15. Gdańsk DocFilm Festival
The fifteenth edition of the International Gdańsk DocFilm Documentary Festival will begin on 31st May and last until 3rd June. Just as last year, the Festival will be held at the European Solidarity Centre in pl. Solidarności 1 in Gdańsk. 260 films from 48 countries were entered for the competition. We received documentaries from the USA, Senegal, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Iran or New Zealand, etc. However, there also are many European entries. We have received productions from Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal or Scandinavia.
The selection committee of the 15th Gdańsk DocFilm Festival has qualified 24 documentaries for the competition. There are 17 foreign films and 7 Polish ones among them, like "Communion" (2016) by Anna Zamecka, "The Gift" by Przemysław Kamiński or Paweł Ziemilski’s "Urban Cowboys" (2016). "Life Animated" (2016) by Roger Ross Williams which was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category will also participate in the competition.
Maciej Pieprzyca – screenwriter and director of feature films and documentaries – will be the head of this year’s jury. For his picture "Splinters", he received an Award for Directing Debut at the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia. His two subsequent feature films: "Life Feels Good" (2013) and "I’m a Killer" (2016) were awarded Silver Lions at the same festival. Maciej Pieprzyca’s documentaries will be presented in the historic Sala BHP of the Gdańsk Shipyard. After the screening of "By Knockout" (1995), "A Legend Will Remain" (1998), there will be z meeting with the director, during which we will talk about his documentary and feature work.
Martina Parenti and Michał Oleszczyk will be the remaining members of the jury. Martina Parenti is an Italian documentary filmmaker who has received many awards at international film festivals, among others for productions like "I promessi sposi" (2007), "L’Infinita Fabbrica del Duomo" (2015), "Spira Mirabilis" (2016). Michał Oleszczyk is a film critic, a translator and an assistant professor of the Faculty of Artes Libertates at the University of Warsaw. In years 2013-2016, he was the Artistic Director of Polish Feature Films Festival in Gdynia. He will give an open Masterclass lecture entitled "From zero to one hundred: the first minutes of the film as an introduction to the story" which will be held in the ESC’s Temporary Exhibition Hall.
This yeer’s festival will be opened by the screening of "the most interesting dance film since Pina" (Variety), which at the same time, has received many audience awards at various international festivals, "Mr. Gaga." This film lets you understand the relation our bodies and their movements have with emotions. The director, Tomer Heymann accompanied the artist for 8 years, to depict his life as well as his amazing evolution as a dancer, an artist and a man. Heymann recorded the choreographer’s private life, the dance group’s rehearsals as well as the classes teaching GAGA – the movement language, which Naharin has developed. It allows anyone to express his or her emotions and overcome their own liitations through dance.
Gdańsk DocFilm Festival has always given its viewers a chance to actively participate in the meetings with Polish and foreign directors. During the festival, there will be meetings with the authors of some of the competition films. Some of them will be present at the festival while some will have teleconferences with the GDFF audience.
The historic Gdańsk Shipyard’s Sala BHP in ul. Popiełuszki 6 will be the location of special screenings. There will be Maciej Peiprzyca’s retrospective and a meeting with the artist. Apart from that, there will be In memoriam screenings of the films by the eminent Polish documentary maker, Irena Kamieńska, who died on 3rd April 2016. After the directors documentaries: "Workers" (1980), "Day After Day" (1988) and "Voices From Far Away" (1992) there will be a meeting with a film historian and theoretician, Prof. Mirosław Przylipiak, a university professor and an author of many publications on documentary cinema.
At the 15th Gdańsk DocFilm Festival we will introduce screenings of short fiction films. This part of the festival will become permanent and next year there will be a special competition for such forms. Between the documentaries, which will compete for the 15th GDFF’s main award, we will present ten short fiction films, including "Sing" by Kristof Deak, the Hungarian 2017 Live Action Short Oscar winner or a Spanish Oscar nominee, "Timecode" (2016) by Juanjo Gimenez. The review will also abound in Polish films. We will see "The Wizard of U.S." (2016), an animated collage which won Grand Prix at Cinemaforum International Independent Feature Film Festival as well as productions by the students of the Gdynia Film School, like the famous "Grandma’s Day" (2015) by Miłosz Sakowski with Anna Dymna playing the main part or "Mother" (2013) by Łukasz Ostalski.
The winner of the competition will receive the Gate of Freedom prize and a financial award of PLN 20 000, funded by Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk. One of the films will also receive the audience award. Just as at the previous editions of our festival, some documentaries will receive special mentions and nominations to the Jan Machulski Young Cinema Award.
See you in Gdańsk!