In 2018, Polish documentary films were shown at international film festivals over 550 times, winning a total of 74 awards. Polish documentary film was the special guest, among others, at the festivals MakeDox in Macedonia and the Escales Documentaries in France. We would like to invite you to read the summary of the previous year.

In 2018, Polish documentary film was very successful in the international arena. For the eighth time, the editors of Polish Docs prepared a numerical summary of festival screenings and awards won by Polish film-makers.

Last year, Polish documentary films were shown at over 240 festivals around the world. During twelve months, over 550 film screenings took place, almost 360 out of which were competition screenings. In 2018, the international festival audience watched over 130 Polish documentary films.

This year, once again, a short documentary film was the favourite of the selectors at the film festivals abroad. The record-breaker of the festival screenings is "Over the limit" by Marta Prus, presented 51 times. On the podium, there are also the short films "Dust" by Jakub Radej, presented 34 times and "Volte" by Karolina Poryzała and Monika Kotecka with 26 screenings. The feature-length documentary film  "The Prince and the Dybbuk" by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski ended 2018 with 24 screenings.

The winner of last year's summary, the short documentary film "Close Ties" by Zofia Kowalewska was shown 16 times. 2018 was also a good year for the film "Sisters" by Michał Hytroś and "Ethopiques" by Maciej Bochniak – both documentary films were shown at the international festivals 15 times. The documentary film "Two Worlds" by Maciej Adamek also did well this year – 14 festivals invited it to their programmes.

The films which can boast a dozen or so screenings are: "Call me Tony" by Klaudiusz Chrostowski, "How to Become A Pope?" by Justyna Mytnik (12), " The Ugliest Car in the World" by Grzegorz Szczepaniak, "Zhalanash– Empty Shore" by Marcin Sauter and "One Two Zero" by Anna Pawluczuk (11). Last year, the films "Home Games" by Alisa Kovalenko and "Euphoria" by Natalia Pietsch were shown at ten festivals.

Last year, Polish documentary film-makers won 74 awards around the world. If we look at the number of awards won by individual films, the first place looks similar like in the case of the screenings: in the first place, there is "Dust" with 11 awards. On the podium, there are also "Over the limit" with 9 awards and "Dos Islas" with five awards. In 2018, the documentary films "Home Games", "Sisters" and "Zhalanash – Empty Shore" won four awards each. 

That year, "Dust" was also appreciated at, among others, one of the most important short film festivals in Clermont-Ferrand in France, as well as at the Miradas Doc in Spain, the DOKer Moscow in Russia, the Quebec City Film Festival in Canada and at the FEST – New Directors in Portugal. Among the awards for "Over the limit," it is worthwhile to mention the Audience Award at the Flahertiana Film Festival, the Special Jury Award in Minsk and the four awards at the Krakow Film Festival.

In contrast, "Zhalanash – Empty Shore" was awarded, among others, at the TRT Documentary Awards, the Docudays Kosovo and at the Budapest International Documentary Festival.

It is also worth remembering that "Volte" was nominated for the prestigious Cinema Eye Honors Award, and "Communion" was included on the Academy Awards shortlist thanks to its successes in the recent years.

 In 2018, there was no lack of Polish films at important festivals. In January, there was held the Trieste Film Festival in Italy, which featured a large representation of Polish films. Among the documentary films shown there, you could watch the films: "The Beksińkis. A Sound and Video Album" by Marcin Borchardt, "Over the limit" by Marta Prus, "The Runners" by Łukasz Borowski and "The Prince and the Dybbuk" by Piotr Rosołowski and Elwira Niewiera. In January, the film by Marcin Borchardt also had its Scandinavian premiere at the Göteborg Film Festival in Sweden.

In the second half of January, two important festivals took place in the USA: the Sundance and the Slamdance. " Volte " by Monika Kotecka and Karolina Poryzała took part in the first festival, and  "Icon" by Wojciech Kasperski had its American premiere at the second of the aforementioned festivals.

Polish films were also present at the most important documentary film festivals: at the Budapest International Documentary Festival, the films " Close Ties" by Zofia Kowalewska, "Zhalanash - Empty Shore" by Marcin Sauter and "Communion" by Anna Zamecka were presented. The last two films returned from the festival with awards.

On the other hand, at the turn of February and March in Croatia, the Zagreb Dox festival took place, where five Polish documentary films were invited, and two of them, "Over the Limit" and "Call me Tony" by Klaudiusz Chrostowski, were among the award-winners of the festival.

At the turn of April and May, in the programme of the International Documentary Film Festival Hot Docs in Canada, as many as five Polish films were included: "The Beksińskis. A Sound and Video Album" by Marcin Borchardt, "Leocadia's Dream" by Krzysztof  Nowicki "Hugo" by Wojciech Klimala and Mateusz Wajda, "Over the Limit" and "The Prince and the Dybbuk" by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski. The documentary films by Marta Prus and Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski appeared also at the festival DocAviv in Israel, and with them, "Volte" and "Call me Tony" were also presented at this festival. You could also watch "Volte" at the BFI festival in Great Britain.

In June, at the AFI Docs festival, "Over the Limit" and "One Two Zero" by Anna Pawluczuk were shown, and at the Brooklyn Film Festival - "How to Become a Pope?" by Justyna Mytnik and "Collection" by Marcin Polar. The films "Komodo Dragons" by Michał Borczuk and "Guest" by Sebastian Weber, however, had their international premieres in Portugal at the DocLisboa.

Three Polish documentary films were awarded at one of the largest documentary film festivals in Europe, the IDFA in the Netherlands: "In Touch" by Paweł Ziemilski won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Mid-Length Documentary, "Dancing For You" by Katarzyna Lesisz - the Award for Best Children’s Documentary, and "Summa" by Andrei Kutsila - the IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary. In total, this year as many as six Polish documentary films competed for the awards in Amsterdam (among others, Unconditional Love" by Rafał Łysak, "Connected" by Aleksandra Maciejczyk and "Diagnosis" by Ewa Podgórska), and six films were shown in the non-competing sections.

At the DOK Leipzig in Germany, two documentary films vied for the awards in the competitions, and two appeared in the non-competing sections. In the competition sections, the audience watched "The Symphony of the Ursus Factory" by Jaśmina Wójcik and "Sisters" by Michał Hytroś.

In 2018, several reviews of Polish documentary films were also held. In August, at the initiative of the KFF, the review of Polish documentary films "Meet the Poles!" was held at the Makedox Creative Documentary Film Festival in Macedonia. Within the frames of the programme, twelve new, award-winning documentary films were shown, there were also workshops held by Wojciech Staroń. The review was preceded by the programme "Masters from Krakow," during which nine films were presented, the award-winners of the Krakow Film Festival, which constituted the classics of Polish documentary film.

In September, the audience of the Open City Documentary Festival in London watched the retrospective of Bogdan Dziworski, the master of Polish creative documentary film, co-organised by the KFF, and in November, at the festival Escales Documentaires in La Rochelle, the review of the latest Polish documentary films.

Polish short documentary films were also presented during the screening Poland Now in Turkey.

In 2018, in addition to finished films, documentary film projects were also doing quite well, as they were shown and awarded at international industry events: pitchings, discussion forums and co-production meetings. "The White Chef" by Grzegorz Piekarski (produced by Kijora Film) was presented at the pitching during the Docs in Progress at the Visions du Reel in Nyon, Switzerland, "The Future is Forever" by Ana Brzezińska at the prestigious Hot Docs Forum in Canada, and the project "Dance With Me, Dad" by Małgorzata Goździk (produced by Big Wave Films), was presented at the Docu Talents from the East. In Lisbon, at the pitching during the Lisbon Docs, the projects "George Tooker" by Maciej Thiema and Antoni Gralek and "Lessons in Democracy" by Michał Helwak (produced by Marcin Wierzchosławki) were presented.

During this year's edition of the programme  Emerging Producers, organised during the Jihlava International Documentary FF, Poland was represented by Stanisław Zaborowski, and at the workshop Match Me! within the frames of the Locarno FF – by Karolina Galuba from Furia Film with the project "Tony Halik. Born for adventure."

A large delegation of Polish film producers participated in the East Doc Platform – co-production meetings and documentary film project pitchings, organised by the Institute of Documentary Film in Prague.

Eleven projects from Poland participated in the event, and three of them were awarded during the pitchings. The East Doc Platform Award, granted by the East Doc Platform Jury, went to the project "The Last Relic," directed by Marianna Kaat, produced by Dorota Roszkowska. Two awards at the East Doc Platform were given to the project "Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st  Century Genocide," directed by Hanna Polak, produced by Hanna Polak and Simone Baumann. The project won the Česká televize Co-production Award and the HBO Europe Award.

