On 15 March the National Audiovisual Institute held a press conference revealing films to be screened in the Main Competition of the upcoming 14th edition of Millennium Docs Against Gravity, the biggest documentary film festival in Poland.

Fot. Kamila Szuba
Fot. Kamila Szuba

This year’s edition will take place in five Polish cities: Warsaw (Kinoteka, Luna and Iluzjon cinemas), Wrocław (Dolnośląskie Centrum Filmowe), Gdynia (Gdyńskie Centrum Filmowe), Bydgoszcz (Kino Orzeł) and for the first time in Lublin (Centrum Spotkania Kultur). The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Documentary Film Festival will take place May 12-21 in Warsaw and Wrocław, May 11-21 in Lublin, and May 17-26 in Gdynia. Bydgoszcz will hold a local edition of the festival on the 16-21 of May.

“The ever-growing audience of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity shows that we have identified our viewers’ needs and gained their trust in our concept of the festival. (…) We present the world’s best documentary cinema. Curator-selected films, several dozens of organizations and media partners, a festival unique on a global scale – held simultaneously in five cities; what brings those elements together is our respect for the audiences. Our demanding audience is welcome to join the films-related debates, workshops and concerts”, adds Artur Liebhart, the festival’s director.

Fot. Kamila Szuba
Fot. Kamila Szuba

14 films will compete in the Main Competition to win the Bank Millennium Award

The competition will include 14 films. The jury consisting of Mariusz Grzegorzek, Jan P. Matuszyński and Agnieszka Traczewska will select the winner from among the most recent and outstanding documentary films. Among those featured in the Main Competition is the Oscar®-nominee “I Am Not Your Negro”Raoul Peck’s story about racial segregation, persecution and  Afro-Americans fighting for their rights in the US, as well as Sergei Loznitsa’s latest film “Austerlitz”, a portrayal of how tourists visit memorial sites founded in former concentration camps.

MDocsAG_konferencja_fot. Kamila Szuba-25

The Main Competition will also feature Michael Glawogger’s latest film “Untitled” (directed together with Monika Willi). Another filmmaker very much appreciated by Polish audiences is Ulrich Seidl – this year’s edition will see the screening of his latest film “Safari” on Austrian trophy-hunters who take pleasure in shooting animals in an African reserve. In his new film “Zero days” the Oscar®-awarded director Alex Gibney reveals the phenomenon of Stuxnet – a self-replicating computer worm discovered by international IT experts in 2010.

Another film to be screened in the Main Competition tells the story of Joseph Beuys, German artist and art theorist whose work has shaped today’s thought on modern art (“Beuys” by Andreas Veiel). The competition also includes “Stranger In Paradise” by Guido Hendrikx, acclaimed by IDFA festival as “the best film about refugees in 2016”.

MDocsAG_konferencja_fot. Kamila Szuba-28

In his film “The Good Postman”, Tonislaw Hristow reflects on what it means to be European in an age of global displacement and shifting political systems. The documentary features a small village community living in Bulgaria on the Turkish border. “Machines” directed by Rahul Jain and awarded this year at Sundance, presents the appalling work conditions in one of the giant textile factories in India. “Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyada (Best Documentary Award at Sundance 2017) follows members of the White Helmets who search for life in the debris of a ruined Syrian city in the hope of rescuing people from under the rubble.

The audience of the 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity will see over 100 non-fiction films. Part of the programme explicitly refers to the „Free your mind” slogan – e.g. „Amateurs in Space” by Max Kestner (also featured in the Main Competition) about the first DIY space rocket in history to have been built by amateurs.

Fot. Kamila Szuba
Fot. Kamila Szuba

Thanks to the support of local authorities, the Wrocław, Gdynia, Lublin and Bydgoszcz editions of the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival all have their own competitions as well. Awards include the Grand Prix of Dolny Śląsk to be granted during the Wrocław edition (jury composed of Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało – poet, writer and journalist, Robert Gonera – actor, Konrad Imiela – actor, director and head of the Capitol Musical Theatre in Wrocław) and the Mayor of Gdynia Award (jury composed of Katarzyna Figura, saxophonist Mikołaj Trzaska, and film theorist – professor Mirosław Przylipiak).

Documentary Academy

As per each year, the DOCUMENTARY ACADEMY offers an educational programme based on documentary films and addressed to all audience groups. The festival will also feature special screenings for parents with small children, the OKI DOKI section (i.e. documentaries for kids), as well as workshops and cross-generational sessions.

The 14th Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival will take place on the 12-21 of May in Warsaw and Wrocław, on the 11-21 of May in Lublin, and on the 17-26 of May in Gdynia. A local edition of the festival will also be held in Bydgoszcz.