Zofia Kowalewska’s documentary is on the shortlist of ten films competing for an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Documentary.
Close Ties is a story about a marriage with a 45 year-long history and a turbulent past. Zofia Kowalewska tells the story using a comedic tone. She speaks half-joking, half-serious about how people’s ties can be stigmatised by pain and a feeling of loss, about the possibility of redemption and the need for forgiveness.
A few years before filming, Zdzisław left Barbara, moved out and started a new life with his lover. After some years, he became ill and returned to his wife, who agreed for him to come back to their apartment. But the way to forgiveness isn’t easy for any of them. Forced to spend time together and enclosed in a common space, Barbara and Zdzisław try again to answer the question about who they are for each other. The approaching anniversary of their marriage is an opportunity to understand their new relationship.
Close Ties, produced by Warsaw Munk Studio has won awards at many festivals over the last few months. The film received the Silver Dragon at the 56th Kraków Film Festival, and at the festival The Youth and Film, it received an award for best short documentary and award for best camerawork.
The film’s director, Zofia Kowalewska, is a 21 year-old student at the Directing Department in the National Film School in Łódź. What’s interesting is that the young documentary director started working on her film while she was still in high school. Despite her young age, she has already produced films in addition to Close Ties: the study Miśka, and a documentary called Loving.
Sixty-one documentaries fought for a place in the final list of ten films, among them two other polish productions: End of the World directed by Monika Pawluczuk, and Invisible by Zofia Pręgowska. The shortlist ended up as follows:
- Brillo Box (3¢ Off), Brillo Box Documentary
- Close Ties, Munk Studio - Polish Filmmakers Association
- Extremis, f/8 Filmworks in association with Motto Pictures
- 4.1 Miles, University of California, Berkeley
- Frame 394, Compy Films
- Joe’s Violin, Lucky Two Productions
- The Mute’s House, The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School
- The Other Side of Home, Feeln
- Watani: My Homeland, ITN Productions
- The White Helmets, Grain Media and Violet Films
The final nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced on 24th January 2017, and its world-famous glamorous gala will take place on 26th February 2017.
Close Ties is not the only polish short documentary which has had a chance for an Academy Award over last few years. In 2014, the films Joanna by Aneta Kopacz and Our Curse by Tomasz Śliwiński were nominated for the award, while last year, Superindividual (Superjednostka) by Teresa Czepiec and Starting Point by Michał Szcześniak were on the shortlist.
Source: Oscars.org, Munk Studio, compiled by BS, translated by BR, 27 Oct 2016.