International short film competition of the 59th Krakow Film Festival

Short but sweet

Can you tell a complex story in less than 30 minutes? The films showcased in the short films competition prove that it is possible. Documentaries, animations and features are all fascinating stories from around the world, presenting different genre conventions: from love stories through dark comedies to suspense filled thrillers.

Documentary films: a trip to the inside of a family and other extraordinary places

The ten short documentaries that havebeen invited to the competition are both intimate portraits of heroesas well as films showing the problems of the modern world. Thefrightening phenomenon, widespread in the environment of computergame lovers, is the topic of “Swatted”, whose heroes sendspecial SWAT units to their friends from the Internet for fun, justso that they can watch a live stream of brutal police operations.

Short documents, however, are primarily intimate, family stories. In the film “Dandelion Mum” the director follows the struggle of her mother with cancer, while in the “Greykey” a daughter tries to revive memories of her father – a black participant in the war in Spain who goes to the concentration camp at Mauthausen. The family of Syrian immigrants living in a Dutch town is the hero of the documentary “Like them”, and the film “Milady” presents the experiences of people adopted in their youth by foster families. Norwegian teenagers from the movie “Viva Løten!” also have to overcome a difficult past. The complex relationship between two people is shown in the documentary “When the Dragon came”. The heroes got married very young, have eight children and live together, but somehow they are apart. Wiola and Krzysztof from the film “Connected” are the complete opposite -Krzysztof’s illness and their feelings make them almost inseparable.

Documentaries at KFF also include discovering the hard-to-reach places. A trip to the mountain cave in the midst of the landscape of the High Tatrasinvites viewers of “The Tough One”, while “Mars, Omanis a trip to the vast desert, where the nomads are walking around next to … astronauts.

Short feature films: a mix of fiction and reality

The feature films in the short film competition are, as usual, a mosaic of themes and genres. “Attrition” takes place on the borderline between the real and supernatural world, in which the hero Edwin who fights during World War I surprises with an unusual skill, while the film “2 or 3 things about Marie Jacobson”, follows a doctor talking to the dead and preparing for her own death. “Black Forest” showcases dark humored crime stories, where the starting point is a preparation of a tasty baking good and”Hearth” follows a dark history revealed the process ofrenting a temporary flat through a website.

This year the features also look into the school walls: in “Safety” the teacher must show courage during a shooting, while “Dissect” is a story about a school brawl ending in tragedy. The tile “Ashmina” is a 13-year-old who, instead of going to school, works by folding paragliders for tourists, and the teenage hero of “Ahmed’sSong” learns a lot about life and loneliness under the tutelage of an elderly man. The young people are also heroes of “Bror”– a film about the meeting of siblings after years of separation. The features in this year’s competition also present socially difficult topics. “Maras” is a thriller about life in the world of gangs and violence, and “Homesick” is a film coming back to the tragedy of the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima.

Polish feature productions in the international competition are HelenaOborska’s “Bitten”, a mysterious story with the phenomenalMary Komasa in the lead role and “It’s Good Like That” by Marcin Sauter – a contemplative journey of Nikodem, played by AdamWoronowicz, through the Spitsbergen tundra.

Animated films: playing with the audience

One of the questions we ask ourselves during the selection is the question about the audience: will viewers open to animated worlds dictated by the subversive anti-logic of sleep, desire, experiment? Our choice is based on the idea of a balance between traditional narrative films, inviting “beginner” viewers of animation to recognize the aesthetics and codes of the medium of animated film, and forms aimed at mixing genres, games with perception or film narration – says Olga Bobrowska, the selector of the Krakow Festival film.

Fourteen animations participating in the competition are a mixture of not only genres, but also animation techniques. “Portrait of Suzanne” is a plasticine animation, full of absurdity and grotesque, in which the old lover returns to the man as his left foot. And “Good intentions” is an animated horror movie in which all characters and even ghosts are made of felt. “Imbued life” uses dolls, animated in the technique of stop motion.

The program also includes documentary animations. “Alba’sMemories” is an authentic story about the beginnings of love, told from the perspective of an older woman, supplemented with archival photographs. “Happy Ending” is an animated illustration of the Korean prostitute’s journal, and “One of many” is a love story set against the background of the refugee crisis.

Boredomin long-term relationships is the theme of “Turbine”, while “Vitae Azilia” explores longing for the lost feeling. The complicated, mysterious relationship of the two heroes is one of the themes in the movie “Splash”. Whereas “Kids” is afunny reflection showing the fatal consequences of blind following the crowd.

