'Everything is possible', 'Our Curse', 'Leaders' and 'A visit' – these four films are to represent Poland at the IDFA festival in Amserdam. Additionally, twelve others were invited to participate in the Docs for Sale market.

IDFA, or International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam, is one of the world’s top documentary film festivals. This year’s 26th edition is to be held between November 20 and December 1 and will feature four documentary films from Poland.

Lidia Duda’s ‘Everything is possible’ will enter the IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary. The film, which will have its international premiere at the IDFA, tells the story of Teresa Bancewicz. This nearly 80-year old traveller and hitchhiker is a woman with an extraordinary biography and seemingly limitless energy. But what exactly is that thing, which gave her the sudden desire to  travel?

The competitive section for student films will feature ‘Our Curse’ by Tomasz Śliwiński. The film is a personal account by the director, who, together with his wife, has to face a very rare and incurable disease of their new-born baby – Ondine’s curse (congenital central hypoventilation syndrome – CCHS). The patients stop breathing while asleep, thus require to have their respiratory action mechanically supported by a ventilator for life. The director documents the life of his family in the first few months following the birth of his child.

‘A Visit’, the latest documentary by Matej Bobrik, will see its debut at international festivals, being presented in a section called Reflecting Images: Panorama. Even though the section is not part of the competition, there is still the Audience Award that Bobrik’s film will have the chance to win. The director takes a look at people living like outcasts in a nursing home. It may seem that the only variety they get is the Sunday visiting hours. Early in the morning they prepare, expecting their families to come. Yet, as time passes, hopes that they will show up are getting lower and lower.

The world premiere of ‘Leaders’ by Paweł Ferdek will also occur in Amsterdam. The film will be presented in an out-of-competition section Kids&Docs. ‘Leaders’ is a political thriller set in children’s world. Elementary school pupils run in election for the Student Council. Emotions run high as they struggle for power. The election campaign works as a crooked mirror to reflect the world of large-scale politics. What model of democracy do the children have to look up to? How will our public life look like in several decades, when the now youngest generation comes to rule countries?

‘Drill Baby Drill’ by Lech Kowalski will be yet another Polish accent at the festival, competing in the Reflecting Images: Best of Fests section. Although the documentary was originally produced in France, it is made by a Polish director and also takes place in Poland. Its protagonists are the inhabitants of a small village in eastern Poland, who one day learn that one of the world’s largest energy companies is developing a project of extracting shale gas in their area. Initially unaware of how the project will affect them, the locals eventually gear up to jointly appeal to politicians and government institutions to halt the construction works.

Since 1996, the festival is accompanied by the Docs for Sale market, visited annually by approximately 250 representatives of the film industry. This year, twelve Polish documentary films have made their way into the programme. The group includes: Monika Pawluczuk’s ‘When I’m a Bird‘, Maciej Drygas’s ‘Abu Haraz’, Filip Dzierżawski’s ‘Love’, Aneta Kopacz’s ‘Joanna’, Edward Porembny’s ‘Madame Tyson’, Marcin Koszałka’s ‘You’re Gonna Be a Legend, Man‘, Paweł Łoziński’s ‘Father and Son’, Marcel Łoziński ‘Father and Son on a Journey’, as well as ‘A Visit’, ‘Our Curse’  and ‘Everything is possible’, with the latter three also partaking in the festival itself.

Polish documentaries are present at IDFA since its very first edition, and some have received important awards and special mentions over the last few years. In 1998 jury has decided to award Dariusz Jabłoński’s "Photographer" with the prize for the best feature length documentary. In 2009 ‘Six weeks‘ by Marcin Janos Krawczyk won the first prize in the Short Documentary Competition. In the following year, Igor  Chojna’s ‘A Screening at the Tatry Cinema‘ was nominated in the student films category. Two films were nominated last year –  Janusz Morozowski’s ‘Bad Boy – High Security Cell’ (in the feature length section) and Paweł Ziemilski’s ‘Rogalik’ (in the short documentaries section). What this edition will bring is soon to be seen.

The full list of documentaries that have qualified to the festival can be found at its official website.

You can read an interview with Lidia Duda, director of "Everything is possible" here.