Magazine article Screen International

Gods Reigns Supreme in Gdynia

Magazine article Screen International

Gods Reigns Supreme in Gdynia

Article excerpt

Lukasz Palkowski's Gods was the big winner at this year's annual showcase of Polish cinema at the Gdynia Film Festival which ended with a gala awards ceremony at the weekend.

Gods (Bogowie), based on the life of Zbigniew Religa who performed the first successful heart transplant in Poland in the 1980s, received the Grand Prix Golden Lions for best film as well as individual awards in the categories of screenplay, make-up, production design and actor in a leading role for Tomasz Kot.

In addition, Gods received the award of the Polish Film Festivals and Reviews Abroad as well as the Journalists' Award, Elle magazine's Star of the Stars award for lead actor Kot and Radio Gdansk's Golden Claquer Award for the longest applauded film at a screening in the Musical Theatre for the Main Competition.

Palkowski made his feature directorial debut in 2007 with Reserve, which won three prize at the festival in Gdynia that year including the best directing debut award.

From Hardkor to Angel

The International Jury headed by veteran director Ryszard Bugajski awarded the prize for best directorial debut to producer-writer-director Krzysztof Skonieczny's Hardkor Disko which also picked up the honours for cinematography and the professional acting debut for actress Jasmina Polak.

Meanwhile, Jan Komasa's big-budget drama on the Warsaw Uprising, Warsaw 44, which Kino Swiat released in Polish cinemas last Thursday (Sept 18), took home the trophies for actress in a leading role, sound, a special award for SFX, and for the professional acting debut for actor Sebastian Fabijanski (shared with Waterline).

Wladyslaw Pasikowski was named best director for his Cold War thriller Jack Strong which also attracted a technical nod for its costume design, while this year's Silver Lions Award went to Wojciech Smarzowski's adaptation of Jerzy Pilch's autobiographical novel The Mighty Angel.

Smarzowski, who began shooting his next feature Volnyhia on Friday (Sept 19), also accepted the prizes on behalf of his composer and editor.

In addition, the awards for actors in supporting roles went to Russian actress Elena Babenko (The Photographer) and former Shooting Star Dawid Ogrodnik (The Word).

The jury gave its Special Award to actor-director Jerzy Stuhr and producer Piotr Dzieciol for The Citizen, while the auditorium rose to its feet to applaud the veteran director Sylwester Checinski who was presented with the Platinum Lions career achievement award in recognition of such films as Sami swoi, Wielki Szu and Rozmowy kontrolowane which have charmed millions.

Young Cinema Competition winners

Announcing the Grand Prix for this year's new Young Cinema Competition, jury member film editor Agnieszka Glinska explained that it had been awarded ¨unanimously¨ to Armenian-born Wajda School graduate Vahram Mkhitaryan's Milky Brother for ¨a very beautiful and extraordinary film.¨

Meanwhile, the jury's Special Award was presented to Lodz Film School graduate Aga Woszczynska for her diploma film Fragments which had been shown in the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes this year, with Special Mentions being made of Joaquin Del Paso's Siamese and Tomek Slesicki's directorial debut August.

Another new sidebar introduced by the festival's new artistic director Michal Oleszczyk, Visions Apart (Gdynia's answer to Un Certain Regard), invited audiences to vote for one of the section's four films for an Audience Award which went to Grzegorz Jankowski's independently made Polish Shit.

Independent awards

Jan Komasa's Warsaw 44 picked up the Golden Kittens - Youth City Council of Gdynia Award and Elle's Rising Star award for actress Anna Próchniak, while the magazine's Crystal Award went to Jowita Budnik for her performance in Michal Otlowski's Waterline and the Youth Jury's award for Best Film in the Main Competition to Waldemar Krzystek's The Photographer.

Other prizes included the Don Quixote - Polish Federation of Film Discussion Clubs Award and the Arthouse Cinemas Network Award to Gregorz Jaroszuk for his feature debut Kebab & Horoscope; the Golden Kangaroo Award to director Jerzy Stuhr and producer Piotr Dzieciol for The Citizen; and the Amber Lion for Wladyslaw Pasikowski's Jack Strong. …

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