The film is set in Spain in 1975. After a long dictatorship comes the transition to democracy. During his televised holiday message to the nation, the king of Spain unexpectedly expresses his most personal thoughts. Antonio Antón has created a very inventive and at the same time politically explosive short film, which is going to surprise any viewer.
100 years ago the great war broke out, bringing death, suffering, and sorrow. Soldiers, weapons, and explosives – we know this perfectly well. The war, however, also brought something completely different, something not talked about at all. Swedish director Freja Andersson has made a visually compelling documentary with elements of experimental cinema, and has shared an entirely different perspective on the issues of war. A year ago her film “Stories From the Wars” was presented at Szczecin European Film Festival.
“Do you remember that night? The empty glasses, empty bottles, the broken glasses, the blown up buildings. People yelling, people on the floor, while you were there sitting in your damned living room. Does that tell you something? Everything started with a dream, a dream of oblivion. They dreamt of getting out of their bodies, to reach an eternal light, in an absolute well-being.” Antonin Blanc has created an oneiric documentary film that borders on the experimental. The film’s screening at this year’s Szczecin Film Festival will mark its world premiere.
The film, adhering to horror aesthetics, talks about the mourning of a mature man who lost a loved one. Starring Paul McGann, British film star from the '80s known for his roles in “The Monk” by Paco Lara, “The Rainbow” by Ken Russell, and “Dealers” by Colin Bucksey.
The film speaks about the Lithuanian national football team, consisting of alcohol and drug addicts, participating in the Homeless World Cup. Besides football, the main fight is happening just outside the pitch. Several different characters struggle in their own ways through temptations, and choose whether to stay alive, and sober, or lose themselves to the alcohol and go down.
An attractive brunette invites a man she has just met to spend the night with her. The protagonist does not know that he is in grave danger. The film skilfully combines elements of a vampire film with erotic horror.
A film that sums up the activity of BASTA! The Szczecin Initiative for Animals in 2015. BASTA! was formed in 2011 in Szczecin. It focuses on the fight for animal rights and promotes a lifestyle free from cruelty towards other beings.
Can one successfully combine education with upbringing? Can creative work help overcome cultural, social, and linguistic barriers? Isn’t a creative approach to resocialisation a utopia? Can one prepare a play and shoot a documentary film in seven days? You will see for yourself by giving “Run, Run” thirty minutes of your precious time.
An incredibly insightful and intimate study of motherhood, different shades of which have been shown in a mere 12 minutes. The main protagonist, Sylwia, a wife and a mother, is a psychologically strong woman who exhibits tendencies to dominate and control everyone around her. The protagonist bravely endures her fate and tries to raise her two sons the best she can. The fighting fish is a freshwater species often kept in aquaria. In Anna Pawluczuk's film it becomes a motif that triggers the action and perfectly defines Sylwia, who takes up a brave fight against arduous everyday life.
The year 1989. The prisoners from Goleniów, inspired by the wind of change blowing in Poland, wished change also upon themselves. Not wanting to be abused and marginalised, they go on strike. On the verge of the last decade of the 20th century peaceful changes start taking place in Central Europe. The rebellion in prison is a world phenomenon – the inmates are protesting, and expect better treatment. The film records those historical events.
Sarah is a young director and has just been invited to a film festival that will present her film. The girl goes on an unforgettable bus trip, hoping for exciting political discussions and friendship. The conversations, however, are cut short whenever the protagonist brings up the occupation of Palestine. She then decides to talk with her dead father through a particularly noisy phone line. “The Bus Trip” is an exceptional motion picture that splendidly combines documentary and animated sequences.
A complicated birth in a French maternity hospital provides a perfect opportunity to explore the notion of cinematic realism and the transformative effect of the filming of phenomena. The director delves cleverly into areas of cinema history and family history. Simon Welch’s film is both an interesting documentary and an experimental film with elements of humour, exceptionally accurate metacinematic observations, as well as philosophical remarks.
