Short and to the point. The international short film competition at the 61st KFF

The international short film competition at the 61st Krakow Film Festival.
In the oldest competition of the Krakow festival, the most stylistically diverse projects compete. This year, 12 documentary films, 11 feature films and 13 animated films, a total of 36 titles will compete for the Golden Dragon, the recommendation for the European Film Award and the simplified path to the Academy Awards. Fascinating stories from all over the world, encompassed in a format no longer than 30 minutes, are in store for the viewers.
Animated films

Zbigniew Czapla, the award-winner of the Krakow Film Festival in 2017, will present his latest film. Characteristic, recognisable in the very first frames, images from the film “On Time” will take us on a journey to Japan. “Too Late” by Kinga Syrek is a film tribute to the actress Edie Sedgwick on the fiftieth anniversary of her death and the first animated film, dedicated to the muse of Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. In turn, “Love in Times of Coal-Based Economy” by Tomasz Siwiński, when it was at the design stage, was awarded for the pitching at the Animated in Poland at the 59th Krakow Film Festival. The film is set in 1962 in Silesia, during the coldest winter, where, in the grey reality the love between a miner and a woman crane operator flourishes.

In the competition, we will also see the best animated films from South Korea, Kosovo, India, Lithuania, Great Britain, Italy and Germany. Wiola Sowa, the curator of the animated film section, emphasises: Animated film is a privileged genre. The pandemic has not had such a strong impact on the production process as is the case with other film genres. The reason is simple: the low-key production, which in many cases has already taken place online before the pandemic. Whereas in the context of the pandemic, some of the themes brought up by the film-makers gained additional significance. The emotional reception of these films has been strengthened due to the sense of loss of some of our activities and the yearning caused by recollecting them.

Feature films

Among the short feature films in the international competition, there is the film by Adrian Apanel, “The Last Room On the Left,” selected from over 1000 feature films from all over the world submitted to the Festival! This is a story about a young man who comes to the mysterious lodgings with the intention of renting a room. With each visited room and with each tenant that he gets acquainted with, the place seems stranger.

The year of the pandemic has left its clear mark on the short feature films. In the way of staging and in the issues discussed in the films, you can often see the limitations that the film-makers had to deal with. The low-key quality started to prevail over the scale. The submitted films reflect the anxiety which accompanied the whole world in recent months. There is a kind of confusion and uncertainty, loneliness in them. One thing has not changed: the thematic and technical searches still diverge in very different directions, summarises Dagmara Romanowska, the curator of the feature film section. The pandemic has not dominated the submissions or our final selections, although – of course – it did appear in the films, for instance in the film Asbestos.” This year, among the competition films the viewers will find more genre productions than in previous years: there is a dark grotesque (the aforementioned The Last Room On the Left), subversive gangster films (Rough,”The Danger in Front), and even a subtle melodrama (You Are Here). 

Documentary films

“Solar Voyage” by Adam Żądło is the only Polish short documentary film in the international competition. The protagonist of the film is Mirek Lech, a controversial genius and visionary, who decided to leave his home town Pcim and set out on a journey in order to find love and work in a solar power station in Africa.

“We were looking for full-blooded male and female protagonists, multi-dimensional stories and non-obviousness. And when this substantial content is accompanied by a mature form, we lavished compliments on it,” this is how Maciej Gil, the selector of the Krakow Film Festival, recollects his work. What else will we see in the competition? We will watch one of the most pandemic-themed films in this year’s programme (“Locked Out”), a story of divine miracles on the pastureland in Romania (“God Was Here!”), a story about the extraordinary bond of four siblings in Iran (“Khoniyar’s Children”) and a portrait of a determined woman sapper, who defuses mines in the Sahara (“Mutha & The Death of Ham-ma Fuku”).    

