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Okiem Młodych – 10 years of documentary journey

Far from the large urban centres, there is a festival that focuses on presenting the most interesting documentary films by young film-makers. Initiated in 2008 by Bożena Kuźma from Świdnica’s Culture Centre, the festival came a long way both in its scale and organisation as well as in the film selecting process.

In the first edition, there were only 5 films screened and the whole event took 2 days. Now „Okiem Młodych” Film Festival receives over 100 submissions every year, hosts a Main Competition (running time: max 30 min, filmmakers up to 30 years of age) and a Young Competition (running time: max 30 min films by amateurs up to 21 years of age) as well as dozens additional screenings, meetings and accompanying events. We were guests of one of the world’s biggest documentary film festivals in Russia – „Flahertiana” (2014) and our festival received a nomination from the Polish Film Institute in „Film Event in Poland” category in 2016.

In the past decade, the festival welcomed dozens of great guests, including an Oscar nominee – Bartek Konopka, some of the most important Polish documentary directors – Jacek Bławut, Paweł Łoziński, Maciej Drygas and Piotr Stasik to name the few, as well as important figures from the film industry such as Roman Gutek and Tadeusz Sobolewski. Moreover, we presented some of the most important documentary films of the last decade such as „Forget me not” by David Sieveking, „The act of killing” by Joshua Oppenheimer, „The Salt of the Earth” by Wim Wenders and Juliano Salgado and „You have no idea how much I love you” by Paweł Łoziński.

11-12 April 2008 (1st edition)

The beginnings of the festival go as far back as 2008, when the festival was created under the title „Festiwal Okiem Młodych – Zapukać do człowieka”. Jury including Cezary Ciszewski, Mariusz Połczyński, Marek Banaszyk, Ada Jaworska, Jacek Wiśnicki, awarded the Grand Prix of 1200PLN to Marek Sojka and Maciej Kochajewski’s film „Pod innym niebem”. The audience award went to „Pan Chlebek” by Przemysław Filipowicz.

The festival was co-organised by Świdnica’s Culture Centre and WroFilm Association.

13-14 June 2009 (2nd edition)

The second edition of the festival came with a couple of changes, starting from the dates – 13-14th June 2009, ending with the name, which now was Young Film-makers Documentary Film Festival „Okiem Młodych”. There was also a change in organising structures – Świdnica’s Culture Centre was now joined by „Plaster” Foundation of Cultural Initiative.

The jury including Bartosz Konopka, Jacek Wiśnicki and Bożena Kuźma chose the film „Jutro…” by Bartosz Kruhlik to be the winner. Special mentions went to Dominik Krawczyk’s „Boisko” and „7109 km” by Marcin Filipowicz.

26-27 November 2010 (3rd edition)

In 2010 Bartosz Kruhlik once again won the Young Film-makers Documentary Film Festival „Okiem Młodych” this time with his film „Wycieczka”. The jury: Janusz Mrozowski (head), Maria Zięba, Bożena Kuźma and Jacek Wiśnicki described it as subtle and unpretentious in its depiction of intergenerational relations. Jury’s special mention went to „Na swoim” by Beniamin Kostas.

The festival was organised by Świdnica’s Culture Centre, „Plaster” Foundation of Cultural Initiative and SPRING’04 Association. Once again the event took place in Culture Centre’s theatre. Apart from the competition screenings, there were also special screenings of „North from Calabria” by Marcin Sautner and „Bad Girls. Cell 77” by Janusz Mrozowski.

14-16 October 2011 (4th edition)

Jury of the 4th Documentary Film Festival „Okiem Młodych” in Świdnica including: Jacek Bławut, Mikołaj Jazdon and Tomasz Wolski awarded the Grand Prix of 5000PLN to the film „Rozmowa” by Piotr Sulkowski, Jury’s Special Award to „Luiza Hert” by Agnieszka Woszczyńska and special mention to „Nie patrzę” by Alicja Stasiak.

The festival organisers consisted of Świdnica’s Culture Centre, Visionica Foundation and SPRING’04 Association. Lech Moliński became the Artistic Director of the festival. This edition took place both in the threatre room of the Culture Centre and Gdynia Cinema – a landmark in Świdnica since 1920s. The audience of „Okiem Młodych” grew to over 800 people.

20-23 September 2012 (5th edition)

The jury including Paweł Łoziński, Agnieszka Janowska, Jolanta Janowiec-Lewandowska presented the film „Gwizdek” by Grzegorz Zariczny with the Grand Prix. Jury’s Special Award went to Aniela Gabryel and her film „Kamyczkowi rycerze”. Special mentioned were given to „Wojny domowe” by Aleksandra Popińska and „Dzisiaj w Warszawie, jutro gdzieś w świecie” by Grzegorz Brzozowski. The audience’s favourite turned out to be „Sonda o kobietach” by Mateusz Głowacki.

