1.06, 10.00 – 13.00
MOS 1 (access with passes: INDUSTRY, MEDIA, MARKET, STUDENT)
1.06, 14.30 – 18.00
MOS 5 (for participants only)
A presentation of recent Polish documentary projects at the postproduction stage preceded by intensive workshop Doc Lab Poland: Doc Lab Go. Its purpose is to find potential distributor, sales agent, buyer and perfect place for festival premiere and other screenings.
AN ORDINARY COUNTRY, dir. Tomasz Wolski, prod. Anna Gawlita/Kijora Film
They were everywhere, though they tried to be invisible. Filming from hiding in restaurants, on the street, in shops. On an estate of detached houses, they registered illegal bottling of regulated fuel. On another occasion, the agents shot footage of an unsuccessful launching of the MIR (‘friendship’ in Russian) ship or Fidel Castro playing basketball with a team from Krakow. They recorded anything from a TV panel where journalists discussed the amount of propaganda in television programs to lovers meeting in the hotel. Sometimes the officers filmed interviews during which, through blackmail, they carried out the process of breaking a detainee to persuade them to cooperate. Another time, the agents interrogated a woman from whom they required detailed billing of household expenses, including the type of meat and the number of butter cubes used. They wiretapped phone calls with a man in Oslo, during which Poles placed orders for hemorrhoid ointment. They also recorded their own dramatic conversations during a siege of the militia headquarters, when a mob of strike-goers had set the building on fire. The imprisoned staff were begging for help that could not arrive.
COMPULSORY FIGURES, dir. Ewa Kochanska, prod. Magda Borowiec, Magdalena Borowiec, Tatiana Matysiak/SQUARE film studio
Julia Polniuk is a 10-year-old figure skater born in Starokostyantyniv in Ukraine. After Euromaidan Revolution her family moved to Poland. The decision to emigrate was made by Julia’s mother – Marina (37). In just 2 weeks she packed suitcases, transferred kids out of school and listed their newly refurbished house for sale. Now Polniuk family begins completely new life in Warsaw – without money, jobs, family and knowing the language. Marina throws a challenge to fate looking for better prospects for her children. She always dreamed of becoming an artist, but never had the chance to fulfill her ambition. Now she’s ready to do anything just to give her children a better start. Her biggest promise and hope is Julia. This year the girl has an opportunity to take part in Polish Figure Skating Championships. This could bring her fame and success and who knows? – maybe also help the whole family to get Polish citizenship. Julia tries to live up to her mother’s expectations and do not disappoint her family, but it’s very hard – she is in a new country, in a new school, with a very strict coach. Can a child spread its wings and fly with such a burden on her shoulders?
GLOBUS, dir. Clara Kleininger, prod. Magda Borowiec, Tatiana Matysiak/SQUARE film studio
The Globus state circus was built by the communist regime of Romania in 1961. Since then not much has changed in the way it looks, nor in the way it works. The circus employees were sure to have found comfortable, safe positions they could keep up until retirement. Life at the circus run its quiet, lazy course. This would surely go on undisturbed if in 2017 Bucharest authorities didn’t completely forbid wild animals performances and required the circus to give away all of them to the zoo. With this the circus loses its biggest attraction and our protagonists, the charismatic animal trainers Adi Radu and Mioara Igna lose their occupation, which to them was everything: passion, love and sense of their lives. The circus goes through a deep crisis, so the director decides for a risky move: he calls in a new show director from Las Vegas, who has been working for the famous Cirque du Soleil. The new director brings on a complete revolution. He confronts the team with an ambitious task: they are to create a new, world class show. To accomplish this he imposes a murderous pace of work and intensive trainings. Adi, Mioara and their friends from the circus must take up this challenge. They have the chance to create a great, spectacular show, but will they be able to meet the strict requirements of the new director? A film about talent, passion, the hardships of creation and the struggle against our own weaknesses. New challenges the old, West meets East, modernization and tradition confront.
LESSON OF LOVE, dir. Małgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja, prod. Anna Stylińska/Widok Foundation
Glamorous Jola is the brightest star in Café Smile, a dancing club for seniors. But behind her cheerfulness there’s a tragic story. She’s spent 30 years with an alcoholic husband, raising 6 children on her own, working hard to survive. Jola suddenly realizes that she has little time left and decides to experience some joy before dying. ‘This part of life belongs to me!’ – says Jola and runs away from the marital nightmare to her hometown Szczecin, to take control over her life.
Finally, she can do what she’s always dreamt of: she fools around with her best friends (Lodzia and Jagoda), she dances, writes poems and songs. In Jola’s eyes, the world is always romantic, colorful, dramatic, even grotesque. Such are her costumes, make-up, decorations in her Italian style villa, as well as her songs. The lyrics introduce us to Jola’s deepest dreams, dilemmas and fears. In her songs Jola often speaks of love – something that she strongly believes in, yet never truly experienced. She has very little faith in men, but to her surprise, a strong feeling appears between her and Wojtek, one of her admirers from the dancing club. The problem is, that in Italy there is still Bogdan, Jola’s husband, to whom she promised lifelong fidelity in front of God. ‘A vow is a vow’ believes Jola. Will she leave her past behind and accept new love? And the more importantly: is it something that she really wants?
