Winners of the 57th Krakow Film Festival were announced on June 3. The festival is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The festival’s international jury awarded a selection of the best documentary, short, and animated films that screened in six Krakow cinemas throughout the week.

The closing ceremony, hosted by journalist Brian Scott, was attended by Magdalena Sroka, General Director of the Polish Film Institute, and Andrzej Kulig, Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow.

Golden Horn Award for Dum Spiro Spero

Top laurels in the International Documenatary Competition went to Dum Spiro Spero, a film by acclaimed Croatian writer Pero Kvesić. “As long as I breathe, I have hope,” reads the Latin phrase in the film’s title. This film is an expression of that hope by an artist struggling with a serious lung disease. This record of his daily struggle is a type of vlog filled with self-mockery and witty comments on the subject of life and death. The jury, led by Paweł Łoziński, presented the prestigious Golden Horn Award to the director “who shows to us the beauty of life and love, finding in himself the courage to deal with his own mortality in a way [that] is full of humour and dignity.”

The Silver Horns for medium-length and feature-length documentary went to Audrius Stonys for Woman and the Glacier (Lithuania, Estonia) and to Lissette Orozco for Adriana’s Pact (Chile) respectively.

Golden Horn for En La Boca

The winner of the International Short Film Competition, the oldest section at the festival, was the Swiss-Argentinian documentary En La Boca, a poignant testimony of a mother’s love for her son. The jury, led by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, presented the director with the Golden Dragon award for “the realistic and respectful depiction of the intimacy between family members, living in poor and dangerous conditions.” The film was also nominated for the European Film Awards in the short film category.

The Silver Dragons are presented to the best short films at the festival, representing all film genres of the competition. The Silver Dragon for best documentary went to Tessa Louise Pope for The Origin of Trouble (Netherlands). The best animated film award went to Zbigniew Czapla’s Strange Case (Poland). The Silver Dragon for best short feature film went to Kaveh Mazaheri for Retouch (Iran).

Best Music Documentary: When God Sleeps

The best music documentary film and subsequently winner of the Golden Heynal award, voted by a Jury led by Gitta Gsell (Switzerland), is the American-German documentary film When God Sleeps; a film about the life of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi who has had a fatwa issued against him for insulting Islam. This film is the portrait of a restless artist who has to live in hiding and often change his appearance, but nonetheless does not stop playing music. “This moving story, together with the lyrics of the songs and the tension and rhythm of the film, allowed to create a masterful music documentary film, which absorbs the viewer from the very beginning to the end,” said head of the jury Gita Gsell while speaking on stage.

Golden Hobby-Horse for The Ugliest Car in the World

The Golden Hobby-Horse in the Polish Competition went to Najbrzydszy samochód świata (The Ugliest Car In The World) by Grzegorz Szczepaniak – a documentary road movie, a funny and heartwarming story of an extraordinary relationship between mother and son, who travel through Poland and Germany in order to recreate the events from the past. The jury, led by Dariusz Jabłoński, recognised the film for depicting “moving and full of warm-hearted humour scenes between son and mother during their tender journey by the most beautiful of vehicles.”

The award for Best Polish Documentary went to Obcy na mojej kanapie (Stranger On My Couch) by Grzegorz Brzozowski. The Silver Hobby-Horse for the director of the best Polish animated film went to Zbigniew Czapla for Dziwny przypadek (Strange Case), thus bringing him awards in two different competitions. The award for Best Polish Short Feature went to Damian Kocur for his Nic nowego pod słońcem (Nothing New Under the Sun).

The audience award went to Swedish-Italian director Erik Gandini for his documentary The Rebel Surgeon.

This year marked the third time the Krakow Film Festival, as one of top ten European film festivals, recommends documentary films for the European Film Awards. This year’s official recommendation went to Beksińscy. Album wideofoniczny (THE BEKSINSKIS. A Sound and Picture Album) by Marcin Borchardt, which opened this year’s edition of the festival.

This year also marked the second time that DOC LAB POLAND played an integral part of the Krakow Film Festival’s KFF Industry section, a programme for industry events. DOC LAB POLAND featured awards for documentaries in development and post-production.

Award for Anna Gawlita

This year also marked the sixth edition of the award for best producer of Polish short and documentary films, founded by the Audiovisual Producers Chamber of Commerce. This year’s winner was Anna Gawlita of Kijora Film for two films: Opera o Polsce by Piotr Stasik and Festiwal directed by Tomasz Wolski and Gawlita herself.

During the closing ceremony, the entire audience raised sheets of paper reading “Release Oleg Sentsov” in a gesture of solidarity. Dariusz Jabłoński, head of the Polish Film Academy and deputy head of the European Producers Club, told the tragic story of the Ukrainian director. In 2014, Oleg Sentsov was arrested by FSB officers, accused of terrorism, and sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony. The Polish Film Academy has symbolically taken custody of Sentsov, initiating international efforts and appeals to Russian authorities on his behalf.

Further details about the 57th Krakow Film Festival are available at:

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun