On 16 May, at Teatr Studio in Warsaw, the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival awards ceremony took place. But it did not mark the end of the 16th edition of the biggest celebration of documentary cinema in Poland – we still have a weekend filled with exciting films and events to look forward to in Warsaw, Wrocław, Katowice, Bydgoszcz, and Lublin. In Gdynia, the festival ends on 24 May.
The Grand Prix – Bank Millennium Award goes to “Honeyland”!
13 films entered the Main Competition of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival to vie for the Grand Prix and its accompanying EUR 8000 prize. The best film was selected by a jury consisting of: Leila Hosseini – film scholar and programmer of the Iranian documentary film festival “Cinema Verite”, Michał Marczak – director, Hanna Polak – director.
The jury awarded the Grand Prix – Bank Millennium Award and its accompanying EUR 8000 to “Honeyland” for “a deeply moving portrait of a pure and humble soul. A soul filled with love and devoid of greed, which gave us all a profound lesson on what it means to live in harmony with nature. The award goes to the entire crew and to Hatidze for their incredible cooperation and the talent with which they have shared this story with the world”.
More about the film:
The jury of the Main Competition also awarded a Special Mention to the film “Marek Edelman… and There Was Love in the Ghetto”), dir. Jolanta Dylewska, for “its gracious message that love conquers all”.
The main award was funded by the festival’s patron: Bank Millennium.
You can still see the winner during the 16th edition of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival.
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The Amnesty International Polska Award goes to the director of the film “Srbenka”
Nebojša Slijepčević and the film „Srbenka” have won this year’s competition for the best film about human rights. The jury consisting of Jakub Majmurek – columnist, film critic, Draginja Nadaždin – director of Amnesty International Polska, Paweł Łoziński – documentary film director, has awarded the winner a prize of EUR 3000.
The jury justified their selection thusly: “The film ‘Srbenka’ can serve as an illustration of the words of Tadeusz Kantor: ‘one does not enter the theatre with impunity’. The documentary records the work of Oliver Frljić (a Croatian playwright and theatre director, known in Poland for directing “Klątwa”, among others) on a play about the murder of teenaged Alexandra Zec and her family, which was motivated by the Croatian-Serbian conflict of the 1990s. The creative process is emotionally charged and rife with conflict, it lays bare the divisions that are still, nearly 30 years later, tearing the Croatian society apart. The film’s protagonists, members of various nations, unintentionally become the main characters in this drama.
The makers of “Srbenka” managed to find a cinematic form that captured the unique nature of Frljić’s creative process, and the reactions of a society provoked by his daring art and having been confronted with a crime. The film is not merely a record of the trauma left in the wake of the civil war, and the crime motivated by nationalist hatred - it also shows how art can sometimes serve a necessary, therapeutic function. In front of the camera and our very eyes, latent group traumas and individual fears are brought to the fore. As we watch the rehearsal process, without ever leaving the theatre space, we join the people involved in this production in a painful and difficult, but ultimately cathartic process”.
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The Amnesty International Polska jury has also awarded a Special Mention to the film “Dark Suns”, dir. Julien Elie, justifying it thusly:
““Dark Suns” directed by Julien Elie is a film that shows Mexico struggling with a record number of murders and abductions, especially among women. The film explores the various layers of this problem which stems from ubiquitous drug-related crime, but also human trafficking, a misogynistic culture, and rampant corruption. We see a state practically joined at the hip with organized crime, where the constitution and other laws are often worth no more than the paper they’re been written on. The over two hour long movie shows the scale of this problem, its mind-numbing repetitiveness and monotony. The formal discipline of the film, the extensive research, and the director’s and protagonists’ courage in confronting the subject, should all be commended”.
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The National Geographic Award for Best Cinematography goes to the cinematographer of the film “Los Reyes”
During the 16th edition of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, we have returned to a practice from several years before, and are once again giving out an award for the best cinematography. 11 visually compelling titles entered the competition. The jury consisting of Karolina Bielawska, director, Agnieszka Franus, editor in chief of “National Geographic Polska” and “National Geographic Traveler”, Marcin Koszałka, cinematographer and director, Witek Orski, visual artist, photography scholar, has given the National Geographic Award for Best Cinematography and its accompanying EUR 2000 prize to Pablo Valdés, the cinematographer of „Los Reyes”.
