Polish documentaries conquered the East Silver Market, winning two out of three main prizes. The best short film turned out to be the Polish-Cuban co-production “Previous Scenes” by Aleksandra Maciuszek. In the medium-length film category the winner was the film “Joanna” by Aneta Kopacz, and Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski’s “Art of Disappearing” received an honorary mention.

The East Silver Market accompanying the Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava started last Thursday, 24 October, and is going to last until tomorrow afternoon. But the list of films which the jury decided to award with the Silver Eye, awards for the producers of the best documentaries participating in the film market, has been announced today. The winners receive a €1500 award to be spend on further promotion and distribution of the film as well as a full year’s representation in the East Silver Caravan, thanks to which the film is submitted to over 100 most important film festivals in the world.

In the short film category the victory belonged to the film “Previous Scenes” by Aleksandra Maciuszek, co-produced by the director and Kenia Salas Laborde from the Cuban EICTV. The protagonist of this documentary is Enrique, who lives with his daughter and his baby grandson. The doctors have diagnosed him with a terminal lung illness and stated he has no more than five months to live. Despite the bad news, their family life still has its’ old rhythm, and the baby Luís Enrique grows up under his grandfather’s care, who doesn’t stop making plans. Amazingly simple, and at the same time visually expressive, documentary directed by Aleksandra Maciuszek is a portrayal of a family awaiting death.

The title of the best medium-length film of the market was given to the documentary “Joanna” by Aneta Kopacz, produced by Wajda Studio. It tells a story of Joanna Sałyga, an author of a blog „Chustka”, who has been diagnosed with last stage cancer. She promises her son, that she’ll do everything to stay with him as long as possible. She fights. She writes a blog for him, where she describes their everyday life, honestly and accurately. For many readers she becomes the icon for a mindful and joyful life. The film shows fragments of the life of Joanna, her husband Piotr and their son Jaś. Played within the discreet observations, special ambience, uncluttered with dialogues, often funny. Simple, but sensual, about living in the moment, about going away and about love.

The motivation of the verdict stated: ‘We decided to award a documentary, which opens the door to the private life of a woman experiencing the most difficult time for her. The director approaches Joanna’s story with a great sensitivity, also in the visual aspect. We are absolutely absorbed with the protagonist’s life, through everything we felt while watching the film we’ve reached the most essential values, brought not only with her life, but also with our own’.

The Honorary mention in the medium-length film category went to the picture directed by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski, “Art of Disappearing” produced by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Otter Films. The jury appreciated its’ ‘metaphysical look at socialism’. “Art of Disappearing” tells a story of a few Haitan people, who came to The People’s Republic of Poland in 1980, following an invitation from Jerzy Grotowski’s Theatre of Sources. Among them was a young voodoo priest, Amon Fremon, the only one who stayed in Poland the longest. His Polish origin awakened. As the martial law was already in the air, Amon decided to change the history by organizing a voodoo ceremony.

You can find more information about the East Silver Market, including the full list of awarded films here.