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Polish movies in the international music documentary competition DocFilmMusic

A music and film epitaph. The story of a world-famous Polish violinist – Zbigniew Seifert and the drummer of the legendary band Dżem – Michał “Gier” Giercuszkiewicz will participate in the international music documentary competition DocFilmMusic at the Krakow Film Festival.

As every year, films eligible to participate in the international DocFilmMusic contest will delight viewers with their variety of sounds and musical genres. This year’s edition of the Kraków Film Festival will see two Polish productions competing for the prestigious Golden Horn against numerous music documentaries from around the world: Armand Urbaniak’s long-awaited 30 lat wymówek (30 Years of Excuses ) and Robert Kaczmarek’s surprising documentary Zbigniew Seifert. Przerwana podróż (Zbigniew Seifert. Interrupted Journey)

We wanted the selected music documentaries to be more than just biopics (talking heads and a soundtrack) – explains Anita Piotrowska, film critic, documentary film curator at KFF – The documentary about Seifert is a very emotional story that is deeply immersed in its time, and enriched by artistic imagination. In turn, 30 lat wymówek has been born of great visual sensitivity, beautifully set amid the Bieszczady mountains, sometimes reminiscent of Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, and yet full of surprising “plot twists”.

Both films, although completely different in form, present two extraordinary musical personalities – jazz and blues virtuosos. Both protagonists share a passion for music and race against time to fulfil their musical dreams as much as possible in the face of terminal cancer. For audiophiles, it’s a fascinating journey into the world of their idols’ creativity. Others will discover unknown facts from the history of Polish music.

The film 30 lat wymówek (30 Years of Excuses ) focuses on Michał “Gier” Giercuszkiewicz – an extraordinary hero, Dżem’s drummer, and co-author of the cult album “Cegła”. Due to his heroin addiction and drug-addled friendship with Ryszard Riedel, he abandons his native Silesia and sets off into the Bieszczady Mountains to live alone on a raft of his own design. We meet him when the legendary label Metal Mind Productions makes him an offer to release an original album. This is a renewed proposal from 30 years ago! Will Gier use the opportunity to record his magnum opus?

The title character of the documentary Zbigniew Seifert. Przerwana podróż (Zbigniew Seifert. Interrupted Journey) doesn’t need to be presented to jazz fans. We get to know one of the most brilliant musicians of all time. We follow him from Kraków and places related to his adolescence – his family home, the Academy of Music, Kraków’s clubs and basements, through Europe, to the US, where he dies prematurely in 1979 at the age of just 33. The film is filled with Seifert’s sounds, animations resembling those from the 1960s, the memories of his loved ones, as well as those of other outstanding jazz gurus. 

The complete list of films eligible to participate in the DocFilmMusic competition will be published in April at www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

Krakow Film Festival is included on the prestigious list of film events qualifying for the Academy Awards in the short film competition (fiction film, animated film, documentary film) and feature-length documentary film competition, as well as recommending films for the European Film Awards in the same categories.

The Kraków Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation. 

The Krakow Film Festival will be held in Kraków cinemas from 29 May to 5 June, and online throughout Poland on 3–12 June 2022.