Casa Blanca is a small, picturesque fishing town located by the Havana Bay. The viewer may get the impression that time has stopped there. The inhabitants go about their lives at their own pace and make a living mainly from fishing. The sick, elderly mother lives with her mentally handicapped son Vladimir in an overcrowded tenement house occupied by multiple families. When the woman succumbs further to illness, the troublesome Vladimir becomes her only caregiver. The film depicts the complicated relationship between mother and son, one which is also full of love and sacrifice. “Casa Blanca” is an intimate story of a family that is in a critical situation. The film received the Golden Hobby-Horse and the Silver Horn at the 55th Krakow Film Festival.
Vittorio Antonacci’s film is a warm story filled with humour and music, about a travelling band. We observe the musicians’ behaviour while on the road, their nomadic ways, customs, unorthodox ideas, and hierarchy that exists within the group. The protagonists compete against other bands when visiting a variety of festivals. Their true purpose in life is music and sharing it with others.
Gonçalo Almeida’s work is an intriguing blend of documentary and mystery film. The director creates an engaging study on the spiritual heritage of the people of Gambia. The titular Condrong is a mysterious spirit that cannot be seen, but whose presence is felt. The consistent black-and-white aesthetics add to the extraordinary mood of this motion picture, which is not bereft of a sense of dread and unease. “Condrong” is a deeply metaphysical story of the human need and longing for that which is invisible to the eye.
A distressing story about a Polish People's Republic-era serial killer on the loose in the 1960s. The script was based on Cracow's urban legends. One such legend tells the completely fictional story of the demonic Lucjan Staniak, called the Red Spider, while another is based on the authentic biography of the only teenage serial killer known to criminology: Karol Kot, “the Vampire of Cracow,” who became a real media star in the late 1960s.
A film about searching suburban landscapes. About drifting along an empty diagonal and its urban areas at the end of a hot summer. A few chance encounters. Warehouses, roundabouts, coloured logos. An exploration into the “frozen waters” of everyday life. Guillaume Ballandras’ film is an interesting combination of documentary and experimental cinema. It also features comedic elements that evoke an involuntary smile, as well as associations with avant-garde and surrealism.
A horror film about a hitch-hiker and a mysterious driver who takes him on a terrifying journey. A clear echo of Robert Harmon’s famous “The Hitcher” with the unforgettable performance by Rutger Hauer.
The film’s events unfold in the heart of a ruined factory facing the port of Patras in Greece. Wahid and Mortez, two of fifty other Afghanis who have miraculously avoided the atrocities taking place in their homeland, are trying their luck in getting across to Italy. They are both constantly dreaming of a better life in Europe. While hiding from acts of repression at the hands of the police, the protagonists have to face the spirits that haunt the derelict factory.
The film shows the everyday life of Jacek, his conflicts with the overprotective mother. When all of a sudden a woman enters his life, a conflict erupts. After years of erotic abstinence, Ewa has awoken a man in him again. But this is when the mother steps in: Control yourself, you are 53 years old! - she reprimands her ageing son.
“At Home in the World” is an intimate depiction of the everyday lives of five refugee children in a Danish Red Cross asylum school. All of different backgrounds, their families had fled to Denmark. Few are granted residency and go on to become part of Danish society; the rejected are sent back to their country of origin. Some continue their lives on the run, fleeing the atrocities of their homeland. Over the course of a year, we follow the children in an ever-changing environment. It is hard to create any bonds and the atmosphere is often tense, as the kids struggle with traumatic pasts. The teacher, Dorte, tries to create some security at the school. Earnestly engaged, she becomes close with the children and fights to bring out the best in them – so they can create a new home in the world.
“Fabryka talentów” references a film by the Lumière brothers. The camera follows six-year-olds from their first day in school for two years. Who is a young person in the first ever factory of their life, and what do they dream of?
A documentary film about the Warsaw Uprising through children's eyes, based on facts and full of magical realism. Autumn 1944. The Warsaw uprising falls. Germans expel Poles from the capital. The only thing that fifteen-year-old Michał Pluta takes with him is a diary with entries from his friends from the neighbourhood. It is this diary that inspired the film script. Today's kids find it and follow its lead to meet their peers who have lived through the Warsaw Uprising. Their imagination, moved by the stories of the insurgents, transfers them into the midst of the dramatic events. Each story focuses on a different aspect: Halinka had saved dogs and cats, “Hipek” had been part of the “szczury kanałowe” Scout troop, Jureczek had been nine, the youngest sworn solider of the Home Army (AK).
