Jerzy Skolimowski a winner at New York festival

Four Nights with Anna (Cztery noce z Anną) by Jerzy Skolimowski won the Krzysztof Kieslowski “Beyond Borders” Award at the 5th New York Polish Film Festival.


“The film impressed us with its artistry and austerity, with a masterfully developed narration and excellent cinematography,” said Izabela Kalinowska, the chairman of the jury, which included Czeslaw Karkowski (“Nowy Dziennik”), Zofia Kłopotowska (“Kurier Plus”), Aneta Radziejowska (“Super Express”), Agata Galanis and Charles Silver, curator of the Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).


“Krzysztof Kieslowski, the patron of the festival, did not shy away from asking difficult questions about humanity’s basic tenet,” said Kalinowska. “He often challenged established paradigms of speaking about life, love, violence and death. Skolimowski does the same in his film.”

The Short Film Award went to Wiola Sowa for her animated film Refrains (Refreny) for an “interesting presentation of timeless issues” and engaging the viewer in a contemplation of “the eternal rhythms of femininity”.

Po-lin, Slivers of Memory (Po-lin. Okruchy pamięci) by Jolanta Dylewska won this year’s prize in the documentary category. The jury said that Dylewska’s film presents Jewish society in eastern and southern Poland in a unique way by interweaving home films from the 1930s and contemporary interviews with Catholic Poles, enriched by a voice-over narration that incorporates passages from Holocaust Memory Books.

The jury also gave an honourable mention to Three Buddies (Trzech kumpli) by Anna Ferens and Ewa Stankiewicz for “an inquisitive engagement with the socio-political realities of communist Poland”.

Kalinowska praised the progress of Polish cinematography. “After a period of fascination with Western pop culture, Polish filmmakers speak now with their own voice,” she said. “They focus on problems of their society. … The jury was charmed by the perceptiveness and sincerity with which short and documentary films present contemporary Poland.”

The Audience Award was presented to Drowsiness (Senność) by Magdalena Piekorz.

The gala announcing the winners was held on Sunday at MoMA before the festival’s final screening of Refrains and Four Nights with Anna.

More than 20 feature, documentary and short films were presented at the festival, which lasted from 5-10 May 2009. Festival goers could also meet with the filmmakers, including Anna Ferens and Ewa Stankiewicz, Piotr Szczepański, Dariusz Gajewski, Tomek Magierski, and Magdalena Łazarkiewicz.

The festival was financially supported by the Polish Film Institute.


Translated by Monika Miziniak | Edited by Patricia Koza