This year, the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council decided to honour the eminent director of documentary films, Sergei Loznitsa, with the Dragon of Dragons award in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the development of the international cinema. The 21st laureate of this prestigious award is at the same time the youngest winner of the award in history.
“Winning the Dragon of Dragons award at Krakow Film Festival is a great honour for me. My first documentary film, “Today We Are Going to Build a House,” was awarded the Bronze Dragon here in 1996. Since that time, all my films have been very well received in Krakow, and I always visit this beautiful city with great pleasure, in order to present new films to the audience. The festival and the city have a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to come to Krakow in May!” Sergei Loznitsa did not hide his emotion.
The President of the Programme Council, the film critic and film theorist, Prof. Tadeusz Lubelski, gave three main reasons for the nomination: “First, the consistent, extremely original and fruitful explorations of the form. Loznitsa created his own style of documentary film, resulting from patience and distance to the world, based on long shots and brilliant soundtrack. Kracauer would have had an insoluble problem with his works, because this is the cinema of pure recording, at the same time completely created. And the end result tends to be worthy of the dramas by Beckett.
Secondly, Loznitsa as a film-maker is an inquisitive and unyielding explorer of Russia. He discovers the weight of its past (often bringing archival tapes to life), but also its unique, sometimes shocking present. To this aim serve him the explorations of the documentary film’s form, though he often uses them also in feature films, such as the recent brilliant film “A Gentle Creature.” Thirdly, this is a film-maker who is connected with our festival since the very beginnings of his artistic work, that is, for over twenty years. So we can almost view this director – born in Baranavichy, educated in Kiev, residing in Germany for many years – as a film-maker from Krakow.”
The official award ceremony of the Dragon of Dragons will be held on May 29, 2018 at the 58th Krakow Film Festival in Krakow. In addition, in the programme of the Festival, within the frames of the retrospective, there will be many eminent works of the director, among others, his film “Victory Day” (“Den’ Pobedy”), finished just a couple of weeks before, which will have its Polish premiere in Krakow, there will also be held the traditional master class of the laureate.
Sergei Loznitsa was born on September 5, 1964 in Baranavichy, in the former USSR (today – Belarus). He grew up and studied in Kiev, where he graduated from Engineering and Mathematics at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. For a couple of years, he was a researcher in the Institute of Cybernetics and worked as a translator from the Japanese. In 1997, he graduated with honours from the department of film production and directing at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. Currently, he lives in Berlin.
During his twenty-year-long career, he made many films which achieved international success. His three full-length feature films: “My Joy” (2010) and “In the Fog” (the FIPRESCI award) (2012), “A Gentle Creature” (2017) and one documentary film “Maidan” had their international premieres at the Cannes Film Festival. His other feature-length documentary film, “The Event,” had its premiere at la Biennale di Venezia in 2015. His films won at the film festivals around the world many times.
At the Krakow Film Festival, the documentary film debut by Loznitsa, “Today We Are Going to Build a House,” was awarded the Bronze Dragon. Later, he received the main awards in Krakow three times: in 2006 – the Golden Dragon for “Blockade,” in 2008 – the Golden Horn for “Rewia” and in 2013 – another Golden Dragon for “Letter.” Last year, within the frames of the special section Focus on Germany, his film “Austerlitz” was shown. In 2007, he also sat on the jury of the International Short Film Competition, under the chairmanship of Andrzej Żuławski.
The Dragon of Dragons award, given for the 21st time this year, is the highest distinction granted by Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council, the organiser of Krakow Film Festival, in recognition of the contribution to the development of international cinema in documentary and animated film genre. Among previous winners of the award, there are many prominent film-makers, among others, Werner Herzog, Priit Pärn, Kazimierz Karabasz, Bohdan Kosiński, Bogdan Dziworski, Allan King, Albert Maysles, Jonas Mekas, Helena Trestíková, Stephen and Timothy Quay, Raoul Servais, Jerzy Kucia and Paul Driessen.
58th Krakow Film Festival is held from May 27 to June 3, 2018.