Lampedusa is a small village between Africa and Europe. Its territory belongs to Italy. Each year over 150 thousand refugees from Africa hit its shore, people who seek escape from war and hunger. Many of them do not reach their destination. The rotted-through makeshift boats and rafts drown, taking the lives of hundreds of people. Rosi observes the life on the island without judging the attitude of the immigrants or of those deciding their fate (some of them, usually inhabitants of Tunisia, will be sent back to their homeland). The director is interested in who the people coming to Lampedusa are. He gives his attention both to Africans and to the indigenous people. He juxtaposes both groups’ problems as well as their priorities. The film received the Golden Bear at Berlinale 2016.
“This is the third and most interesting part of my life” says Mr. Schürmann. The protagonist is wandering through corridors in search of new tasks. In the past, Mr. Schürmann loved to read, take pictures, and film. His new world is entirely different – it is a clean and cold atmosphere of a hospital whose patients never leave. For two months Mr. Schürmann has been living in a closed home for people suffering from dementia. He lives by the rule that there must be mutual support. The director has made a warm, moving, and occasionally humorous story about elderly people who only have each other.
Goran, or actually Ronald Charles Verdon, comes from Switzerland and for 27 years has been living a nomadic, vagrant life. Everything he owns is a distinctive wagon, which he travels by accompanied by his favourite animals: dogs, goats, and camels. The protagonist travels the Silk Road with grace and pride. Twice already has he managed to successfully travel the path leading through Mongolia, Iran, Turkey, Italy, and France. Marcin Lesisz presents a snippet of this incredible homo viator’s life in a fascinating way. We follow his adventures, encounters with people, and the difficulties of travel. The film’s undeniable strong point is its beautiful cinematography, which will stay long in the viewer’s memory.
To separate imagination from reality is, in the case of Gretchen, who is brooding over her love for Faust, nearly impossible. The girl's feelings keep going to and fro between passion and panicked despair. What we see in the foreground, therefore, is the basic principle that connects slowing down and accelerating – one upon which Franz Schubert’s ingenious composition “Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel” has been created.
In 1961 houses on Monterey Bay became the target of seagulls. It looked as if the birds carried out suicide attacks, like the kamikaze. This stirred the imagination of Alfred Hitchcock, master of horrors.
The world of serial killers is one of communicating vessels. The original novel by Robert Bloch, which served as the film’s basis, “inspired” serial killer Ed Gein, who in turn became an inspiration for the authors of the Hannibal Lecter character (“The Silence of the Lambs”).
This psychopathic child murderer became the protagonist of 8 films. He even made an appearance in one of the instalments of the cult game “Mortal Combat.” This time to find new victims he will use the mind of the innocent Alice.
This film was supposed to be the capstone of the series about the murderer who uses nightmares to exact vengeance upon those who had killed him. The financial success, however, convinced the film authors to make two more films about the nightmarish man from the street full of trees.
A Spanish film created in the found footage style. A television crew spends the night accompanying fire-fighters in their routine duties. When they are called to make an intervention, they become separated from the world, and record everything with the camera they carry along.
Animal rights activists break into a lab that experiments on monkeys. Ignoring the scientists' warnings, they set the animals free. It then turns out that the animals were infected with the “frenzy” virus.
A remake of Brian De Palma's 1973 film, directed by Douglas Buck. A story of conjoined twin sisters who have been separated as children.
What would happen if you only had 7 days of life left after having watched a video tape? One of the most profitable horrors in the history of Japanese cinema spawned Hollywood remakes that divided the critics.
A film which was created as a tribute to exploitation and slasher horrors and, most importantly, for grindhouse theatres where those films could be watched. Kurt Russel as a crazy stuntman surrounded by a legion of beautiful women.
A god-forsaken place in Mexico with a military base testing a dangerous virus. An homage to zombie films and drive-in theatres, starring Quentin Tarantino, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Rose McGowan.
Gary Oldman as the master of the legendary Transylvanian castle, accompanied by the crème de la crème of '90s acting: Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, and Keanu Reeves.
The main defence of the film against a sea of criticism was the cult scene where Salma Hayek performs an erotic dance with a snake wrapped around her neck and pours tequila down her bare foot and into Quentin Tarantino's mouth. “I don't f***ing believe in vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw is f***ing vampires.”
Johnny Depp as an astronaut who was left alone in the space for two minutes. After his return to Earth nothing will be the same. Not even his perfect marriage with Charlize Theron.
A film from the zombie canon. A deadly virus gets out of control, creating legions of the undead. The ones to face them will be two beautiful women of action film: Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez.
A group of teenagers go on a weekend trip to a cottage in the woods. During a game they play, they unknowingly summon bloodthirsty demons. The debut of the fantastic Bruce Campbell.
After the unexpected success of the first film, the director has decided to continue the series, this time purposefully including elements of comedy. For this project, and for the subsequent productions continuing the saga, Sam Raimi once again invited Bruce Campell to work with him.
Jack Nicholson awakes his inner beast and once again rules the silver screen. He even manages to outshine the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer and the '90s king of all villains – James Spader.
Kenneth Branagh attempts to take on the legend of a monster born in Ząbkowice Śląskie. On screen we will see the director himself in the lead role, partnered by the fetching Helena Bonham Carter and the fantastic Robert De Niro.
“How Long, Not Long” is a fresh hybrid of documentary cinema, animation, and experimental film. A visual journey that encourages considerations on universal belonging, global citizenship not confined to a city, region, or state borders. Thoughts on these important topics are necessary in times when xenophobia, nationalism, and intolerance are a daily occurrence.
The film opens with an absorbing shot of an old, white film projector being consumed by flames. Mark John Ostrowski’s picture tells the story of an old filmmaker’s daughter, who faces a very serious dilemma: what to do with the father’s legacy? The young woman has to know, however, that only a radical creative act will make her the true heir to the unexpected wealth. Mark John Ostrowski made a feature-length documentary film with deep, metacinematic reflection, offering insight into the quandaries of being a filmmaker.
Janusz Szymański’s film is very often described as a “study in cinematography.” The director shows the collapse of the “Autotraktori” factory located in the suburbs of Tirana, the capital of Albania, and the stories of three labourers still assiduously working there. The author presents their toil and their everyday life. One can feel the presence of two different times in the picture – the bygone (when the plant was still vibrant) and the present (a fall of the works and the metallurgy industry).
“End of Sleeping” is a tongue-in-cheek film impression which depicts the relationship between insects living on a mock-orange bush. The film's cinematography has been done outdoors, without disturbing the insects' natural environment.
This film is an evocative and shocking story of one man, Samuel Houston, who had been a political prisoner during the military dictatorship in Chile. The protagonist’s account of the events will leave no-one indifferent; it reveals a terrifying and cruel world of a bloody regime that shows no mercy to divergent individuals. The work is universal and constitutes a clear warning against dictatorships and totalitarianism of any kind. Oliver Hardcastle made his film in an intriguing animated style.
A fascinating documentary about an investigation concerning a lost horror film supposedly directed by the cinema pioneer Georges Méliès. A true gem, both for horror enthusiasts and for lovers of film history.
This extraordinary film depicts the events of an archeological expedition form the 1920s, on the tracks of the elephas falconeri – a dwarf elephant, a creature that existed but is nonetheless reminiscent of the legendary Cyclops. Théodore Kracklite found the creature’s fossilised skulls in the undersea caverns of Sicily. The film revisits the well-known myth from Homer’s “Iliad,” which grows to the rank of a metaphor of the modern ecological crisis and serves as a reminder of the massive extinction of species.
The film presents a competition of patriotic song, held in a Polish primary school on Independence Day (11th of November). The director has been consistent with the black-and-white stylistics, which produces a splendid result. As viewers we watch the students of varying age and vocal abilities compete against each other. Their parents and grandparents observe the whole event with wonder, moved. The picture was screened at the Swiss festival VISIONS DU REÉL.
When was the first email sent? Can robots win the 2050 World Cup? Are there still any places free of electromagnetic waves? The legendary documentary filmmaker and Academy Award nominee Werner Herzog in his newest film deals with the Internet. The journey begins at the very roots of the digital revolution – a talk with UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock, co-creator of ARPANET network, which was the prototype of the Internet that we know today. Herzog shows technological development and its influence on the lives of particular generations.
