The 26th edition of the IDFA Festival starts on 20th November. Four Polish documentary films will be presented in Amsterdam. Daniel Stopa got the chance to talk to the directors of the films shown at IDFA.

”Our Curse”

Tomasz Śliwiński told Daniel Stopa how he managed to create a film that is very personal and at the same time universal in many aspects.

D.S: ”Our Curse” presents a very personal story. The film has been shown at many different festivals already. Were there any allegations that the story is too intimate?

T.S: From the very beginning I’ve never wanted only to tell our story and the story of our misfortune. Only after we went to through the process of getting used to the disease ourselves and after I realized that it’s possible to create an universal story about dealing with adversity from the recorded material, I decided to make a film about it and show it to an audience. Obviously, after the first screenings there were people saying it’s too intimate, that it’s not appropriate to show such things, that we’ve crossed a certain line of exhibitionism. But at the same time, many people who had similar experiences were approaching us thanking for the film, for showing the truth that is so often hidden by others. We’ve heard many times that someone has seen themselves in the film. That gave us the confidence that the film was needed. I don’t want to generalize, but the discussion in Locarno for instance was very much on a different level, nobody was afraid speak out and to take part in a substantive conversation about the film and its construction. I’ve got a impression that in Poland a very intimate story still makes people feel uncomfortable.

”A Visit”

Matej Bobrik, the director of ”A Visit”, reveals the details of his work with the protagonists of the film – the social care home residents.

D.S: Did the residents manage to trust you quickly?

M.B: First of all, the director of the nursing home, Mr Jerzy Iwaniuk, bestowed a rather high degree of trust in me and let me feel completely at ease at the premises. I’m very grateful for that, as I could document the institution without any limitations and spend enough time with the residents, both before the shoot, as well as in the course of it. In the beginning, our contact was mainly about the fact that I had cigarettes, but slowly our relationship was becoming deeper, not only based on ‘buying’ the tobacco. It appeared that I needed them for the film and they needed me and the cinematographer for entertainment. They were very eager to shoot, at times it was practically impossible to shoot an observational scene, because their desire to play in front of the camera and to play with the situation was incredible. We were even shooting purely fictional scenes, which we didn’t need for the film, but for them it made their day interesting.

The full interview is available here.

”Everything’s Possible”

The interview with Lidia Duda, the director of the film ”Everything’s Possible”, was made by Daniel Stopa during the 53rd Krakow Film Festival, which hosted the film’s premiere.

D.S.: Last time, when we discussed artistic inspirations, you have claimed that it always happens the same way: ‘I notice something intriguing about a story and I want to dig into it right away’. What was that thing about the story of Teresa Bancewicz that attracted your interest? How did you stumble on her?

L.D.: I was offered to make a documentary about being old, so I started to seek people who would be a good fit for the topic. I did some snooping around on the Internet and found a small mention about Teresa. It immediately seemed like a very uplifting, optimistic story. Then I visited Teresa to do research. I asked questions, observed, left and then came back for further asking and observing. I already knew that I was going to make a film about breaching boundaries – of age, affluence, language, morality and also those of the least importance, boundaries of territory.

You can read the full interview here.