At the 19th Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, Wojciech Staroń received the Jury Prize for Best Cinematographer for his work on Świt (Dawn).

Świt (Dawn) Wins Best Cinematographer Prize

Świt (Dawn), a Latvian-Estonian-Polish co-production directed by Laila Pakalnina, screened in Main Competition at the 19th Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn. The film received the Jury Prize for Best Cinematographer for its director of photography Wojciech Staroń, acclaimed director and cinematographer of award-winning feature and documentary films, including Bracia (Brothers), Argentyńska lekcja (Argentinian Lesson) and El Premio (The Prize). Staroń also lensed a number of films by other directors, most notably Refugiado by Diego Lerman, Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze, Amnezja (Amnesia) by Jerzy Śladkowski, and Czas niedokończony. Wiersze Jana Twardowskiego by Dariusz Gajewski. Wojciech Staroń’s most recent documentary film is currently screening in cinemas across Poland.

Świt (Dawn)

A still from Świt (Dawn), photo courtesy of the producer

The film follows ten-year-old Janis, a scout living on a collective farm (kolkhoz) called ‘Dawn’ in present-day Latvia.  His father, a fervent opponent of the kolkhoz system (and Soviet rule in general), plans to burn down the kolkhoz headquarters. Little Janis betrays his father by turning him in to the authorities. The father retaliates by killing Janis. In this Soviet-era parable, who is good and who is evil?

The film is based on a soviet propaganda story about young scout Pavlik Morozov who denounced his father to the secret police and was later murdered by his own family in revenge. His life story was to serve as an inspiration for all the ‘righteous’ citizens of the Soviet Union.

The Talent Involved

Świt (Dawn) was directed by Laila Pakalnina. The Polish co-producer is Staroń Film, while the Miracle Worker company is the film’s executive producer. The film was lensed by Wojciech Staroń, costumes were designed by Natalia Czeczott, and Polish actor Wiktor Zborowski plays one of the leads. In 2013, Świt (Dawn) was presented at the Baltic Event Co-Production Market at the Tallinn film festival and screened at the Works-in-Progress session at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival.

Polish Films in Tallinn

The lineup of other sections of the Tallinn film festival features a selection of Polish films, including 11 minut (11 Minutes) by Jerzy Skolimowski, Body/Ciało (Body) by Małgorzata Szumowska, Fotograf (The Photographer) by Waldemar Krzystek, Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska, W spirali (Into the Spirale) by Konrad Aksinowkicz, Intruz (The Here After) by Magnus von Horn, Demon by Marcin Wrona, Nadejdą lepsze czasy (Something Better to Come) by Hanna Polak, Droga do Rzymu (The Journey to Rome) by Tomasz Mielnik, and Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain) by Anca Damian.

The complete list of award winners at the Black Nights festival is available at: 2015.poff.ee/eng/festival/awards-2015.

Translated by Karolina Kołtun