The documentary talks about one of the most dynamically developing satirical festivals in Poland - “Mistrzostwa Polski ONE MAN SHOW LUDZIK.” The film is a record of conversations, arguments, opinions, and also funny situations connected with the festival.
Yesterday was a time of peace, today has come a time of war. What if all the world's military could resolve conflicts through music and not by playing with other people's lives? An intriguing short musical documentary, where an orchestra plays solemnly while shocking footage of post-war ruins appear on screen. An unambiguously pacifistic message is conveyed by every shot.
A documentary short about a Szczecin nationalist who led the 2014 Warsaw March of Independence, which involved the most serious riots in the event's history. A documentary short about a Szczecin nationalist and the 2014 Warsaw March of Independence that he lead, and which witnessed the most serious riots in the event's history. The protagonist is head of his division of Młodzież Wszechpolska Szczecin, which formed the 23rd Guard Platoon of the March of Independence and was positioned in the front lines. A short film about an individual losing their voice in the crowd.
A documentary about two employees of a Sliseian dissection lab: the elder has more professional experience, and the younger is not yet entirely familiar with the secrets of harvesting organs. The film shows them during their work in dissection-rooms, as well as during conversations about this distinctive profession. The younger man has a son, from whom he has been concealing the drastic details of his work for a long time. He has a dream – to spend his vacation in the Seychelles. The elder man relaxes after work thanks by skiing and spending time in his beloved dovecot.
Aleppo is a city in north-western Syria, located about 50 km south of the border with Turkey. Today it is considered to be the most dangerous and restless city in the world. Its inhabitants live in a state of constant fear and threat. Their existence can be compared to sitting on a time bomb. Juuso Lavonen and Vesa Rajala have produced an unusually disturbing short documentary about a Syrian-born Finnish citizen who delivers humanitarian aid to the city's children. It would be no exaggeration to call him a “secular saint.” The film is an unforgettable journey into the heart of true hell.
Zakrzewo – a village located 10 kilometres from Złotów. After Poland regained its independence in 1918, this rural area became German territory. The rest of the region remained Polish territory. The village was home to only 4 German families, all other inhabitants were Polish. It was not until 1929 however that it was permitted to open a private Catholic school with Polish language. Before the Second World War Zakrzewo was called “Little Warsaw.”
This 15-minute documentary film shows a typical day of mister Henryk. For the first time, however, something exceptional happens – something our protagonist will never forget. The film is set in contemporary Szczecin. Its director is Krzysztof Kuźnicki, known Szczecin-based director and culture animator. In 2011 it was him who initiated the creation of the Kamera Association, which successfully popularises film art in the West Pomerania region.
An ordinary neighbourhood in an ordinary town. Two women sit on a sofa and scratch their pregnant bellies. Four days till the due date. The situation is as unbearable as it is unavoidable. It’s simply intolerable. Masturbation isn’t an option, the clitoris can’t even be reached, and the boyfriend is absent, but he’s boring anyway. The only advantage in having another child is that one no longer has to play with the first one. Artist and filmmaker Joanna Rytel uses claymation to candidly address questions and situations that usually go unnoticed.
As a young girl, Monica used to dream of becoming a hairdresser. Unfortunately, her life went differently from what she had planned. Things went wrong. She became a victim of human trafficking and has been forced into prostitution. In the form of an intimate interview, the picture tells her dramatic story. The film is based on a real conversation.
“We need to talk” is a very intimate and moving documentary film made in the classic “talking heads” convention. The director has created his work from a series of personal messages by people who have recently lost someone very close and, with the help of the camera, are trying to talk to the dead as if they were still alive. The film medium becomes a form of self-therapy for the participants. Jędrzej Michalak presents portraits of people who had been struck by death and live in its shadow, making them very believable psychologically. This has resulted in a picture that talks about life where death is a natural, unavoidable, and traumatic event. Sooner or later, everyone will need to face it and go through several obligatory emotional stages such as denial, anger, sorrow, and, finally, acceptance.
