Polish Shorts at Sundance 2018

Three Polish shorts are in official selection at the upcoming edition of Sundance. The event runs from January 18 through January 28, 2018 in Park City, Utah.

Three Films from Poland

Polish cinema will be represented at the 2018 Sundance festival by the following films: Deer Boy, a short narrative by Katarzyna Gondek, Czerń (Black), an animated short by Tomasz Popakul, and Wolta (Volte), a documentary by Monika Kotecka and Karolina Poryzała.

Deer Boy

Katarzyna Gondek’s short film is the story of a hunter’s son born with antlers; a film about customs around killing what we love most. The film stars Janusz Chabior, Katarzyna Śnieżka-Sobiszewska, Eryk Maj, and Mieszko Czachor. Deer Boy is a co-production between Poland, Croatia and Belgium, with Paweł Kosuń and Agnieszka Janowska of Centrala Film as leading producers. Co-producers include Belgian company Bekke Films, Croatia’s Motion – Filmska Udruga, along with Stern Pictures, Alchemiq Studio, Studio Fandando, Studio PUK and The Fridge. The film received financial support from the Poznań Film Commission within the framework of the regional film fund, and from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. At script development stage, this story of half-boy half-deer was at Euro Connection in Clermont-Ferrand, and later at the Nisi Masa European Short Pitch 2016, where Deer Boy received the award for Best Pitch. The film was also part of the Vysegrad Film Forum.

Following Figure, Deer Boy marks Katarzyna Gondek’s second film to screen at the Sundance Film Festival. This is also the third Sundance entry for 1st AD Kasia Szczerba, and second film edited by Jarek Piekarski to screen in Park City. To date, Deer Boy has screened at the Krakow Film Festival and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma – FNC in Canada. World sales are handled by Radiator IP Sales.

Further details about the film are available at www.deerboy.pl.

Wolta (Volte)

12-year-old Zuzia has been training for two years and has been practicing vaulting for a few years. At the start of a new season, it becomes clear that she’s lost some grace and lightness due to a growth spurt.

Another season begins. Other teammates finally admit that Zuzia has grown and they no longer have the strength to lift her in the air. It becomes clear that if Zuzia wants to stay on the team, she will have to find a new role to fill.

The film was produced by Munk Studio. The co-producer and executive producer on Wolta (Volte) was Magdalena Bryk. The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and has received an award at Hot Docs, and been selected to screen at multiple film festivals, including IDFA, Hot Springs, and GZDOC in China.

Further details about the film are available at www.studiomunka.pl.

Czerń (Black)

A Polish-Japanese co-production about a pair of astronauts trapped on an orbital space station due to unexpected nuclear war on Earth. They lost contact with Earth and all attempts to communicate with their base or anybody else have failed. All they can do now is watch the atomic mushrooms exploding across the globe, and try to survive together. Czerń (Black) has screened at 40 film festivals to date.

Tomasz Popakul graduated from the Łódź Film School, majoring in animation and special effects. He also studied screenwriting. He has made eight animated shorts, including Ziegenort, which has screened at film festivals and received multiple accolades around the world. Popakul was a participant in the Animation Artist in Residence Tokyo programme, organised by the Japan Image Council (JAPIC).

Polish Films Awarded at Sundance

In recent years, Polish films have often screened and received acclaim in various competition sections of the Sundance festival. In 2016, the Directing Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition went to Michał Marczak for Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (All These Sleepless Nights) and Córki Dancingu (The Lure) by Agnieszka Smoczyńska received the Special Award in the World Dramatic Cinema Competition. In 2011, Jakub Stożek received Honourable Mention in the short film competition for his short documentary Poza zasięgiem (Out of Reach). In 2015, Paulina Skibińska’s Obiekt (The Object) received the Special Jury Award in the Short Film Competition, while in 2013, the top prize in this category went to Gwizdek (The Whistle) by Grzegorz Zariczny. Also in 2013, Nieulotne (Lasting), a film by Jacek Borcuch, received the award for Best Cinematography in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.

All these films were co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Nieulotne (Lasting) was the second film by director Jacek Borcuch to screen at Sundance; in 2010, Sundance audiences had an opportunity to see Borcuch’s Wszystko, co kocham (All That I Love).

Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance film festival is one of the world’s top events for independent filmmakers. Created by actor Robert Redford, the festival takes place annually in Park City, Utah. The Sundance Film Institute supports independent filmmakers by providing grants for directors, screenwriters and producers, and by co-financing films.

Further details about the festival are available at: www.sundance.org.

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun