Krakow Film Festival 2010
Krakow Film Festival is one of the oldest film event dedicated to documentary, animated and short fiction films in Europe. During 7 festival days viewers have an opportunity to watch about 250 films from Poland and abroad. Films are presented in competitions and in special sections like retrospectives, thematic cycles, archive screenings. Festival is accompanied by exhibitions, concerts, open air screenings and meetings with the filmmakers. Every year Krakow Film Festival hosts about 500 Polish and international guests: directors, producers, film festival programmers and numerous audience from Krakow.
Krakow Film Festival is the oldest film festival in Poland, organized every year since 1961 as the national short film competition, later also an international one and finally only international, made a successful comeback as a double-barreled event once again in 1997.
In order to simplify the operation of the Festival as well as the overly complex numbering, we have decided to inaugurate in 2001 both competitions under a common name: Krakow Film Festival. The Krakow Short Film Festival is among Europe's oldest events dedicated to documentary, animation and other short film forms. In the course of decades the Festival has become well-established among similar world events, vying for primacy with the Oberhausen festival in the 1960's and 1970's. It was in Krakow that the outstanding Polish documentary makers such as Krzysztof Kieślowski, Wojciech Wiszniewski, Andrzej Fidyk and Marcel Łoziński began their career. It was also here that the famous directors of animated films, including Ryszard Czekała, Jerzy Kucia, Julian Antoniszczak, Piotr Dumała and Zbigniew Rybczyński, winner of the Academy Award for the film Tango, made there debut.
Yet, such renowned documentary and animated filmmakers were not the only ones to participate and win prizes in Kraków, for the international festival laureates included also numerous artists who made their names as feature film directors: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Werner Herzog, Zoltan Huszarik, Jaromil Jireś, Claude Lelouch, Patrice Leconte, Mike Leigh and the recent Oscar laureate, Jan Sverak.
In the early 1990's, due to the political and economic transformations which caused a drastic decline of film production, the Krakow festival went through a crisis, as a result of which the national competition ceased to be organized for a number of years. It was only in 1997 that it was restored and since then both festivals have been held jointly every year in late May and early June.
Since 1999, however, the event has differed from the former short film festivals. First of all, as the documentaries produced by television channels are longer, the maximum statutory footage of films screened in competition runs was extended from 30 to 60 minutes. In consequence, the festival was renamed the International and National Documentary and Short Film Festival. The new name legitimizes not only the ever stronger position of the documentary among non-feature film genres but also the tendency to favour documentary films in the competition, which has been noticeable at the Krakow festival since the very beginning. It might be interesting to know that non-documentary films won only a few times in the thirty six international competitions, and just once in the thirty two national festivals (in the latter case it was Julian Antonisz's animation "Ostry film zaangażowany" in 1980).
In 1998, after the fashion of major feature film festivals, Krakow Film Festival has announced an international life achievement award, called the Dragon of Dragons Special Prize. Its first laureate was Bohdan Kosiński, a distinguished Polish documentary maker, in 1999 the prize was awarded to the classic of Polish animation, renowned all over the world, Jan Lenica. In 2000 the Dragon of Dragons went to the French documentary maker Raymond Depardon. The laureate of 2001 was Jan Svankmajer – the main representative of the modern surrealism. In 2002 this award went to Werner Herzog - a remarkable German filmmaker and in 2003 Stephen and Timothy Quay, one of the most original makers of animated puppet films received it. In the following years the award was also presented to Albert Maysles, the legend of the American documentary filmmaking and Yuri Norstein, the master of Russian animation. During next edition of the festival great Polish director – Kazimierz Karabasz was honored with Dragon of Dragon Award. In 2007 the life-time achievement Award was presented to Raoul Servais – one of the most outstanding directors of animated films. Year 2008 brought Award for Allan King, remarkable Canadian documentary filmmaker. During 49th KFF Jerzy Kucia, one of most famous Polish animation filmmakers, was honoured.
The unique character of the Krakow Festival derives not only from the programme of the competition screenings, the Dragon and Hobby Horse prizes awarded by both the International and Polish jury, the FIPRESCI and the FICC awards or numerous other prizes granted outside festival regulations, but also from the programme of accompanying events. In the past the most important of those was the annual Oberhausen in Kraków screening, which testified to the world status of the Krakow Festival. In later years screenings of films presented at other festivals, including those of Annecy, Grenoble, Leipzig, Tampere, Drama, Clermont-Ferrand, Jihlava, Berlin were organized. The Krakow Festival also featured retrospectives of national cinematography and artistic schools (such as the Zagreb school of animation) as well as of outstanding directors: Norman McLaren, Fiodor Chitruk, Roman Karmen, Jerzy Bossak, Kazimierz Karabasz and Piotr Kamler.
Recently the number of the accompanying events has grown considerably. Apart from the retrospectives dedicated to the works of the Dragon of Dragons Special Prize laureate, the festival features also screenings of the most recent documentaries which have not made it in time for the competition, reviews of films directed by the Jury members and posthumous retrospectives of the works of distinguished directors as well as presentations of animated and documentary film producers, including - more and more frequently - various television channels. In 2005 the first edition of Kids Fest was organized in frame of Krakow Film Festival. This presentation of the films foe children was very successful and will be continued year by year.
Every year in the special programme we present more and more long-featured documentary films. It is a strong point of our festival programme which adds to the growing attractiveness of the event. Our audience got used to the traditional cycles which are presented every year, like: Sound of Music, Krakow Documentary Premieres, Reflections, Students' Etudes Night, Annexes, retrospective of the Dragon of Dragons' laureate.
In 2007 Krakow Film Festival has announced a new competitive section presenting feature – length documentaries. The idea of this section came out of the changes in the world documentary industry and increased interest in feature – length documentaries which was observed in previous years. The audience of Krakow Film Festival have always favoured off-competition screenings presenting those documentaries. That's why the organizers of the Festival did not hesitate to bring to life new section. Ten films, selected from amongst 200, competed for the Golden Horn during the 47th KFF. The Grand Prix has been presented to Jeroen Berkvens from Netherlands for his film „Jimmy Rosenberg – the Father, the Son and the Talent".
The fact that the Krakow Film Festival has been officially recognized by FIAPF, the European Film Academy and the AMPAS only confirms its reputation and high esteem it's field in; consequently, the films awarded at Krakow are automatically eligible for the European Film Awards and the Oscars in the short films categories.