The Kępisty Quarter vocalist, enchanted by Prague, came up with a music video with dolls. Her elder sister, a vibraphone player, joined in. Director Szymon Nygard took the challenge. As freshly as a newcomer he went on to discover more and more of the unruly, chimerical Szczecin – “the most important dot on my world map.”
A horrifying story about lonely siblings in a mysterious forest. There are demons, possession, incest, and death. There is a lot to fear. The film has been presented at the IIK!! horror film festival in Finland.
Everyday, many people around the world close their eyes never to open them again. In Eastern Europe there is a holiday dedicated to them – Pastele Blajinilor. It is a blend of two traditions: Christian and pagan. People visit the graves of their dearly departed and hold feasts as if the dead were still with them. In recent years this form of celebrating has been criticised in the media, some of its elements being vulgar and grotesque. But what if we were to look a little deeper? Olga Lucovnicova has made an amazing documentary film that makes the viewer familiar with this peculiar tradition.
Paulina Skibińska’s film is an interesting mixture of documentary film and experimental elements. The director creates a unique depiction of a search that is taking place in-between two worlds – an ice desert and an underwater world. The entire story is told from various perspectives: from the view of the rescue team, of the diver who enters the ice-covered reality, and of the ordinary people waiting on the shore. The rare juxtaposition of images establish the pace and extraordinary atmosphere of the film. The picture has been produced as part of the „Pierwszy Dokument” program and has been screened at many international and Polish festivals (Camden, Saint Petersburg, Sundance Film Festival, Wrocław, Poznań).
An ascetic story, one that captivates with beautiful cinematography, of a young man who decides one day to commit suicide in verdant surroundings. The director has created a fascinating, mysterious film, which keeps escaping any poetics- or genre-related classification. Is this a documentary, a feature, or an experimental film? Or maybe it is made up of parts from all these categories? The film was directed by Maciej Jarczyński, a young and talented director from Chojnice, whose earlier, short documentary film “85625” (2014) was presented in Cannes and in Los Angeles.
At a marketplace in Yerevan, an immensely charming merchant takes us on a remarkable journey and shares not only his fruit and vegetables, but most of all – his story. Accompanied by birds we discover this man’s extraordinary life filled with almost all the colours of Armenia. The French director, in a fascinating and nearly fable-like way, has blended documentary film and animation, and the result also features elements specific to travel films.
Tommy and Monika are having a picnic in the nature on a beautiful summer’s day. Everything seems perfect harmony. As if the birds were singing just for them... but soon the picnic shall become more and more confusing for Tommy.
Szczecin, August 30th 1980. Some of the most important workers' protests in the Polish People's Republic are coming to an end. The reporter visits one of the largest companies in Szczecin and talks to the protesters. The Stocznia im. Adolfa Warskiego (shipyard), Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Miejskiej (city transportation company), Stocznia Remontowa Parnica (ship repair yard), Zajezdnia Tramwajowa (tram transportation company), Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Oczyszczania (municipal cleaning service)... A year later the reporter finds those same people and together they analyse the time that has passed.
A documentary narrated by a person from the so-called underclass. The protagonist tells his life story, which includes a period at an orphanage, at a juvenile detention centre, and at a correctional facility. The film is about the life of someone uncertain of their tomorrow, lacking faith in the possibility of improvement.
Love is a net that traps the mind but she’s not the only one. Vittoria, the protagonist, learned to make fishing nets as a very young girl and now – from the perspective of old age – she is trying to tell us that we all swim in a sea that is full of them. These nets are the social norms, the toxic relationships, and our own preconceptions, among other things. How do they determine our lives? Where do we go when we need to gasp for air? Gloria Kurnik and Giulia Di Battista have made a highly original and philosophically rich documentary film.
In this country you are obliged to prove your sexual orientation in order to avoid military service. If one is feminine enough for the decision-makers, one can be certified as having a mental disorder that makes you unfit for the military (the word “rotten” in Turkish is used to describe these people). This short documentary film, a poignant satire aimed against a conservative society, received the award for best Balkan film at DocuTiFF in Tirana (2016). The director proposes a very interesting and somewhat snide look at a society that stigmatises homosexuals.
