31.05, 10.00 – 13.00
MOS 1 (access with passes: INDUSTRY, MEDIA, MARKET, STUDENT)
31.05, 14.30 – 18.00
MOS 5 (for participants only)
A presentation of recent Polish documentary projects in development stage preceded by intensive workshop Doc Lab Poland: Doc Lab Start. Its purpose is to find additional source of financing and potential coproduction partners.
AMBULANCE POLAND-SYRIA, dir. Aleksander Zalewski, prod. Anna Kubik-Sobala / Aksamit Sp. z o.o.
Aida is half-Syrian and half-Polish, born and raised in Poland. She is Muslim but does not speak Arabic. When Aida was 14 years old, her father Imad took her on a risky humanitarian aid trip to war-torn Syria. He wanted Aida to feel more connected with Syria. For Aida, it was an excellent opportunity to prove that she was no longer a child but a grown-up. The goal of the trip was to deliver medical supplies and two ambulances to the rebels fighting against the regime, but Aida felt like little more than a mascot for the mission. At the very end Aida met refugee children at a camp and they manage to play together despite the language barrier. It was then that Aida realized she was also needed.
After they return to Poland, it turns out that the family’s noble mission had tragic consequences – in an act of vengeance, the regime in Damascus murdered Aida’s cousin. It is one of the reasons why Imad becomes apathetic and hopeless about the revolution in Syria, and begins to turn towards radicalism. This in turn causes a split within the family. Dorota, Aida’s frustrated mother, moves to England, leaving her behind with her siblings and father.
Aida takes care of the house as best she can while she prepares for her final high school exams. After graduating, she decides to use all her power to convince her parents to undertake another humanitarian mission together, this time to bring aid to refugees in Greece. Aida hopes that there is still a chance to bring her family back together.
COAL’S DAUGHTERS, dir. Aneta Nowicka, prod. Małgorzata Borychowska / Brand New Films, Independia
Judyta, who has just turned 18 and has her final exams this year, wants to leave her house, when her mother Anna and the father Krzysztof want her to live with them in their village in the south Poland, Silesia.
Anna works physically in the coal mine with other two women, who all have daughters. Their undermined position creates a social niche; less paid with harsh conditions and much less privileges from their husbands, ex coal miners, who now have pensions in their mid-forties. That creates parallel worlds in the movie: dusty, loud industrial sphere of the women, and the quiet home space of the men taking care of the household. It causes tensions between women and men and the daughters of sometimes comic implications. It also creates completely different image to the stereotypical image of Silesia.
When Judyta is visiting Anna’s work place, for the first time she understands her mother’s positions. It provokes dialogue between mother and daughter about the future (to be) according to each of them. In the background, there are narrative leitmotivs: religious rituals and family routine in all of the families, which leads to the question how hard is to break out of a tradition one had grown up in.
In this story Judyta from the gentle, shy and introvert teenager turns into the female, taking her own decision. Beside the resolution of the mother – daughter conflict, the universal statement of the women’s roles could be found in this movie.
COMRADES, dir. Joanna Janikowska, prod. Anna Gawlita, Karolina Błażejczak / KIJORA Film
Bologna is a city full of contrasts. Expensive boutiques stand next to post-factory buildings occupied by illegal immigrants. Entry to the Opera is blocked by sleeping homeless people. History and present, poverty and wealth collide with each other at every step.
In Bologna there is one of the most important branches of the Communist Refoundation Party, which a few years ago had its representatives in the Italian Parliament but now fights for survival. The film tells the story of its youngest members.
Simone is a known reggae DJ. Despite his young age, he is the secretary of the party. Francesca, a blue-haired graduate of an art school creates banners needed for demonstrations and organizes exhibitions at the party headquarters. As she claims, “she is the daughter of the proletarian.” Olivia, a rebellious student from a well-off family, spends her free time with a group of people living in poverty and threatened with eviction.