The jury justified their selection thusly: “For a surprising reversal of the camera’s point of view and for the courage to create a distinctive film which in a simple but non-obvious way talks about the most important things. Studying closely to two homeless dogs, we become aware of our own worries and dramas”.
The patron of this award is the “National Geographic Polska” magazine.
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The Green Warsaw Award goes to the director of “Sheep Hero”
During this year’s Millennium Docs Against Gravity festival, the Green Warsaw Award and its accompanying PLN 15 000 cash prize was once again given to the best film on ecology. The award was funded by the City of Warsaw.
The jury consisting of Łukaszcz Bluszcz, film director, Leszek Drogosz, director of the Bureau of Infrastructure of the City of Warsaw, Karolina Kukielska – Communication Specialist for WWF Polska, gave the Green Warsaw Award to Ton van Zantvoort, the director of the film “Sheep Hero”, justifying their selection thusly:
“A beautiful, intimate film which through the life of a single man shows how irrevocably our world is changing and how difficult life is for those who refuse to accept these civilizational changes. Mass production, which has entered our daily life, causes us to lose biodiversity and results in man himself becoming an endangered species. The disappearance of old professions, methods of consumption, and ways of earning money, shows how this new phenomenon permeates every sphere of our world. Stijn, the main protagonist of the film, who fights against all odds to preserve his traditional sheep farm, is a nuisance to his community and the system in which they all function. He refuses to simply abandon his values, but he is alone in his struggle. His story makes us all face some uncomfortable questions”.
The Green Warsaw Awards is accompanied by the Climate for Change film section.
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The Chopin’s Nose Award for the director of “The Proposal”
During this year’s edition of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival, we have once again given out the Chopin’s Nose award and its accompanying EUR 2000 prize to the best film about music and art. The jury consisting of Marcel Andino Velez – Deputy Director for Communication at the Museum of Modern Art, Jan Błaszczak – member of the Programming Department of the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute, Agnieszka Szydłowska – radio and TV journalist, has given the award to Jill Magid, the director of the film “The Proposal”.
The jury justified their verdict thusly:
“While watching the films nominated for this award, we paid attention to both their subjects, and the way in which they were framed, figuring that the form of a story about art is just as important as the art itself.
In our opinion, the best film in this competition is a contemporary tale of David versus Goliath. In our world, David is a female artist who uses all the tools at her disposal to realize her artistic project and at the same time recover the professional archive of a great architect from a 21st century Goliath. The film asks fundamental questions: who does art belong to, who has the right to the artistic legacy of humanity? The so-called 1%, aided by an army of lawyers, or all of us? That is why we have decided to give the award to Jill Magid and her film “The Proposal”. The director and artist working on a project on Luis Barragán plays a daring game with a Swiss furniture company which has purchased the architect’s archive and for inexplicable reasons refuses to share it with anyone. The film exposes the dangers posed to the world of art and cultural heritage by property rights gone mad”.
The Chopin’s Nose Award is funded by the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute.
More about the film “The Proposal”:
The “Zwierciadło” Award for the Best Film on Psychology goes to the director of “Where We Belong”
This year, we have once again handed out the “Zwierciadło” Award and its accompanying EUR 1000 for the best film on psychology. The winner is Jacqueline Zünd, the director of „Where We Belong”.
The editorial staff justified their selection thusly: “It’s a film about life after divorce. Except that the people who were actually divorced don’t say a single word on camera.
The director pointed her camera at children. And it is they who honestly, maturely and with compassion talk about what it’s like when their parents can’t talk to each other, fight for custody in court, and throw accusations at each other. After watching “Where We Belong”, you are left with the question: “Who is the actual adult in this scenario”?
“Zwierciadło” is a magazine that devotes a lot of space and attention to searching for an inner balance and the strength to fight for oneself. It supports its readers in their most trying moments, trying to help them live in harmony with themselves. Which is how the protagonists of the nominated films live.
