Competitions and Non-competing series



As many as 15 films will be competing for the Golden Horn and Silver Horns in the International Competition, which opens the way to the European Film Awards and Oscars. They focus on anxieties of the contemporary world and revisit landmark historical events, family secrets and deeply hidden, systemic omissions. They show people without prospects and heroes of our times, inhabitants of metropolises and remote villages, little joys and the toil of creation, a life to be lived and a life as a monument. Using archival photographs and material, the filmmakers turned fascinating fiction into a documentary form. The selection features comics and crime fiction, family drama, social cinema and the terrifying shadow of the war in Ukraine.


Polish productions of the last year include 39 film competitors for the Golden Hobby Horse and four Silver Hobby Horses with 19 documentaries, 10 animations and 10 feature films. Made by both award-winning and debuting filmmakers, they present insightful perspectives on our reality – divisions in families and among neighbours. Among them, there are attempts to portray the life of the streets and communities closed behind walls, and to render the unrest among young people. Unique protagonists expose their rare expectations both in the bloom of life and at its end. The selection boasts the diversity of the genre revealing some experimental slant and remarkable sensitivity to the rejected and wronged people who need support.


In this oldest competition of the Krakow Film Festival, there are 13 documentaries, 13 feature films and 13 animations representing a wide range of styles and themes that will be contenders for the Golden Dragon and three Silver Dragons, which opens the way to the European Film Awards and Oscars. Their topics include violence at home and at school, the right to self-determination, one’s struggle with one’s own limitations and peer pressure as well as loneliness in the face of death. There is also the bright side of life – growing up in love, fulfilment in art and a happy old age. Short forms pose a significant challenge for filmmakers. A dozen or so minutes may contain the deepest reflections, characteristic of literature, painting, theatre and music.


Music is the star of these 11 documentaries exhibiting an enormous variety of styles ranging from an astonishing opera through a biographical musical to something more than simple ‘making of’. Expect unique portraits, poetic images and impressive jigsaw puzzles from salvaged archives. You will see charismatic representatives of ethnic musical genres, the child prodigy of the piano, predatory heavy metal women and senior twins immersed in the memories of their past successes. The protagonists’ careers have been dramatically interrupted by disease and the ongoing worldwide pandemic, which has left its mark on the artists’ lives and creative activity.


Non-competing series:


The 2022 Dragon of Dragons Award goes to Jarmo Jääskeläinen, a Finnish documentary filmmaker, producer and educator. His retrospective will feature his most important documentaries, made in the 1970s and 1980s in Poland, where as a foreigner he did not experience any limitations imposed by censorship or self-censorship. Jääskeläinen’s camera captures the shock of his friends after the death of Stanisław Pyjas in 1977, the hopes of Poles related to the first visit of Pope John Paul II to their homeland in 1979 and the pain and rage after the murder of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko in 1984. During martial law the director dealt with the detained opposition activists and analysed the mood in Solidarity. His film Monument focuses on the tragic events of December 1970.


Six carefully selected documentary novelties. A classic of Polish cinema, Janusz Majewski, revisits the origins of Polish jazz. The story of the Kalisz piano factory is set against the score composed by an Oscar laureate, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Jan Brzechwa, the author of ‘The Academy of Mr Kleks’, becomes the hero of a romance at a time when being a Jew qualified for a death sentence. The outstanding biologist and ecologist Simona Kossak devotes her life to the pursuit of her passion. Contemporary Polish judges, headed by Igor Tuleya and Waldemar Żurek, do not give in to the pressure of the authorities and continue to fight for independence. Jola and Wiesiek run one of Europe’s largest pawnshops in the suburbs of Bytom.


This year’s Docs+Science section is devoted to the enigmatic phenomenon of memory and the process of recalling and reaching out to the past. The programme includes such topics as attempts to save stories registered on celluloid film, an experiment aiming to recreate the primeval ecosystem of remote Siberia, a journey to the heart of fear – the underlying cause of all fears, the memory about 4 thousand of different bird species recorded in egg shells, a documentary poem about the silent witnesses of our planet’s past and, finally, the figure of Henry Glassie and an attempt to answer questions about the nature of beauty.


During the festival, we also planned a space for the youngest audience. Kids & Youth is a film program initiated in 2005 for children and youth prepared jointly with foreign partners. The series includes shows for primary school, junior high and high school students as well as family film screenings for individual viewers.


All these short documentaries, features and animations have received a passport to an international career. The selection includes the films nominated for the European Film Awards in 2021 by Europe’s most important festivals. The Krakow Film Festival belongs to this exclusive group and presents the best European short films from last year. One of them is My Uncle Tudor by Olga Lucovnicova, which received the European Film Award in the short film category.hort films nominated for the European Film Awards prepared by the European Film Academy and presented at film festivals and retrospectives throughout Europe and abroad.


To celebrate the 20th jubilee of the Music Video Night, its long-standing curator Jan Chołoniewski has invited special guests. During the screening, we will see and hear a selection by Sylwia Chutnik who referred to it as follows: ‘feisty clips made without a budget or quite the contrary. This music is important to me, as it has a message and a mission. It is feminist, anti-capitalist and emphasises human rights’. Other special guests, Teoniki Rożynek and Filip Bojarski, picked ‘such images that will make you perceive architecture, nature, passing people, your relationships and, finally, the inside of your mind in a different way when you leave the Kijów cinema through the side exit and go your separate ways, in pairs, groups or alone’. The third set is a selection by Alessandro Battaglini, the director of the Turin-based Seeyousound festival, and all is tied together by Jan Chołoniewski.


The cinematography of Spain will be a special guest of this year’s edition of the Krakow Film Festival. The screenings of the most interesting Spanish documentaries, fictional and animated films will be accompanied by meetings with filmmakers as well as special and industry events.


As always under the Wawel Hill, and for the first time near Łaźnia Nowa in Nowa Huta, expect an explosion of sounds, this time marked by African rhythms. Three artists,  Alex Gibney, Mika Kaurismäki and Joe Berlinger, will present their fascination with the music of the region. They will be joined by Polish music documentary specialist Maciej Bochniak. The screenings will feature the legends of the African scene: remarkable vocalist Mariam Makeba and brilliant singer Fela Kuti, both very much involved in liberation movements and human rights. You will be able to enjoy Ethiopian, Nigerian and South African music as well as the compositions of Paul Simon, who makes a comeback to play with the locals after so many years.ds, genre stories.


This is a series of extraordinary meetings and fascinating discussions with eminent figures from outside the film world. Hovering on the borderline of philosophy, science, natural sciences and humanities, these are talks about the condition of the world and the place of a human being in contemporary reality.