International short film competition at the 60th Krakow Film Festival

    In this most diverse festival competition short documentaries, animations and live action films from all round the world will compete for a Golden and Silver Dragons in front of an international jury. Six Polish films are among them. The awards given in this competition make winners eligible to submit for Oscars and European Film Awards consideration.

    Documentary films

    Over four hundred films were watched, an entire notebook was filled with notes, a number of serious conversations took place – all that to select thirteen films for the competition. The official selection consists mostly of family stories, often based on some amateur footage from the years before. There is also a number of stories devoted to difficulties that women and minorities have to face in various parts of the world. Subjects like war and refugees are still very present. The world can see its reflection in the films submitted to the Krakow Film Festival – Maciej Gil who selects the festival films says.

    Documentary films will also take us to often inaccessible places: in “keep shiftin” we’ll take a peek at un incredibly photogenic process of glass blowing in a factory on the Czechia-Germany border, while “Depot Asmara” will take us to the railways of Eritrea where two friends work on impressive locomotives. As always, we will meet fascinating characters and learn their extraordinary fates, e.g. in a documentary “The Fantastic” which tells the story of former North Korea citizens and their first impressions after watching films from abroad, which in their country were illegal; and in an animated documentary “Just a Guy” in which three women confess their love for a serial killer.

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place, dir. Mads Koudal

    Live action films

    During the selection we were looking for lighter, more cheerful films, but the programme is always shaped by the directors and they apparently want to talk about things outside of our comfort zone, things that bring pain or sometimes even fear. And that’s why the programme is dominated by farewells and borderline situations, impossible choices that nonetheless have to be made. The characters are confronted with the most difficult experiences like illness and death of the loved ones, separation, rape, sexual harassment, discrimination, everyday struggles in not so friendly environment – Dagmara Romanowska, who selects live action films, says.

    However, those stories are not always dark, as even in the darkest times one still can find a bit of humour and warmth, like in “Los Bengalas” which radiates musical energy while telling a story of… Alzheimer’s disease. Or in “The Father” – a film about the intergenerational exchange of responsibility, the moment when one definitively and irrevocably ceases to be a child and has to carry life’s burden on one’s own back. It will be easy to get emotional e.g. in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, a film which takes on a topic rarely occurring in cinema – taking care of people with disabilities – and does it from an unusual perspective. At the same time “Innocence”, which focuses on a boy with Down syndrome, can surprise the audience with its specific structure thatbrings to mind the best British crime films from the recent years, e.g. “Broadchurch”.


    The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place on May 31 – June 7, 2020

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