The programme of Krakow Film Festival includes many events dedicated to professionals, during which the film industry meets in order to exchange views and start co-operation. Docs to start!, the pitching organised within the frames of Doc Lab Poland, is such a project.

This year, the authors of presentations may win a special award from Krakow Film Cluster: contribution in kind in the amount of 10 thousand PLN. This is the value of the support which the award-winning project will receive from production companies associated with the Cluster.

The film-makers, consulting with the director of the European Documentary Network, Paul Pauwels, presented their projects to the audience consisting of producers, distributors and film festival programmers.  All of the films are still in the early stages of production, but they are defined as far as artistic vision and subject matter are concerned. This edition featured two productions from Lithuania: "People, Animal and Things" and "El Padre Medico," by  Vytautas Puidokas. The mysterious protagonist of "El Padre Medico," Alexander Bendoraitis, just like Kurtz from Heart of Darkness was worshipped in the empire, which he himself established in the depths of South-American jungle. The director talks to his friends, who are not aware of the clergyman's dark past. However, one needs one fifth of the estimated budget to finish the film.

Among the presented films, observational films prevail, which humbly listen to the stories of their protagonists. "I would like to tell you everything" gives voice to men doing time in prison. They attempt to get in contact with their close ones, whom they left outside prison walls. The film will take the form of video-letters from behind bars, as the author, Zvika Gregory Portnoy, puts it. "Where are you Teresa O.? " promises a film investigation, the authors look for the infamous Teresa Orlowski, actress and producer of pornographic films. Having earned incredible amounts of money in Germany, she fled justice several years ago and now she is hiding in one of the exclusive housing estates on the coast of Spain. In turn in the film "Ahead of Bill," the director Paulina Gawęcka tells the story of her grandfather, Jacek Karpiński, who succeeded in making a personal computer (the famous K-202) long before Bill Gates did it.

The film "The Wind" is a totally different production, it is a documentary symphony, as the director calls it, about the havoc wreaked by halny (a foehn wind). Michał Bielawski and the producer Maciej Kubicki from the company Telemark showed to the viewers the hypnotising, poetic shots of oneiric views of the life in the Tatra mountains.

The project by Katarzyna Trzaska and Barbara Białowąs also promises to be interesting: they will show the extreme creative work by the artists Ada Kaczmarczyk, Dominika Olszowa and Maria Toboła, particularly their subversive musical project: "Cipedrapskuad." The date of finishing the film "The Divines!" is estimated for 2018.

The account -  Docs to go!

This year, within the frames of Docs to go! twelve films were presented, almost finished but still in need of support, mainly in post-production and distribution. During the pitching, the representatives of the film and television industry gathered there could watch extensive fragments of the films as well as the first trailers. The films preparing to be born are very different as far as subject matter and the way of telling the story are concerned.

"The end of the Valley of Tears" by Jarosław Wszędybył (who also showed "The Springtime of Dragons") is a story about the last colony for lepers in Europe, located in Tichilesti in Romania, a place which is erased from the map of this country every time the authorities want to get rid of it from the public awareness.  Year by year, the population of the colony gets smaller, at present it amounts only to fifteen people. The disappearance of space is also the subject of the film "At the bottom of the sea" by Marcin Sauter, whose short, poetic "The Source" was shown at the previous edition of Krakow Film Festival. His latest film tells about the drying Aral Sea, and how this process fundamentally changed the lives of the inhabitants of the old seaside areas. The film will attempt to reconstruct the image of nature, preserved in human memory.

The relationship of an ex-gangster Piotr, just released from prison, and the illustrator Magda, shown in the film "Walking Spark," which promises to be psychologically interesting. Magda wants to depict Piotr's life in a form of an artistic comic book, starting from his difficult childhood, to the criminal period, to which the character himself refers in an ambivalent way: it is his trauma and at the same time, the time of real friendships.

Polish viewers look forward to seeing the new look at the festival in Jarocin. "Jarocin - The rise of freedom" is a work of the duet:  Marek Gajczak and Leszek Gnoiński (who has already made a documentary film about Polish rock music: "Beats of freedom"). The whole film will be ready before the end of 2015. Among the presented films, there is also the found footage film "Trophy," edited from amateur recordings made by Polish tourists "White cube" – the image of a human and a machine competing in sculpting in stone and the atmospheric "21x New York," a story about the lives of people accidentally met in the subway, which visually resembles some films by John Cassavetes.

A really surprising film is "When you return" by Anna Zamęcka.  Complicated story of the children: Ola and Nikodem demands from the director an extremely gentle approach. Anna Zamęcka, together with the producers: Anna Wydra from Otter Films and Zuzanna Król-Maziarzewską from Wajda Studio are well on their way towards making an outstanding film.


Michał Kucharczyk

phot. Tomasz Korczyński