In contrast, "Lesson of Love" by Małgorzata Goliszewska and Katarzyna Mateja, produced by Anna Stylińska, won the DOK Leipzig Co-Production Market and the DOK Preview Award in the Czech Republic. Thanks to this, the project participated in the DOK Leipzig CO-Pro Market. In Leipzig, "Ambulance Poland-Syria" by Aleksander Zalewski (produced by Aksamit) was also presented.

Last year, for the twelfth time, the Krakow Film Foundation organised the national stall of the Polish Docs at the market during the Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle – the largest documentary film market in Europe. As every year, on the Polish stall, the latest Polish documentary films were promoted, and accredited producers had a chance to look for money to spend on their projects and widen their international contacts.

Traditionally, the KFF prepared the Polish film programmes Polish Docs at the documentary film market Doc Shop, at the Hot Docs festival in Canada, the Docs for Sale at the IDFA in the Netherlands, the Doc Market at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece, the Doc Outlook at Visions du Reel in Switzerland, the East Silver in the Czech Republic and the DOK Market at the DOK Leipzig in Germany. Within the frames of the DOK Leipzig, there was also, organised by KFF in co-operation with the Doc Lab Poland, the meeting with the most important representatives of documentary film industry -  the Meeting With Decision Makers, and at the IDFA, the Polish Docs, together with the Doc Lab Poland and the HBO Europe, were the hosts of Guests Meet Guests, prepared for the several hundred international guests of the festival.

The events organised or co-organised by the KFF were held thanks to the support of: the Polish Film Institute, the Krakow Festival Office, the Krakow Film Commission, as well as international partners: the IDFA, the Hot Docs, the DOK Leipzig, the Clermont-Ferrand, the EDN, the Sundance Institute, the Institute of Documentary Films, the Thessaloniki IDFF, the Visions du Reel, the Makedox and the Sunny Side of the Doc.



Arabic secret, dir. Julia Groszek

The Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts, Egypt - the Jury Prize

The Runners, dir. Łukasz Borowski

The Festival du film des Diablerets: Montagne- Exploits – Environment, Switzerland - Prix du Lions Club Chablais

The Buenos Aires Runners Film Festival, Argentina - the Best Director Award

The Bilbao Mendi Film Festival, Spain - the Best Script Award

Call Me Tony, dir. Klaudiusz Chrostowski

The ZagrebDOX 2018, Croatia - the Special Mention

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland - “Zwierciadło” Award for Best Psychology Feature

Daniel, dir. Anastazja Dąbrowska

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland - the Grand Prix FINA

Desert Coffee, dir. Michael Lypinsky

The DocsMX, Mexico - the Special Mention

Legwork, dir. Jan Grobliński

The Opavski Pav Student Film Festival, the Czech Republic – the Best Documentary

Dos Islas, dir. Adriana F. Castellanos

Muestra Joven ICAIC, Cuba - Mención Documental, Mejor Sonido directo, Premio Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Menciones Documental

The Latino and Iberian Film Festival Yale, the USA - the Special Mention

Two World, dir. Maciej Adamek

The Crimean Open Documentary Films Festival “CrimeaDoc", Crimea - the Grand Prix 

The Pärnu Film Festival, Estonia - the Best Doc for Kids 

Breaking Down Borders, Russia - the Best Short Documentary

By Stanley from Stanley, dir. Monika Meleń

Breaking Down Borders, Russia - The Most Life-affirming Film

Guest, dir. Sebastian Weber

Doclisboa, Portugal - the Portuguese Authors Society Jury Award, Ageas Insurance Award for the best short film

Have no fear, dir. Beata Calińska, Sarah Jacobson

The Talca International Film Festival, Chile - the Best Documentary

The Cyprus International Film Festival, Cyprus - the Best Documentary Director

Home Games, dir. Alisa Kovalenko

The Odessa International Film Festival, Ukraine - the Best European Documentary Award

The Duhok International Film Festival, Iraq - the Best International Documentary

The Listapad Minsk IFF, Belarus - the Grand Prix of the Best Documentary

The ArtDocFest Russian Open Documentary Film Festival, Russia - the Special Mention of the Jury

In Touch, dir. Paweł Ziemilski

The IDFA, the Netherlands - The IDFA Special Jury Award for Mid-Length Documentary

