Every year, the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council grants the Dragon of Dragon award for the exceptional contribution to the development of international cinema. At the 61st Krakow Film Festival, on the 1st of June, the award will be given to Piotr Dumała – the international master of animated film and the creator of original film techniques.
Piotr Dumała is an outstanding Polish author: scriptwriter, animator, director, art director, drafter, poster designer, writer, actor and educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1982), where he also studied at the Studio of Photography and Animated Film of Professor Daniel Szczechura, the co-founder of the Polish school of animation, and also the winner of the Dragon of Dragons award.
Dumała deals with the art-house animated film, as well as functional animation (opening credits of festivals and television programmes, commercials, video clips). He collaborated on the production of theatre performances of Roman Polański and Grzegorz Jarzyna. He also creates press cartoons; designs book covers as well as theatre and film posters. In his animated films, he uses traditional strokes and computer techniques, as well as the painted plaster method, which he invented. He is often inspired by literature (Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoyevsky). The winner of several dozens of festival awards, among others, in Bilbao, Espinho, Huesca, Mannheim, Montreal, Oberhausen, Ottawa, Zagreb.
The work by Dumała was associated with the Krakow Film Festival almost from the very beginning. In the wide collection of the artist’s festival trophies, a dozen come from Krakow, among others, Piotr Dumała received the Golden Dragon twice – for “A Gentle Spirit” in 1985 and for “The Walls” in 1988, the Bronze Hobby-Horse in 1989 for “Freedom of the Leg,” the Bronze Dragon and the FICC Award for “Franz Kafka” in 1992 and the Silver Hobby-Horse (2014) for “Hippos.” It is time for the well-deserved Dragon of Dragons.
Since it was in Krakow where my film career started, it remained in my imagination as the place of hope, dreams and meetings with directors – experiences which excited a young film-maker. Probably, the Krakow Festival is primarily the festival of my youth. So, this award now gives me some strange sense of looking at it from the opposite perspective, recalls Piotr Dumała. I have always perceived the Dragon of Dragons as the award for someone, to sum up their great works, long years of incessant achievements in the field of film art, particularly short film. My first professional animated film, “Lykantropia,” was actually made a long time ago, in 1981, which is exactly 40 years ago, but the property of time is its relativity. Back then, the directors who were awarded the Dragon of Dragons seemed to be some kind of saints to me. And I was like a deckhand who did not even dream of becoming the captain one day. So indeed, I am getting the rank of captain now, and maybe it is a good moment to close the chapter in this way. But at the same time, I am still feeling halfway there, even if it were to turn out that what I am doing now is not the middle of the road at all, but rather its finale.
For me, the film is a little window through which we peek into some other word, Piotr Dumała once said and his own work is a great confirmation of this opinion,” this is how Prof. Tadeusz Lubelski, the chairperson of the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council justifies the choice of this year’s Dragon of Dragons laureate. Watching the films by Piotr Dumała, we communicate with such a different, unique world, all the time conscious of the fact that we do it via the author who looks through the window in our stead. In that world – just like in a dream – there are different rules than in our real world: unexpected metamorphoses are possible, there are different light and a different pace, and a sense of humour is necessary to understand it.
Traditionally, the award ceremony of the Dragon of Dragons will be accompanied by the retrospective of the laureate’s work. In the programme, there are several works by Piotr Dumała, both his first award-winning films as well as the latest ones. As every year, the award-winner will give a master class, opened not only to film-makers, but to all fans of the animated film.
Péter Forgács, last year’s Dragon of Dragons winner, a world-renowned Hungarian documentary film-maker, who could not receive the award in person due to the situation connected with the spread of the coronavirus, will also come to Krakow. Among the accompanying events in the programme of the festival, there is the presentation of the artist’s multimedia installation “Letters to Afar,” prepared by Forgács specially for the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews Polin in Warsaw in 2013.
The Dragon of Dragons award, given for the 24th time this year, is the highest distinction granted by the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council, the organiser of the Krakow Film Festival, in recognition of the contribution to the development of international cinema in documentary and animated film genre. Among previous winners of the award, there are many prominent film-makers, among others, Werner Herzog, Priit Pärn, Kazimierz Karabasz, Bohdan Kosiński, Bogdan Dziworski, Allan King, Albert Maysles, Jonas Mekas, Helena Trestíková, Stephen and Timothy Quay, Raoul Servais, Jerzy Kucia and Paul Driessen.