Daniel Szczechura Daniel Szczechura photo: KFF

    Krakow, 24th February 2017 - Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council decided to celebrate this year’s 70th anniversary of Polish animation by unprecedented tribute to two outstanding veterans of this genre: Witold Giersz and Daniel Szczechura. It is 20th edition of Dragon of Dragons award which is granted for significant influence on the development of the world cinema.

    Witold Giersz and Daniel Szczechura are among the greatest filmmakers in history of Polish animation. Both of them won many awards on world’s most important film festivals. They received awards on Krakow Film Festival seven times: Witold Giersz for the first time during Festival’s first edition in 1961, Daniel Szczechura in following year. In 1963 and 1964 they both won and in next three years they were awarded in turns.

    Jerzy Armata, a member of the Programme Council, an expert in the field of animated film, and the author of monographs on the awarded artists, described their work in following worlds: “Witold Giersz has very quickly worked out his own film signature. Because of the importance of color, as well as methods of its application and animation, which is his trademark, he is very often described as a painter of screen and his animations as moving paintings. His films belong to auteur cinema. His animations – because of its narration, sense of humour and artistic temperament – are instantly recognizable even though he is not always an author of content or art design of his films. It is worth noting that among the writers and artists with whom Giersz has worked there are many excellent personalities (including Zbigniew Lengren, Waclaw Kondek, Jan Mlodozeniec, Andrzej Warchal, Ernest Bryll). While working with them or using their works Giersz has always managed to hold on to his trademarks.”

    „It is hard to imagine Polish animation without Witold Giersz – says Jerzy Kucia, prominent Polish animation filmmaker and winner of Dragon of Dragons in 2009 – His contribution both artistic and professional is particularly significant. He is a perfectionist in every artistic endeavour. He is still creating and character of his artistic statement is evolving. Witold Giersz is also very important person in Polish artistic environment. You could say that he sets standards for which he deserves very special respect.”

    „Szczechura's cinema began with depicting reality in a satirical, exaggerated, sneering way| – says Jerzy Armata. – “Soon the buffo tones were replaced by a more serious impression, and documentation of the superficial, external was dominated by an insight into what is hidden deep inside man. A Good Night Story, his latest animated short film, begins with a poem by Jan Wolek: When the eyelids fall as a curtain/And dreams take reason out of facts/Enter Man/The real one - not an actor/So lead us, lead us to happiness/We whisper, lonely among men/Don't let yourselves go mad!/Don't let yourselves wake up…

    Szczechura's films depict the life of the real one, and not an actor, of a man, for whom the act of creation is a hobby and only then a profession. Just like life itself.

    Witold Giersz, photo: Wiktor Sarnik, KFFJerzy Kucia also says „For years Daniel Szczechura through his artistic projects was driving force of Polish animation. His work greatly contributed to the emergence of artistic phenomenon known as “Polish school of animated film”, which is our major input to world’s achievement in this genre. Daniel Szczechura is still artistically and professionally active but he is also the history of animation. Also his pedagogic work is not to be underestimated. He has educated generations of our artists who now decide about the shape and meaning of an animated film. "

    Dragon of Dragons Award awarded this year for the 20th time, the most important award of the Programme Council of the Krakow Film Foundation, organizer of the Krakow Film Festival in recognition of significant influence on the development of the world cinema in a genre of documentary and animated films. Among the previous winners of the Dragon of Dragons award there are such renowned filmmakers as 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 and Paul Driessen.

    The official award ceremony will take place on 30th May 2017 during the 57th Krakow Film Festival in Krakow. The audience will have an excellent opportunity to watch extensive selection of films of both laureates and take part in meetings with them.

    The 57th Krakow Film Festival will be held between 28 May and 4 June 2017.