Piotr is serving a long term prison sentence. Today for the first time in many years he has been released on a three-day probation. The austere reality of prison that he grew attached to cannot be compared to the world outside brimming with possibilities and unlimited choices. The car ride with GPS, travelling by underground, using an escalator or even buying an ordinary shirt seem to be quite a big challenge for Piotr. Lost and astonished but still fascinated by everything that surrounds him, he is trying to understand today’s world. Yet his most difficult task will be facing his life once again, looking back to what has passed and appraise his future capabilities, and finally, to choose what would be best for him. Although he cannot hope for much, there is still something that can be changed. What will he do with those three short days of freedom?
After the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima an increasing number of children has health problems. Their mothers conduct their own investigation, verifying the government’s assurances about the safety of the reason. The American director Ian Thomas Ash found the children included in the thyroid studies program. The documentary is made up of conversations with the children, their parents, and the employees of the prefecture.
Locked up in a high security prison for armed robbery, a 28 year-old Polish inmate refuses to let the errors of his youth become his destiny. BAD BOY high security cell offers an exceptional look into one of the most secret places in prisons. Over a period of 78 minutes, we get to know Damian, 28 years old, condemned to ten years in jail for armed bank robbery. His frank and truthful discussion, with himself and with the camera of Janusz Mrozowski, reveals his troubled inner world, his doubts but also his sensitivity and understanding, and with his tattooed arms he holds up a mirror to our society, and to ourselves.
90 minutes drive away from Yangon - Burma's main city - there is a village in which the whole population’s main activity is dedicated to the manufacture of bricks. These people - men, women, children - are devoting their lives to this demanding task, becoming part of an impressive working chain. The Brick has been created as a part of workshops organized by Lech Walesa Institute in Yangon in September 2013 under supervision of Jan Czarlewski.
“Whores’ Glory” is a cinematic triptych on prostitution in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico: three locations, three languages, three religions. In worlds where the most intimate act has become a commodity, these women have physically and emotionally experienced everything that can happen between a man and a woman. For this they have always received money, but it has not made their lives rich in anything but stories. Paradise, the world and the hereafter merge in prostitution to create an image of the relationship between men and women.
Impressionistic registration of event, which takes place in June 1984 in Pulawy. On the trunk of one of the trees appeared the image of the Virgin Mary. That prompted the Polish believers to make a pilgrimage to the "holy place" and to the continuous contemplation. The film is accompanied by the words of prayers, hymns and a single sentences of people who shared their impressions.
12 June 2013, Huntsville, Texas. A little after 6 p.m., Elroy Chester will be executed by lethal injection for the rape of Erin and Claire DeLeon and the murder of their uncle, fireman Billy Ryman. “Killing Time” briefly reconstructs an old murder, but foremost shows the impact the day of execution has on the family members and victims. Filmed in a ‘cinema direct’ style, the film does not take in a standpoint. It only shows the events surrounding an execution. Killing Time is about passing time, about seeing death. Set against the ticking of a clock.
Animals are hidden in the shadows of our highly mechanized world. “The Ghosts in Our Machine” is a cinematic cross-platform documentary that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world. Through the heart and lens of Jo-Anne McArthur we become intimately familiar with a cast of animal characters. Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights? The film was presented in Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto and IDFA 2013 in Amsterdam.
Ukrainian countryside. Everyone celebrate a Minor’s Day. But in mine they have nothing to celebrate. There are in another world where everyone finds refuge behind a registration number, as a talisman that enables them to survive the chaos. This film is about imprisonment, the physical and the mental one, about brutality, fear and isolation. This film is dark but not faithless. A party, few balloons, yellow and blue colours, a flower, a medal: the wages of fear. Do they really breathe better outside?
15-year-old Michał, fascinated by photography, meets Tadeusz Rolke (82), nestor of Polish photojournalism. Rolke helps Michał to buy a camera, set up a darkroom in his house, gives him his first photographic tasks. Slowly they become close friends. In the summer they set up a darkroom in a car and start a one month photographic trip filled with meeting people, adventures, and long conversations. It is not only a story about the magic of photography but also about budding of friendship and a master-student relationship.