Communion, dir. Anna Zamecka

The Budapest International Documentary Festival, Hungary - the Best Film

The Festival du film d'education, France - Prix du long-metrage d'education

Concerto for Two, dir. Tomasz Drozdowicz

The 34th Warsaw Film Festival, Poland - the Audience Award

The Prince and the Dybbuk, dir. Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosłowski

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland - Chopin's Nose Award for Best Music and Art Feature

Docs Barcelona - Main Prize „What the Doc!“

Horse Riders, dir. Anna Gawlita

The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography. EnergaCAMERIMAGE, Poland - the Golden Frog

Love Express. The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk, dir. Jakub Mikurda

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland - Chopin's Nose Award for Best Music and Art Feature

Between Us, dir. Marcin Miller

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland - the Grand Prix FINA

The Ugliest Car in the World, dir. Grzegorz Szczepaniak

The 15th Neisse Film Festival, Germany - the Special Award of Sachsen Filmverband

The Last Junak, dir. Mikołaj Janik

The 15th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland – the Audience Award

Over the limit, dir. Marta Prus

The 8th LuxFilmFest, Luxembourg - the Documentary Award by BGL BNP Paribas

The ZagrebDOX 2018, Croatia - the Little Stamp

The 58th Krakow Film Festival, Poland - the Silver Horn, the Silver Hobby-Horse, the Award for the best short and documentary films producer in Poland, the Best Cinematography Award under the patronage of The Polish Society of Cinematographers, the Audience Award

The Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival, Russia - the Audience Award

The Listapad Minsk IFF, Belarus - the Special Jury Award

Dust, dir. Jakub Radej

The 12th Miradas Doc International Documentary Film Festival, Spain - Mejor Ópera Prima

The Clermont-Ferrand ISFF, France - the Best Documentary

The Febiofest, Slovakia - the Best Short Film

Short Waves 2018, Poland - 3rd Prize

The DOKer Moscow, Russia - the Best Short Documentary

Sehsüchte Film Festival, Germany - the Special Mention

The 5th Opavsky Pav, the Czech Republic - the Audience Award

FEST - New Directors | New Films Festival, Portugal - Melhor Curta - metragem de Documentário

The Quebec City Film Festival, Canada - the Grand Prix

The Curtocircuito IFF, Spain - the Special Mention

The Filmets Badalona, Spain - Venus of Badalona for the Best European Film

Their Voices, dir. Eri Mizutani

 The 26th Curtas Vila do Conde IFF, Portugal - the Best European Film School Prize

Sisters, dir. Michał Hytroś

The 58th Krakow Film Festival, Poland - the Silver Dragon, the Special Mention

Kinofilm: The Manchester International Film Festival, Great Britain - the Runner Up Best Student Award

The Cinemaiubit International Student Film Festival, Romania - the Best Short Documentary

Summa, dir. Andrei Kutsila

The IDFA, the Netherlands - the Best Mid-Length Documentary

Sing, dir. Olga Korotkaya

The Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival, Russia - the Special Jury Mention

Dancing For You, dir. Katarzyna Lesisz

The IDFA, the Netherlands - the Best Children's Documentary in the Kids & Docs Competition

Universam Grochów, dir. Tomasz Knittel

The 34th Warsaw Film Festival, Poland - the Audience Award

The 58th Krakow Film Festival, Poland – the Maciej Szumowski Award

Close Ties, dir. Zofia Kowalewska

The Molodist IFF, Ukraine - the Best Student Film

Wehikuł czasu, dir. Jan Bujnowski

Go Debut European Film Festival, Lithuania - Grand Prix

Volte, dir. Monika Kotecka, Karolina Poryzała

The 20th Mecal Pro IS Film and Animation Festival, Spain - the Second Jury Price

Zhalanash - Empty Shore, dir. Marcin Sauter

The Budapest International Documentary Festival, Hungary - the Best Film

The Docudays UA, Ukraine - the Special Mention

The TRT Documentary Awards, Turkey - the Best Documentary Film

The ETNOFILM Čadca 2018, Slovakia - the Award of the Festival Director


*data collected on the basis of the information received from producers, filmmakers and festivals by Polish Docs. If you know about any awards for Polish documentary films which are not included in this summary, please send this information to the editors of the portal: redakcja@polishdocs.pl