Why are these young people fighting for an old, discredited system? What needs does politics fulfill when it does not provide opportunities to earn money? What motivates young people to make such radical choices? And finally, what are relationships between them? Where do the deliberate choices turn into entanglement?
The director, a young Polish woman, is trying to understand the motivations of the protagonists. However, she is not interested in political explanations, but seeks for personal reasons keeping each of the heroes in the Party.
FACES OF AGATA, dir. Małgorzata Kozera, prod. Małgorzata Kozera / DocIT
As a teenager Agata has prayed for something to happen that would help her leave her troubled family and harsh environment she lived in. When 16 years old she was diagnosed with cavernous hemangioma of the jaw and cheek. The sentence – no more than three years of life. The disease proved to be a perverse form of the fulfillment of her dreams – her life changed totally, the home replaced by hospitals. Agata has been fighting the disease for over a dozen years. She has gone through 30 operations, experienced severe suffering and isolation, but also discovered herself as an artist: ‘I was born again, through a tube of paint. Painting saved me’ – she says. Agata di Masternak graduated from prestigious Central St Martins School of Art and Design in London and had several exhibitions worldwide. Fascinated by a human face, the artist is focused on topics of identity, trauma and survival. She meets Shoah survivors and terminally ill teenagers and asks them questions that bother her personally: What is the source of strength that makes it possible to withstand extremely hopeless situations? Is this possible to save one’s humanity in circumstances which deprive you of it? How to save a sense of meaning, self-agency and joy of life overcoming most painful experiences? The film is going to be a journey through Agata’s world – through her experiences, creative quest, and struggles on the way to artistic fulfillment.
JEWS BY CHOICE, dir. Tomer Slutzky, Justyna Gawełko, prod. Shlomo Slutzky / Slutzky Productions
In Krnov, a small peripheral Czech town on the border with Poland, lies the only synagogue in Czech Silesia region that survived both Nazism and Communism. 60 years after the local Jewish community had perished, a group of Czech Christians from the area decided to bring the building back to its original form. The sudden success of the operation led them to aim for a higher goal – reviving the Jewish life in a place of its absence. As none of group members has Jewish roots, they had to learn the theory and practice from the scratch. After 8 years of being rejected, misled and doubted by Jewish authorities, their tedious path seemed to be finished. But even though they were given the Rabbinical Court approval, controversies rising around the conversion make the group seeking for the official recognition. This came up with new life goals: not only to prove their sincerity, but also to live a proper “Jewish life”.
Aharon, Kamila and Bronislav, three main characters, are driven by fulfilling the life dream of becoming a Jew, even when the path seems endless and hopeless. We follow them in their daily struggles over keeping the Jewish family life and the community together, providing through each character a different answer for the question: why somebody would like to be a Jew in the most atheist European country?
LESSONS IN DEMOCRACY, dir. Michał Helwak, prod. Marcin Wierzchosławski / Metro Films
Hamtramck is a small, postindustrial city near Detroit, Michigan. Once perceived as a center of Polish presence it the US, with Polish Catholics making more than 70 percent of population. After Detroit’s car industry collapsed, most of the Poles moved out, followed by an influx of Muslims from Yemen, Bangladesh and Bosnia. Since 2015, Hamtramck has become the first city in the US to have a Muslim majority.
The film will show how several citizens of different backgrounds deal with a situation perceived by many as a clash of civilizations. It will become a portrait of a community undergoing a distinct change of identity, told through common people’s stories. The theme will be that of people facing change.
Ted, a boxing coach, is a Polish refugee of the late 1960s, and currently a Trump voter longing for the America he once came to. He now trains Muslim boys, since there are barely any other youngsters left in the city. Karen, the mayor of Hamtramck, is looking for a fit successor to her liberal politics within the Muslim group. Khalil, an Islamic chaplain of the local Police Departament, is encouraging other Muslims to join the service. Abdul builds a great mosque at the very center of the city, with not enough parking space (which he tries then to secure at the reluctant city council). Together, these individual portraits will create a rich tapestry of the city as it is now and as it struggles with cultural and political tensions that are characteristic of global tendencies.