Deep Water tells the story about the employees and mentees of the social welfare center. They have a contact with the multiple problems: alcoholism, domestic violence, drug addiction, homelessness and unemployment. They help people during illegal employment, immigrants from the East, the Roma minority. In many cases they are dealing with the problem of orphan children of Polish immigrants or children from broken families. The action of each episode focuses on some sort of issues requiring the intervention.
If you could pick only one photograph of yourself for the next generations to remember you, which one would you choose? “As You Like It” brings together stories from people facing their gravestone picture while still being alive. Some of the characters choose a photograph from their youth and others plan to change the existing one because they are afraid of being misjudged. While the audience discovers the graveyard as a public photo album and a living social document, they are concerned with their own perfect image to-be-remembered.
We are in Little Rann of Kutch, a saline desert in India. The desert extends endlessly – flat, grey, relentless. There is only one thing in abundance: salt. It is everywhere, lying just beneath the cracked, baked surface of the earth. We are observing the work of Chhanabhai and his family live there without water, electricity or provisions. Under the blinding glare of the sun, they are tirelessly extracting salt from this desolate landscape. Their labour is rhythmic, a dance that mirrors the dance of the mirages on the burning horizon. After 8 months of hard work, the salt is ready to be harvested - just before the heavy monsoon rains will once again wash their salt fields away.
Thanks to her blog, for many people Joanna has become an icon of a thoughtful and joyful life. She starts the blog when she finds out she has cancer and is given three months to live. Then she promises her 5-year-old son, Jas, that she will do her best to survive for as long as possible. And she starts writing for him. The documentary shows the everyday existence of Joanna, her husband Piotr, and little Jas. It is as discreet as it is moving. Through few well-chosen words and observations it manages to be both essential and sensuous. A story of thoughtfulness in death, life and love.
An old, beat-up minivan with a red cross on the window is driving around the Leningrad Oblast. It is a Russian "bloodmobile" buying blood from local people. Every day a seven-person crew, 3 men and 4 women, sets up a makeshift blood donor station in various public buildings. For some people in Russia today, going to give blood is the only way to make money. The film presents merry-go-round of life shown through people and their blood. They give blood, and they receive it...
Film is a journey into human hearts. It tells the story of the copy of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, a picture that for the last 55 years has been travelling across Poland. Black Madonna is left with families for 24 hours. This visit marks a remarkable time in protagonists life: yet the loving, spiritual mother is visiting their house. Protagonists’ stories are revealed one by one in the context of faith or lack of it but above all the key motif of the film is brought by a meaning of mother in one’s life. The film has a mosaic structure while the diversity of the protagonist is shown in the context of changeable seasons. Mother 24/7
Cerro Rico in Potosí (Bolivia) is a lawless territory, characterized by brutal violence. The miners risk their lives every day, digging for silver and zinc in crumbling galleries. The ones that survive think they’re entitled to anything and everything. And that’s when they go on the hunt… for women. Minerita is the story of three women—Lucía, Ivone and Abigail - who work as night watch women or inside the mine, struggling to survive in an inhuman inferno. Their only weapon is their courage… and dynamite.
We are in Warsaw's Wola district, one of the poorest and shadiest areas of the Polish capital. We meet Bartek and Pawel, two best buddies struggling with a day to day ordeal. Bartek has a dream of becoming a stuntman in the film industry. His vision seems reckless, but he will stop at nothing until he succeedes. His friend Pawel is his soul mate, his father figure and a personal trainer. Pawel starts training Bartek to help him make his lifetime dream come true... “A Dream In The Making” is a story of friendship, determination and a true example of the fact, that everything in life is possible.
The film is a personal statement of the director and his wife, who have to deal with a very rare and incurable disease of their newborn child – the Ondine’s Curse (also known as CCHS, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome). People affected with this disease stop breathing during sleep and require lifetime mechanical ventilation on a ventilator. The film shows the process of taming the fear by the parents and gradually adapting to the new situation.
