Polish filmmakers are once again among the winners of the Silver Eye Awards, which are presented annually at the closing ceremony of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival in the Czech Republic. The winning films were selected among documentaries screening at the East Silver Market.

The winners receive a cash prize of 1500 euros and year-round festival service within the framework of East Silver Caravan. This year, eight Polish films were nominated for the Silver Eye Awards.

Best Short Documentary

The winner of the award for Best Short Documentary was Ślimaki (Snails) by Grzegorz Szczepaniak, a 29-minute documentary about Andrzej who decides to start a snail farm along with his friend. Although they have zero experience, they believe in their project. Then Grzegorz Skalmowski, the ‘Snail King’ from Pasłęk, comes to their rescue, giving them valuable advice. While working on building their farm, the men discuss life, death, love, friendship, which quickly turn into the essence of the film, and the snail itself becomes a symbol of rebirth and eternal life.

This documentary was produced by Wajda Studio and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Jury members Isis Graham (Influence Film Club, Szwecja), Diane Henderson (Edinburgh IFF, United Kingdom) and Melissa Lindgren (Tempo Documentary Festival, Sweden) recognized Grzegorz Szczepaniak with a Silver Eye Award for being “told with respect to its characters whose passion — “joie de vie” — shines through.”

Best Mid-Length Documentary

The top prize in the mid-length documentary category went to Aleksandra Maciuszek for her film Casa Blanca. Casa Blanca is a small fishing village on the Gulf of Havana. Nelsa and her son Vladimir, who has Down syndrome, share a tiny room in an overcrowded multi-family building. Vladimir is the ailing Nelsa’s only caretaker; Nelsa is the only person to watch over Vladimir, who tends to get into trouble. Their relationship is filled with conflicts: Nelsa tries to control her son, while he prefers to spend his time with the local fishermen, helping them at work, having fun, and drinking rum. Every day, Nelsa wanders the streets of Casa Blanca in search of her only son, who never comes home early.

Jury members Sara Garcia Villaneuva (Play-Doc, Spain), Maja Lindquist (Doc Lounge and Nordisk Panorama, Sweden), Stuart William Sloan (Second Chance Cinema, United Kingdom) recognized Aleksandra Maciuszek for “a film that portrays the love between a son and a mother who are equally depending on each other; a fresh take on a traditional story told in a very subtle and clever way.”

Casa Blanca was produced by Kijora and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.This marks the second Silver Eye Award for Aleksandra Maciuszek; in 2013, she received the award in the Best Short Documentary category for her film Sceny sprzed (Previous Scenes).

The complete list of Silver Eye Award winners is available at www.eastsilver.net.

Translated by Karolina kołtun