The opening ceremony of the Festival and the international premiere of the film “Polański, Horowitz. Hometown” by Mateusz Kudła and Anna Kokoszka-Romer will be held on the 30th of May at 8 p.m. at the cinema Kino Kijów. The film is a colourful story about childhoods, friendship, the common Jewish fate of the protagonists and, most of all, about Krakow – a place that, despite the passage of time and many changes, remains their home.
For the opening of the festival, we try and select spectacular films, as well as such which constitute a kind of common denominator for the festival programme. In the film “Polański, Horowitz. Hometown” there are many threads that are particularly dear to us — emotions, humour, nostalgia and Krakow as the witness of the events, but also as the setting of the film, explains Krzysztof Gierat, the director of the Krakow Film Festival.
The film with the participation of the Golden Palm and Academy Award winner, the director Roman Polański and his friend, world-famous photographer Ryszard Horowitz, will be presented in the Polish competition of this year’s Festival. After several dozen years, the protagonists finally manage to meet in their home city. They wander around Krakow following the footsteps of their wartime experiences. They wander the streets of Kazimierz and the former ghetto, visit the homes where they spent their boyhood, remember those who are no longer there, but also those who survived the Holocaust.
Roman Polański recalls to this day that three-year-old Ryszard was fussy and did not want to drink his birthday chocolate, miraculously obtained by his parents in the reality of the occupation, Mateusz Kudła, director and producer of the film, tells an anecdote.
They visit familiar places, sharing their most personal childhood and youth memories that shaped future artists. Their return to Krakow evokes in them the feelings for which they were not prepared. The protagonists also return to the traumatic moments from their childhood, reveals Anna Kokoszka-Romer, producer and director of the film.
The documentary film became famous last year when the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem awarded the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” to the family who hid Polański in a village near Wadowice during the war. The director gave testimony after meeting their grandson, whom the filmmakers found.
Ryszard Horowitz also owes his life to the Righteous Among the Nations — Oskar Schindler, whose story was made famous by Steven Spielberg in the Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List”. A German factory owner saved over a thousand Jews from the Holocaust, including the future photographer and his sister Bronisława “Niusia” Horowitz-Karakulska, whom we will also see in the film. However, the future photographer did not escape deportation to a German concentration camp. Ryszard, a few years old at the time, was one of the youngest prisoners to survive the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The producer of the film “Polański, Horowitz. Hometown” is KRK FILM, the production of the film is supported by the Fund for the Support of Creativity of ZaiKS, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Krakow and the WFDiF. KRK FILM, Znane Studio and Soundprove are responsible for the post-production.
The Krakow Film Festival is included on the prestigious list of 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.