The films qualified for the international short competition
SHORT ANIMATED FILMS
  • “Clara with a Mustache,” dir. Ilir Blakcori, 10 min., Kosovo, 2021
  • “The Hangman at Home,” dir. Michelle Kranot, Uri Kranot, 14 min., Denmark, France, Canada, 2021 
  • “Affairs of the Art,” dir. Joanna Quinn, 16 min., Great Britain, Canada, 2021
  • “Mother,” dir. Subarna Das, 5 min., India, 2020
  • “Have a Nice Dog!,” dir. Jalal Maghout, 13 min., Germany, Syria, 2020
  • “Love in Times of Coal-Based Economy,” dir. Tomasz Siwiński, 12 min., Poland, Croatia, 2021 
  • “On Time,” dir. Zbigniew Czapla, 5 min., Poland, 2021 
  • “The Last Matador,” dir. Katariina Lillqvist, 7 min., Finland, 2020 
  • “Comeback,” dir. Vladimir Leschiov, 8 min., Latvia, Lithuania, 2021
  • “Salvia at Nine,” dir. Nari Jang, 7 min., South Korea, 2020  
  • “Too Late,” dir. Kinga Syrek, 16 min., Poland, 2021 
  • “Bad Mood,” dir. Loris Giuseppe Nese, 12 min., Italy, 2020 
  • “Hide,” dir. Daniel Gray, 11 min., Hungary, France, Canada, 2020
SHORT FEATURE FILMS
  • “Asbestos,” dir. Javier Marco, 18 min., Spain, 2020
  • “Like the Ones I Used to Know,” dir. Annie St-Pierre, 18 min., Canada, 2021 
  • “Branka,” dir. Ákos K Kovács, 24 min., Hungary, Serbia, 2021 
  • “Rough,” dir. Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson, 13 min., Ireland, 2020
  • “Come Here,” dir. Marieke Elzerman, 26 min., Belgium, 2020 
  • “Georgia,” dir. Jayil Pak, 30 min., South Korea, the USA, 2020 
  • “You Are Here,” dir. Orkhan Abulov, 24 min., Russia, 2020 
  • “Homecoming,” dir. Raffi Movsisyan, 19 min., Armenia, 2020 
  • “The Last Room On the Left,” dir. Adrian Apanel, 30 min., Poland, 2021
  • “In the Dark,” dir. Mehdi Zarei, 12 min., Iran, 2020 
  • “The Danger in Front,” dir. Alexis Chartrand, 17 min., Canada, 2020

SHORT DOCUMENTARY FILMS

  • “Locked Out,” dir. Julien Goudichaud, 24 min., France, 2020 
  • “God Was Here!”, dir. Raluca Lupascu, 27 min., the Netherlands, 2020
  • “Joe Buffalo,” dir. Amar Chebib, 16 min., Canada, 2020
  • “When We Were Bullies,” dir. Jay Rosenblatt, 30 min., the USA, Germany, 2021 
  • “Mutha & The Death of Ham-ma Fuku,” dir. Daniel Suberviola, 26 min., Spain, 2020
  • “Mao’s Ice Cream,” dir. Brindusa Nastasa, Jialu Zhang, Annabella Stieren, 29 min., China, Germany, the Netherlands, 2020
  • “My Uncle Tudor,” dir. Olga Lucovnicova, 20 min., Belgium, Moldova, 2021 
  • “Khoniyar’s Children,” dir.  Arman Gholipour Dashtaki, 30 min., Iran, 2020
  • “Solar Voyage,” dir. Adam Żądło, 18 min., Poland, 2021
  • “Mom’s Hair,” dir. Alexey Evstigneev, 8 min., Russia, 2021
  • “Testimony of Ana,” dir. Sachin Dheeraj Mudigonda, 24 min., India, the USA, 2020 
  • “Snowy,” dir. Kaitlyn Schwalje, 12 min., the USA, 2020

The Krakow Film Festival is included on the prestigious list of film events qualifying for the Academy Awards in as many as three short film categories (feature film, animated film, documentary film) as well as in the feature-length documentary film category. The winners of the Golden and Silver Dragons have a shortened path to the Academy Award selection. The KFF also recommends films to the European Film Award in the same categories.