Focus on Norway at the 61st Krakow Film Festival

The special guest at this year’s edition of the Krakow Film Festival is the cinema of Norway. Thus, the Festival will end the cinematic journey through the nordic  countries, which has lasted several years. The screenings of the most interesting Norwegian documentary, feature and animated films will be accompanied by meetings with the film-makers as well as special and industry events.

The Norwegian documentary film surprises us with the multitude of topics and the diversity of forms. The film-makers there tell us about the beauty of the country, but they do not avoid difficult topics, which have affected the local society over the last decade, either, sums up Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła, the director of the Festival’s programme office and the curator of the Norwegian series. In the programme, we will get acquainted with various facets of Norway: the beautiful wild nature, the multicultural society, but we will also see how the directors tell the story about completely different corners of the world.

The series “Focus on Norway” will be inaugurated on the 1st of June by the screening of “Where Man Returns” (dir. Egil Håskjold-Larsen) — a timeless portrait of the relationship between humans and nature. A beautiful story about an elderly man who lives in the icy wilderness in the northernmost area of Europe. 

In the programme, there are 6 feature-length documentary films. We will get to know the fate of the famous pig, the eponymous protagonist of the film “Gunda” by Victor Kossakovski, produced by Joaquin Phoenix, which was a great sensation at the last year’s Berlinale. It is a private and unconventionally told story, which makes you think about the fate of farm animals. 

The documentary film “Descent into the Maelstrom” (dir. Jan Vardøen) will take us on the musical journey through the Lofoten archipelago, about which Edgar Allan Poe wrote the eponymous short story, and many years later Phillip Glass composed music based on it, which we will hear in the film. Thanks to “War of Art” (dir. Tommy Gulliksen) we will travel as far as North Korea, where a group of artists from Western Europe and China are sent as part of intercultural exchange. Their task will be to show the North Korean artists the kind of art which does not exist in their culture. 

In the film “Generation Utøya” (dir. Aslaug Holm, Sigve Endresen) we will get acquainted with four women who survived the attack on the Norwegian island Utøya in 2011 and decided to turn their traumatic experiences into active work for a better future for the next generations. In turn, in the documentary film “Exit” (dir. Karen Winther) we will trace the director, who, at the age of 16, ended up for two years in an extreme right-wing movement. Years later, she meets other former extremists and talks with them about their reasons for changing their worldviews.

In the programme, short feature and animated films will also be shown. We will watch Norwegian productions also in the series for children Kids & Youth. Cinema for the Young. Traditionally, within the frames of the KFF Industry, there will be a presentation of the Norwegian film market, during which the representatives of the film industry will meet.

The partners of the series are the Embassy of Norway in Poland and the Norwegian Film Institute. The short film programme was prepared in co-operation with the Norwegian Short Film Festival in Grimstad.

The films in the programme Focus on Norway: 

  • “No Man Is an Island,” dir. Ali Parandian, FF. 28’ Norway 2017
  • “Virgins4lyfe,” dir. Thea Hvistendahl, FF. 17’,  Norway 2018
  • “Water Bears,” dir. Yenni Lee, FF. 10’, Norway 2017
  • “Farce,” dir. Robin Jensen, AF. 11’ Norway 2019
  • “Gunda,” dir. Victor Kossakovsky, doc. 93’ Norway, the USA 2020
  • “The Committee,” dir. Gunhild Enger, Jenni Toivoniemi, FF. 13’, Norway, Sweden, Finland 2016
  • “Mother Didn’t Know,” dir. Anita Killi, AF. 12’, Norway 2020
  • “Generation Utøya,” dir. Aslaug Holm, Sigve Endresen, doc. 101’, Norway 2021
  • “Where Man Returns,” dir. Egil Håskjold-Larsen, doc. 71’ Norway 2019
  • “Descent into the Maelstrom,” dir. Jan Vardøen, doc. 66’  Norway 2019
  • “War of Art,” dir. Tommy Gulliksen, doc. 102’ Norway, Germany 2020
  • “Exit,” dir. Karen Winther, doc. 85’ Norway, Germany, Sweden 2018

The Krakow Film Festival is on the prestigious list of events qualifying for the American Film Academy Award in the feature-length documentary film category, and the winner of the Golden Horn is on a fast track to the Academy Awards selection. The KFF qualifies films for the Academy Award also in short film categories (feature, animated, documentary film), and it recommends the films to the European Film Award in the same categories.

The Krakow Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the co-organiser – the Polish Filmmakers Association and the City of Krakow, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport and the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.