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The 50th krakow film festival begins

On Monday, 31st May, begins the 50th Krakow Film Festival. The jubilee edition will last until Sunday, 6th June. These seven days will be filled to the brim with film screenings, concerts and exhibitions.

The festival revolves around three competitions. The winners will receive statuettes and prizes in money. The pool of prizes comes to as much as 250 000 PLN. In the international Documentary Competition the films compete for the Golden Horn, in the international Short Film Competition the highest award is the Golden Dragon, whereas the winner of the National Competition receives the Golden Hobby Horse.

These three competitions are judged by three different juries. This year, their work is headed by Marian Marzyński, a double laureate of the first international edition of the Festival for  ‘Return of the Ship' in 1946, Krzysztof Zanussi, a director, scriptwriter and film producer, and Maciej Drygas, a documentary films director, laureate of numerous awards, film teacher. They are accompanied by: Nati Baratz (Israel), a writer, director and film producer, the winner of the Golden Horn for ‘Unmistaken Child' at the 49th KFF; Martichka Bozhilova (Bulgaria), a producer, director of the Balkan Documentary Centre in Sofia; Barbara Hollender (Poland), a journalist, film critic, columnist of the ‘Rzeczpospolita' newspaper; Borys Lankosz (Poland), a director, the author of the often awarded ‘Reverse'; Georgi Lazarevski (France), a cameraman, independent photographer working for humanitarian organisations in Sarajevo, Baghdad and Mali; Todd Luoto (USA), a director and shorts programmer at the Sundance Festival; Krystian Lupa (Poland), a theatre director; Andrzej Pągowski (Poland), graphic and poster artist; Grażyna Torbicka (Poland), a journalist, film expert and the creator of ‘I Love Cinema' (a weekly programme dedicated to cinema running in the Polish television for 13 years); Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, a scriptwriter and director of feature films and documentaries.


The Dragon of Dragons, a prize for lifetime achievement which has been a part of the festival for 12 years, this year goes to Jonas Mekas, the forerunner of the American film avant-garde, a friend of such personalities as John Lennon or Andy Warhol. On the occasion of the Festival's anniversary, Dragon of Dragons award-winners from the previous years come to Kraków: Raoul Servais, awarded in 2007, a renowned Belgian animated filmmaker, and Jerzy Kucia, awarded in 2009, one of the most appreciated internationally Polish animated filmmakers. The Award Ceremony and the screening of the laureate's films takes place on 1st May (Tuesday), 6 P.M.


On the preceding day, the 50th Krakow Film Festival Opening Gala takes place (Kijów. Centrum Cinema, 31st May, 6 P.M.). During the opening, one of the Documentary Competition entries will be presented- the comedy thriller directed by Jerzy Śladowski, ‘Two Rembrandts in the garden'. The film unfolds the vicissitudes of a Jewish family from Łódź, which is looking for a pre-war treasure, currently on the army grounds.


The special guest of the festival is the Israeli cinema - the organizers, inspired by the last year's knockout (Israeli films: ‘Unmistaken Child' and ‘Pizza in Auschwitz' won both of the international competitions) and by the growing popularity of this country's cinema, decided to focus on films created in the Holy Land. ‘Focus on Israel' section includes the screenings of 8 most recent documentaries (all produced on 2009), which will give us an opportunity to get acquainted with the phenomenon of their success. This phenomenon will be further discussed by the Festival guests (directors, film producers, distributors).


Altogether, over 250 films will be screened at the Krakow Film Festival. Apart from 3 competitions, there are 14 thematic sections, including: the most recent films - ‘Krakow Documentary Premieres', films about music and musicians - ‘Sound of Music', a review of the best films of the last 50 years - ‘Top Ten Krakow', a selection of the most interesting films from other film festivals - ‘Festival Award Winners', a selection of the most recent Polish productions - ‘Panorama of Polish Film', a cycle about extraordinary ordinary people - ‘Somewhere in Europe', the Asian Cinema - ‘China Day', as well as an original night screening of remarkable video clips - ‘Music Videos Night'.


The audience of the Krakow Film Festival knows well that the event is not all about screening rooms. The 50th edition will be accompanied by two exhibitions - prepared in collaboration with Krzysztof Dydo's Poster Gallery, an outdoors retrospective of the festival poster at the Szczepański Square (1st to 6th June) and a photography exhibition of Marcin Sauter (the International Cultural Centre, 25, the Main Square, 31st May to 6th June). The oldest photographs at the exhibition were taken during film workshop within the Russia-Poland. New Gaze Project in Moscow, in 2005. Since then, the documentarian has used his camera ever more often.


Also at the Szczepański Square, there will be placed a huge screen, on which you will be able to see energetic music documentaries - the leading part played by rock, heavy metal, Gypsy and Cuban music.


The special event of the Festival is a gala concert taking place on 5th June in the finest hall of Krakow - the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. The concert is going to be played by Motion Trio, famous accordion virtuosos, and a 25-person young accordionists orchestra from Koszalin. The event is the Polish premiere of ‘Motion Accordion Orchestra' project.


The festival finishes on 6th June with a Gala hosted by Wojciech Mann (a Polish music journalist). The award ceremony is preceded by a short recital by Tomasz Stańko - one of the most famous Polish jazz musicians.


However, before the final arrives, the audience of the 50th KFF will be meeting, traditionally, in Kijów.Centrum, Mikro, Pod Baranami and Sfinks cinemas and, for the first time, in the ARS cinema; whereas the professionals from all over the world will join events taking place in the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology (Dragon Forum workshops and pitching) and, also for the first time, in the International Cultural Centre, where the Krakow Film Market, conferences and workshops for professionals moved from the National Museum. Tickets (price: 10, 12, 40 PLN) and festival passes (40, 70, 130 PLN) are available at the festival cinemas.


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