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15. Miẹdzynarodowy Festiwal Filmowy ETIUDA&ANIMA Report by Christl Grunwald-Merz, Germany


Anima" Jury (Lenka Zemánková, Maciej Gil, Ada Guilá Puig)
Kraków, 14-21 listopada 2008

Report on the results and the “working conditions” of the first FICC jury at the festival.

In contrast to the head of the main jury – Mr. Mohsen Makhmalbaf – we appreciated the quality and the variety of the chosen student films. For the three of us, Zsuzsa Fehér, Anna Pudło and myself, it was a casually handled – what the audience seemed not to mind – but very well prepared festival with a rich side programme. We had to judge on 44 short films with a total running time of about 6 hours. There were no intermissions between the films of the six blocks so the danger was that a very well made film coming later or at the end of a screening might reduce or even extinguish the impression of other films shown before. This, of course, should not happen to a jury, but, as I said, it was a danger.
I cannot, unfortunately, give you the details of our reasons mentioned in the documents, because I do not have it. It will be handed over by Maciej Gil. I myself may have seemed too insistent to him and to the very, very friendly, helpful and competent volunteers – to whom I give my thanks here again – that I claimed our verdicts to be printed and laid out on the counter next to the main jury's results which were handed out immediately together with the press conference. I regret this - it was the only “fault” of the organization which might be due to the fact that it was the first time with a FICC Jury. So we remained “invisible” up to the very end of the festival. But – maybe next year...
The main part of the productions selected came from the Polish film schools – and it was for three of them that we gave our rewards:

The DON QUIJOTE Award:
PRL DE LUXE (THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF POLAND DE LUXE)
Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing, 2008, 15'
Director: Edyta Wróblewska
Phot.: Marcin Sauter and Szymon Lenkowski

Two Special Mentions:
POŁOWA MNIE / HALF ME
PWSFTViT 2007, 11'
Director: Justyna Tafel
Phot.: Kate McCullough

FELGARZ Z WOLI / THE LORD OF THE RIMS
Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing, 2008, 15`
Director: Jakub Maciejko
Phot.: Magda Kowalczyk

It may look accidental that we chose three pure documentaries out of the wide spectrum of films which represented other genres – fiction or a mishmash of fiction and documentary. They are solid descriptions of a situation people have to live with and which may concern the existential conditions of life on different levels: in the winner-film it were the incredible changes in all realms of everyday life which came at an – also incredible – speed to transform the Eastern European countries. In Germany we call the longing for the communist system (or parts of it which were “good”) OSTALGIE, which is nostalgia for the former conditions of life. To present the “good” things in the communist era the film chooses nostalgic tourist trips – in traditionally “old” buses and cars – to Nowa Huta, a metalurgical center outside Kraków, which brought much damage to the city's architecture but which provided also living conditions for the workers which impress the tourists. The belief in progress – well documented through the well chosen optimistic music of past times – was a sharp contrast to today's widespread feelings of insecurity and lack of solidarity. In showing this “convincing” role of the guide the film shows as well its purely commercial character, making “business” out of everything.
“The Lord of the Rims” is – from its way of describing the working conditions of the man who is portrayed – excellent in its visual means as well as in its respectful way it treats the personal motives – to the very end when the camera opens to show this little mechanic's repair “enterprise” situated at the borders of a big boomcity with its skyscrapers...
“Half Me” impressed us because of its very intimate view on a refugee which might nevertheless well be taken for most of the people who leave – in growing numbers – the regions where they once felt “at home”. The film shows this portrait of a woman from Chechnya in a respectful way. It leaves you with the feeling of how easily we let drop yesterday's victims from our attention and how easily we get away with any of them by new ones being “delivered” and taken away by the media. This film might make you feel guilty – but it should make you most of all think about the world around you – outside your everyday life's actions, that you should not give in – into the horrile speed of “bad news” being chased one by one. By the way: this film was the last one of a session, maybe that is also why it made a lasting impression on us.
It was a very well accepted young festival – 15 years. Some “thinking” will be done how to improve its organization. I wish the festival all the best – I felt very well accepted and accompanied.

Christl Grunwald-Merz
Munich, Germany