On November 4, nominations for the 2017 European Film Awards were announced in Seville. Among the five nominated documentary films from across Europe is Komunia (Communion), a film directed by Anna Zamecka and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Developed within the framework of the Wajda School's DOK PRO documentary programme, Anna Zamecka's Komunia (Communion) has been nominated for the Best European Documentary Award alongside films by Sergei Loznitsa (Austerlitz), Guido Hendrikx (Stranger in Paradise), Lucija Stojevic (La Chana) and Tonislav Hristov (The Good Postman).
The film's protagonist is 14-year-old Ola who not only takes care of her incapable father, her handicapped brother and her absentee mother (who is present in their lives mostly by phone), but also tries to piece her dysfunctional family back together. She lives in hope of being able to bring her estranged parent back home again. The upcoming holy communion ceremony for Ola's 13-year-old brother Nikodem is a good excuse to meet with their mother; Ola takes the responsibility of organising the perfect family celebration upon her shoulders.
In one of her interviews, Anna Zamecka reveals that the motivation behind making Komunia (Communion) stemmed from her own experience. "[Ola] feels closest to me. I could understand her feelings perfectly because I know them from my own life, just as I have experienced some of the situations presented in the film. However, it’s more about emotional images than specific events. […] This story is related to my own experience and inspired by my own childhood. The main protagonist is a fourteen-year-old child with adult responsibilities – just as I had been. […] Such ‘grown-up children’ aren’t rare […] but they rarely become the subject of conversation.
[…] Ola and Nikodem are both the leading characters; they are equally important. I wouldn’t decide to make a film about any one of them. They function together – one leads to the other, and one cannot exist without the other. […] It was an urge to work through something of my own, something very difficult. 'Communion' cleansed me. I went through a long process alongside the protagonists," said Zamecka in an interview with Dimitra Kouzi.
Komunia (Communion) marks Anna Zamecka's feature documentary debut. The film was produced by Otter Films, Wajda Studio and HBO Europe, with MX35 as supporting producer. The film was also co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Komunia (Communion) was lensed by Małgorzata Szyłak, and edited by Agnieszka Glińska, Anna Zamecka and Wojciech Janas.
The film was released theatrically in Poland on November 25, 2016. Distribution in Poland is handled by Aurora Films. World sales are handled by CAT&Docs.
Komunia (Communion) has received a number of accolades, including the award of the Critics' Week at the Locarno International Film Festival, the Grand Prize in the Documentary Film Competition at the Warsaw Film Festival, the Silver Eye Award at the Jihlava International Film Festival, the Young Eyes Film Award at DOK Leipzig, and the Grand Prize for Best Documentary Film at the Listapad International Film Festival in Minsk. Anna Zamecka's first feature documentary also received the SOS-Kinderdorfer Weltweit Award at the DOK.fest International Documentary Film Festival in Munich and awards for Best Documentary at the TRT Documentary Awards in Istanbul, the OsloPix festival in Norway, the White Goose Award in South Korea, and the Grand Prize at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan. The film has also received the Eagle Award for Best Documentary at the 2017 Polish Film Awards.
Further details about the film are available at: www.facebook.com/communionthemovie.