Polish Filmmakers Win in Locarno

Polish filmmakers were awarded at the 68th Locarno International Film Festival. Wojciech Staroń’s documentary Bracia (Brothers) won the top prize of the prestigious Critics’ Week (La Semaine de la Critique). Mów Mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska received Premio Zonta Club Locarno. Andrzej Żuławski won the prize for the Best Direction for his new film Cosmos.

“Brothers” Voted Best Film in Critics’ Week

Brothers, photo by Wojciech Staroń

This is the second year running that the top prize at Locarno’s Critics’ Week is awarded to a Polish film. At last year’s edition of the festival, the winning film in this section was Zuzanna Solakiewicz’s 15 stron świata (15 Corners of the World), a music documentary about Eugeniusz Rudnik. This year’s winner is Wojciech Staroń’s Bracia (Brothers). The Locarno screening marked the world premiere of this documentary.

“It is the story of two brothers who moved from Kazakhstan to Poland as septuagenarians. They had spent their entire lives together. First, when they were sent to the Gulag camps, then in Soviet Kazakhstan, and now in Poland,” said producer Małgorzata Staroń at the Docs to Go! presentation in Krakow in 2013. Wojciech Staroń added: “This is a film about picking yourself up and starting fresh. But also about finishing; our protagonists are now 90 years old, and what we’re doing is observing what they do, what sets them apart, and what they have in common. That’s what fascinates us. These two brothers are like two halves of a single human being. I discover qualities of each of them in myself.”

Bracia (Brothers) was produced by Staroń-Film and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Telewizja Polska and the Warsaw Mazovia Film Fund. Director Wojciech Staroń is one of Poland’s most acclaimed filmmakers — documentary filmmaker and cinematographer (winner of the Silver Bear award in Berlin). His previous film Argentyńska lekcja (Argentinian Lesson) received over 20 awards around the world.

Prize for Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna)

Call Me Marianna, press materials

Premio Zonta Club Locarno to the film which promotes a better justice and social ethics went to Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska. The film was also presented in Critics’ Week section.

The audience of La Semaine de la Critique also could see Eliza Kubarska’s K2. Dotknąć nieba (K2. Touching the Sky).

All three films screening in Critics’ Week were co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Prize for Andrzej Żuławski

This year the Best Direction Award went to Cosmos – the new film by Andrzej Żuławski, based on a novel by Witold Gombrowicz.

La Semaine de la Critique

Organized annually since 1990, Locarno’s Critics’ Week showcases documentary films and hosts debates on the opportunities and limitations in the work of contemporary documentary filmmakers. This independent section of the Locarno film festival is organized by Switzerland’s National Association of Film Journalists in cooperation with the Locarno IFF director and festival team. The three Polish films screened among seven titles from around the world.

The 2014 edition of the festival also brought special mention of the youth jury for Piotr Złotorowicz and his short film Matka Ziemia (Mother Earth). The film screened in the Pardi di domani festival section dedicated to short films made by film students or independent filmmakers before their feature debut.

The 68th Locarno International Film Festival ran from August 5 through August 15, 2015.

Further details are available at: www.pardolive.ch/pardo/festival-del-film-locarno/home.html.