November 25 marked the awards ceremony of the 28th International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). The VPRO IDFA award for Best Feature-Length Documentary went to Jerzy Śladkowski for his film Don Juan.

Success of Polish Filmmakers

While Don Juan itself is a Swedish production, the filmmakers behind it are Polish. The film was directed by Jerzy Śladkowski, lensed by Wojciech Staroń, and edited by Jakub Śladkowski and Agnieszka Bojanowska.

Jerzy Śladkowski is a documentary filmmakers who has made a number of films that have received acclaim at international film festivals.

Bittersweet Tragicomedy

Don Juan is the story of 22-year-old Oleg and his mother Marina, who tries to help him out of his torpor. She believes Oleg is suffering from autism and comes up with various unorthodox ideas for ways to cure him.

According to the jury statement, the film is a bittersweet tragicomedy, showing role-playing in therapeutic theatre games and in everyday relationships in the family. The jury sees Śladkowski’s documentary as being at the same subtle and aggressive, and struggling with the definition of what is the norm, while also highlighting the dynamic correlation between power and love. The verdict emphasises the beautifully sculpted form of the film: the director’s caring point of view is complemented by the film’s empathic cinematography and its sensibility in editing, resulting in a work that, according to the jury, can already be called a classic of the documentary cinema.

The film will screen in the Documentary Competition of next year’s Krakow Film Festival, which place Swedish cinema in the spotlight as a special guest of the festival.

Polish Films at 2015 IDFA

This year’s IDFA lineup featured a number of Polish films. Życie motyla (Life of a Butterfly) by director Piotr Bernaś screened in the festival’s Competition for Mid-Length Documentary, while lineup of the IDFA Competition for First Appearance featured Alisa w krainie wojny (Alisa in Warland), a film by Liubov Durakova and Alisa Kovalenko, produced within the framework of the “Młodzi o młodych” programme, supported by the Polish Film Institute. The festival’s Best of Fests section, showcasing a selection of the best documentary films from other international film festivals, featured Karolina Bielawska’s Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna). Krzysztof Kopczyński’s Dybuk. Rzecz o wędrówce dusz (The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls) screened in the festival’s Panorama. Polish director Hanna Polak was among this year’s Main Competition jury members. 

Further details about Polish presence at IDFA 2015 are available on the Polish Film Institute website: www.pisf.pl

Source: polishdocs.pl.

Translated by Karolina Kołtun