Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes

POLAND: FICC Jury at 56 Krakow Film Festival, 2016

IMG-20160529-WA0041Since I was a student I have always been interested in cinema and I used to do internships in several film festivals as Memorimage in Reus or Glasgow Short Film Festival. I always enjoyed the festival’s atmosphere, because you may meet people from the Industry who is always interesting to share experiences with, as well as watching movies that rarely arrive to comercial cinemas so otherwise you could not reach at all (specially short films that are reduced to being exhibited just in festivals).  Always that I have the chance, I try to go to one or another films shown in different festivals around Vilanova (mostly all of them are in Barcelona but there is also the  Sitges Film Festival or Most from Vilafranca). But, like usually, we always depend on time and our working schedule.

Since I am a member of Sala1 Film Society of Vilanova i la Geltrú and we are part of the Catalan Film Society Federation, I have been following the International Film Society Federation (FICC) proposals so as to be part of Quixot Award jury. Specially because of the experience of going to another country and have the chance to watch and know the local product, but also to watch as much films as possible.

I have offered myself to be part of FICC jury several times, but for working reasons I could not go. When I submitted to take part on the 56th Krakow Film Festival, I did it with lot of hope because it was the first time that I had this spare time to go there and enjoy a week full of movies. Around one month and a half ago, I received a FICC e-mail in where they told me that I had been chosen to be part of the Quixote award jury in Krakow Film Festival. I was delighted, glad and happy, and looking forward to visit Poland as well.

Krakow is one of the biggest, oldest and most important cities in Poland, and many people say that it is the most beautiful as well. Traditionally it has been the centre of economics, science, cultural and artistic movements in the country, and has been its capital for a long time in History. Because of this, it still is the heart of Poland for lots of citizens and tourists. Moreover, the whole country and Krakow city have been witnesses of convulsed XX century, when wars and dictatorships had devastated Europe. I decided to go there some days before to do some sightseeing, because once the festival had started, I wanted to have all the time to enjoy it. On May 27th, I landed in Krakow.


IMG-20160606-WA0003The Krakow Film Festival reached this year its 56th edition. This long trajectory involves multiple activities such as an important documentary section, music documentaries and shorts, all of it paying special attention to their own Polish productions (Actually, there are people specialized in documentaries and music documentaries that had been there as an annual event to enjoy the best films of this type).

The day the Festival started, on May 29th, I met Michael Schäfer, colleague on FICC jury, and Ingrid Beerbaum from FIPRESCI jury, both Germans. Later, the Polish component of our jury, Mikolaj Torz from Poznan, arrived, and so did our assistant Dagmara Gawronska. We made a great team during all the festival days, specially Michael, Mikolakj and I, because we shared lots of moments. We also shared our meals with Dagmara, who combined her student’s life with being our assistant. Michael works as a director and screenwriter and he’s part of FICC from a third association. Mikolaj, 19 years old, has created a Film Society with his high school colleagues and they are ascribed to FICC. It was really interesting to share this experience with them because both of them came from different places of the Film Industry. I could share more experiences with Mikolaj, because as he has a Film Society really similar to Sala1, we could talk about how the industry in Poland works in comparison to the Spanish one.

On the first day we watched some jury projections and at night we all waited for the Welcome Ceremony, which took place in one of the main venues, Kijów Centrum. All the jurors were presented as well as all the festival sections. We watched the film ’21 x Nowy Jork’ (21 x New York), of Piotr Stasik, a documentary about 21 people living in New York and the stories that are hidden behind their faces, “a portrait of the city where several races, cultures and points of view intersect from individual people”. Afterwards, we went to the City Hall reception and there, we started  56th Krakow Film festival.

As an award Quixot jury, we had to watch some pack-films, all of them within Short Film Competition, that we shared as well with an specific short’s jury. We ended up watching 40 short movies, all of them with huge quality and with interesting features, fact that made the final decision quite difficult to make. Those are the shorts:

Cuba Libre, Lech Majewski. (Poland, Netherlands. 2015)

The Good Life, Youri Dingemans. (Netherlands, 2015)

The Nest, Kristína Schnirzová. (Slovakia, 2015)

Love, Réka Bucsi. (Hungary, France, 2016)

Mr Sand, Soetkin Verstegen. (Denmark, 2016)

When You Awake, Jay Rosenblatt. (USA, 2016)

The Mute’s House, Tamar Kay. (Israel, 2015)

United Interest, Tim Weimann. (Germany, 2016)

Hpakant Jade Life, Lee Yong Chao. (Taiwan, Myanmar, 2015)

Zebra, Ülo Pikkov. (Estonia, 2015)

How Was Your Day?, Damien O’Donnell. (Ireland 2015)

The Last Journey Of The Enigmatic Paul WR, Romain Quirot. (France 2015)

I’m Not From Here, Maite Alberdi i Giedré Zickyté. (Chile, Lithuania, Denmark, 2015)

Fedor’s Journey Through Moscow At The Turn Of XXI Century, Aksinya Gog. (Russia, 2015)

Tsunami, Sofie Kampmark. (Denmark, 2015)