THIRD TIME LUCKY, dir. Rafał Łysak, prod. Natalia Bednarska / Wonder Woman Production
Hard childhood of three siblings: Paweł, Beata and Ewa made each of them still unable to take care of their own live. Paweł and Ewa are still living together. Paweł has no job. Using sticks and furniture found in the garbage dump, he creates improvised music at the Metro Centrum station in Warsaw. Ewa, who has extremely low salary, spends her days watching TV and isolating herself from people. They send all their worries to Beata, who is ready for their every call. All this creates a considerable distance between them. Recently, they lost their mother, which changed the relationship between them. They began to connect in mourning, although each of them is experiencing it in their own way. Paweł as a Buddhist wants to find her new incarnation, Ewa – a Catholic, praying to her mother and Beata, being somewhere in between, tries to reconcile with the fact that her mother disappeared forever. Beata devoted all her life to her siblings looking after them. Now, as the only one of all three, she wants to start life on her own and set up a family – even if it would require abandoning everything she knows so far and escaping to freedom in the Bieszczady Mountains. Neither Paweł nor Ewa completely expects that in the end they will also have to face themselves. They will not find out about Beata’s plans until the last moment. Will they allow their sister to escape to freedom?
THEY CALLED HIM “BIRDY”, dir. Aneta Ptak, prod. Małgorzata Staroń / Staron-Film
Aneta never built a sand caste with her father. She remembers him as a person constantly hidden behind the camera lens and herself doing everything possible to get his attention. Polish moviegoers remember him for being the cinematographer of movies like “Papusza”, “The Dark House”, “Eddie”, “300 Miles to Heaven”. She remembers him from short periods when he returns back home from one filmset and gets ready to leave for another. When she learns about his sudden death she feels she barely knew him. This event marks a turning point in her life. After ten years of traveling the world and searching for her own path she decides to go back to her hometown and take on her father’s profession. Chasing memories and emotions, snooping around objects in his studio she begins to recreate the image of him as a father and cinematographer. Now she is trying to make up for the lost time and ease the burden of having to share her loved one because of his talent.
SCANDAL!, dir. Bartosz Paduch, prod. Maciek Ostatek, Kacper Jaroszyński / The W To Mi Graj Foundation
A film about the pioneers of Polish hip-hop. The title of the film directly refers to the classic album by the Warsaw band Mistic Molesta (later Molesta Ewenement), entitled ‘Scandal’, which was released in 1998. It is a story about the friendship between young rappers fascinated by hip-hop music in the 90s, in the times when there was a lack of prospects and huge unemployment in Poland. Against all odds, Włodi and Vienio decided to do something ambitious, to make real and honest rap music in Polish. In our film, we also want to show the birth of a new hip-hop culture, a new music scene, and how it developed and evolved until its great boom in the early twenty first century. Hip-hop suddenly entered the mainstream and the members of Molesta became icons and pioneers of Polish rap. ‘Scandal’ is now considered a cult album. It had a great impact on music, language, fashion, but above all it was the foundation for the moral code which Polish hip-hop is based on. Today, the ex-members of Molesta have their own solo careers, they are raising their children, selling clothes, cooking on making TV shows. We will show what has remained from the ideological testament of ‘Scandal’ and their generation. Will they unite again to play a concert on the 20th anniversary of the album? The film will also be a panorama of Warsaw (and Poland) during the turbulent times of the Polish political system transformation. We will see how the country has changed during the past 20 years.
THREE MIRACLES, dir. Barłtomiej Żmuda, prod. Marta Pielasz, Paweł Jóźwiak Rodan / Projekcja Identyfikacja
The most famous Polish atheist writer, Andrzej Rodan (78), recently underwent a strong heart attack, which resulted in 40% of his heart death. He decided to write another book before he passes away – about miraculous healings, whether they really exist. To this end, he will examine the truth of the 3 most spectacular miraculous healings that have taken place in the last few years. At the same time, he will give himself to prayers for healing to see if they work.
