Saturday October 15 marked the awards ceremony of the 32nd Warsaw Film Festival. The ceremony was held at Warsaw’s Złote Tarasy cinema. Winners include Polish filmmakers Anna Zamecka, director of Komunia (Communion), Bartosz M. Kowalski , director of Plac zabaw (Playground), Tomasz Gąssowski, director of Baraż (Play Off), and Agnieszka Elbanowska, director of the documentary Pierwszy Polak na Marsie (First Pole on Mars).

International Competition

The International Competition jury members Ralitza Petrova (Bulgaria), Maria Sadowska (Poland), Bence Fliegauf (Hungary), Mehmet Can Mertoğlu (Turkey), and Rodrigo Plá (Mexico) presented the following awards:

  • Warsaw Grand Prix, the grand prize in the International Competition, funded by the City of Warsaw, went to Malaria, directed by Parviz Shahbazi (Iran);
  • The Award for Best Director went to Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson for Heartstone (Iceland, Denmark);
  • The Special Jury Award went to actor Ahmad Thaher for his role in Blessed Benefit, directed by Mahmoud al Massad (Jordan, Germany, Netherlands, Qatar);
  • Special Mention went to actor Baldur Einarsson for his role in Heartstone, directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Iceland, Denmark).

1-2 Competition

Jury members Iza Igel (Poland), Julia Sinkevych (Ukraine) and Reza Dormishian (Iran) presented the 1-2 Competition Award to:

  • „Toril”, directed by Laurent Teyssier (France).

“For a very mature debut, for the quality of mise-en-scene and impressive structure of the screenplay. For the brilliant implementation of symbolism into the storytelling.”

Special Mentions:

  • Plac zabaw (Playground), directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski (Poland),
  • Quit Staring at My Plate, directed by Hana Jušić (Croatia, Denmark).

Free Spirit Competition

Jury members Katia Priwiezencew (Polska), Philip John (UK) and Stefan Uhrik (Czech Republic) presented the Free Spirit Award to:

  • The Giant, directed by Johannes Nyholm (Sweden, Denmark).

“We chose, as our winner of the Free Spirit Competition, a film that is courageous in its subject matter, confident in its defiance of convention, and yet still delivers a big heartfelt message behind a deceptively simple story.”

  • Special Mention went to Anomia, directed by Vladimir Kozlov (Russia).

“The film shows that an independent Russian cinema able to speak openly, in an uncompromising and radical way about moral decay, still exists.” 

Documentary Competition

Jury members Pietra Brettkelly (New Zealand), Wojciech Kasperski (Poland) and Žiga Virc (Slovenia) presented the award for Best Documentary to:

  • Komunia (Communion), directed by Anna Zamecka (Poland).

“In front of the camera we fell in love with 14 year old Ola, her strength and power in this intimate film of tragedy and comedy. Behind the camera we the Jury applaud Anna Zamecka whose strong filmic decisions reveal the flaws of our society.”

  • Special Mention went to An Insignificant Man, directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla (India).

Short Film Competition

Jury members Gunhild Enger (Norway), Klara Kochańska (Poland), Yordan Petkov (Bulgaria) and Eddy Schwartz (Bulgaria) presented the following awards:

  • Best Short Film, winner of Short Grand Prix: Pierwszy Polak na Marsie (First Pole on Mars), directed by Agnieszka Elbanowska (Poland).

“For a risky formal idea on the borderline of the genre, the result being an ironic film offering a brilliant commentary on Poland but also on the absurdities of the modern global world, in which the protagonist from a small village in Central Europe wants, literally and metaphorically, to launch himself into space.”

  • Best Animated Short: The Talk. True Stories About the Birds and the Bees, directed by Alain Delannoy (Canada).

“The prize for the best animation is awarded to a very entertaining film, about the highly existential subject matter [of] sex. The jury is impressed by the versatile style of both the animation and story telling, blending elements from documentary and fiction with a beautiful and imaginative drawn hand, guiding us though “The Talk” over and over again. Leaving the audience with a revealing selection of weird, scary and embarrassing ways of telling your son about The Birds and The Bees.”

  • Best Live Action Short: Baraż (Play Off), directed by Tomasz Gąssowski (Poland).

“For a grounded, convincing portrait of a relatable character’s struggle with love, life and the game of growing up.”

  • Best Documentary Short: Love Bite: Laurie Lipton and Her Disturbing Black & White Drawings, directed by James Scott (UK).

“An intimate peek into a beautiful mind, delicately introducing the audience into the subject’s world which is as complex and as fascinating as the art she creates.”

  • Special Mention: Fabricated, directed by Brett Foxwell (USA).


The FIPRESCI jury members Marcin Adamczak (Poland), Alberto Castellano (Italy) and Jan Schulz-Ojala (Germany) presented the award for Best Debut from Eastern Europe to:

  • Godless, directed by Ralitza Petrova (Bulgaria).

“A stunning debut: “Godless” tells a complex story full of existential issues without lecturing the audience at any time. The Jury also appreciated the inspiring ending – open for various interpretations (which is always a sign of superior artistic quality) – and the impressive acting of Irena Ivanova in the main role.”

The Young FIPRESCI jury members (participants of the FIPRESCI Warsaw Critics Project) Flavia Dima (Romania), Alexandra Gabrižová (Slovakia), Paraskevi Karageorgu (Bulgaria, Slovenia), Natalie Movshovych (Ukraine), and Zuzana Sotáková (Slovakia) presented their award to:

  • Hristo, directed by Grifor Lefterov, Todor Matsanov (Bulgaria).

“For the very realistic and unusual way of portraying the reasons behind poverty and homelessness, even if one struggles to escape it. A study of the injustice of modern society, where the most vulnerable are neglected and an example of brilliant use of an authorial cinematic language to tell a compelling universal story in a debut feature.” 

Ecumenical Jury Prize

Jury members professor Mariola Marczak (Poland), Ingrid Ruillat (France), Jan Piotr Michałowski (Poland / France) presented their award to:

  • Heartstone, directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Iceland, Denmark).

“For the vast expression of childhood, close to nature in a remote village of Iceland. Turning teenagers in beautiful landscapes, two boys, linked by a strong friendship, have their feelings evolving to find their personal identity. Reflecting the contemporary society, their relationship will have to get along with their family members and friends, boys and girls…and gossips going on. In a delicate way, the film proves the human ability to rebirth.”


The NETPAC jury members K. Hariharan (India), Dr. Tilman Baumgaertel (Germany) and Marcin Krasnowolski (Poland) presented the award for Best Asian Film in WFF lineup to:

  • Blessed Benefit, directed by Mahmoud al Massad (Jordan, Germany, Netherlands, Qatar).

“For its depiction of the marginalised, confined for small crimes and how mutual trust, wit and humour bring out the human soul despite the grim settings.” 

Audience Award

Winners of this year’s WFF Audience Award were as follows:

Feature Films:

  • My life as a Courgette, directed by Claude Barras (Switzerland, France).

Polish film Wspomnienie lata (Memories of Summer) by director Adam Guziński placed ninth.

Documentary Films:

  • Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor (UK).

Polish film Komunia (Communion) by director Anna Zamecka placed second.

Short Films:

  • Greetings from Kropsdam, directed by Joren Molter (Netherlands).

Films for Children:

  • short film – Pan Toti i czarodziejska różdżka (Mr. Toti and the Magic Wand), directed by Grzegorz Handzlik, Jaroslav Baran (Poland);
  • feature film – Louis & Luca — The Big Cheese Race, directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen (Norway). 

based on the press release