skiba, Jerzy Urban and Krzysztof Zanussi are narrating the story of a misterious man who contributed to tearing down the Iron Curtain in the movie „Człowiek z Winylu" by Bartosz Wyrwas. Edyta Wróblewska is a director of "Ala z Elementarza", a portrait of the famous Ala from the primer by Marian Falski. The project is a biography of totally unknown Alina Margolis-Edelman, a pediatrician and spouse of Marek Edelman.


SIX WEEKS, dir. Marcin Janos Krawczyk, Poland 2009, 18'

Six weeks - that much time is left for mothers to change their decision about giving a child to adoption. Meanwhile, newly born babies are taken to day care centres and wait for the course of events.

LAST TRAIN HOME, dir. Lixin Fan, Canada / China, 2009, 85'

More than 130 mln Chinese people work far away from home. They come back once a year - to celebrate the Chinese New Year`s Day. Qin`s parents are among those who left their children to earn for their better future and education. They want their children to graduate and not to work in a factory. However, Qin does not want to spend all her life in the countryside, she wants to leave her home and start working. Does one of her parents` visit is able to change her attitude and strenghten family ties?

FOUR BOYS, WHITE WHISKEY AND GRILLED MOUSE, dir. Wichanon Somumjarn, Thailand 2009, 10'

Late afternoon after the harvest...In one of the rice fields four teenagers transform a shed into a pub. There is whisky, grilled mouse and live music...

DISCO AND ATOMIC WAR dir. Jaak Kilmi, Kiur Aarma, Estonia / Finland 2009, 80'

Socialist Estonia enters television era. TV shows happy workers and children singing communist songs. The Soviet propaganda reaches Finland and Finland gives as good as it gets. Supported by the West, Finland launches a competitive TV channel reaching directly Estonian capital - Tallinn. Estonian minds are now occupied by Dallas soap opera and disco dance. Govermental bans and removing antennas from the roofs seem to be useless. When broadcast time comes, creativity of Estonian people goes beyond any borders.

IVAN AND LORIANA, dir. Stefano Cattini, Italy 2008, 10'

Adults who became deaf still remember sounds and melody of words. For children who were born deaf, it is really difficult to learn to speak. Kindergarden pupils Ivan and Loriana, led by nuns, exercise their tongues very carefully but they succeed most in mutual communication. A flesh of joy in their eyes during games and playing speaks for itself.

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This session completes current edition of ScripTeast, the innovatory training program designed for experienced scriptwriters from Eastern Europe.

(All parties and events strictly require a personal invitation from the organizers)

Sunday 16 May

Norway and Iceland in Poland
35th Polish Film Festival will be accompanied by Norwegian Films Review and Icelandic Films Review. 12 films will be screened in total, 7 Icelandic and 5 Norwegian. All films presented to Polish audience were produced over the years 2006-2009 and have not been shown in Poland before. The screenings will be accompanied by meetings with artists: directors, screenwriters, producers and actors. Information about the films is available on our website: www.festiwalgdynia.pl

We are happy to announce, that it is the 10th anniversary of the Estonian Film Foundation in Cannes!

(All parties and events strictly require a personal invitation from the organizers)

Krakow Film Festival (50th edition - 31st May - 6th June 2010) is one of the oldest film event dedicated to documentary, animated and short fiction films in Europe. During 7 festival days viewers have an opportunity to watch about 250 films from Poland and abroad. Films are presented in competitions and in special sections like retrospectives, thematic cycles, archive screenings. Festival is accompanied by exhibitions, concerts, open air screenings and meetings with the filmmakers. Every year Krakow Film Festival hosts about 600 Polish and international guests: directors, producers, film festival programmers and numerous audience from Krakow.

Slovak Cinema at IFF Cannes 2010


(All parties and events strictly require a personal invitation from the organizers)

Prague, May 7, 2010 - The 63rd Cannes International Film Festival is set to run from May 12 to 23, 2010, and Czech cinema is going to be there. In 2009, a total of 9,907 participants from 101 countries around the world were accredited at the Cannes film market, the Marché du Film. This year, some 70 film professionals (producers, distributors, journalists, representatives of film institutions and festivals) representing Czech cinema are hitting the road to Cannes for the festival and market. The Czech Republic will once again be represented by Czech Film Center, which will be on hand to present contemporary Czech films and industry news in its pavilion.