MISSION, dir. Monika Krupa, prod. Dorota Mandziara, Agnieszka Franusiak/Trzyfilm Paweł Kwiatkowski
Andrzej Niwiński is a multidimensional and vibrant person. On the one hand, he is a highly valued scientist, and on the other, a romantic who writes love poems to his wife. In the 80’s, he challenged a mountain in Deir el-Bahari in Egypt where he has consequently been searching for the Pharaoh Herihor’s tomb. To succeed in this enterprise, he has moved 3 thousand tons of stones. His colleagues call his searches utopian. He calls them the mission of his life. It would seem that after 30 years, a courageous dream of a young scientist has become a value in itself. Even if there is no discovery, he will look for other challenges and ways to accomplish his mission. Andrzej faces another, maybe the last, chance to find the Tomb. When the progressing works in Egypt do not yield the expected result, the initial enthusiasm of his team is slowly waning.
In our movie, we do not ask a question about the sense of a scientific work, but about a human condition. About a strength that lies in us. About determination and passion which makes us ready to sacrifice 30 years of life to fulfil a dream which may finally prove to be only a fantasy, a scientific error. But isn’t it the very essence of our life? Do not we live more and love stronger when we strive for something? The achievement of the goal, although it brings relief, is only a moment among other thousands of moments which lead to it. And which indicate who we are and where we are heading to.
POLLYWOOD, dir. Pawel Ferdek, prod. Małgorzata Kozioł/East Beast
In 1886, a poor Jewish shoemaker, Benjamin Wrona left with his family for America. Benjamin’s sons set up small businesses in order to survive in the USA. They went bankrupt every time. One day they borrowed money to buy a movie projector. They called the company Warner Bros.
In 1885, Szmul Gelbfisz left Warsaw on foot for the port in Calais in France with no money in the pocket but with a head full of dreams. Twenty-seven years later, he was making his first movie in New York. In the middle of the production, he had to run away from Edison’s mafia to a remote village in California. It was the first movie made in Hollywood. Szmul changed his name to Sam Goldwyn.
A Polish filmmaker, Pawel Ferdek follows the steps of the Moguls, finds their houses in Poland, explores the climate they originated from. He goes to America to meet people similar to the Moguls – filmmakers who made it in Hollywood. He wants to find their recipe for success. The meetings are friendly and personal – Ferdek’s interlocutors keep Eastern Europe and their families’ immigration stories in mind. Among these people there are Ben Barenholtz, Bret Rattner, Tonny Goldwyn, Sandy Liberson, Richard Gladstein and conceivably Steven Spielberg…
“Pollywood” turns into a personal journey. Ferdek takes the audience inside a dream – the American dream that created powerful Hollywood. “Pollywood” is a universal story about courage and desperation, about the origins of the Dream Factory and modern-day Hollywood.
THE SHADOWS OF EMPIRE, dir. Karol Starnawski, prod. Dariusz Sidor, Tomasz Hagström/KADR FILM STUDIO
How to live in a shadow of an empire? How can you think about the future if all that you see through the window are barbed wires, armored vehicles and tanks? Aleksey from Nagorno-Karabakh, Timur from Ukraine, and Alexander from Georgia are facing these questions every day. These three men differ in almost every aspect of their lives, but in fact each of them experiences the same consequences of their very existence. Each one of them experiences war. We observe people involved in the already forgotten border conflicts, that happened after the USSR collapse, and are still alive due to the Russian imperial policy.
THE GOOD CHANGE, dir. Konrad Szołajski, prod. Małgorzata Prociak/ZK Studio
Why has Poland become ‘the sick man of Europe’? The story is led by two Polish women representing Poland’s deep ideological split, revealing a nation at a crossroads. Marta is helping the far right party in implementing ‘The Good Change” programme which is to ‘fix’ Poland. Tita opposes to it, calling it putinisation of the country. Their daily lives and actions reflect the origins and development of the political crisis. We examine what drives their thinking and actions that unfold before our eyes. Marta is the head of a three generation family involved in many pro-government activities, including taking part in political rallies. She leads a patriotic lobby group supporting the ruling party and is bringing up the next generation of right-wing paramilitary troops. Her daughter and grandchildren are being trained by Marta how to use firearms.
Tita belongs to a middle class family with a well to do husband and a daughter. She was a housewife who in 2015 started organizing protests against the breaking of Polish constitution by the new government. According to her the ruling party is creating authoritarian state and the beginning of Poland’s exit from the European Union. She’s become a fully-fledged politician, one of the leaders of opposition which encourages Poles to take to the streets to defend freedom and democracy.
How does their activity influence their life’s? What is the price of being involved in politics? Can they find a compromise which would prevent violence?