13 films will compete in the Main Competition

13 films will compete for the Main Bank Millennium Award – the Grand Prix of the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival. The festival will be held in six cities, including Katowice where it will take place for the first time, thanks to the cooperation with Silesia Film.

A press conference which presented selected hits of the coming 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, the largest documentary festival in Poland, was held in the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute. This year, the Festival will be held in six Polish cities: Warsaw (Kinoteka, Luna and Iluzjon), Wrocław (Dolnośląskie Centrum Filmowe), Gdynia (Gdyńskie Centrum Filmowe), Lublin (Centrum Spotkania Kultur), Bydgoszcz (Kino Orzeł) and, thanks to the cooperation with Silesia Film, in Katowice, for the first time! This city's festival screenings will take place in the Kosmos, Światowid and Rialto cinemas.

The 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival will be held from 10th to 19th May in Warsaw, Wrocław and Lublin, from 15th to 24th May in Gdynia and from 12th to 19th May in Katowice. A local edition of the festival will be held in Bydgoszcz too, from 11th to 18th May.

13 films will contend in the Main Competition for the Main Bank Millennium Award – the Grand Prix

13 films will compete for the Bank Millennium Award. The jury composed of: Leila Hosseini, Michał Marczak and Hanna Polak will choose the winner among the newest and most outstanding documentary masterpieces. The film “They Shall Not Grow Old" by Peter Jackson, the winner of multiple Oscars for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" is in the main competition.  In his first documentary, the director explores the dark history of World War I. He takes us back in time thanks to archive film footage and its restoration which was made possible by modern technologies.

The Main Competition in which films will contend for Grand Prix – the Banku Millennium Award and the entire festival programme are rich in films which explore the nature of our relations with the loved ones. “The Magic Life of V” by Tonislav Hristov (the director of "The Good Postman" which won our festival's award) is an intimate portrait of a young woman who tries to build self-confidence and face her difficult relation with her fathe, by impersonating a fantasy figure. Friendship of a group of teenagers and their apprehension about the future are the themes of the documentary "Transnistra" by Anna Eborn. The characters live in Transnistria, an area which declared independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, however it remains an unrecognised state.

Paweł Ziemilski's "In Touch” which was awarded at the prestigious IDFA festival in Amsterdam is a story about a village called Stare Juchy. Almost a third of its inhabitants has emigrated to Iceland. It is a touching, intimate and universal story of family, love and technology, which makes it possible to stay in touch with the ones who are the closest to your heart in the changing world. Family relations are also the theme of "Compulsory Figures” by Ewa Kochańska. In this film, we meet a Ukrainian married couple with three children who have decided to settle in Poland. Winning an ice-skating competition is a big chance for their daughter, Julia. But will she be up to the challenge?

We will also see Jolanta Dylewska's "Marek Edelman... and There Was Love in the Ghetto". in the festival's main competition. "Why nobody asks me if there was love in the ghetto? Why is no one interested in that?" – said Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, a short time before he died in 2009, . He answers the question in the long-awaited film, which became famous even before its premiere, "Marek Edelman... and There Was Love in the Ghetto". Agnieszka Holland co-created its script and Andrzej Wajda co-directed the film's dramatized scenes.

"Cold Case Hammarskjöld" is the newest film by Mads Brügger which was awarded the Directing Award at the Sundance festival in 2019. Mads Brüggera is known for his distinctive filmmaking method – the so called "performative journalism". Will the film world's famous provocateur manage to reveal the truth of Dag Hammarskjöld mysterious death in 1961?

Nebojša Slijepčević explores the repercussions of the Bosnia and Herzegovina war, which was the largest European tragedy since World War II, in her film "Srbenka”  – a story, which is set behind the scenes during the work on a theatre play about a 12-year-old Serbian girl murdered in Croatia in 1991. Oliver Frljić is the author of the play which stirs up the hornets' nest of the Serbian-Croatian conflict. In Poland, he is known mainly for the renowned play "The Curse" which was presented in Warsaw's Teatr Powszechny.

The latest film by Roberto Minervini, an Italian director who lives in Texas, “What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire?" shows everyday life of black Americans who, after a series of race murders in 2017, went out into the streets of New Orleans to protest against racism and begin fighting for justice and dignity. The audience of the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival will have a chance to participate in masterclasses andget to know the arcana of the work by one of today's most interesting directors who show the multicultural American reality.

"Honeyland" by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, which was showered with awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is also in the Main Competition. It is a story of a 55-year old Hatidze, set in Macedonia. The character leads a life according to the ancient rhythm of coexistence with the nature.

In the festival's programme there are many films on contemporary European history which are already famous all over the world. Witalij Manski, who is well known to the audience for his film "Under the Sun", the winner of the 13th edition of  Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, presents the story of the Russian leader rising to power in "Putin’s Witnesses". Cooperating with Władimir Putin's campaign allowed Manski to come unusually close to Putin and Borys Jelcyn with his camera and to capture the political turning point in Russia.

Just as every year, in our festival's programme there are captivating stories from the art world too. "The Proposal” by Jill Magid is a combination of a thriller and a love story on exploring the legacy of Mexico's most famous architect, Luisie Barragán.  It asks the question on who should have access to his work. "Talking About Trees" by Suhaib Gasmelbari, the winner of this year's Berlinale's Best Documentary Award, in which four elderly members of a Sudanese film club decide to renovate a former cinema near near Khartum also has a chance to win the Grand Prix – the Bank Millennium Award. What they have in common is their love for film and an eagerness to revive Sudanese film heritage.

The Wrocław, Gdynia, Katowice and Bydgoszcz editions have their own main competitions too. The awards are: The Lower Silesia Grand Prix awarded during the Wrocław edition, the Mayor of Gdynia Award, the xxx Award in Katowice as well as the Bydgoszcz ART.DOC AWARD.