Polish Filmmakers Awarded in Berlin
The creators of El Premio, among them Wojciech Staroń (first from left). Photo by. AKPA
Wojciech Staroń, cinematographer of Paula Markovich’s El Premio (The Prize), received the Silver Bear award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement at the closing gala of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, winning the prize ex aequo with El Premio‘s production designer Barbara Enriquez. In Berlinale’s Generation Kplus, the Grand Prix of the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk for best feature film went to Jutro będzie lepiej (Tomorrow Will Be Better) by Dorota Kędzierzawska. An independent jury also awarded Kędzierzawska the Peace Film Award.
Before the festival, the director of El Premio spoke of her collaboration with her Polish DOP: “Meeting cinematographer Wojciech Staroń was one of the blessings of this project. One day I came across Wojciech’s documentary film. The opening sequence showed children filmed in a unique and beautiful way. I was moved. And happy, because I felt that this is a great artistic encounter. Wojciech’s sensibility gave the film a special touch. El Premio is a Mexican feature, co-produced by Poland, France, and Germany […]. Because the project’s artistic development was largely due to my cooperation with Wojciech, we thought it would be a good idea to look for financing support in Poland. Like the financing by Mexico, Poland’s participation in the project shows great political and cultural openness of the Polish Film Institute. I am very grateful for Poland’s solidarity with the story told in our film.”
The Polish cinematographer was awarded by the International Competition jury. Jury members included: actress Isabella Rossellini (chairwoman), producer Jan Chapman, actress Nina Hoss, actor Aamir Khan, director Guy Maddin, and costume designer Sandy Powell. Wojciech Staroń accepted the award in person, speaking from the stage in three languages in order to thank the festival hosts, the film crew, and his wife Małgorzata Staroń, who acted as El Premio‘s co-producer.
A few hours before the closing gala of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, Dorota Kędzierzawska’s feature Jutro będzie lepiej (Tomorrow Will Be Better) received the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix for best feature film and the Peace Film Award at the closing gala of the Generation Kplus section of Berlinale. The Polish feature was one of 13 titles screening in this section of the festival.
The top award in Generation Kplus known as the Crystal Bear and awarded by the children’s jury went to the Norwegian feature Keper’n til Liverpool (The Liverpool Goalie) by Arild Andersen.
Jury members Rachel Perkins, Mabel Cheung, animation artist Felix Gönnert, 2010 Berlinale’s award-winning director Taika Waititi, and Jonathan Davis awarded Tomorrow Will Be Better for its “beautiful combination of playfulness and humour within a tense story of survival. The film-makers, with assured direction and beautiful cinematography, have crafted a moving story set in a harsh world where children are free to control their lives but not their destinies. With exceptional performances that create light in the darkest of situations, this film impressively sets an intimate and personal story against an important political and social backdrop.”
Kędzierzawska’s Tomorrow Will Be Better also received the Peace Film Award, which is handed out by an independent jury that views films from every section of Berlinale. Jury members included Christoph Heubner, Mehdi Benhadj-Djilali, Monica Ch. Puginier, Marianne Wündrich-Brosien, Maria Francesca Ponzi, Burhan Qurbani, and Helgard Gammert-Jakli. As this independent international jury said in its jury statement: “[…] With haunting and poetical images the Polish film director Dorota Kędzierzawska tells this bitter tale of today’s reality. Through the eyes of the children she unmasks the harsh world of the adults and their self-made constraints.”
In late 2010, Dorota Kędzierzawska received a lifetime achievement award at the 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which also screened a retrospective of six of her films. Tomorrow Will Be Better screened at the Dubai International Film Festival in December.
Translated by Karolina Kołtun