First of all, I have to say that the whole experience has been very positive. Not only I enjoyed the Film Festival, but also the city of Kraków.
Due to problems with the airlines, I had to arrive to Kraków before the scheduled day. Anyhow, one of the personal in charge of guests, Urszula Szandula, came to pick me up to the airport and went with me to the hostel I had booked during the extra days. I took advantage of the free time and I visited the town before the festival and got to know some of the places where the screenings would take place.
On 28th May, the 57th Kraków Film Festival officially started. I got my accreditation and a festival bag with film catalogs, a notebook and a case with pens. I met also the rest of the FICC Jury members: Sylwia Hamerska and Samiran Biswas. Both of them were very nice people. We had been presented our “jury assistant”, Joanna Wagner, who was always at our disposition to help us and go with us to the different screening places. The same day, we went to the first screening of short films and, of course, to the Opening Ceremony, which took place in a very beautiful and big cinema and included the screening of the documentary film The Beksińskis, A Sound and Picture Album. Moreover, we had the reception at the City Hall. There, I could meet part of the professional jury of our same category, International Short Film Competition, specially Álvaro Yebra (Spain) and Mario Micaelo (Portugal), two charming men with interesting backgrounds.
On 29th May, we had the toughest day: we went to a lot of screenings. However, I wasn’t tired enough so I continued going to screeningsof other categories. Then I discovered that I appeared (with my “super” English accent) in a presentation video that they recorded the day before where I was interviewed! Also, I tried to escape from the reception event planned (as optional) to go to watch a session of the Focus On Germany non-competitive category, and I don’t regret it because I liked a lot.
On 30th May, we had also a busy day with rain included (until then, we had had sunny days). We were guessing that the decision of the winner would be difficult. The level of the shortfilms was very high. In the evening, we could assist to a ceremony of the Dragon of Dragon award (animation films), a very emotive moment with two old famous Polish directors on stage, Witold Giersz and Daniel Szczechura. Later, we had the Animation category reception event where I established friendship with two Spanish directors who presented a featured documentary film the following day about flamenco dance.
On 31th May, we had our last session of short films screenings. The moment arrived, we had to choose which of all the short films would be the winner of the Don Quijote Prize. Surprisingly, we didn’t have a lot of difficulties to agree and reach the final verdict. We chose Retouch, an Iranian fiction film by Kaveh Mazaheri, that showed us an accident among a normal three-member family living in Teheran. We liked it for several reasons: the main idea of the story was very interesting and with cultural and social debate, the cinematography was awesome and the actors’ performance was very good. Moreover, the story had touches of black humour, that made the rhythm more dynamic. Asking the director, he told us that he tried to focus in “something that a lot of oppressed women would like to do or to retouch of their lives”. Also, we decided to give a mention to a documentary short film called The origin of the trouble, by Tessa Louise Pope, because we thought that she made interesting a story of a common family with a very dynamic and powerful editing. While watching it, we wanted to know more and more about them and their relationships, like on a TV soap opera. We empathized strongly with the interviewer on the film, who was a former character (at the same time, being the director).
In the evening, we all went to Alchemia, a musical bar in the Kasimierz Jewish district of Kraków which still maintains part of the original Jewish kitchen. It was the moment also to say goodbye to the people we met, hoping to see them again in the future.
Eva Campos Suárez of Xiscnèfil cineclub