Images from the Californian landscape pass by at a very slow pace, reminiscent of Scandinavian film noir. Shot on 16mm, the multifarious environment seems to be a place that functions outside the realm of time. Fragments of recognition and memory are resurrected by revisiting locations that have "played" other parts of the world in early Hollywood films. Echoes of classical films are heard within a collage constructed of audio fragments that were once recorded in the Californian landscape.
It's a movie about people living close to the ground, and about clouds which turned into sheep – a movie about the beauty of our countrymen, about the joy of being yourself, and a little bit about love...
“Shoulder the lion” is a film that crosses the boundaries of the traditional language of film. The result is a visually rich film essay touching upon the problems such as the meaning of images, of the evanescence of our memories, and the need that we all have to understand the modern world. The film’s creators take us into the fascinating world of three artists: a photographer, a musician, and a painter, who have lost the sense enabling them to create their art. The picture poses weighty questions concerning the role of art in modern, uncertain times. The film has successfully been shown at many international festivals, where it was awarded as the best documentary (Hot Springs, Salem Film Fest, Trenton Film Festival). Before the screening, however, the viewer needs to reject the classic style of film perception.
The film is about a family from Gaza that enters social conflict right after the war. Everything in the surroundings has changed – the buildings don't look like they used to, and neither do the people. Mohammed Almughanni's documentary film is an interesting and dramatic depiction of life in the Gaza Strip. It is also an intimate portrait of the family of Wael and Isra Alnamla, who have been psychologically scarred by the war. The entire conflict is portrayed through their eyes. The film is a Polish-Palestinian co-production.
The people of the Black Sea region are different. The hard and unusual conditions of life are dictated by the wilderness. Existence is a real challenge that takes place between two vast spaces: the sea and the sky. Some of the inhabitants have exciting ideas and create all sorts of inventions. Bilal Atasoy, 83, is a retired religious leader living in an amazing, complex house on a cliff, and he feels as if living in the sky. Metin is 57 and lives in Çamlıhemşin (a town in the Rize province, Turkey) with his family. There is a river between his house and the road; the man crosses it by using an iron wire. He knows that it’s dangerous, but he is unafraid and sees it as completely normal. “Sıra Dışı İnsanlar” takes us into the world of extraordinary people and picturesque locations.
“Six degrees of separation” is the theory according to which we are all connected by 6 steps of acquaintance or less. This documentary constitutes an insightful observation into a small-town society and puts this theory to the test. It also takes us on a trip through the States, one that we are unlikely to have ever experienced. What is important here are the chance encounters that determine the path one will be taking. Trond Kvig Andreassen’s film is amusing, full of accurate observations, although it is occasionally cruel.
With a sadness to his voice and darkness to his face, 42-year-old Haider tells the story of his life in captivity during the 1991 Iraqi rebellion. Saddam Hussein had but recently deserted the war and left the war-stricken nation at its knees. While the past may be gloomy and filled with pain, Haider keeps positive and hopes that his children will lead a safe and dignified life here in Denmark.
The film is a record of family life as seen by the son, a cinematographer. It was made in the author's home and pictures the conflicts between the mother and the son. During frequent arguments the parents speak straight to the camera.
“The Burden of Proof” is a mid-length documentary film that depicts the complicated European procedure of obtaining refugee status by immigrants. Nations that acknowledge the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have the moral obligation to provide asylum to all who suffer oppression. Unfortunately, practice is much less optimistic. Numerous countries come up with complex procedures that make it difficult to accept foreigners, who are often treated as intruders.
“The Deal” is a short animated story about arranging marriages in the 1950s and 60s set in the eastern Polish borderland. The script is based on a part of Mikołaj Smyk’s diary - the author’s grandfather. The objects used in the animation, such as an authentic headscarf, Polish and Russian books, the copy of Mikołaj Smyk’s diary and photographs help situate the story in its original environment and express the atmosphere of the times. The film is a very personal contemplation on the intricacies of memory and the items that evoke memories.
In 1973 Carl Sagan, renowned American astronomer and promoter of science, created a special plaque for NASA which was to help in space exploration during the Pioneer 10 mission. It was the first message of humankind addressed to extraterrestrial civilisations. Today, four decades later, the world is composing a new collective message. Boris Kozlov’s film is a rare combination of documentary, animation, and experimental film, which may intrigue not only the lovers of astrophysics. The picture has been presented at many international festivals (USA, London, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico).
