9th Off Plus Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema, Krakow
Poland, April 29 - May 8 2016
Netia Off Camera Festival belongs to the most important film events in Poland. In addition to the very obvious reasons – the beauty of Krakow, the old capital of Poland, the excellent organization of the event, coupled with the spontaneous interest of the public at large – the main reason for its success is its richness and the variety of subjects it covers.
The festival program is composed of several intriguing sections: the official competition “Making Way” (introducing films, presented at the biggest festivals like Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam and Sundance ), “Discoveries and Best of Fests” (featuring works of independent, creative spirit and rebellious nature )” US Indies” (consisting of new American independent films, made outside the mainstream ), “So Scary It Hurts” (presenting a collection of unusual horror movies, deviating from the genre conventions). And – last but not least – there is “Breathless”, a program, which captures extreme attitudes, passions and lusts. The programmers have tried to grasp as many aspects as possible of intense human behavior, which tends to often cross the boundaries of social norms.
The urge to reach out for the others, to establish social connection, characterizes the best valued films of the festival. The Grand Prix – Kaweh Modiri’s film Bodkin Ras – is a study of the uneasy confrontation between a traditional community in a small Scottish town, and a young man of Muslim descent. Similar problem is in the center of Dariusz Gajewski’s Strange Heaven (Obce niebo), which reflects on the dramatic conflict between a young Polish couple of emigrants and the Swedish social services. Both films point to the inevitable clash when both sides try to live and act according to their own (but unacceptable for the other) rules.
Among the rating criteria in the festival program one comes across the category “director’s sensibility”, which reflects the difficulties in understanding our world, more specifically the way people go about fining their place under the sun, if such a place still exists. And, as the film selection shows, those who succeed in this harsh endeavor are usually the ones, who open themselves readily to other people (as in Gregory Kirchoff’s Dusky Paradise), while those who fail (as in Nicolette Krebitz’s Wild and in Magnus von Horn’s The Here After/Efterskalv), are unable to do so, thus emphasizing human loneliness comes as a sign of our times (Rafal Marszalek, edited by Christina Stojanova).