The Tough carries a lot of meanings: defiant, vicious, resistant, relentless, strong, resilient, cold, hard. The film’s protagonist had a good reason to choose this name for his discovery – a place he has to face where he tangibly learns about all those characteristics, and also literally the hard way. It stirs his imagination while abruptly and obsessively pushing him forward. The camera follows him, step by step, taking part in the exploration of spaces never seen before, which increasingly resist the delicate human matter.

The main character of the movie is Jarosław Surmacz, one of the discoverer of Harda (The Tough) Cave in the Tatra Mountains in Poland.

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Country: Poland
  • Running time: 14'
  • Year: 2019
  • Color: colour

Director: Marcin Polar

Script: Marcin Polar

DOP: Marcin Polar

Editing: Aleksandra Gowin

Sound: Michał Fojcik

Producer: Ewa Jastrzębska

Production company: Munk Studio - Polish Filmmakers Association, LeLe Crossmedia Production


Katarzyna Wilk


About the director:

Marcin Polar

Marcin Polar

Director, cinematographer, photographer. A graduate from the Krakow Film School and Cinematography, Direction and Art Photography at the Radio and Television Faculty of the University of Silesia in Katowice. Creator of documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials. He has vast experience in filming in extreme conditions, often using mountaineering, aerial, and underwater techniques.His previous short documentary “Collection” was screened at major festivals all over the world as well as his newest short doc “The Tough”, premiered at Sundance FF in 2019, which was presented at almost 30 international film festivals, winning 5 awards.


2017 – Collection

2019 – The Tough

At festivals:

Sundance Film Festival, USA 2019 (competition)

59th Krakow Film Festival, Poland, 2019 (competition)

Rooftop Films, USA, 2019 (screening)

Durban International FF, South Africa, 2019 (competition)

OFF - Odense International Film Festival 2019, Dania, 2019 (competition)

Encounters ISFF, UK, 2019 (competition)

Sapporo International Short FF, Japan, 2019 (screening)

Victory International FF, USA, 2019 (competition)

DC Short, USA, 2019 (competition)

Le long week-end du court in Quebec, Canada, 2019 (screening)

Warsaw Film Festival, Poland, 2019 (screening)

Riga International Film Festival, Latvia, 2019 (competition)

Silver Eye 2019, 2019 (nomination)

Milwaukee Film Festival, USA, 2019 (competition)

Kasseler Dokfest, Germany 2019 (competiton)

Camerimage IFF, Poland, 2019 (competition)

IDFA, The Netherland, 2019 (screening)

Loft Film Fest, USA, 2019 (screening)

Bogoshorts, Colombia, 2019 (competition)

Nordic Adventure Film Festival, Denmark, 2019 (Best Short Film of the Year)

China International KingBonn New Media Shorts Festival, China, 2019

FIPADOC, France, 2020 (competition)

Alpin Film Festival, Romunia, 2020 (competition)

Short Sounds Film Festival, UK, 2020  (Best Sound Editing Award)

Kino Polska Paris, France, 2020 (screening)

16th Akbank Short Film Festival, Turkey, 2020 (competition)

4th Cheap Cuts Documentary Film Festival, UK, 2020 (competition)

68th Trento Film Festival, Italy, 2020 (competition)

Mostra Filmes de Montanha, Brasil, 2020 (competition)

14th International Mountain Film Festival Ushuaia SHH..., Argentina, 2020 (competition)

11th Creative Documentary Film Festival MakeDox, Macedonia, 2020 (competition)

18th Tirana International Film Festival, Albania, 2020 (competition)

Nuovi Mondi Festival, Italy, 2020 (competition)

27th International Film Festival Febiofest Bratislava, Slovakia, 2020 (competition)

XXXIV Pärnu Film Festival, Estonia, 2020 (Best Short Documentary)

Dutch Mountain FF, The Netherlands, 2020 (Spiegel Best Newcomer)

International Festival of Mountain Films Poprad, Słowacja , 2020 (competition)

Curtas Vila do Conde, Portugal, 2020 (screening)

4th West Lake International Documentary Festival, China, 2020 (competition)

Les Rencontres Ciné Montagne, France, 2020 (competition)

13th BBK Mendi Bilbao-Bizkaia Mountain Film Festival, Spain, 2020 (Best Director Award)

37th Autrans International Mountain Film Festival, France, 2020 (competition)

OUTDOCS, The International Outdoor Documentary Film Festival of China, 2020 (competition)

2021 Wasatch Mountain Film Festival, USA, 2021 (competition)

6th Ulju Mountain Film Festival, South Korea, 2021 (competition)

8th Bridge Film Festival, Italy, 2021 (screening)

London Mountain Film Festival, United Kingdom, 2021 (competition)

7th Mosor Film Festival, Croatia, 2021, (Special Mention)

International Conference Mountains & Cinema at University of Innsbruck, Austria, 2021 (screening)

2021 Pittsburgh Shorts & Script Competition, USA (competition)

BOGOSHORTS underneath the moon 2021, Colombia (screening)

Ukerdi Film Festival 2021, Spain (competition)

Openscreen at Ancien Cinéma in Vianden 2021, Luxembourg (screening)

Lebanese Outdoors Film Festival 2022, Liban (competition)

9th European Union Short Film Festival 2022, Canada (screening)

Interaction Docs Festival, 2022, Serbia (screening)

2nd Pirineos Mountain Film Festival 2023, Spain (competition)