The festival was accompanied by an overview of Paweł Łoziński’s work. The organisers consisted of Świdnica’s Culture Centre and Wrocławska Fundacja Filmowa and since then have been co-creating the festival together.

19-22 September 2013 r. (6th edition)

The jury including Tadeusz Sobolewski, Jędrzej Morawiecki and Paweł Wysoczański awarded the Grand Prix to the film „Osiemnastka” by Marta Prus and Jury’s Special Award to Aniela Gabryel (second year in a row), this time for „Lecieć – nie lecieć”. Moreover, the jury decided to give four special mentions to Tomasz Jeziorski for „Obóz”, Izabela Kiszczak for „2×2”, Aleksandra Maciejczyk for „Nils” and Bartek Tryzna for „Pocztówka”.

For the opening of the festival there was a screening of „Forget me not” by David Sieveking and for the first time, more than 1000 people attended the event. The prisoners from the correctional facility in Świdnica presented their own award to the film „Edward” by Emilia Śniegoska.

Paweł Kosuń became the festival’s director. The artistic director remained the same.

10-14 September 2014 (7th edition)

The jury including Adriana Prodeus, Roman Gutek and Maciej Drygas awarded the Grand Prix of 3000 PLN to „Exit point” by Jagoda Szelc. A special award of 3000PLN for a Film with Valuable Depiction of Nature (celebrating 90 years of National Forests) went to „Okienko dobrej pogody” by Tomasz Jeziorski. Jury’s Special Award went to Małgorzata Goliszewska for „I’ll Call You When I Get There”. A new Competition for International Film Schools was initiated and welcomed submissions from Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. The winner was Maciej Buchwald for his film „Horoscopes of love”.

During special screenings, we presented „The act of killing” by J. Oppenheimer, „Deep Love” by Jan P. Matuszyński, „Song from the forest” and „Everybody street” by Cheryl Dunn.

21-27 September 2015 (8th edition)

The Main Competition Jury included Artur Liebhart, Maciej Gil and Iwona Łyko. International Film School Competition jury consisted of Adam Hanuljak (Slovakia), Radovan Sibrt (Czech Republic) and Jagoda Szelc (Poland). Additionally, representatives from high schools in Świdnica created a Youth Jury.
Winners were as follows:

„Trampkarze”, dir. Marcin Filipowicz – „Kinematografek” award given by the prisoners of the correctional facility in Świdnica
„Second floor”, dir. Hajni Kis – Audience award
„Fabio’s Videos”, dir. Kamil Krukowski – Jury’s Special Award
„Object”, dir. Paulina Skibińska – Special Award for a Film with Valuable Depiction of Nature
„Igor’s big emotions”, dir. Igor Strejcovsky – International Film School Competition Award
„Document”, dir. Marcin Podolec – Grand Prix „Złote Oko” (5000 zł) and Youth Jury Award

The festival’s programme included an overview of new Czech cinema with screenings of „Gottland”, „Pod sluncem tma” by Martin Marecek, „Stream of love” by Agnes Sos and „Jurek” by Paweł Wysoczański. On average each screening welcomed 200 viewers.

12-18 September 2016 (9th edition)

The jury including Piotr Stasik, Kaja Klimek and Marcin Podolec awarded the Grand Prix „Złote Oko” to Emi Buchwald’s „Nauka” and the Special Award for a Film with Valuable Depiction of Nature went to Anastazja Dąbrowska for her film „Daniel”. Katarzyna Wierzcha’s „Pół roku Franka W.” received a special mention. The audience presented the film „Więzi” by Zofia Kowalewska with the Audience Award.
For the first time in the festival’s history, a Youth Competition was introduced, welcoming amateurs up to 21 years old. A jury of Rafał Skalski, Anna Desponds and Małgorzata Kozubek chose the winning film – „Nasz dom” by Kinga Pidełek, Wiktor Goncerz and Adrian Krzemiński and awarded a special mention to „Wykluczeni” by Krzysztof Świderski.
The discussion hosted after the screening of Paweł Łoziński’s film „You have no idea how much I love you” was a very important event during the festival as was the pre-premiere screening of „Monk of the sea” by Rafał Skalski and the meeting with the director. Following the theme of this edition „Future is now”, a special overview of Films and Art in Virtual Reality „Czasoprzestrzenie VR” was organised by Jacek Nagłowski. The event hosted on Świdnica Central station was a great success. Overall the festival welcomed almost 3000 visitors.