While the film’s cinematography shows a landscape which often seems unchanged, the narration reveals fragments of forgotten stories and traditions, abilities, and professional life, which are no longer valued in modern society. In Piotr Pasta’s film we meet aged people from the Scottish-English border city of Berwick-upon-Tweed, who are at the end of their life’s journey. We do not see them, but we do hear their voices. The film connects accounts of oral history, archive materials, and new film footage.
Just like the memorable Alice in Wonderland from Lewis Carrol’s classic, seven-year-old Nelly paces the Polish land right by the river Bug. For Nelly, the landscape of this uncanny borderland river becomes an unforgettable place of play and numerous new experiences. One day an incredibly important and “adult” question is born in the girl’s mind: what is freedom, what does it mean, and what are its boundaries? The key to the answer is held by her little two-year-old brother.
Belgian artist Louis de Cordier has bought a piece of land located above the snow line in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain. De Cordier wants to build an underground library and a seed bank for genetically unmodified plants. The location at 2000 metres above sea level, minor temperature fluctuations and dry climate slow erosion down. The architecture of the buildings has been inspired by the design language of Buckminster Fuller, American architect and theoretician. An intriguing documentary with elements of experimental film.
The film talks about the experiences tackling the issues associated with paranormal phonomena. In this picture, the creators have used audio reportages about refugees staying in the European Union. In an unconventional way the film connects elements of the ever-so-fashionable found footage style (in a way that exhibits a hint of parody) and of mystery film. Fans of “The Twilight Zone” or “The X-Files” will not be disappointed. References to supernatural phenomena and popular productions do not lack ironic perspective.
The bullet holes of war are omnipresent. Especially now, when Germany is becoming a magnet thst attracts war refugees, these scars should be reminded of. Mute stones suddenly start screaming and bursting into the modern, peaceful reality of Berlin. It transpires that the echoes of the Second World War can still be heard in the streets of the German capital. In a very evocative way, using digital effects, the film shows how history influences present times.
Memories from remote times, the ghost towns of the American West are full of stories and legends. “West Empire” is a short documentary film which takes the viewer deep inside the hearts of these cities bonded with the mining era, where few people still live. The inhabitants of these areas located throughout American deserts exist beyond time. Their only priority is the search of freedom. In the film we will listen to the stories of these people, their frank confessions provoking reflection upon the mechanisms that govern modern society. What characterises the film are the beautiful shots of American outskirts, and Western-like stylistics.
“Wreck” was made in 2014-2015 at a refugee boat graveyard on Lampedusa, an Italian island believed to be one of the most wonderful nuggets of the Mediterranean Sea and a symbol of European paradise. It is an uncanny story about a strange metamorphosis, where garbage becomes useful. A story about useless objects that unexpectedly gain value.
“Perserverance” is a story about Ben Barenholtz, legend of American independent cinema. We all know his biography – for instance, we know that he authored the idea for the famous Midnight Movies and produced the film “Barton Fink” by the Coen brothers. But what has determined his life? The answer can be found in a small Ukrainian village – the place where he was born.
A film about desire, perversion, and concealed cravings, but also about the essence of man – the crossing of boundaries, and about our secret fascination with killers. The film juxtaposes two intriguing taboos: sex and death. Does the dark fascination with serial murderers tell us something relevant about ourselves? Through the character of Joachim Knychała, who in 1975-1982 murdered five women, we look at those whose life had been marked by the famous “vampire of Bytom.” Among them we can find ex-journalist Edward Kozak who, although of considerable age, openly admits to his various obsessions. Thanks to the film about the “vampire” he can once again enjoy the warmth of the spotlight.
In this intimate and experimental film, we meet the Danish-Turkish writer Ayse Dudu Tepe (Dudu) and her friend, filmmaker Lea Hjort Mathiesen. A seemingly harmless conversation between the women paves the way back into the home where Dudu grew up. In a rare mix between cinema and poetry, “My Desert Island” tells the story of a woman having to flee her family and cultural identity in order to build her own.