Still frame from "Świteź", dir. Kamil PolakThe animated short film "Świteź" by Kamil Polak has won the main prize in the Short film competition at the 12th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival in the Grand Canary islands
15 short films from around the globe competed for the award, with Damian Nenow's Paths of Hate
the only other film from Poland. The international jury was headed by renowned Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski
. Other members of the jury were Armenian actress Arsinée Khanjian, French film critic and writer Pascal Vimenet, promoter of African cinema Michel Ouedraogo, and Spanish director Vicente Molina Foix.Switez
is an adaptation of the romantic ballads of Poland's national poet Adam Mickiewicz. The 21-minute film merges traditional painting and three-dimensional animation, along with music and literature, to tell the story of a mysterious lake at the bottom of which lies an enchanted medieval town. The action takes place over two time periods: the modern era and the medieval surroundings of Mickiewicz, when according to legend, the city of Świteź was flooded.
I had some concerns with making a very Polish picture, impossible [for audiences] to understand without knowing the poem. When the movie was accepted into the festival in Berlin, I thought, "Well, OK, but after all they also had a romantic movement [in literature]." I breathed a sigh of relief when I got an enthusiastic e-mail from the organizers of the festival in Tehran. They understood my film, people brought up in a different culture, different literary and religious traditions. Then I realized how universal the feeling of nostalgia is.
-Kamil Polak in an interview with Newsweek.pl, February 12 2011
The film combines elements of oil painting and three-dimensional space while at the same time expressing classical animation with effects and computer animation. The unique aesthetics of images is achieved by using the latest technologies, the effect of "brush strokes". Work on the film - from concept to completion - took seven years. The film was produced at the Human Ark computer graphics studio in Warsaw.
Kamil Polak's animation also competed in the Short Film Competition of the 61th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival. The film was made with the support of the Polish Film Institute.
For more information on the festival, see: lpafilmfestival.com