48th International Short Film Festival Cracow
Poland, May 30 - June 5 2008
The Cracow Film Festival, one of the most important European festivals, which specializes in documentary, animation and short fiction, started in 1961 as Poland’s national short film competition, and later became an international one. The trend of the competition films to grow longer in the course of the years necessitated the establishing of a competition section for feature-length documentary, which appeared for the first time in 2007.
This year’s 48th festival edition offered 111 films presented in three sections: the National Competition, which included 42 films competing for the Golden Hobby-Horse award; the International Competition — 57 films, contesting for the Golden Dragon, and the 12 feature-length documentaries struggling for the Golden Horn prize. The FIPRESCI and the FICC awards apply to the international competition. Furthermore, the Cracow Film Festival belongs to the fourteen festivals throughout Europe which are entitled to give The Prix UIP (United International Pictures) and thereby to make nominations for The European Film Award in the short film category. This year’s Prix UIP went to Time Is Running Out (UK), honoring the apocalyptic spirit of Marc Reisbig’s depressing animation.
Besides the three competitions, the festival has a rich program of accompanying events: The Cracow Film Market, the biggest film market for documentary and short film in Central Europe (this year with 550 titles from all over the world), an extensive retrospective of Polish animation films which have been awarded at previous festivals, international film sections such as the “Cracow Documentary Premieres”, “Sound of Music”, as well the cycle entitled “Looking at …” presenting the national cinemas of different countries. This year — Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Cuba, and a special focus on the German cinema.
Since 1998, the Program Council of the Cracow Film Foundation has granted the special lifetime achievement award — the Dragon of Dragons Special Prize. This year it was presented during the opening ceremony of the festival by Andrzej Waida to the Canadian director Allan King, considered to be one of the founding fathers of cinéma verité, and also called “the master of the intimate portrait”. The awards ceremony was accompanied by a retrospective of King’s films and a master class held by the laureate.
The 48th Cracow Film festival was rich in awards — 27 including the honorary diplomas. The Golden Dragon for best international film went to the Spanish short fiction Lightborn (Alubramiento) directed by Eduardo Chapero-Jackson, a meditation on an extraordinary aspect of human dignity, the right to an undisturbed and peaceful death. The Golden Horn for the best feature-length documentary distinguished a co-production, Revue (Predstvlenye), directed by Sergey Loznitsa, already a laureate of the Golden Dragon for his picture Blockade (2005). His new film is a reconstruction of the Soviet era completed from fragments of archive material.
The highest prize in the Polish competition, The Golden Hobby-Horse was presented to the director Andrzej Dybczak for Gugara, a story about the disintegration of a small Siberian community. On the other hand, the most awarded film at this year’s festival edition was Viola Sowa’s Refrains (Refreny), with the Silver Dragon for the Director of the Best Animated Film in the international competition, The Silver Hobby-Horse for the Director of the Best Animated Film in the national competition, and the FIPRESCI Award. Our jury’s decision was inspired by “the individual expression, the original imagination and the artistic perspective” shown in this 13-minute long animation. (Ingeborg Bratoeva)