During his journey he will be accompanied by his son Paweł (35), who a few years ago joined the Catholic order for the laity and who hopes his dad will be converted before his death.
THE LAST EXPEDITION, dir. ELIZA KUBARSKA, Prod. MONIKA BRAID / BRAIDMADE FILMS
Wanda Rutkiewicz was one of the most remarkable of Himalayan mountaineers. She was the first woman and the first Pole to conquer K2 and the first Polish climber on Everest. Death had never been a stranger to her. As a child she lost her brother, he was torn to pieces in front of her eyes by a mine. Her father was murdered and his body chopped to bits. As a climber she lost 30 partners in the mountains, including her lover. In 1992, she died in the Himalayas on Kanchenjunga, the third world highest mountain that is perceived by climbers and locals as the mountain that doesn’t like women. Her body was never found. Her mother never believed her daughter died and believed that Wanda was alive and hiding in a Tibetan monastery. Today, 25 years after the tragic events, we follow Wanda’s tracks to the foot of Kanchenjunga. Here, at 8300m, her partner Carlos Carsolio spoke to her for the last time. We meet people, who crossed paths with Wanda. We see them with her in rich archive footage. We will look for her in Tibetan monasteries. We also set off on the expedition to trace Wanda’s footsteps along her last journey to Nepal. Our expedition is a pretext to resolve Wanda’s mystery. Who was she and how did she convince herself and others of her immortality? Was she a heroine, an immortal conqueror of the highest peaks, or a fugitive for whom the mountains became paradoxically the last safe place, where she could hide from envy of the climbing community, loneliness and death surrounding her?
TONY HALIK. BORN FOR ADVENTURE, dir. Marcin Borchardt, prod. Karolina Galuba / FURIA FILM
Poland, deep communist times. No travels, no civil rights. Limited food supplies, propaganda, imprisonments. Once a week however a window to the world opens: whole families gather in front of black and white tv sets to watch a crazy, courageous traveler and a charming storyteller. Tony Halik.
No one really knows how this boy, brought up in the Polish countryside ended up as a NBC reporter, explorer of the most remote places and tribes, celebrated journalist and photographer published in LIFE magazine.
His adventures would put Indiana Jones to shame. His reportages were awaited both in the US and in Poland. There was no place he wouldn’t go, no challenge he would avoid, no subject he would refuse to deal with. With all his books and films – everything seems so credible and well documented. It seems so.
The film – composed entirely of the archive materials – will be the story about creating your own image, letting cultivate it by others and about a great mystery hidden under an invented identity. Covering a half-century documentary epic – precisely reconstructed from unpublished archival footage – will take us to Tony Halik’s place on Earth: the thin border between the truth and the lie.
WALK WITH ANGELS, dir. and prod. Tomek Wysokiński / Ayahuasca Project
Many children disappear every year in South Africa. Some are being abducted for trade or child prostitution, others are being killed for trade of organs, either transplantations or witchcraft. In fact, local police almost does nothing about it. When child vanishes, it means forever. Nevertheless sometimes there is hope. A man named Jerry, who seeks abducted children by himself.
In ‘Walk with Angels’ we follow Jerry on his mission: In Soweto slums a baby was kidnapped. The community suspects the mother who sold the daughter, but Jerry knows otherwise. While visiting the witch doctor, spirits of ancestors reveal the girl is still alive but Jerry is informed about possible death of the mother or her sister once he finds the child.
Jerry moves into tainted areas in pursue to penetrate dark sites of townships and Johannesburg, that became worlds’ crime capital. Here, life and death have a different value and dimension where reality is permeated by the spirits of ancestors.
The search brings painful memories that haunt Jerry of early life on the streets of Johannesburg as a homeless child and when paramilitary wing of the African National Congress recruited him to live as a violent guerrilla. Finally, he became a hero against apartheid regime. Jerry’s soul is being revealed confronted with past.