The lineup of this year’s 20th Busan International Film Festival in South Korea features five films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Polish Films in World Cinema Section

The World Cinema section of the Busan IFF, which showcases 50 films from outside Asia, will include three films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute: 11 minut (11 Minutes) by Jerzy Skolimowski, BODY/CIAŁO by Małgorzata Szumowska, and Król życia (King of Life) by Jerzy Zieliński.

11 minut (11 Minutes)

photo by Robert Jaworski, Skopia Film

The same eleven minutes in the lives of various protagonists are shown through parallel storylines. Before the last second of the eleventh minute is up, their fates are brought together by an event that will have a huge impact on their lives. The film was written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, lensed by Mikołaj Łebkowski, and features performances by Andrzej Chyra, Dawid Ogrodnik, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Agata Buzek, Jan Nowicki, Piotr Głowacki, Richard Dormer, and Ifi Ude.

International Co-Production Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute

11 minut (11 Minutes) is a co-production between Poland and Ireland; the film was produced by Skopia Film, co-produced by Element Pictures, Telewizja Polska, Orange, HBO, and Fundacja Tumult, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Eurimages, and the Irish Film Board. 11 minut (11 Minutes) will have its world premiere screening in Main Competition of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, followed by a screening at the 40th Toronto IFF.


photo by Michał Englert

The screenplay for BODY/CIAŁO was written by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert, who also lensed the film. BODY/CIAŁO stars Janusz Gajos, Justyna Suwała and Maja Ostaszewska, with supporting performances by Tomasz Ziętek, Ewa Dałkowska, Adam Woronowicz, and Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik. The film was produced by Nowhere and co-produced by Kino Świat, D35 and the Warsaw Mazovia Film Fund. World sales are handled by Memento Films International. BODY/CIAŁO was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and had its world premiere screening in Main Competition at the Berlin IFF, where Małgorzata Szumowska received the Silver Bear for Best Director. The film is also scheduled to screen at the upcoming 40th Toronto International Film Festival.

Król życia (King of Life)

Edward (Robert Więckiewicz) is in his forties, hates his job, and is immune to the outside world. He finds everything irritating. As if he was constantly wearing shoes that were too tight. Mean to his wife, impatient with his daughter, never having any time for his father. One day, his life changes. He suddenly finds himself happy and starts noticing the people and things around him. They say happiness is contagious within a radius of 800 metres. This appears to be true, because Edward certainly has a positive aura about him. What’s more, he achieves this without escaping — he doesn’t go on a round-the-world trip, he doesn’t travel to the Amazon. He stays in his old apartment, he keeps walking down the same sidewalks, meeting the same people, but somehow everything is different. He finds love. He finds the joy of being in the present.

A Film Supported by the Polish Film Institute

Król życia (King of Life) was directed by Jerzy Zieliński, written by Fadi Chakkour, lensed by Jan Holoubek, and produced by Agora S.A. Distribution is handled by Next Film. In addition to Robert Więckiewicz, the film features performances by Magdalena Popławska, Krzysztof Czeczot, Bartłomiej Topa, Jerzy Trela, Jan Peszek, Sławomir Orzechowski, Małgorzata Bogdańska, Piotr Głowacki, Katarzyna Dąbrowska, and Jaśmina Polak. Król życia (King of Life) will be released theatrically in Poland on September 25, 2015.

Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain) in the Wide Angle/Animation Showcase

With a lineup of 72 films, this year’s Wide Angle section has been divided into seven programmes. Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain), a Polish-Romanian-French co-production directed by Anca Damian, will screen in the festival’s Animation Showcase, which features five feature-length animated films. The latest animated documentary by Anca Damian profiles Adam Jacek Winkler, an extraordinary individual. The film was produced by Aparte Films, co-produced by Filmograf, SMF Arizona Productions, the Krakow Festival Office, the Krakow Film Commission, and cofinanced by the Polish Film Institute, Telewizja Polska, KFF, CNC France, CNC Romania, and HBO Romania.

To date, Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain) has received Special Mention at the 50th Karlovy Vary IFF. The film will also screen at the San Sebastian IFF. Anca Damian’s previous film Crulic — Droga na drugą stronę (Crulic — The Path to Beyond) screened at the 2011 edition of the Busan IFF, also in the Wide Angle section.

Crache Coeur (Raging Rose) in the Flash Forward Section

The lineup of 30 films screening in the festival’s Flash Forward section, which showcases first by first-time directors from outside Asia. includes Crache Coeur (Raging Rose) by director Julia Kowalski. Co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, this Polish-French co-production had its world premiere in the ACID section of the 68th Cannes IFF. Raging Rose is a film about the search for family and for one’s place in the world; a coming-of-age story about the strong, ambiguous, and often bittersweet emotions that accompany the period of entering adulthood. Julia Kowalski’s feature is the story of a Polish worker named Józef who travels to France in search of his long-lost son Roman, whom he abandoned 15 years earlier.

Debut Film Supported by the Polish Film Institute

Crache Coeur (Raging Rose) was produced by Maria Blicharska and Monika Sajko-Gradowska of Donten & Lacroix Films and Mina Driouche, Valerie Donzeli and Jeremie Elkaim of Les Films de Francoise. The project was developed with support from the CNC and MEDIA programmes. The film stars Andrzej Chyra and Artur Steranko, and was filmed on location in France and Poland. The project was presented at Polish Days at the T-Mobile New Horizons festival in Wrocław in 2013, and the screenplay was awarded the Sopadin Grand Prize. A year later, the script was awarded in the 2014 Script Pro screenwriting competition, organized by the Wajda School and the OFF Plus Camera Festival. The film had its Polish premiere at the 15th T-Mobile New Horizons IFF in Wrocław in 2015.

Artur Liebhart in the Wide Angle Jury

Head of the Docs Against Gravity film festival Artur Liebhart, Chinese director Haibin Du and Korean director Dong-ryeong Kim are the jury members awarding this year’s BIFF Mecenat Award for two best documentary films (one Korean and one Asian) in the Wide Angle section. The Wide Angle section showcases creative documentaries, animations, short films and experimental films. Two short films will receive the Sonje Award, presented by a separate jury.

Polish Films in Busan

Polish films have enjoyed regular presence in the Busan lineup in the past few years. It was here that Marek Lechki’s Erratum received special mention in 2010. Busan was also the world premiere festival for Wymyk (Courage) by Greg Zgliński (2011) and Miasto 44 (Warsaw 44) by Jan Komasa (2014). Other Polish films in the Busan IFF lineup in recent years include Róża (Rosa) by Wojciech Smarzowski (2011), Mój rower (My Father’s Bike) by Piotr Trzaskalski and Imagine by Andrzej Jakimowski (2012), Ida by Paweł Pawlikowski and Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa. Man of Hope) by Andrzej Wajda (2013).

In 2012, the Busan festival included a Polish Day, during which the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Film Institute organized a conference called “Poland in Close-Up: The Great Polish Masters.”

The 20th Busan IFF runs from October 1 through October 10, 2015. Further details about the festival are available at www.biff.kr.

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun