Julia Sokolnicka's short film Side Roads won the award for the best student documentary at the 5th Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival, held in December 2016. On 25th December the film was also presented at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival in Pune.
Side Roads is Julia Sokolnicka's short documentary showing the provincial Poland seen from a car. For three years between 2012 and 2015, the director and cinematographer hitchhiked in the winter, looking for people who would take them to their car and share a bit of their story. The drivers appearing in the film share glimpses of their lives, reflecting on their reality and dreams. In Slavic manner of rough kindness, shown in intimate space of their cars, they help to capture the identity of a nation in change – on the move between East and West. The landscape of awkward commercials, bumpy roads driven through by trucks, local businesses and grotesque architecture, reflects the 25 year history of economical journey that Poland is on. The film is a unique collage of portraits and landscape that this self-produced filmic adventure brought.
The film premiered in January 2016 at the Los Angeles International Culture Film Festival, where it was awarded the prize for the best documentary. Later it was shown at the Kraków Film Festival, Competition of Short Polish Films at the 16th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, Opolskie Lamy Film Festival and the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Camerimage.
Julia Sokolnicka said:
From the very beginning I knew that Side Roads should be about Poland and the road as a metaphor, but it was also essential that the film should have a universal message. In the end we made the film short, but I hope with a universal meaning. Polish audiences may have the feeling that Side Roads is too short, but it makes it comprehensible for foreign viewers. Besides, our Spanish film editor Pedro Collantes focused on the emotional tone of the dialogue, and not its local meaning.
Julia Sokolnicka, born in Warsaw in 1983, is an experimental and documentary filmmaker living and working in Amsterdam. She studied Philosophy in Warsaw University as well as Film Directing in Wajda School and Krzysztof Kieślowski Faculty of Radio and Television of the University of Silesia. In 2016 she graduated from the Master of Film studies at Nederlandse Filmacademie in Amsterdam. The film Side Roads was a part of her graduation work. Julia Sokolnicka is an author of music and dance videos and visual concepts for theatre and commercials. She collaborated with artists of different origins, working in Europe and in the United States. She also worked as a journalist and photographer. Her film In the Head won the first prize in the Allegro Short competition at the Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema in 2010 and the documentary Side Roads is shown at the biggest Polish film festivals.
Side Roads, Poland / Netherlands 2015, 17 minutes, dir. Julia Sokolnicka, DOP Mateusz Wołoczko
Source: promotional materials, edited by: AW, 3 Jan 2017