The famous film "Over the Limit" by Marta Prus turned out to be the undisputed winner of this year's edition of Krakow Film Festival. The documentary film won, among others, the Silver Horn in the International Documentary Film Competition and the Silver Hobby-Horse for the director of the best documentary film in the Polish Competition. We would like to invite you to read the interview with the film's author.

Daniel Stopa: Last time we talked, you were flying to Rio for the Olympics to continue shooting the film. Since then, a lot of things happened: you finished the film, later there was the international premiere at the festival IDFA in Amsterdam, in January, the prestigious Variety magazine included you on the list of 10 European talents whose careers are worth following in the future, and at the recently finished 58th Krakow Film Festival, you won the greatest number of awards. How do you feel about it?  


Marta Prus: Our previous interview was held two years ago, when I was in the middle of making the film. I certainly felt insecure and worried about my work back then. Since the premiere at the Festival IDFA in Amsterdam, you can say that my film has orphaned me, it started to function well without me. It is all right, for me it is already a thing of the past. When one process is over, you have to start a new one. What happens in connection with a finished film is very nice, but it does not bring me to life in the same way as creating does.

Your interest in rhythmic gymnastics stems from personal experiences. Does sport experience help you in the work of the film-maker?

It helps me for sure. Thanks to sports, I am very persevering, ambitious and hard-working. I keep on pursuing my goal, just like my protagonist strives to win her Olympic medal. In this case, my work took five years.

During these five years, you were very close to Rita, accompanying her at every stage of her life: failures, successes, training. This closeness to the protagonist's world is astounding. Which methods did you use to achieve it? 

Hard work, stubbornness, conversation, calmness, a good sense of the time when it is possible to come close. Also, during the editing with Maciek Pawliński, we chose such shots which helped the viewer to experience the story as close to the protagonist's feelings as possible.

In the reviews of "Over the Limit," the film is often described as a "psychological" documentary, a documentary in which the psychological tragedy of a person under constant pressure is in the forefront...

Just like in life, in the film I am interested in human beings and their emotional world. On the one hand, this world is so uncompromising, also because you cannot fully understand yourself, on the other hand, however, I feel that I have the gift of empathy and I can often see what happens to the other person. I can tell the story about it.

Irina Viner, the coach of the Russian gymnasts, is an interesting character. Everyone in the team is afraid of her, she is the protagonist's greatest terror. How did she receive your film?

Ms. Irina saw the film before its premiere in Amsterdam. Although she did not like the fact that it recorded her swearing, on the whole, she enjoyed the film very much. This is a person who is convinced of the righteousness of her actions and proud of her achievement for Russia.

In the film, sport also gives the possibility of building the plot of the film - the protagonists have a goal to achieve, they overcome obstacles, they follow a specific way. How did the work on editing look like?

Oh... It is really hard to answer this question, because I would have to tell about 10 months of everyday work. We had to patiently work out everything together with Maciek Pawliński. We wanted to tell a private story of a young girl, set in the wider context of Russian sport, in such a way that the viewer is so involved as it is the case with a feature film. Since the beginning we knew what we expect and we searched for the way to achieve our aim. Maciek is an eminent editor, thanks to him, we found together what we were looking for.

I will ask you about the cameraman's work. I am under the impression that the camera of Adam Suzin recorded everything,  emotions, reactions, gestures…

Shooting during large sports events was a big challenge for our small team, consisting of three people: me, Adam Suzin and the soundsman. We literally ran with the camera just like the athletes did. I told the others where to run to and this is how we ran this film. It was so fortunate that Adam is a very athletic person and of course, he is an incredibly talented and sensitive cameraman!

Is Krakow another festival stop? Where else will we watch "Over The Limit?"

I really hope that there will be cinema distribution in Poland, I hope it will be a success. As far as the screenings in June are concerned, in Poland they will be held at the festival Kino w Trampkach in Warsaw and the festival the Young and the Cinema. Around the world, these are: Sheffield Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and AFI Docs in Washington. It will be the first screening in the United States, where we will have cinema distribution this autumn. 

Thank you very much for the interview.

Thank you.