We cordially invite you to read the interviews made by the Polish Docs editorial team with the foreign guests of the 53rd Krakow Film Festival.


Dawid Myśliwiec: Which time is it for you at the Krakow Film Festival?

Grit Lemke: I've been coming to KFF for the last few years, it has become one of my favourite festivals.

What was your first impression of this event?

It's the perfect place to meet colleagues from the industry and filmmakers, and to discover amazing films, especially among the Polish documentaries.

How much different is the KFF from the DOK Leipzig festival, which you are co-organizing?

DOK Leipzig is a much bigger event, while the big advantage of the festival here is its' intimate atmosphere. One can have an impression, that you can really meet and talk to anyone here, it doesn't feel fake, which is common at most of the festivals. The formal difference is, that in Leipzig we present just the documentaries and animations, while in Krakow there's room for short feature films too. That's why you can find at the KFF people from the shorts industry, whom you won't be able to meet in Leipzig.

What kind of experience and/or solutions can you take from Krakow to Leipzig?

Maybe the wide possibilities of industry contacts could also work at DOK Leipzig. It's difficult, however, to simply transfer certain solutions, as our festival works in a different way.

How helpful can these festivals be for young documentary makers and their careers?

The festivals can definitely help and not only because they help the filmmakers to become known to the festival programmers and distributors. Above all, they learn how to organize their careers, how to prepare for the festivals, how to work in the industry network etc. In fact, the filmmakers should know these things after graduating film schools, which unfortunately is not happening and that is why they have to learn them in their professional life. They should also take part in festivals whenever they can (even if they're not presenting their own work) and take the opportunity to meet the industry representatives. They should meet with programmers and distributors and just ask questions. If they created a film, they should have a screener with them and make sure, that a subtitled copy of it is available at the video library, as that's where the programmers usually watch the films. It seems like some very basic information, but I met some young filmmakers here in Krakow, who didn't know these things.

What is the future of documentary films? Is people's interest in this kind of films sufficient, for the industry to grow and develop?

When it comes to production, the future doesn't look very good, I'm not worried however about people being interested in this branch of the cinema. We have to be aware however, that the culture of European artistic documentary is outshined by the American, television style of making documentaries. This is something, the festivals in Europe will have to face in the future and it will be a big challenge. Still, it also means that festivals like this one in Krakow, will come to be of much bigger meaning.

Interviewed by Dawid Myśliwiec


Magdalena Ciesielska: How would you rate the Krakow Film Festival?

Veton Nurkollari: Above all, I appreciate the organization of the Krakow Film Festival. One can see, that the programme is carefully prepared. The hospitality, the great festival centre, the big emphasis on the film market, the screenings, contestants and of course the city – all of that makes a really good impression.

Which film section is the most interesting?

All sections, competetive and non-competetive ones, are interesting. It's a big plus that on one hand, you can see this year's best films in the Documentary Competition and on the other, such sections as Focus on Switzerland or the Dragon of Dragons for Paul Driessen allow you to broaden your horizons. In addition, you have the amazing quality of the screenings, even in small screen rooms, which is why it's a pleasure to watch every film.

In comparison to other international festivals, how does the KFF look?

KFF already has its' reputation and anyone, who's involved or interested in the documentaries knows about the event. The Dragon of Dragons Award is the evidence for its' level, as it's a guarantee that every year we'll be able to meet an outstanding personality, a person with unique achievements, who is recognized in the whole world.

And how would you rate the Polish films at this year's KFF?

Actually, I haven't seen many of the Polish films. Two interesting projects by the Łozińskis took part in the Documentary Competition. They are authors known in the whole Europe. In general, Polish documentaries are among the best in the Old Continent. Your documentary tradition is long and rich.

Which festival would you recommend to the documentary lovers?

I'm very much fond of Play-Doc, which takes place in March in Tui, a small and cosy town in Spain. These places are good for festivals.

Interviewed by Magdalena Ciesielska    


Magdalena Ciesielska: What in your opinion brings the documentary lovers to the Krakow Film Festival?

Patricia Drari Rønde: It's an event, where you can see a lot of great Polish documentaries. That is why I'm here. Also, Krakow is a great place for this kind of events. The city gives the festival a certain rhythm. People can talk with each other, meet international guests.

How would you rate the presented films?

Many of them have been a positive surprise. I've also seen many interesting projects at DOCS TO GO! After what I've seen, I'm sure there will be some great films to see in the future.

What Polish films have drawn your attention?

 As for specific titles, I liked 'A Diary of a Journey'. Films like that are the evidence of the power of Polish documentaries. A year ago the authors showed this project at DOCS TO GO!. At that time, I already thought it would be a good film. And I wasn't wrong.

Interviewed by Magdalena Ciesielska


Daniel Stopa: The first things that come to your mind, when you hear about the Krakow Film Festival?

Kate Garner: Only nice things. An impressive number of films and a very high level. The festival's politics, the emphasis on the current issues, on film production, the atmosphere and the city – all that is definitely on the positive side.

Every year you go to many festivals. What makes the KFF different?

It's worth mentioning, that the KFF draws a great attention of film producers and institutions supporting the directors. It's very important for the filmmakers, both the ones who have already achieved something, as well as the beginners, as it gives them a chance to be noticed. It's also good for the festival, because everyone is making an effort to show their films here, the projects they're currently working on. It creates something along the lines of a film market.

There's a special area dedicated for film professionals. What do you think about it?

There's always not enough time in these official meetings to ask about everything. Fortunately, one can find the producers' photos in the catalogue, so it's possible to talk to them not only during the appointed meetings, but also in the more informal way.

What specific films did you like at this year KFF?

'A World Not Ours' – it's a very intensive, moving picture, which provides a completely different view on a widely discussed subject. 'Camera/Woman' is another film that caught my attention (by the way, there was an interesting discussion after the screening). At first, I thought that 'A Diary of a Journey' will be a story strictly about Polish culture and discovering this country. But the account of Tadeusz Rolke and his pupil Michał enriches this documentary, makes it universal, accessible also to the international audience. 'The Father', 'White Black Boy', 'In the Darkroom' – these films I will also remember for a long time.

What is your view of the documentary industry? What should it be like, to keep the audience interested?

The competition is big and it's hard to get the funding. Really, your project has to be unique to draw attention. 'A World Not Ours' tells a story of a camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. It's a popular subject, but the director talks about it in a completely new, fresh way, therefore making a unique film. Many projects I've seen at DOCS TO GO! also had a unique feature. It's important for the filmmakers to focus on the story they want to tell and to find the appropriate style to do it. If they do that, I'm sure the audience will like what they will make.

Interviewed by Daniel Stopa