I can resist anything except temptation - Henry Fast, professor emeritus of mathematics, proudly endorses the words of Oscar Wilde. In search of happy love, he is ready to take any risk. He falls victim to fraud and gets robbed, but even that does not dissuade him... The pursuit of the dream is only interrupted by a painful confrontation with the past. The film received the Jantar 2013 award for the best short-documentary on the Młodzi i Film Festival.
An award-winning director returns to his favourite theme: 20th-century music. The film is based on unique archival footage of interviews and concerts, and the heroes are the people behind the greatest hit songs released from the 1960s to this day. They are the backup singers of some of the greatest rock and roll and pop legends of the past several decades. Millions of listeners all over the world know their voices, but hardly anyone knows their names. Giving up their solo careers, they use their talent, musical intuition, and personalities to support the biggest music stars, accepting they will remain in the shadows. The film includes tributes to their work by stars like Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Sting, Cheryl Crow. Where would they all be without their backup singers?
"When Will You Be back?" is the story of a young single mother, who graduated her acting studies and tries to find her place in the world of theater, film, and movie stars. When she realizes that the combination of this things is impossible, seeking advice and help from her grandmother, for whom this beautiful world of showbiz is behind thick TV glass and is not available for her granddaughter.
A movie about life after serving time in jail. This documentary tells the story about three delinquent adolescents Imo (22), Jano (17), and Marcel (25), after the day of their release from prison in Wriezen (Brandenburg, Germany), for a period of three years.
The life's wish of a terminally ill 17-year-old girl, Regina Diane Nicholson, leads to a deep, loving, and controversial relationship with 55-year-old filmmaker, Henry Corra. With mortality's clock relentlessly ticking, Reggie risks everything to fight for the life, art and love she chooses. Farewell to Hollywood is a raw, unexpected love story, telling about commitment of two people to art, poetry and the beauty of every moment together, to the very end. Being simultaneously supported and imperilled, Reggie and Henry are together to the last, and beyond.
This is a story about Ukrainian positive film splicers - Lena, Taya and Tamara. They dream to make movies like "Avatar", but they are afraid of computers. They hope to win the Oscar prize, but all their life they remain on the other side of the screen. And now it’s their time to come to the stage...
Journeying 400 kilometers above the polar circle to Karigasniemi village in Utsjoki, Finland, filmmaker Eva Weber captures the reindeer herding that has been the livelihood of the Arctic’s indigenous Sámi people for countless generations. Braving minus 18 degree C weather, the wordless short showcases the beauty and majesty of the beasts which are more familiar in story form than in real-life, while also paying mind to the rugged Finlanders who raise them.
In the village of Piaski - fishing is the profession that whole families take up. Fascination with the sea, sealife and revelry is passed from father to son. Nevertheless, the time comes when the son wants to be on his own and starts to wonder "fish’(o)R’ us?"
Since the first minute the spectators will be fascinated. Hypnotic music and amazing shoots which present an industrial views from the height. The audience have a possibility to observe the city life from sunrise to sunset... “The Solitary Life of Cranes” is a symphony of cities, the visual poem... It is worth to watch the life from the height.
A documentary triptych about a group of homeless kids, who have survived their drug-addicted childhood, grew up and start to live an adult life. It is a story about a boy facing the surreal, degenerated society of his native village full of hate and sadistic anger while searching for his mother. It is a story about a pregnant girl who wants to give birth to her child, whose childhood probably will be even worse than hers.
Fifty years ago an exceptional Czechoslovak movie called „The Shop on Main Street”, that won an Oscar award, was made. The author of "film after film", Peter Zakutanský, went to Sabinov to revive movie locations and relive adventures of the locals from the time when original movie was shot. Those roles in film characters reveal not only a great history, but also their own private stories.
