50th Krakow Film Festival

Krzysztof Gierat and Katarzyna Wilk. Photo by Marcin Kułakowski, Polish Film Institute
Krzysztof Gierat and Katarzyna Wilk. Photo by Marcin Kułakowski, Polish Film Institute

The team responsible for organizing the 50th Krakow Film Festival met with the press on April 28. This year’s Krakow Film Festival will last from May 31 to June 6.


Krzysztof Gierat, the festival’s director, talked about the history and ideas behind the Krakow Film Festival: “Over the past fifty years, our festival was organized annually. There was not even one year’s break. It was first organized in 1961 as the Polish Festival of Short Films. Three years later, in 1964, it became the International Festival of Short and Documentary Films. It is Poland’s oldest event of this kind, and one of the oldest and largest festivals of short and documentary film in the world […]. We make it our effort to ensure that the festival remains a dynamic event in spite of its ripe age. It is a responsibility that arises from the festival’s past. The Krakow Film Festival screened films by such acclaimed filmmakers as Werner Herzog, Passolini, Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, and Andrea Arnold. It was here that the Polish school of documentary filmmaking was born, with Krzysztof Kieślowski among its prominent creators. And it was here that Zbigniew Rybczyński’s route to the Oscars began.


Three competitive sections, 14 themed series, and the Krakow Film Market – these are the tree pillars of this year’s anniversary Krakow Film Festival.


“We tried to share our love for films that represent various genres. They cover a wide spectrum of themes and genres: from political and family-themed films, to comedies and dramas, and even pictures that focus on history. But the key is to always be very close to the protagonist; to always view the world through the protagonists most intimate feelings. Practically every major feature film festival could be envious of the variety of fascinating tales that we will present this year. This year’s themes are: “Our History Relates in Film” and “There Are So Many Stories You Still Don’t Know”. These stories will be shown in all our films, both in and out of competition,” said Krzysztof Gierat.


The festival’s opening film will be the Polish-German co-production Dwa Rembranty w ogrodzie (Two Rembrandts in the Garden) by Jerzy Śladkowski. As the festival director reveals, it will be “a documentary comedy-slash-action-film about the grandchildren of a Jewish family of survivors; they fled Łódź before the start of the Second World War, but they supposedly left behind their treasure. The young people now decide to find that treasure.”


This year’s Dragon of Dragons award will go the American filmmaker Jonas Mekas. This anniversary edition of the festival will screen the twenty best Polish and foreign films in the history of the Krakow Film Festival, as selected by the KFF team, critics, and journalists. These films will form the “Top Ten Krakow” section of the festival. Among selected titles are: Tango by Zbigniew Rybczyński, Chlebnyy den (Bread Day) by Sergei Dvortsevoy, Zánik domu Usheru by Jan Švankmajer, and Siedem kobiet w różnym wieku by Krzysztof Kieślowski. This year’s Polish festival entries include the new films by Paweł Łoziński and Marcin Koszałka, as well as a dozen debut films.


A complete list of films in competition at the 50th Krakow Film Festival is available on the Festival’s official website.


Translated by Karolina Kołtun