After the recent successes at the Russian festival Flahertiana in Perm (Silver Nanuk for “Chemo” by Paweł Łoziński, Honorary Awards for “At the Edge of Russia” by Michał Marczak and “North from Calabria” by Marcin Sauter)Polish film-makers have conquered Leipzig. “A Piece of Summer” and “North from Calabria” have been awarded.

One of the oldest documentary and animation festivals, DOK Leipzig, invited to the competitions as many as five of our films (including one animation), and two more were shown in the Documentary Panorama. On the DOK Market there were as many as 16 films represented by Krakow Film Foundation, one of the German event’s partners. It was the most numerous national team, apart from the German one. But this was not enough; each film screening began with credits made of the brilliant fragment of the film by Piotr Złotorowicz.

But this was not a coincidence. Grit Lemke from the DOK Leipzig festival, who selects Polish films at Krakow Film Festival, said during the press conference that she could have filled the entire short-length documentary competition with Polish films, as we are – according to her – the best at the moment.  She is echoed by “Leipziger Volkszeitung” which writes that no other cinematography (perhaps except the Scandinavian one) has such a characteristic style.

Since our neighbours (first the Russians, and now the Germans) have made us aware that we have good cinema, it is worthwhile to list the prize winners of the Leipzig festival. Here they are:

in the Short-length Documentary competition the main prize, the Golden Dove, went to Marta Minorowicz for the documentary film “A Piece of Summer (in support of the verdict, the jury emphasized, among others, the fact that “In nature all things pass but with the finest work of cinema some things fortunately remain forever. The jury has chosen this quiet jem of filmmaking for successfully capturing intimate moments pregnant of nostalgia. Through a delicate balancing act of light and poverty, laughter and melancholia, old wisdom and fleeting youth, the film paints a subtle dream of love and family in a lost season of paradise.”)

Trade Union ver. Di award and the Ecumenical Jury award was given to Marcin Sauter for the film “North from Calabria . Jury said: “The film captivates the audience by its dynamics, freshness and, above all, by its loving closeness to the inhabitants of this little Polish town. It allows us to participate in the life of the people; we got fascinated by their sweeping humour and their joy of life. This gives reason to hope” and ” The “North of Calabria” tells the viewer, elegantly interwoven, something about the mood of the time, rather casually and with great empathy for the  persons introduced. The film acts like a catalyst for the many little stories and leads them to a finale that really surprises everyone. The film thus displays the talent and dreams of its protagonists and, with it, its deeply humane attitude.

Also, our international Jerzy Śladowski, who has lived in Sweden for years, but makes his films with a large personal and institutional input of the Polish side, has to be counted among the leading prize winners. His “Vodka Factory” made in Ukraine, received the main prize, the Golden Dove, in the feature-long documentary film competition. It is worth mentioning that this film was also warmly received by the audience, and the director and producer were the main protagonists of the discussion on the boundaries of documentary, which took place the next day after the screening.

These were not the only Polish accents at the Leipzig festival. For many years, the Polish Institute, where not only Polish events but also conferences and film screenings are held, has been one of the festival partners and one of the most important venues.

Among film professionals – producers, distributors, sales agents, festival managers – Krakow Film Foundation’s activity is much appreciated. The Foundation, thanks to the support of Polish Film Insitute, has been dealing with promoting Polish documentary and short films for several years. Our presence at the festival is also the effect of its action.


Krzysztof Gierat / Polish Docs