“Workingman's Death” follows the trail of the heroes in the illegal mines of the Ukraine, sniffs out ghosts among the sulfur workers in Indonesia, finds itself face to face with lions at a slaughterhouse in Nigeria, mingles with brothers as they cut a huge oil tanker into pieces in Pakistan, and joins Chinese steel workers in hoping for a glorious future.
Mateusz Głowacki’s film presents the thoughts of 22 women about the opposite sex. The documentary is divided into 7 chapters – each answering questions about man’s condition in the present world and their relationships. What seems like a journey to discover masculinity seen through women’s eyes is in fact an ironic tale of women talking about themselves.
Portrait of a young conductress - an employee of the Warsaw suburban trains. In a small, modest apartment she talks about her hard, responsible work, exhaustion, loneliness and dreams.
Tango was born in Buenos Aires and no one dances tango as passionately as the Argentineans do – that is at least what the Argentineans themselves believe. Tango is as Finnish as sauna and skiing – that is what many of Finns are convinced of. Two countries, two opinions, two musical traditions. “Midsummer Night’s Tango” is a humorous, light-hearted road movie, accompanying three Argentinean tango musicians as they leave the milongas of Buenos Aires behind to discover tango in faraway Finland.
At home, Rizwan 12, hugs and plays with his siblings. At work, he is forced to a claustrophobic job in a industry that's key to our economy. Here at Pakistans second largest oil depot, children crawl inside the dark interior of the diesel tanks – in spite of the extremely carcinogenic fumes.
One cold December night, Israeli soldiers approach the al-Haddad family home in the West Bank city of Hebron in order to search the house. Diaa, the teenage son, reaches for the family’s video camera. As the search unfolds, a strange power struggle evolves, pitting gun against camera. The soldiers take Diaa outside and order him to face the wall. Despite circumstances he doesn’t stop smiling what brings an unexpected end of the evening. The film was presented in 64. Berlin International Film Festival.
Photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen travels the world in search of stories about people who, for whatever reasons, have left their place of birth . His photographs tell the stories that simmer on after the big news corporations have left. He aims to offer an alternative by drawing attention to forgotten conflicts and disasters and he believes that his work can change the world.
Director Dagmar Smržová's looks into the every-day life of a man who suffers from schizophrenia. Thirty-year-old Jiří Láska who lives in a village under the mountains, Batňovice, is not your usual apathetic patient in the psychiatry ward. Using modern technology, he communicates with his surroundings and runs his own website, for which he films unusual journalistic videos. Jiří has an extraordinary gift for self-reflection.
115 men are imprisoned on an island in Oslofjord, Norway. There are no cells, no cameras, no fences.The guards don’t carry weapons while the prisoners work with chainsaws and kitchen knives. On the island the men live in a halfway house, between prison and society. Each of them has a task: Tom works works with the cows, Michael in the carpentry shop. On Bastøy, they don’t believe that criminals become better people if you punish them long and hard. They think that if you give people responsibility and respect there might be a bigger chance that they will pick up their life again.
Only a fifth of Gwinea's 10 million people have access to electricity and even those that do experience frequent power cuts. Every evening during exam season, as the sun sets over Conakry, Guinea, hundreds of school children begin a nightly pilgrimage to the airport, petrol stations and wealthy parts of the city, searching for light to study. A literal and metaphorical journey to enlightenment, this evocative documentary shows how children reconcile their daily lives in one of the world’s poorest countries with their desire to learn.
In Birkenau, at Gravel Yard near the to Block 11, in 1998, was built the Papal cross. It commemorates the martyrdom of murdered victims in that place. The Jews protested against any religious symbols occurring there. Magdalene Lazarkiewicz's film shows the relationship between Poles and Jews from a single day of conflict .
Buddhist monastery in the middle of bustling metropolis is a surprisingly peaceful place. Shelter for many, it leads its own, accordingly paced life. Ordinary day intimately portrays both monastery and its inhabitants. Ordinary day has been created as a part of workshops organized by Lech Walesa Institute in Yangon in September 2013 under supervision of Piotr Stasik.