Home, Daniel Mulloy. (Kosovo, United Kingdom, 2016)

99a Frankfurt Street, Evgenia Gostrer. (Germany, 2016)

Two Childhoods, Vladimir Golovnev. (Russia, 2015)

The Chop, Lewis Rose. (United Kingdom, 2015)

The Radio Amateur, Lars Persson. (Sweden, 2015)

Winter Hymns, Dusty Mancinelli. (Canada, 2015)

Child Dream, Christophe Gérard. (France, 2015)

Nothing Has Ever Happened Here, Ayat Najafi. (Iran, Germany, 2016)

Cold Coffee, Stéphanie Lansaque i François Leroy. (France, 2015)

After The Jungle, Hazel Chandler. (Sierra Leona, 2015)

Isabella Morra, Isabel Pagliai. (France, 2015)

Graffiti, Lluís Quílez. (Spain, 2015)

West Empire, Mathieu Le Lay. (France, 2015)

Patriot, Eva Riley. (United Kingdom, 2015)

Xoxo Hugs and Kisses, Wiola Sowa. (Poland, 2015)

The Opening, Piotr Adamski. (Poland, 2016)

Impossible Figures and Other Stories II, Marta Pajek. (Poland 2016)

Close Ties, Zofia Kowalewska. (Poland, 2016)

Locus, Anita Kwiatkowska-Naqvi. (Poland, 2016)

Sexy Laundry, Izabela Plucinska. (Canada, Germany, Poland, 2015)

Innerviews, Chen Winner. (Israel, 2015)

I Was a Winner, Jonas Odell. (Sweden, 2016)

Margret and Helmut, Clemens Beier. (Germany, 2015)

Nisse’s Adventures on Land at Sea, Mia Blomgren i Klara Svantesson. (Sweden and Denmark, 2015)

Tabula Rasa, Sándor Csoma. (Hungary, 2015)


An important part of festivals are the parallel sections. This year, Krakow Film Festival focused on a Sweden programme, concretely some filmography from this northern country. In this section’s  presentation, they projected the documentary ‘The Swedish Theory of Love’, from Erik Gandini, which  treats this extended theory about their high standard of living opposed to the reality: “It’s a complete freedom and complete independence that are accompanied also by huge loneliness. KFF emphasised also in films documenting the Olympic Games through time, from ‘Festival of the Nations’ from nazi’s games on 1938 to ‘Maratón’ by Carlos Saura or the nowadays Russian Putin’s teams.

There were activities for the Industry, students or people interested as well, with guest directors who shown their film at the festival. We met Marcel Lozinsky, a Polish documentary director who receive honorary award for his trajectory ‘Dragons of Dragons’, and he had a retrospective on the festival. We could watch some of his pieces like ’89mm from Europe’, ‘Poste Restante’ or the brilliant ‘Anything Can Happen’.

Related to the job as a member of Quixote jury from International Federation of Film Societies, I am so happy of having had this opportunity to watch awesome films, discover other countries directors who were unknown for me, and to share this experience with my jury colleagues. With them, we ended up knowing each other in a ‘cinematography’ way meaning that you could know who would  like something or who would not.

The deliberation day was so funny and interesting at the same time. Although it was difficult to give an only award within those good films, we did not spend many time choosing the winner, because we were all agree that this one highlighted above the others. We put on the table all the films profile that we had watched (from the catalogue) and we started to discard. But we discussed every film before to discard it. We spent more time discussing about the ones that we clearly knew that were not going to be chosen than about the other ones. But we agreed and that was the point why we were there; to give an opinion and talk about the films we watched, arguing why we did choose that one and not the other, because all of them had something to explain.

It was more difficult to agree when deciding about the special mentions. We could give two of them and finally we just gave one because we did not agree on the second one. At the end, we spent around 3 hours deliberating, but it was a great experience to share and exchange our different points of view. Even the language difficulties, we ended up with an agreement.

We decided to give the granted Quixote Award of KFF 2016 to the film ‘The Opening‘, of Piotr Adamski. (Poland, 2016). We decided to do so because it triggers a discussion about the value of dignity and questions where the thin line between art, cynicism and voyeurism is. The ability of provoking discussion as well as making ourselves to ask topics as this short movie does, is one of the clue values from Film Societies, where we don not just screen a movie but we try to create debate and discussion after seen it, beyond just what appears on the screen, extrapolating it to reality and showing different interpretations.

We gave a special mention to ‘The Mute’s House‘, Tamar Kay (Israel, 2015), because it shows a reality that everybody knows, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from a kid’s perspective who despite being Palestinian lives in both ‘sides’, so it shows the absurdity of this endless conflict.

Even I did not know what kind of movies I should watch to give the award before to be in Krakow, I enjoyed a lot watching short movies again. It is a kind of productions that I usually claim, because lots of them have a huge creative potential, and because they do not have a standard circuit we lose great stories. Additionally, I had the opportunity to taste Polish cinematographic product as well as meeting some Polish people and talk to them. It feels like to keep discovering. My time in Krakow Film Festival has been a really gratifying experience in which I have learnt a lot.


Alba Cruells

Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona)

June 2016

Cineclub Sala1

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