A small mirror of the big world


The international short film competition is the most diverse competition set at the Festival, a meeting place for feature, documentary and animated films no longer than 30 minutes. This year, about 1800 short feature films, 500 documentary films and 300 animated films were submitted to the competition. In the competition, 32 films will be shown, including 5 from Poland.


Genre variations, films transcending the genre boundaries. A small mirror of the big world. From the problems of growing up to the issue of the refugees, from the portraits of strong women to the stories about love “till death do us part.” Opinions on the matter and stands on the issue, contemporary and in the historical decorations, but always artistically original,” Krzysztof Gierat, the director of the festival, sums up the selection.


The subject matter of complex family relationships and the search for one’s own identity is one of the dominating motifs in this year’s films. In the comedy-drama “Me and My Father” (dir. Aleksander Pietrzak), the protagonist wants to establish a relationship with his father, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, in order to make up for the time lost together. An attempt to rebuild family ties is also the main subject matter of the second Polish feature film in the competition, “My Name is Julita” (dir. Filip Dzierżawski), in which the eponymous protagonist searches for dialogue with her mother, sentenced to life imprisonment. In turn, the eponymous protagonist of the film “Olga” (dir. Maxime Bruneel) looks to her son and daughter-in-law for shelter and protection from an aggressive partner. The offer from Iran, the film “Retouch” (dir Kaveh Mazaheri), follows a surprising course of action after an unfortunate accident which takes place in an unsuccessful marriage. In the film “Cubs” (dir. Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir) a single father suddenly has to take care of his daughter and her friends during the night, which wakes up hidden desires in him. In the Dutch documentary film, “The Origin of the Trouble,” the young director, Tessa Louise Pope, through conversations with the close ones, tries to understand to what great extent the absence of the father influenced her life. “Luis & I” (dir. Roger Gómez, Dani Resines) tells an extraordinary love story which was born in the circus. In “Encarnacion” (dir. Chloé Bourgès) the protagonist, after his grandmother’s death, returns to his family home in a small village in Paraguay and tries to discover her story anew.


Short films are also, as always, about important social and cultural matters and the reaction to the current problems from all over the world. “Spielfield” (dir. Kristina Schranz), Jungle Light” (dir. Thibault Jacquin) and “Across My Land” (dir. Fiona Godivier) provide a commentary on the migration crisis. “En La Boca” (dir. Matteo Gariglio) transports us to a lesser known part of Buenos Aires, where the sale of forged football tickets is the main source of income for many families. In the Russian “The Lake” (dir. Daria Blokhina), however, we observe the life of an elderly married couple, away from civilisation. “Age” (dir. Nancy Camaldo) is an interesting look at the issue of ageing and how the passing time changes the perception of the reality. Among short documentary films, also a Polish film will be shown. “Dust” by Jakub Radaj is a story about what happens to the body and the property of a single person after death, shown in a raw and austere form. The subject matter of death returns also in the feature film “Manners of dying” (dir. Bo-You Niou) about the last moments of a prisoner before the execution.


Three completely different films, three exceptional protagonists: “Off the Beaten Path” (dir. Kristina Meiton) is a story of Ulrika, who wants to take up the priestly duties in the Swedish church, but she is refused by the bishop. “Miren” (dir. Jeanne Bourgon) is the owner of an enormous farm and she runs it on her own, at the same time bringing up two children. The feature film “Viola, Franca” (dir. Marta Savina), is an authentic story of Franca Viola, who became the symbol of emancipation for the Italian women by opposing the marriage with her oppressor.


There will also be no lack of films combining various genres. “The Peculiar Abilities of Mr Mahler” (dir. Paul Philipp) is a political thriller, set in the late 1980s in East Germany, where the magical abilities of the main protagonist are meant to help find a missing child. “212” (dir. Boaz Frankel) presents yet another day from the life in the nursing home: the ceiling is leaking, someone took the director’s parking place, one of the residents dies. In “Two Pieces” (dir. Murat Uğurlu), a short trip outside the city, organised by two friends, encounters unexpected obstacles even though it promised to be quite attractive.    


Animated film is traditionally a marriage of diverse techniques and a wealth of subjects, which are a proof of the infinite imagination of the film-makers, as it is the case for instance in “Morning Cowboy” (dir. Fernando Pomares), in which the protagonist, instead of going to his monotonous work, one day sets out to explore the city, wearing the costume of a cowboy. In “Have Heart” (dir. Will Anderson), a contemporary rumination on the subject of professional burnout in the world of the Internet and new technologies, the protagonist also experiences an existential crisis and tries to break away from the everyday routine. “Perfect Town” (dir. Anaïs Voirol) presents a utopian vision of a place where one can achieve the state of perfection.


