Polish Films Succeed in Batumi
Scratch by Michał Rosa voted best feature. Agnieszka Smoczyńska chosen best director in the Young Filmmakers competition for her Aria Diva. The Batumi International Art House Film Festival (BIAFF) in Georgia that took place on 21-28 September 2009 was a great success of Asian and Polish cinema.
At no other international film festival abroad has Polish cinema been so widely represented. This year, as in previous years, the Polish programme was prepared by Andrzej Słowicki, the honorary president of the legendary Kwant film discussion club. He also served as the festival’s curator, along with Michał Bogucki. The festival was sponsored by the Polish Film Institute and the Batumi city hall.
The Jury, presided by Jos Stelling from the Netherlands, voted Scratch by Michał Rosa the best feature film of the main competition. The film was presented by its editor, Krzysztof Szpetmański. Another feature in the main competition was the Polish-German co-production 33 Scenes from Life by Małgorzata Szumowska.
The documentary competition included the Norwegian-Polish co-production Yodok Stories by Andrzej Fidyk.
The Young Filmmakers competition jury, presided by Irakli Kvirikadze (Georgia), awarded the prize for best director to Agnieszka Smoczyńska of the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing for her film Aria Diva. The opening film was the documentary Andrzej Wajda: Let’s Shoot! By Maciej Cuske, Thierry Paladino, Marcin Sauter and Piotr Stasik. This film was also produced by the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing.
Other films shown in the Young Filmmakers competition included several productions of the Łódź Film School: Significant Others by Dara Van Dusen, Where the Sun Doesn’t Rush by Matej Bobrik and Luxus by Jarosław Sztandera. Also screened was Glass Trap by Paweł Ferdek, produced by the Polish Filmmakers Association.
A special event during the festival was the celebration (together with regional and municipal authorities) of Krzysztof Zanussi’s 70th birthday and 50th anniversary as a filmmaker. The films Essential Conversations – Krzysztof Zanussi by Stanisław Zawiśliński (co-directed by Sławomir Rogowski) and A Warm Heart by Krzysztof Zanussi were presented by their respective authors.
The opening of the Krzysztof Kieślowski Rediscovered exhibition was attended by Krzysztof Zanussi, Kieślowski’s producer; Stanisław Zawiśliński, author of Kieślowski’s biography; and Mieczysław Kuźmicki, head of the Museum of Cinematography in Łódź. Photos for the Krzysztof Kieślowski Rediscovered exhibition were provided by the Museum of Cinematography in Łódź.
The Masters Collection section of the festival included Three Colours: Red by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 4 Nights with Anna by Jerzy Skolimowski, Sweet Rush by Andrzej Wajda, as well as the Golden Classics collection of documentaries by Jerzy Bossak, Władysław Ślesicki, Ludwik Perski, Kazimierz Karabasz, Jerzy Hoffman and Edward Skórzyński, as well as The City with No God, the new documentary by Jacek Petrycki.
The celebration of 60 years in business for the Warsaw-based WFDiF film studio was attended by the studio head Włodzimierz Niderhaus and cinematographer Jacek Petrycki.
Winners of the 4th Batumi International Art House Film Festival:
The Jury: Jos Stelling (Netherlands) – Head of Jury, Nana Jorjadze (Georgia), Manijeh Heckmat (Iran), Kamila Kuc (UK/Poland) and Aleksandr Shpilyuk (Ukraine) awarded the following prizes in the Main Competition:
Grand Prix – Opium War by Siddiq Barmak, Afghanistan, 2009
Best Feature Film – Scratch by Michał Rosa, Poland, 2008
Best Documentary Film – Letters to the President by Petr Lom, USA/Norway, 2008
Best Director – Vasili Sigarev for Volchok, Russia, 2009
Best Male Actor – Parviz Parastui in Twenty by Abdolrea Kahani, Iran, 2009
Best Female Actor – Megi Kobaladze (Georgia) in Autumn by Özcan Alper, Turkey, 2008
Special Jury Prize – The Living by Sergey Bukovski, Ukraine, 2008
Special Mention – Zift by Javor Gardev, Bulgaria, 2009
Special Mention – Women from Georgia by Levan Koguashvili, Georgia, 2008
The BIAFF organizational committee also awarded lifetime achievement awards „for contribution to the development of the art of cinema” to Jos Stelling (Netherlands) and Mikheil Kobakhidze (Georgia). A special prize for “contribution to the development of film production” was awarded to Włodzimierz Niderhaus (Poland).
The Young Filmmakers competition Jury: Irakli Kvirikadze (Georgia) – Head of Jury, Galina Cherniak (Ukraine), Ramtin Lavafipour (Iran) and Kote Takaishvili (Georgia) awarded the following prizes in the Young Filmmakers competition:
Grand Prix – One Day After 10th Day by Narges Abyar, Iran, 2008
Best Feature Film – Because There Are Things We Never Forget by Lucas Figueroa, Spain
Best Director – Agnieszka Smoczyńska for Aria Diva, Poland, 2007
Special Mention – Bloessam by Tess Löwenhardt, Netherlands, 2009
SANGUKO Film Studio “the new vision” Award – The First Film by Panah Panahi, Iran, 2008
Source: BIAFF 2009
Translated by Karolina Kołtun