Although the festival continues online until June 18, we already know the winners of the 63rd edition of the Krakow Film Festival. There are several Polish productions among those that triumphed in the international competitions.

The undisputed winners of this year's Festival edition were Tomasz Popakul and Kasumi Ozeki, whose animated short Zima was awarded top prizes in two competitions: the International Short Film Competition (Golden Dragon) and the National Competition (Golden Hobby-Horse).  Reminiscent of a horror film in a magical realism convention, the animated film was also awarded by the student jury. The juries appreciated the film “for its chilling atmosphere, technique, and consistency in developing its voice in Polish animation”, as well as for its “beautiful imagery underlined with mesmerizing sounds”.

The award for the best European film went to Szymon Ruczyński for the animated film There Are People in the Forest (Poland). The film was thus given the chance to win a nomination for the European Film Award in the short film category. “Its simple style of design and animation and humanist message about how little it takes to be human, gave us a moving experience,” explained the international jury chaired by Jan Naszewski.

The jury of the National Competition sat in two groups and judged feature-length documentaries and short films separately. Among the short films, apart from the aforementioned Zima, Golden Hobby-horses were given to Mateusz Pietrak for the documentary Basia: Three Short Stories “for a poignant and warm – but far from sentimental – portrayal of the fear of loneliness that particularly affects the oldest among us” and Michał Toczek for the fiction film Be Somebody “for creating an entertaining and sensitive exploration of the icons and myths of Polish history, which is sorely lacking in today's Polish cinema”. Basia: Three Short Stories also received the Award of the President of the Polish Filmmakers Association for the best film editing.

Directed by Małgorzata Kozera, Faces of Agata was named the best Polish feature-length documentary. “A film that is brave, difficult, painful, soothing, delightful with colours, imagery, and the determination of its heroine.” The jury of the National Competition – short film consisted of: Jagoda Szelc – chairwoman, Damian Kocur, and Joanna Wendorff-Ostergaard. The documentary section consisted of: Maciej Cuske – chairman, Maciej Kubicki, and Ita Zbroniec-Zajt. Paweł Hejbudzki received an Honorable Mention in this competition for Early Apex, also awarded with the Best Cinematography Award under the patronage of The Polish Society of Cinematographers funded by Black Photon.

The Maciej Szumowski Award for remarkable social awareness, under the patronage of the Society of Authors ZAiKS, went to Dariusz Janiczak for the film Who Will Clean Your Windows? “for a discreet yet intimate observation and for skilfully establishing a relationship with the protagonists and putting the camera in their hands to broaden our empathetic view of a world that needs our careful attention.”

Krakow Film Festival is on the exclusive list of qualifying events for the Oscars® in the categories of short film (live action, animated, documentary) and documentary feature, as well as a recommending event for the European Film Awards in the same categories.

Krakow Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation.

The awarded films will be screened on Sunday, 4 June in the Małopolska Garden of Arts.

For the full jury verdict and a detailed programme of screenings, see: www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

Until June 18, all competition films from the Krakow Film Festival program, as well as the special film series Watch Party – curated by Typowy Jędrzej – are available online on the KFF VOD platform.

The 64th Krakow Film Festival will take place from 26 May to 2 June 2024.