In this group, there are also animated films with the great and small history in the background:  “Dead Horses” (dir. Marc Riba, Anna Solanas) is a poignant look at war through the eyes of a child, “Travelling Country” (dir. Ivan Bogdanov) tells about how history tends to repeat itself, “My Father’s Room” (dir. Nari Jang) is an intimate story about a painful growing up, marked by the memories about the abusive, violent father.


Two Polish animated films will compete for the Golden Dragon statuette: “Strange Case” by Zbigniew Czapla –  a surrealistic journey, a kind of internal monologue, filled with personal reflections and memories, and “Oh Mother!” by Paulina Ziółkowska, that is, an extremely visually attractive story about a peculiar relationship between mother and son.


The international short film competition is at the core of Krakow Film Festival and is held continuously since 1961. The awards given in this competition shorten the path of applying for the nomination for the Academy Award, and the best European film award is at the same time the nomination for the European Film Award.


57th Krakow Film Festival is held from May 28 to June 4.


The list of films qualified for the international short competition:


Documentary films

“Encarnacion” / “Encarnacion,” dir. Chloé Bourgès, France 2017, 24’

“Jezioro” / “The Lake,” dir. Daria Blokhina, Russia 2016, 30’

“Luis i ja” / “Luis & I,” dir. Roger Gómez, Dani Resines, Spain 2016, 21’

“Miren,” dir. Jeanne Bourgon, France 2016, 26’

“Na uboczu” / “Off the Beaten Path,” dir. Kristina Meiton, Sweden 2016, 28’

“Proch” / “Dust,” dir. Jakub Radej, Poland 2017, 25’

“Przy stadionie” / “En La Boca,” dir. Matteo Gariglio, Switzerland, Argentina 2016, 26’

“Spielfeld” / “Spielfeld,” dir. Kristina Schranz, Germany 2016, 27’

“Źródło kłopotu” / “The Origin of Trouble,” dir. Tessa Louise Pope, the Netherlands 2016, 30’

“Z wiekiem” / “Age,” dir Nancy Camaldo, Veronika Hafner, Germany 2016, 30’


Feature films

“Ballada o zapalniczce” / “Jungle Light,” dir. Thibault Jacquin, France 2016, 23’

“Dwa ciała” / “Two Pieces,” dir. Murat Uğurlu, Turkey 2016, 21’

“Ja i mój tata” / “Me and My Father,” dir. Aleksander Pietrzak, Poland 2017, 30’

“Młode” / “Cubs,” dir. Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Iceland 2016, 19’

“Mój kraj” / “Across My Land,” dir. Fiona Godivier, the USA, France 2016, 15’

“Nazywam się Julita” / “My name is Julita,” dir. Filip Dzierżawski, Poland, 29’

“Niezgoda” / “Viola, Franca,” dir. Marta Savina, Italy, the USA 2016, 16’

“Olga,” dir. Maxime Bruneel, France 2017, 19’

“Pokój 212” / “212,” dir. Boaz Frankel, Israel 2016, 20’

“Retusz” / “Retouch,” dir. Kaveh Mazaheri, Iran 2017, 19’

“Rodzaje umierania” / “Manners of Dying,” dir. Bo-You Niou, the USA 2016, 23’

“Szczególne zdolności pana Mahlera” / “The Peculiar Abilities of Mr Mahler,” dir. Paul Philipp, Germany 2017, 29’


Animated films

“Biały tunel” / “White Tunnel,” dir. Lan-Chi Chien, Chin-Wei Chang, Taiwan, Japan 2016, 22’

“Dziwny przypadek” / “Strange Case,” dir. Zbigniew Czapla, Poland 2017, 14’  

“Głowa na karku” / “Have Heart,” dir. Will Anderson, Great Britain 2017, 12’

“Kowboj o poranku” / “Morning Cowboy” dir. Fernando Pomares, Spain 2016, 15’

“Kraj w podróży” / “Travelling Country,” dir. Ivan Bogdanov, Vessela Dantcheva, Bulgaria, Croatia, 2016, 14’

“Martwe konie” / “Dead Horses,” dir. Marc Riba, Anna Solanas, Spain 2016, 6’

“Miasteczko doskonałe” / “Perfect Town,” dir. Anaïs Voirol, Switzerland 2016, 4’

“O Matko!” / “Oh Mother!,” dir. Paulina Ziółkowska, Poland 2017, 12’

“Pokój mojego ojca” / “My Father’s Room,” dir. Nari Jang, South Korea 2016, 8’

“Tango” / “Tango,” dir. Pedro Giongo, Francisco Gusso, Brazil 2016, 13’