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50th Krakow Film Festival 31.05 – 06.06. 2010, report by John Bjørnebye, Norway

The 50ieth Film Festival in Krakow was strongly marked by the jubilee. A number of veterans from the political defiance of the early years met with the refined technology of today’s animation films. The great number of screenings and the organizers’ preoccupation with the jubilee left some of the smaller jurys without support and relevant communication about the role of the jury. Luckily, the young “helpers”, mostly students, were very forthcoming and managed to steer some of us clear of the chaos.

The FICC (Fédération Internationale des Ciné-Clubs) is charged with awarding the Don Quijote Prize. It was created in 1947 at the Cannes Festival, and is an international umbrella organization of film societies and non-profit cinemas. The Prize shall be awarded to a film by a young or new director, not being distributed through the usual commercial networks. The Prize consists of a plaque and a diploma.

The FICC Jury has three members, whereof one from the host country. In addition to the Polish member, the Jury this year had one member from Hungary and one from Norway.

A three-member jury is in itself vulnerable and can at any time lose its quorum and the basis for a meaningful discussion of the competing films. Unfortunately, two out of the three jury members were absent half the time: the Hungarian member the first half, and the Polish member the second half. This made any meaningful discussion difficult, even more so as the organizers seemed to care very little about the smaller jurys. The fact that the rules of the Prize state very clearly that jury members must be present throughout the Festival was largely ignored. If so little attention is continuing to be paid to the Prize and the work of the jury , I strongly recommend that the FICC take adequate measures during future nomination processes in order to provide proper conditions for awarding the Don Quijote Prize.

The general mood of the Festival reflected some of today’s main political issues: migration in Europe, the Middle East and the suffering Palestinian people, the Balcan wars, and advanced animation technology creating a brand new category. Finally, a” Focus on Israel” brought out great emotions.

The Don Quijote jury screened the following films:
• Ana’s Playground. Dir. Eric Howell, USA 2009
• Altzaney. Dir. Nino Orjonikidze, Georgia 2009
• Alice in Modernland. Dir.Marie-Eve Signeyrole, France
• Anna Blume. Dir. Vessela Dantcheva, Bulgaria, Germany
• Bernadett & Sanju, Dir. Viktor Nagy, Hungary
• The blue bus. Dir. Sanne Kortooms, Netherlands
• Perfect World. Dir. Beryl Richards, UK
• Tussilago, Dir. Jonas Odell, Sweden
• The taxidermist, Dir. Bert and Bertie
• Logorama, Dir. Francois Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, Ludovic Houplan, France
• Donde esta Kim Basinger?, Dir. Edouard Deluc.

Following all too brief discussions in an amputated jury, the Don Quijote Prize was awarded “Logorama” by the French Francois Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain. A Special Mention was awarded “Donde esta Kim Basinger?” by Edouard Deluc, France.

Both films were already recipients of important prizes; Logorama even an Oscar. I was in strong doubt as to the wisdom of awarding prizes to Directors who are already prizewinners. A proper discussion of this dilemma was not possible, as the jury at any time had only two members. Measures should be taken by future organizers in order to make the Don Quijote Prize meaningful.

That being said, the “Logorama” clearly brings animation films forward to a quite new technique in cinematographics. In a moving, humerous race, all known commercial logos and brands are thrown into an all-consuming volcano. The end of the world, with a twist. Particularly the commercial world.

John Bjørnebye