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GDYNIA 2022 Awards

The Silent Twins wins the Golden Lions at the Polish Film Festival

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- Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s English-language debut, which premiered earlier this year at Cannes, has come out on top at the Gdynia-based gathering, scooping a slew of prizes

The Silent Twins wins the Golden Lions at the Polish Film Festival
The winners of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (© Anna Bobrowska)

The Polish Film Festival in Gdynia is a real focal point for the local industry. The 47th edition, which unspooled from 12-17 September, was no different, with a much higher number of Main Competition films than usual (20, of which four were added during the second selection round). The gathering’s abundant industry section focused on the current challenges within the Polish audiovisual market, and there was no lack of audiences flocking to the cinemas.

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Indeed, the image of the packed screening rooms was refreshing, since one of the biggest worries in the industry – also in Europe as a whole – is the decrease in attendance levels for local titles. Even if the overall number of admissions is slowly edging back up, the audience seems to prefer big US titles to Polish films. And it’s a shame because there is so much to choose from, including the big winner of the festival, The Silent Twins [+see also:
film review
interview: Agnieszka Smoczynska
film profile
]
by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, which also took home the well-deserved Awards for Best Music (Marcin Macuk and Zuzanna Wrońska) and Best Production Design (Jagna Dobesz). It’s the third feature, and the first in the English language, by Smoczyńska, who this time told a story based on real events (but transformed them into an amazing, dark fairy tale that would make Michel Gondry slightly jealous) – specifically, the lives of Welsh writers June and Jennifer Gibbons. The film has already had a US release, and is awaiting a Polish theatrical premiere on 21 October and a UK one on 9 December.

Filip, a Holocaust-set adventure-drama based on Leopold Tyrmand’s writing, and directed by Michał Kwieciński, came second, nabbing the Silver Lions. Furthermore, its DoP, Michał Sobociński, snagged the Award for Best Cinematography. The ballsy zombie-horror movie Apokawixa, directed by Xawery Żuławski (the HBO Max series The Thaw [+see also:
series review
series profile
]
), won the Golden Claw for “Vision Apart”, an award given to a film that stands out both narratively and visually. Actress Marta Stalmierska, who stars in Apokawixa, won the Best Acting Debut gong (both for this and for her role in Johnny).

Jacek Bławut, a veteran documentary filmmaker, took home the Best Director Award for his second feature, Below the Surface, taking place entirely on a World War II submarine. Also, three individual prizes were presented to this film: Best Sound (Radosław Ochnio, Michał Fojcik), Best Editing (Piasek & Wójcik) and Best Make-up (Dariusz Krysiak, also acknowledged for Filip). Another seasoned documentary filmmaker, Beata Dzianowicz, received the Best Directorial Debut (or Second Film) Award for Shreds, which was also lauded for Grzegorz Przybył’s performance, earning him Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik was voted by the jury as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her turn in Illusion by Marta Minorowicz.

The aforementioned Johnny, a biopic of late, charismatic priest Jan Kaczkowski, which was added to the Main Competition in the second round of selections, won the Audience Award and Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Piotr Trojan), while Backwards, helmed by Jacek Lusiński, earned the director the Best Screenplay Award, which he shared with his co-writer Szymon Augustynek. Last but not least, Dorota Pomykała snagged Best Actress in a Leading Role for her tour-de-force performance in Woman on the Roof [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. She previously won an acting prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the movie had its world premiere. Kamil Krawczycki’s Elephant [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
won the Best Microbudget Film Award, while Victoria by Karolina Porcari triumphed in the short-film competition. Filip Bajon was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award – Platinum Lions.

Overall, the jury’s decisions were received with mixed feelings – while the big win by The Silent Twins was applauded, many critics and professionals considered not giving any kudos at all to Jerzy Skolimowski’s Eo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
or Damian Kocur’s Bread and Salt [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Damian Kocur
film profile
]
an oversight, to say the least. The 47th Polish Film Festival concludes the three-year tenure of its artistic director Tomasz Kolankiewicz, whose impact on the shape of the national event shouldn’t be overlooked. For now, there is no news on who will succeed him or how they will be chosen.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Golden Lions
The Silent Twins [+see also:
film review
interview: Agnieszka Smoczynska
film profile
]
– Agnieszka Smoczyńska (Poland/USA/UK)

Silver Lions
Filip – Michał Kwieciński (Poland/France/Czech Republic)

Golden Claw for “Vision Apart”
Apokawixa – Xawery Żuławski (Poland/USA)

Best Director
Jacek Bławut – Below the Surface

Best Screenplay
Jacek Lusiński, Szymon Augustynek – Backwards

Best Directorial Debut (or Second Film)
Beata Dzianowicz – Shreds

Best Cinematography
Michał Sobociński – Filip

Best Music
Marcin Macuk, Zuzanna Wrońska – The Silent Twins

Best Production Design
Jagna Dobesz – The Silent Twins

Best Sound
Radosław Ochnio, Michał Fojcik – Below the Surface

Best Editing
Piasek & Wójcik – Below the Surface

Best Make-up
Dariusz Krysiak – Below the Surface and Filip

Best Costume Design
Magdalena Rutkiewicz-Luterek – The Wedding Day [+see also:
film review
interview: Wojciech Smarzowski
film profile
]
(Poland/Latvia)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik – Illusion

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Grzegorz Przybył – Shreds

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Dorota Pomykała – Woman on the Roof [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (Poland/Sweden/France)

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Piotr Trojan – Johnny

Best Professional Acting Debut
Marta Stalmierska – Johnny and Apokawixa

Best Microbudget Film
Elephant [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Kamil Krawczycki

Best Short Film
Victoria – Karolina Porcari

Audience Award
Johnny – Daniel Jaroszek

Platinum Lions for Lifetime Achievement
Filip Bajon

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