On December 9 in Berlin the 2017 European Film Awards ceremony was held. Komunia (Communion) by Anna Zamecka and Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute were recognized by the European Film Academy as Best European Documentary and Best Animated Feature Film. Katarzyna Lewińska received the Award for European Costume Designer.
"Allow me to congratulate all winners of the European Film Awards. The three awards for Anna Zamecka, Katarzyna Lewińska and the makers of Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) mark recognition for Polish cinema and serve as proof that Polish cinema holds a special place on Europe's filmmaking map," said Radosław Śmigulski, General Director of the Polish Film Institute.
Developed within the framework of the Wajda School's DOK PRO documentary programme, Anna Zamecka's Komunia (Communion) was recognised as the Best European Documentary Award and therefore 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. Further details about the film are available at: www.facebook.com/communionthemovie.
Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, a film co-financed by the Polish Film Institute was one of four titles in the running for the European Film Award in Animated Feature Film category alongside Ethel & Ernest by Roger Mainwood (UK, Luxembourg), Louise by the Shore (Louise en hiver) by Jean-François Laguionie (France, Canada) and Zombillénium by Arthur de Pins & Alexis Ducord (France, Belgium).
Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) is the world's first painted feature film, made by Polish director and painter Dorota Kobiela and by Hugh Welchman (winner of the Academy Award for Peter & the Wolf).
Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent)
Through 65,000 hand-painted frames, Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) tells the story of the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, one of the world's most acclaimed painters. Told as an investigation into the death of the artist, the story will bring to life over 100 of van Gogh's paintings.
The film is produced by Oscar-winning Breakthru Films and Trademark Films. Partners on the project include CETA, Odra Film, Silver Reel, Cinema and Management Group, European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016, and MEDIA. The film is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
The film was released theatrically in Poland on October 6. The distribution was handled by Next Film. The film has been sold to over 130 territories to date. World sales is handled by CMG – Cinema Management Group. Twój Vincent (Loving Vincent) was awarded at Annecy International Animation Film Festival and the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Further details about the film are available at: http://lovingvincent.com.
The Award for European Costume Designer went to Katarzyna Lewińska for her work on Pokot (Spoor), a film by Agnieszka Holland, co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Pokot (Spoor). Photo by Robert Pałka/Studio Filmowe Tor
"The simplicity and clarity of the costumes intensify the images and underline the substantial message of the film. The clash between the human element and the natural environment is reflected in the texture, the colours and the design of the costumes, at the same time contributing to the personality of the characters and giving them life. They form an integral part of the storytelling, along with all the other visual elements, and together they create a powerful viewing experience" reads the Jury statement.
Katarzyna Lewińska is a costume designer working in film and theatre. Winner of the Eagle Polish Film Awards and Best Costume Design Awards at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia for her work on Boisko bezdomnych (The Offsiders; 2009) and W ciemności (In Darkness; 2012). Her film credits as costume designer include: Amok by Katarzyna Adamik; Niewinne (The Innocents) by Anne Fontaine; Powidoki (Afterimage) by Andrzej Wajda; Body/Ciało (Body), W imię… (In the Name Of…), Sponsoring (Elles), and 33 sceny z życia (33 Scenes from Life) by Małgorzata Szumowska; Anatomia zła (Anatomy of Evil) and Bilet na Księżyc (One Way Ticket to the Moon) by Jacek Bromski; Córki Dancingu (The Lure) by Agnieszka Smoczyńska; Disco Polo by Maciej Bochniak; Pod Mocnym Aniołem (The Mighty Angel), Drogówka (Traffic Department), and Dom zły (Dark House) by Wojciech Smarzowski; Nieulotne (Lasting) by Jacek Borcuch, and Lęk wysokości (Fear of Falling) by Bartosz Konopka.
Further details on European Film Awards at www.europeanfilmawards.eu.
Translated by Karolina Kołtun