More about the film “Where We Belong”:
The “Focus” Magazine Award for the Biggest Personality of the Festival goes to Lutz Kayser, the protagonist of “Fly Rocket Fly”, dir. Oliver Schwehm
This year, once again we have handed out the “Focus” Magazine Award for the Biggest Personality of the Festival. The award goes to space engineer Lutz Kayser, the sadly deceased protagonist of “Fly Rocket Fly” directed by Oliver Schwehm, thanks to whom we were able to learn more about the fascinating man that is Lutz Kayser.
The editorial staff justified their selection thusly: “The “Focus” Award for the Biggest Personality of the Festival goes to Mr. Oliver Schwehm, director of the film “Fly Rocket Fly”, for his attempt to present the controversial figure of Lutz Kayser – a German space rocket constructor who did not shy away from working with dictators to make his visions come true. The filmmakers managed to show not only that in terms of private space travel “Elon Musk wasn’t first”, but above all to tell the story of a scientist for whom an idea was more important than the concepts of good and evil.”
More about the film “Fly Rocket Fly”:
The Documentary Academy Award goes to the film “América”
The intergenerational jury of the Documentary Academy consisting of: Barbara Izydorczyk, Szymon Klimczewski, Karolina Krok, Janusz Lewoń, Aleksander Lipski, Nina Nowakowska-Potera, Anna Starzewska, Emma Szumlas, and Marek Wajda, having watched nine films, decided to give the Documentary Academy Award to the film “América” for “an incredibly beautiful, truly moving, cinematically refined and ultimately incredibly optimistic portrayal of intergenerational relations and the question of final farewells”.
More about the film “América”:
But these are not all the awards given out during the Warsaw edition of the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival. Like every year, the audience of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity festival will select its favorite film and give it the audience award, also known as the Warsaw Documentary Award. The accompanying prize of EUR 2000 was funded by the City of Warsaw. All the films shown during the Festival are eligible to win. Every moviegoer can vote, becoming a juror of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival!
On Friday, 17 May, we will know the winner of the Lower Silesia Grand Prix – the Award of the Marshall of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, and its accompanying prize of EUR 3000, for the best film in the Main Competition of the Wrocław edition of the 16th Millennium Docs Against Gravity.
On Saturday, 18 May, we will know the winner of the Silesian Grand Prix – the Award of the Marshall of the Silesian Voivodeship, and its accompanying prize of EUR 3000. Also on 18 May, we will learn who won the Bydgoszcz ART.DOC AWARD and its accompanying EUR 1500. On 23 May, in Gdynia, the Award of the President of the City of Gdynia and its accompanying prize of PLN 15 000 will be awarded. On the same day, we will learn the results of the “Co Jest Grane 24” Competition, as decided by audiences in Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdynia, Lublin, and Katowice, as they select their favorite film from among 12 titles dealing with various pop cultural phenomena and more serious topics. The winner will receive a trophy and EUR 1000.
The awarded films:
The Grand Prix – the Bank Millennium Award, along with EUR 8000
Winner: “Honeyland”, dir. Lyubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Special Mention: “Marek Edelman… and There Was Love in the Ghetto”, dir. Jolanta Dylewska
The Amnesty International Polska Award, along with EUR 3000
Winner: “Srbenka”, dir. Nebojša Slijepčević
Special Mention: „Dark Suns”, dir. Julien Elie
The National Geographic Award for Best Cinematography, along with EUR 2000
Winner: “Los Reyes”, cinematographer: Pablo Valdés
The Green Warsaw Award, along with PLN 15000
Winner: “Sheep Hero”, dir. Ton van Zantvoort
The Chopin’s Nose Award, along with EUR 2000
Winner: “The Proposal”, dir. Jill Magid
The “Zwierciadło” Award for the Best Film on Psychology, along with EUR 1000
Winner: “Where We Belong”, dir. Jacqueline Zünd
The “Focus” Award for the Biggest Personality of the Festival
Winner: Lutz Kayser, the protagonist of “Fly Rocket Fly”, dir. Oliver Shwehm
The Documentary Academy Award
Winner: “América”, dir. Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside