We have great news from the Astra Film Festival in Romania. The documentary by Łukasz Kowalski has just received the Best Documentary from Central and Eastern Europe award.

The Astra Film Festival has been organised for almost 30 years. It began as a festival dedicated to ethnographic and anthropological films, only to grow over time to become one of the most important documentary festivals in this part of Europe. It is one of the few documentary film festivals to boast financial support from the Media Desk program. This year's edition began on 9 October and ended on 16 October. 

The winning The Pawnshop is a moving, humorous story about people who fight for their own survival while helping those in even greater need. Jola and Wiesiek are a couple of eccentric businesspeople from Bytom. Together with three employees, they run what is probably the largest pawnshop in Europe. However, it's well past its prime due to mines closing in the vicinity and rising unemployment. With less and less means to live, the citizens of the “Polish Detroit” try to pawn increasingly obscure and useless items. Wiesiek's crazy marketing stunts do little to help the failing business and neither does Jola's tender heart, who supports their customers not only with a good word but also with hot soup or a warm jacket. Although the pawnshop brings losses, it becomes an important spot for the local community. Soon, however, it teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, putting Jola and Wiesiek's relationship to the test. In the face of impending disaster, the owners will make one last attempt to save their business and love.

More information about the festival can be found here.