There is also no shortage of animated thrillers: “Mum’s the Word” is a story about a boy who discovers his father’s dark business, and”Acid Rain” is a narcotic journey by a motorhome heading for a surprising final. The competition will also feature films that escape easy classifications: “Under the Rib Cage” combines various animation techniques, and “Slug Life” is a kamp story about creating a perfect lover.

The prizes awarded in the International Short Competition – Golden Dragon and Silver Dragons – are Academy Award Oscar qualifying awards and the award for the best European film gives the opportunity to apply for a nomination to the European Film Award.

Films qualified for the international short film competition


Chłopaki z Loten / Viva Løten!, reż. Teresia Fant, 27’, Norwegia, 2018

Harda / The Tough, reż. Marcin Polar, 14’, Polska, 2019

Jak oni / Like them, reż. Pau Ortiz, 30’, Holandia, 2018

Kiedy nadszedł smok / When the Dragon Came, reż. Stefan Pavlovic, 21’, Rumunia, Holandia, Serbia, 2018

Klucz do ojca / Greykey, reż. Enric Ribes, 29’, Hiszpania, 2018

Mars w Omanie / Mars, Oman, reż. Vanessa del Campo, 21’, Belgia, 2018

Milady, reż. Giulia Tivelli, Flavia Scardini, 18’, Włochy, 2018

O mojej mamie / Dandelion Mum, reż. Barbora Hollan, 30’, Norwegia, 2018

Połączeni / Connected, reż. Aleksandra Maciejczyk, 18’, Polska, 2018

Swatted, reż. Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis, 21’, Francja, 2018


2 lub 3 rzeczy o Marie Jacobson / 2 or 3 Things about Marie Jacobson, reż. Anne Azoulay, 25’, Francja, 2019

Analiza / Dissect, reż. Siavash Shahabi, 20’, Iran, 2018

Ashmina, reż. Dekel Berenson, 16’ , Wielka Brytania, Nepal, 2018

Bezpieczeństwo / Safety, reż. Fabrice Joubert, 14’, Francja, Dalekie Wyspy Mniejsze Stanów Zjednoczonych, 2018

Bror, reż. Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, 22’, Dania, 2019

Czarny las / Black Forest, reż. Jean-marc E Roy, Philippe David Gagné, 21’ , Francja, Kanada, 2018

Maras, reż. Salvador Calvo, 24’ , Hiszpania, 2019

Ognisko domowe / Hearth, reż. Sophie B. Jacques, 11’ , Kanada, 2019

Pieśń Ahmeda / Ahmed’s Song, reż. Foued Mansour, 30’ , Francja, 2018

Tak jest dobrze / It’s Good Like That, reż. Marcin Sauter, 23’ , Polska, 2019

Tęsknota / Homesick, reż. Koya Kamura, 28’ , Francja, Japonia, 2019

Ukąszenie / Bitten, reż. Helena Oborska, 24’ , Polska, 2019

U kresu sił / Attrition, reż. Kelly Holmes, 23’ , Francja, Wielka Brytania, 2018


Acid Rain, reż. Tomek Popakul, 27’ , Polska, 2019

Ani słowa / Mum’s the Word, reż. Khris Cembe, 13’ , Hiszpania, Francja, 2018

Było wspaniale / Happy Ending, reż. Eunju Ara Choi, 5’ , Wielka Brytania, 2018

Dobre intencje / Good Intentions, reż. Anna Mantzaris, 9’, Wielka Brytania, 2018

Dzieciaki / Kids, reż. Michael Frei, 9’ , Szwajcaria, 2019

Edna / One of many, reż. Vuk Mitevski, 11’, Macedonia, 2019

Miłość turbiny / Turbine, reż. Alex Boya, 8’ , Kanada, 2018

Portret Suzanne / Portrait of Suzanne, reż. Izabela Plucińska, 15’ , Polska, Niemcy, Francja, 2019

Rozprysk / Splash, reż. Jie Shen, 9’ , Chiny, 2018

Strach pod żebrami / Under the Rib Cage, reż. Bruno Tondeur, 13’ , Francja, Belgia, 2018

Vitae Azilia, reż. Joanna Wapniewska, 7’ , Polska, 2019

Wspomnienia Alby / Alba’s Memories, reż. Andrea Martignoni, Maria Steinmetz, 5’ , Włochy, Niemcy, 2019

Wypchane życie / Imbued Life, reż. Ivana Bosnjak, Thomas Johnson, 12’ , Chorwacja, 2019

Zrób sobie ślimaka / Slug Life, reż. Sophie Koko Gate, 7’ , Wielka Brytania, 2018

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