8th OFF plus CAMERA - International Festival of Independent Cinema

Poland, May 1 - May 10 2015

The jury

István Szathmáry (Hungary), Tadeusz Szczepanski (Poland), Mike Naafs (The Netherlands)

Awarded films

Now in its 8th edition, the PKO Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema is located in the old Polish city of Krakow. This city caters for two large festivals within a month: at the end of May, Poland’s oldest festival, the Krakow Film Festival, will take place, focusing on documentary, short fiction and animation. But PKO Off Camera is much younger and concentrates on fiction cinema. During its ten days, the city was flooded with activities. There were screenings on boats and by the river, music performances everywhere, debates, a film “town” for actors’ improvisations, industry workshops, special screenings with Stellan Skarsgård, and much more.

The festival offers several side programs. “From the Gut” focuses on recent US indie cinema, “Catching Up” and “Best of the Fest” introduce the latest festival favorites to the Polish public, and “Loudly Moving Pictures” showcases nine music-themed films.

There are two competitions. One is for the latest Polish feature films – which turned out to be a broad category, since it included films by the Russian director Aleksei German Jr (Under Electric Clouds) and the Dutch-Polish Ursula Antoniak (Nude Area). The main criterion is that the films are financed by Polish production companies.

The FIPRESCI jury focused on the main competition, called “Making Way”. This year”s competition was very strong, with at least five excellent films: the strange detachment of Magical Girl, the powerhouse performances of Grassland, the compassionate treatment of dementia in Key House Mirror, and the magical realism of Ixcanul Volcano. These films all reflected the festival’s main objective – to be independent! – at its best. But in the end, there could only be one winner: Sworn Virgin, the debut feature of Laura Bispuri. (Mike Naafs)

OFF plus CAMERA – International Festival of Independent Cinema: