January 31 marked the closing of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The festival’s closing ceremony brought awards for two films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The winner of the Directing Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition was Michał Marczak for his film Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (All These Sleepless Nights). Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s Córki dancingu (The Lure) received the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design (the film screened in the festival’s World Dramatic Cinema Competition).

Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary for Michał Marczak

Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (All These Sleepless Nights), photo courtesy of Endorfina Studio

The World Cinema Documentary Competition jury members Mila Aung-Thwin (director and producer), Tine Fischer (founder and director of CPH:DOX) and director Asif Kapadia (nominated for this year’s Oscars for his film Amy) voted Michał Marczak as best director in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

At the awards ceremony, Mila Aung-Thwin called Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (All These Sleepless Nights) “a visually stunning film, pushing the art of nonfiction into brave new territories.” In his acceptance speech, Michał Marczak said: “When you make a movie that’s about feelings and emotions, the most crucial thing is to have beautiful moments within the entire crew. For two years we lived together and lived through all the moments and resonated through them passionately. I love you so much and could never have done this with you, Thank you so much.”

Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (All These Sleepless Nights) was made as a co-production between Poland and the UK, produced by ENDORFINA studio [producer of the award-winning documentary 15 stron świata (15 Corners of the World)] and Pulse Films (producer of 20,000 Days on Earth). The film was co-produced by Telewizja Polska and the Mazovia Film Fund, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, and Brit Doc Circle Fund.

World Dramatic Cinema Competition Special Award for Córki Dancingu (The Lure)

Córki Dancingu (The Lure), photo courtesy of Kino Świat

The World Dramatic Cinema Competition jury members Randall Poster (music consultant who has worked with Wes Anderson among others), film critic Fernanda Solorzano and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (winner of the 2010 Palme d’Or in Cannes) presented the Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design to
Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s Córki Dancingu (The Lure). When accepting the award and emphasizing that Córki Dancingu (The Lure) was her feature debut, Agnieszka Smoczyńska thanked the festival programmers and her crew.

Feature Debut Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute

Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s feature debut was produced by Warsaw’s Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych and co-produced by Telewizja Polska and Platige Image. Co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Córki Dancingu (The Lure) screened in the World Dramatic Cinema Competition as one of twelve films from around the world. The film was released theatrically in Poland on December 25, with distribution handled by Kino Świat.

Polish Films Awarded at Sundance

In recent years, Polish films have often screened and received acclaim in various competition sections of the Sundance festival. In 2011, Jakub Stożek received Honourable Mention in the short film competition for his short documentary Poza zasięgiem (Out of Reach). In 2015, Paulina Skibińska’s Obiekt (The Object) received the Special Jury Award in the Short Film Competition, while in 2013, the top prize in this category went to Gwizdek (The Whistle) by Grzegorz Zariczny. Also in 2013, Nieulotne (Lasting), a film by Jacek Borcuch, received the award for Best Cinematography in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. All the films mentioned above have been co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Nieulotne (Lasting) was also the second film by director Jacek Borcuch to screen at Sundance. In 2010, festival audiences had an opportunity to see his earlier film Wszystko, co kocham (All That I Love).

Sundance IFF

The Sundance festival is one of the world’s top events for independent filmmakers. Created by actor Robert Redford, the festival takes place annually in Park City, Utah (USA). The Sundance Film Institute supports independent filmmakers by providing grants for directors, screenwriters and producers, and by co-financing films.

Further details about the festival are available at: www.sundance.org.