Both documentaries have already been introduced to the Polish audience. Natalia Koryncka-Gruz’s film about Simona Kossak was even distributed in cinemas, while Lidia Duda’s The Fledgelings won the Marco Zucchi award at this year’s festival in Locarno. And this is certainly just the beginning of the festival and promotional journey for these exceedingly beautiful and moving documentaries by two great and award-winning female directors.
An unusual trio of small protagonists – the imaginative Zosia, the sensitive Oskar, the independent Kinga – must enter adulthood much earlier than their peers. They take the audience of The Fledgelings on a journey into a world of childlike empathy, artistic expression, humour, and strength of character. A world in which friendship, love, and closeness to other human beings are like oxygen – essential to survive the most difficult moments.
Lidia Duda documentary film director and screenwriter. Her films have been shown in competitions at dozens of foreign film festivals. She won the Grand Prix in Chicago, New York, Houston, Istanbul, Mexico City, Moscow, Banff, Guangzhou, Prague, and more. Grand Press winner for My Home in Pietrasze. She has twice been awarded the Golden Hobby-Horse Grand Prix at the Krakow Film Festival for the films Hercules (2005) and Entangled (2012). Has worked as a freelancer for 26 years. Member of the Polish Filmmakers Association, the Polish Film Academy, and the Guild of Polish Documentary Directors. Documentary film expert at the Polish Film Institute since 2006, member of the PFI Council since 2020.
Who really was Simona Kossak – the legendary researcher who lived surrounded by animals in the Białowieża Forest? Why did she run away from the famous Kossak family? What was life like for Poland’s first environmental activist in the 1970s? Unique, often presented for the first time in Simona, photographs and recordings from the archive kept by the protagonist and her partner Lech Wilczek transport us to the ancient Forest and allow us to experience a unique life far from civilisation. Simona was a favourite of the raven that terrorised the vicinity; she mothered a lynx and a moose, while her empathetic approach to animals and plants not only allowed us to see the Białowieża Forest as an ecosystem unique on a global scale but also helped us understand that we are all roommates on Earth and we should let other creatures live. This colourful, uncompromising, and trailblazing visionary often had to fight alone for the good and respect of nature.
Natalia Koryncka-Gruz director, screenwriter, producer. Graduate of Polish Studies at the University of Warsaw and Directing at the Film School in Łódź. For her short fiction film 1-1, she won many awards in Poland and 18 at international festivals abroad: including in Turin, Bilbao (Grand Prix), Oberhausen (five awards, including the Grand Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize) , Nimes (three awards, including for best director), Munich. Her Amok was awarded the Best Directing Debut Award in Gdynia. Author of acclaimed, award-winning documentaries (e.g. Bezprizorni, Zbig, A Minor Genocide, Simona), feature films (Amok, Heaven-Hell, Warsaw by Night), and acclaimed Television Theatre productions (e.g. Inka1946). She is a member of the Polish Film Academy, the Directors’ Guild of Poland, the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the European Film Academy.
The film will be represented at international festivals by the KFF Sales&Promotion agency. In 2021 Polish documentaries represented by our agency were presented at 250 screenings at 150 international festivals, 230 of which were competition screenings. Thanks to our efforts, documentary films represented by KFF won 30 awards at foreign festivals in 2021.