Winners of the 62. Krakow Film Festival

The Cathedral by Denis Dobrovoda, The Hamlet Syndrome by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski, How Do You Measure a Year? by Jay Rosenblatt, and Kapr Code by Lucie Králová are the golden winners of the 62. Krakow Film Festival! On Saturday, 4 June at the Kijów cinema, the international jury awarded the best documentaries, shorts, and animated films which had been seeking the favour of experts and audiences in Krakow cinemas throughout the festival week.

The Gala of the 62. Krakow Film Festival, hosted by Anna Tatarska, was attended by film industry representatives, cinema lovers from around the world, as well as the heroes of numerous of the festival’s films. The main awards were presented by – among others – Jacek Bromski, President of the Polish Filmmakers Association, and Robert Piaskowski Plenipotentiary for Culture of the Mayor of the City of Krakow.

Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski were the undisputed winners of the festival. Their film The Hamlet Syndrome (Poland, Germany) received the highest prize in the national competition – the Golden Hobby-Horse. The documentary also received the Student Award and a special mention in the international documentary competition. The film’s producers, Magdalena Kamińska and Agata Szymańska (Balapolis), also received the Polish Producers Alliance – KIPA and FDR Studio Award for best short and documentary film producer in Poland “for a film created in difficult conditions that required special care for the protagonists, gentleness, but also freedom and trust in the creators.”

The jury composed of Piotr Stasik, chairman, Daria Kopiec, Kuba Mikurda, Anna Sienkiewicz-Rogowska, Małgorzata Szyłak awarded Bogna Kowalczyk the Silver Hobby-Horse in the national competition for the feature-length documentary Boylesque (Poland, Germany). The film also received one of the festival’s most important awards – the audience award funded by Magazyn Filmowy SFP (“PFA Film Magazine”).

The second Silver Hobby-Horse went to Marcin Lesisz for the short film The Rocking Horses (Poland). The title of best animated film of the national competition went to Impossible Figures and Other Stories I (Poland, Canada) by Marta Pajek, a multiple-award winner at the Krakow Film Festival, while Michał Toczek’s A Dead Marriage (Poland) was named the best fiction film.

The Maciej Szumowski Award for remarkable social awareness under the patronage of the ZAiKS Authors’ Association went to the film God and Lunaparks’ Warriors (Poland) by Bartłomiej Żmuda. The award was presented by the ZAiKS President Janusz Fogler.

The documentary The Cathedral (Slovakia) directed by Denis Dobrovoda – about a self-proclaimed architect who started the construction of a cathedral in the Spanish city of Mejorada del Campo almost entirely with his own two hands – won the International Documentary Film Competition and thus a chance to compete for an Academy Award nomination.

The Silver Horn for the best documentary film focusing on social issues went to Laura Sister for the film Tolyatti Adrift (Spain). Shaunak Sen received the Silver Horn for the director of a film with high artistic value for All That Breathes (USA, United Kingdom, India). The jury was composed of: Till Brockmann (Switzerland), Christine Camdessus (France), Ohad Milstein (Israel), Petrula Veljanovska (North Macedonia), Agnieszka Zwiefka (Poland).

The winner of the oldest festival competition, the International Short Film Competition, was Jay Rosenblatt – well known to the Krakow audience –for the film How Do You Measure a year? (USA). The director’s previous film When We Were Bullies was nominated for an Oscar this year.

Silver Dragons are awards given to the best short films representing all film genres in the competition. The Silver Dragon for the best documentary film went to Raul de la Fuente Calle and Amaia Ramirez for Maldita. A Love Song to Sarajevo (Spain). The Czech-Slovak Love, Dad (dir. Diana Cam Van Nguen) was named the best animated film. It also became Krakow’s candidate for the European Film Award in the short film category. The jury, composed of Juliusz Machulski (Poland), Olga Lucovnicova (Moldova) Andrea Martignoni (Italy), Anita Reher (Denmark), and Amer Salmeen Al Murry (United Arab Emirates), awarded the following prizes:

The Silver Dragon for the best short fiction film went to Karolina Porcari for Victoria (Poland) with a brilliant performance by Katarzyna Figura, playing the titular Victoria, who begins to discover her sexuality in her fifties.

Lucie Králová won the DocFilmMusic international competition with Kapr Code (Czech Republic, Slovakia). The jury composed of Włodek Pawlik (Poland) – chairman, Roman Gutek (Poland), Robert Kirchhoff (Slovakia) awarded the film for its “non-obvious and innovative form developed to tell the story of a complex and controversial protagonist. A film about difficult choices and the clash of art with a totalitarian regime, with the history of Eastern Europe in the 20th century.” The award was presented by Paco Mora – a master of flamenco and the protagonist of a film presented in the documentary competition (In My Shoes).

The Don Quixote Award of the International Federation of Film Critics went to the film Parizad by Mehdi Imani Shahmiri (Iran).

This year, the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, which is the largest documentary film festival in Ukraine, was held as part of the Krakow Film Festival. This year’s edition was to begin on 25 March in Kyiv. It was no longer possible due to Russia’s brutal attack and the ongoing war. The jury, composed of Daniel Abma, Devika Girish, Stanislav Bytiutsky, awarded the main prize to Plai. A Mountain Path (dir. Eva Dzhyshyashvili).

The Industry Gala was held on Friday, 3 June. During that evening we got to know the first festival winners, including special mentions and non-statutory award winners. Awards also went to the participants of Doc Lab Poland – the largest program in Poland aimed at documentary filmmakers, whose next session has just ended at the 62. Krakow Film Festival.

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

The Kraków Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation.

The awarded films will be screened on Sunday, June 5, at the Małopolska Garden of Arts.

The full jury verdict and detailed programme can be found at: www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

All competition films from the Krakow Film Festival program and the special film series Watch Party are available online on the KFF VOD platform until 12 June.

The 63. Krakow Film Festival will be held from 28 May to 4 June 2023.

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