As is the case every year, in mid-February passed the deadline for submitting films to the Krakow Film Festival. In spite of the pandemic, the film-makers managed to finish their works on time and to send nearly 2,500 documentary, short and animated films from all over the world to Krakow. The director, Krzysztof Gierat, with a team of selectors, will choose the best of them, which will be shown at the cinemas in Krakow and online during this year’s Festival from the 30th of May to the 6th of June.
We were concerned that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would frustrate the film-makers. To our joy, only a few per cent fewer films than last year were submitted to us. And we received even more Polish films than before! Patrycja Czarny, the selection coordinator of the KFF, is surprised. Let us not forget that, apart from the submitted films, some of them got into the programme of the Krakow Film Festival straight from prestigious festivals around the world. Our selectors take part in them, in spite of the fact that recently all of them are held only online.
Following the trend which has continued for years, the majority of the films submitted from all over the world are short feature films (nearly 1,200). They are assessed by the team of Dagmara Romanowska, film journalist and the contributor of the Polish Film Association — “Magazyn Filmowy” and SFP.org.pl., also associated with the editorial office of Onet.pl. She is accompanied by Grzegorz Jaroszuk – director of feature films, Łukasz M. Maciejewski – film scriptwriter, and film theorists Joanna Chludzińska, Tomasz Natora and Krzysztof Siwoń.
The selectors of the documentary films do not have less work — they have to watch almost 1000 suggestions. The curator of the documentary film section is Anita Piotrowska – the film critic of “Tygodnik Powszechny,” a member of the International Federation of Film Critics FIPRESCI, the winner of the Polish Film Institute award in the film critic category, the juror of numerous festivals in Poland and abroad. Together with her, the documentary films are watched and evaluated by the directors Michał Bielawski, Grzegorz Zariczny and Jakub Stożek, Jadwiga Hučková — film theorist, a lecturer at the Jagiellonian University, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski — film critic, Marta Hauschild — film theorist, a lecturer at the Warsaw Film School and Maciej Gil — film theorist and cultural animator.
Over 200 animated films were submitted to Krakow. This year, the curator of the animated section is Wiola Sowa — animated film director, graphic designer, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, the winner of many prestigious film awards. She is supported by Olga Bobrowska — film theorist, curator of animation programs, director of the international festival StopTrik.
Among all submitted films, nearly 300 are Polish films or co-productions. Most of them will be watched and evaluated also by Jerzy Armata, an outstanding film critic and theorist, selector and juror of many film festivals, the author of numerous publications on film, the winner of many industry awards and distinctions.
The rest of the titles, as is the case every year, came to Krakow from all over the world. Most of them are from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The top of the list also included, among others, Iran and Russia. As usual, there was no lack of submissions from distant corners of the world, among others, from Bolivia, Greenland, Haiti, Senegal, Laos, Togo, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda and Myanmar.
Documentary films, which are what I mostly watch at the moment, are not really affected by the pandemic, and if they are, it is only to a small extent. And that is good, because we have the pandemic every day, says Krzysztof Gierat, the Director of the Krakow Film Festival. Timeless themes dominate: returning to intriguing historical events, extremely complex situation in the Arab world, the changing position of women and naturally, intra-family relations. As always, we focus on charismatic protagonists and well-told stories with undeniable artistic value.
By mid-April, the team of selectors will select titles that will be presented in three competitions of equal rank – two international ones: documentary film and short film competition, and in the Polish competition. Fascinating stories from all over the world will also go to the special film sections. One of them will be “Focus on Norway,” the review of the latest cinematography of Norway, co-organized by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Warsaw. As every year, the best science documentary films will be included in the Docs + Science series prepared by Karol Jałochowski — the journalist of the weekly Polityka, physicist and director of documentary films.
The Krakow Film Festival is accredited by FIAPF and included on the prestigious list of film events qualifying for the Academy Awards in the short film competition (feature film, animated film, documentary film) and feature-length documentary film, and also recommends the films to the European Film Awards in the same categories.
The 61st Krakow Film Festival will be held at the cinemas in Krakow and on the Internet, from the 30th of May to the 6th of June, 2021!