November 22 marked the awards ceremony of the 30th edition of IDFA. Two Polish productions are among the winners of this year’s festival.The IDFA International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam is one of the world’s key documentary film festivals, with an annual audience of over 250,000, including over 3,000 industry guests. Films screened at IDFA often go on to become festival favourites. This year’s IDFA runs from November 15 through November 26, marking the 30th edition of the festival.

“Call Me Tony” Wins Student Film Festival

Jury members Rémi Bonhomme, Sophie Dros and Vincent Moloi selected Call Me Tony as Best Student Film. Call Me Tony is a film by Klaudiusz Chrostowski, student at the Łódź Film School. This documentary follows an 18-year-old bodybuilder who wants to be an actor and strives for the attention of his absentee father. Konrad lives in a mining town in southern Poland. Inspired by actors from action movies, he works on his image, spending endless hours at the gym and he signs up for a bodybuilding competition. All this leads to a breakdown due to an inner conflict between his true self and the version of himself he tries to create to gain the approval of his surroundings. The film was lensed by Michał Łuka.

“Call Me Tony” had its international premiere at the DOK Leipzig festival, also screening in competition.
At last year’s edition of IDFA, the Grand Prize in the Student Film Comeptition went to “Kiedy ten wiatr ustanie” by Aniela Gabryel, while Zofia Kowalewska’s “Więzi” (Close Ties) received the Special Jury Prize. Polish films have often screened in this festival section; in 2013, it was “Nasza klątwa” (Our Curse) by Tomasz Śliwiński, and in 2012 “Rogalik” by Paweł Ziemilski was voted one of top three student films.

“Żalanasz – pusty brzeg” (Zhalanash — Empty Shore) Wins Best Film in Short Film Competition

Jury members Tamás Almási, Gema Juarez and Dana Lixenberg voted “Żalanasz – pusty brzeg” (Zhalanash — Empty Shore), a film by Marcin Sauter, as Best Short Film of the 30th IDFA festival. This marks the film’s third screening in international competition and third award. The film had its world premiere at the Krakow Film Festival, winning the Award of the President of the Polish Filmmakers Association for Best Editing, and received the Golden Frog for Best Cinematography in a Short Documentary last Saturday at the Camerimage festival.

The eponymous Zhalanash is a port town on the now all but dried out Aral Sea. A place between deep waters and vast deserts; once a thriving link in the Soviet economy, today but a shadow of its former glory. Marcin Sauter’s Zhalanash focuses not only on evocative landscapes, but mainly on the lives of people who vested their life hopes and dreams in this place and are now left with their loneliness among beached ships and port cranes.

“Żalanasz — pusty brzeg” (Zhalanash — Empty Shore) was produced by Studio Filmowe Kronika. Marcin Sauter directed and lensed the film.

The 30th IDFA IFF runs through November 26.

Further details are available at www.idfa.nl.