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15th INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ETIUDA AND ANIMA Ė KRAKOW 2008 report by Ada GuilŠ

It was surely going to be another enriching experience as a jury in an International Film Festival. I had been dreaming about going to another one, since I went to TrŲmso early this year. And this time it was a different chance, a completely different place and a truly different aim at a Festival.

This was in Krakow and the Festival was called Etiuda and Anima and it was a Short Film Festival, not long length movies as the last one. The first part of the festival that I didnít get to see was about short movies done by students all over Europe and the second part (the one I was a FICC jury in) was about short animated films. It really was a new experience, because I hadnít had any relation to animation before, since I didnít know that much about it. So, the whole thing was thrilling for me.
The festival was from 14th until 21st November and I arrived on 17th on time for the 1st Anima competition screening. I had to be in two different screenings of short films every day, but I also got to see other things that I hadnít experienced before. For example, they had what they called Animatorís self-portraits. The first one I saw was from a Czech artist called Michaela Pavlatova, who showed her shorts explaining what they meant for her, but also drawing at that same instant some of the characters in the movies or improvised drawings, etc. It was all very interesting and different. Another nice portrait that I enjoyed very much was from Aleksandra Korejwo, a polish artist and also in the main Anima Jury this year, who works only with salt and feathers. It was so amazing to realize that the almost two hour work was transformed into a three-minute short. It was both gratifying and surprising to see all she could do with such a simple material as salt is. All her short films were so skilled and showed lots of hard-working time.
The Anima FICC Jury was formed by Maciej Gil from Poland; he is the general Secretary of the Polish Federation of Film Societies and Lenka ZemŠnkovŠ from the Czech Republic, she is responsible for Marketing and PR in the Czech Federation of Film Clubs. The three of us were a strong team together. We enjoyed ourselves very much watching the 75 short movies that we were supposed to see. I had such a huge list of beloved films that it was difficult to end up having only a top five. Between our three top fives, we only had one in common, which had to be, of course, the winner. As we saw the short film, the three of us knew exactly that it wasnít going to fly away easily in our minds. So, despite seeing it in the 3rd contest screening, it lasted praised until the end.
Our prize went to LIVE LIFE (2007) by Jonathan Pasternak. A short Israeli film that lasted only 5min 30sec but captivated our sight from the very begging. Itís a story about a monk during the black plague searching for redemption while he deals with death all around him. Itís actually based on a true story and itís a musical film. We awarded it for the best combination of animation techniques, sense of humor and perhaps the most important message in the whole competition.
One of the nicest surprises of the festival was that it is entirely organized and handled by volunteers, mainly young teenagers who work and try to make their best to make audience comfortable and to help everybody. Even the girl that greeted me at the airport was a volunteer, a cinema student, very gentle and polite.
The only slightest complaint that I may be able to have is that not all the shorts were subtitled into English. I guess I can speak and understand some languages, but still I canít understand Polish. Most of the introduction as well as the Award Ceremony were not translated into English, but to my astonishment, they had a person translating into Polish, just to translate if a guest spoke English. They did try to lend me earphones and I did try to stick to live translation but I never got it working. It was too bad because I was eager to understand the jokes, the awards and Maciej and Lenka from the Jury tried to translate but he had to be on stage for a long time, so I was a little left down there. They already know the mistake and they promised they will improve for next year. After all, it was the first year they had a FICC Jury and they did a great job. I was amazingly treated and I am thankful for that.
To end with, I only want to remark that I loved the city. With this experience I discovered that Poland has a lot to offer. I enjoyed every minute in Krakow: I visited the castle, the cathedral, the salt mine, the Jewish quarter, the market, the Auschwitz camp, etc. I tried not to waste my time and I did as much tourism as I could. They also provided a guided tour one morning and it was excellent. Just an advice: donít miss the chance to visit Krakow, it really is amazing, but try to avoid winter time (it snowed a lot the last day I was there that my plane was delayed). All in all, very worth to have the experience, as always. Thanks again.
Ada Guilŗ