"Teddy Bear" Wins Off Plus Camera
Mads Matthiesen. Photo by Marcin Kułakowski, Polish Film Institute
Teddy Bear by Mads Matthiesen won the fifth edition of the Off Plus Camera film festival in Krakow. The director received a cash prize of 100,000 US dollars. Agnieszka Odorowicz, General Director of the Polish Film Institute, also presented Matthiesen with a 1 million PLN subsidy from the Polish Film Institute as funding to be used to produce his next film in Poland. The closing gala of this year’s Off Plus Camera festival was attended by Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Teddy Bear Wins Best Picture Award
Jury members Andrzej Żuławski (president of the jury), Colleen Atwood, Josh Radnor, and Tom Kalin, awarded the 100,000 USD cash prize and the “Making Way” competition Krakow Film Award to Danish director Mads Matthiesen, director of the feature film Teddy Bear. The winning film is the story of Denis, a 38-year-old bodybuilder who is having a difficult time forming any relationship with a woman, and dreams of moving out of his mother’s house.
1,000,000 PLN from the Polish Film Institute
The winner of the “Making Way” Main Competition also received a 1 million PLN subsidy from the Polish Film Institute. The grant was presented to Matthiesen by Agnieszka Odorowicz, General Director of the Polish Film Institute. This funding is to be spent on the production of Matthiesen’s next picture in Poland. “It is a great honour to be here today. Thank you for having me and for showing my film. […] I will return here to make my next film,” said Matthiesen. Previous winners of the Polish Film Institute subsidy include Park Jung-Bum (2011), Marek Najbrt (2010), Sebsatian Silva (2009), and Azazel Jacobs (2008).
Top Independent Film Festival Supported by the Polish Film Institute
“This festival focuses on young cinema, independent cinema; it showcases its strengths. […] Off Plus Camera continues to attract a growing number of acclaimed filmmakers. […] I would like to thank everyone who helped make this festival what it is,” said Jacek Majchrowski, mayor of Krakow, during his speech at the festival’s closing ceremony.
The Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage was the guest of honour at the festival’s closing ceremony. “An important festival in an important city, focusing on an important area of filmmaking, […] one that currently determines the number of people involved in the field of culture. The television screen and the cinema screen have become the key magnet attracting audiences to cultural content. I would like to thank everyone who has come to Krakow […] and brought their films, their message, and their sensitivity. I would also like to thank all those who continue to cheer for Polish cinema, European cinema, and world cinema,” said Bogdan Zdrojewski.
“When we first met at the Polish Film Institute six years ago, […] I was presented with an idea for a new, original film festival for young people; a festival that unites filmmakers […] from around the world. I thought then that this would be an extremely difficult challenge […]. Five years later, we now see that this has become a fantastic film event – one that helps promote the good name of Polish cinema […]. I am very grateful for the way this festival promotes Krakow, promotes Poland, and for the fact that it simply is an excellent film event,” said Agnieszka Odorowicz, General Director of the Polish Film Institute, at the closing gala.
100 Films, 300 Screenings
“We have shown over 100 films at 300 screenings. We have had over 200 festival guests. We included all ten [of Krakow’s] local cinemas […]. We would like to thank all our colleagues and volunteers, without whom this festival could never have become what it is. We hope to see you again next year,” said Anna Trzebiatowska, artistic director of the festival.
The fifth edition of the festival was also summarized by Szymon Miszczak: “This fifth edition was very special to us. We opened the festival with a film that is very important to us. Azazel Jacobs, the first winner of the Krakow Film Award, returned to Krakow and opened our festival with his film Terry. […] Many first-time filmmakers came to Krakow, as well as directors that have received acclaim at film festivals around the world,” said Miszczak, director of Off Plus Camera.
Ki (My Name Is Ki) Wins Polish Film Competition
The winner of the Polish Film Competition was Ki (My Name Is Ki), the feature debut from Leszek Dawid. This film, co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, tells the story of a young mother. Despite many obstacles and twists of fate, she tries to make the best of life. The selection was made by an international jury. Jury members included Michael Radford, Oren Moverman, Margery Simkin, Stephanie Zacharek, and James Spring. The film’s director and producer received the Polish Film Nobel Prize, and a cash prize of 100,000 PLN, along with an opportunity for distribution abroad by British producer James Spring.
“It was a very difficult choice, […] but our vote for Best Film was unanimous […]: for the freshness of its style, the originality, and for the great performance of the lead actress,” said president of the Polish Film Competition jury, Michael Radford. “We are very happy. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the making of this film […]. I would like to thank the festival for creating an opportunity to meet and to show our film […]. It makes me very happy to see that this film speaks universal language; a language that is understood by an international jury,” said director Leszek Dawid in his acceptance speech.
FIPRESCI Award and Audience Award
The FIPRESCI award, presented at Off Plus Camera for the second time, went to Electric Children, directed by Rebecca Thomas. This American independent film tells the story of 15-year-old Rachel who lives with her Mormon family somewhere in the state of Utah. The FIPRESCI jury members included Anita Piotrowska, Maricke Nieuwdorp, and Eithne O’Neil.
This year’s Audience Award went to 50/50, directed by Jonathan Levine. The film screened in the “Discoveries” section of Off Plus Camera. The film’s main character is 27-year-old Adam, who writes radio scripts. The director of 50/50 received an award founded by the Plus mobile network operator.
The fifth edition of the Off Plus Camera film festival was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Translated by Karolina Kołtun