Krakow FF Main Competition

A first glance at the main competition of the festival makes me say Diversity. In terms of countries represented, in terms of duration with several films that have the television length of around 52 minutes and films which are around 80 minutes, probably targeting a theatrical distribution… and a couple which are 100 minutes or more.

When it comes to characterise the kind of films listed in this program of 17 titles, the word diversity is even more evident. I am happy that I am not a jury member, who is to compare Audrius Stonys visually stunning ”Woman and the Glacier”, a film that breaks the rules of classical dramaturgy leaving the portrait of the glaciolog to go wild into the ice making images that are like abstract paintings with Vitaly Mansky’s personal ”Rodnye. Close Relations”, a first person film with the director in the picture visiting his family in Lviv, Odessa, Donbass, Sevastopol on Crimea. A personal very timely comment from the acclaimed director. Or with the Croatian minimalistic ”Dum Spiro Spero” shot and directed by Pero Kvesic. Or with the charming feature by David Rane and Neasa Ni Chianáin, ”School Life” is the title listed, when at the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, it was ”In loco Parentis” (Photo), but when American distribution company Magnolia took over the distribution, the title changed!   

At a time where festival after festival take stands/express opinions through their selection for the side programs, Krakow keeps the official selection, the one for the main competition, as the one where ”the best of the best” should be. Which does not mean that the films taken are free of statements or opinions. When films are taken for a festival both form and content count in the decisions being considered. And history – I am looking forward to watch ”Adriana’s Pact” by Lisette Orozco, that deals with the life of the director’s aunt during the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. As well as ”The General and Me” by Tiana Alexandra Silliphant that goes like this in the description ” Over the period of 25 years the director met General Võ Nguyên Giáp, a legendary hero of Vietnam’s independence wars, a number of times. She was the first American who entered the home of the “Red Napoleon”. The fruit of this friendship is a film, personal and politically involved at the same time…“. It is typical that documentaries, contrary to the more mainstream tv-documentaries, dare narrate history in first person.

I was in the jury – main competition – in 2011. It was a pleasure for many reasons. One was that we were able to honour Wojciech Staron for his masterpiece „Argentinian Lesson“, and for his cinematography, and we also had Pawel Kloc on the award list for hisPhnom Penh Lullaby” – two very strong Polish documentaries. I still remember festival director Krzysztof Gierat’s happy smile, when we told him the result, „really…“ he said, two Polish films on the top! Another reason for the joy of being in the jury was that fellow juror Marcin Koszałka gave me tasting lessons in the many different Polish vodkas! Yes, a festival is a feast for art and the good life!

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3872