Visual identification of the 61st Krakow Film Festival

Face-to-face. The director – the protagonist.

The Krakow Film Festival is not only about the fascinating documentary, short and animated films from all over the world, but also about their authors. Both award-winning film-makers, awarded many times at prestigious international festivals, and debut film-makers. This year’s visual ID  of the festival created by the designer duo Kuba Sowiński and Jakub De Barbaro is devoted to them.

On the posters of the 61st Krakow Film Festival, we can see the portraits of men and women directors, whose faces are covered by the pieces of film frames, showing the protagonists turned towards them. The figures seem to look at each other. The series of designs consists of several dozen pairs of characters, who are the embodiment of the personal, close relationship between the director and the protagonist of the film. It is the quality of this relationship that influences the final shape of the film.

A distinct protagonist, a powerful subject, a fascinating story can also eclipse the very person of the film-maker, who takes the role of a focused observer, a mysterious companion, a discreet confidant or an invisible demiurge.  Interestingly, the Krakow Film Festival is one of the few that awards the directors. The meetings of the audience with the makers of the festival films are also an extremely important element of the event. 

In addition, as Kuba Sowiński, the co-author of the concept, emphasizes, on the posters we cannot see the faces, what can illustrate the present time of the pandemic, the compulsory isolation and the face masks covering us, which means that we cannot know the appearance of the newly met people.

In 2011, Krakow Film Festival started to co-operate with the designer duo, Kuba Sowiński and Jakub de Barbaro, who decided to replace the annual art house poster of the Festival with an innovative concept, which, in spite of significant visual modifications, is consistently implemented until now.  

In the previous years, the duo of the designers systematically based their designs of the Festival posters on the contents of the festival films. They created bold compositions, using unevident film frames, accurately selected film quotes, provocative dialogues or the film titles themselves, written in their original languages, often from the exotic countries where these films were produced.  The individual elements of the identification often formed an extremely cohesive whole with the place where they were exposed and generate a new, independent, sometimes funny and sometimes controversial, context. 

The posters of the Krakow Film Festival by Jakub de Barbaro and Kuba Sowiński won the audience award in the competition for the graphic design of film festivals at the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava and the prestigious Silver at the European Design Awards in the category Printed Identity Applications!  

Jakub de Barbaro Born in 1977 in Krakow, a designer specialising in graphic design for the publishing industry and visual identity. The co-founder of the artist co-operative Goldex Poldex (2008-2012) and Szalona Galeria (2017). A former lecturer at Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai. He co-operates mainly with cultural institutions in Poland and abroad.

Kuba Sowiński Born in 1973 in Krakow, applied arts designer, the co-creator of the nationwide design quarterly “2+3D.” Together with Wojciech Kubiena, he runs the design studio Biuro Szeryfy and works at the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He specialises in graphic design for the publishing industry and co-operates mainly with cultural institutions and publishing houses.

The Krakow Film Festival is 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 it also recommends the films to the European Film Awards in the same categories.

The Krakow Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the co-organiser – the Polish Filmmakers Association and the City of Krakow, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport and the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. 

The 61st Krakow Film Festival will be held from the 30th of May to the 6th of June, 2021, at the cinemas in Krakow and on the Internet.