We announce the line-up of the Documentary Special Screenings section of this year's Camerimage.


21 x Nowy Jork

21 x New York is a documentary essay about the human condition in twenty first century Western society told through the personal stories of 21 people met on the New York City subway. The commuters, old and young, have different skin colours, come from different places, and have different reasons for being there. The film follows them to the surface and observes moments in their lives, from the funny and absurd to the sad and dramatic. People seek love but are unable to handle it. Interpersonal bonds disintegrate into social media networking pulp. Sex is the new meaning of intimacy. The collage of portraits is a contemplation of our longings, passions, and fears, as well as the eccentric, extravagant, and plain funny life philosophies we make up in order to get by. Oneiric images of New York, intimate narration, and atmospheric music works to put the audience in a trance, allowing them to get closer to complete strangers and ponder their fate. Ultimately, the film is a mirror we can look into if we are brave enough.
Polish title: 21 x Nowy Jork
Director: Piotr Stasik
Cinematographer: Piotr Stasik
Produced by: Lava Films Sp. z o. o.
Poland, 2016

Andrzej Wajda: My Inspirations

Andrzej Wajda reveals the secrets of his directing techniques. We will learn why he dropped out of the Fine Arts Academy in Cracow and started studying at Łódź Film School. We will find out what film art meant to him, what he wanted to say through it, and how Polish paintings inspired him to create the various scenes in his most iconic films. Wajda compares the paintings of artists such as Jan Matejko, Stanisław Wyspiański, Kazimierz Michałowski, Jacek Malczewski, Leopold Löffler, Józef Chełmoński, and Andrzej Wróblewski with scenes from The WeddingThe Promised LandThe Birch WoodLandscape After the Battle, and Katyń in order to show the influence of paintings on the aesthetics of films. In a short introduction, Martin Scorsese makes a comment on this aspect of Andrzej Wajda’s works. The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The official production partner is the National Museum in Warsaw.
Polish title: Andrzej Wajda: Moje inspiracje
Directors: Marek Brodzki, Andrzej Wajda
Cinematographer: Jerzy Rudziński
Produced by: Fundacja TUMULT
Poland, 2016

Amazed Spectator, The

The Amazed Spectator is a documentary essay about spectatorship, mixing interviews with staged events in cinemas and other sites where moving images are displayed in the modern world.
Original title: O Espectador Espantado
Polish title: Widz zadziwiony
Director: Edgar Pêra
Cinematographer: Edgar Pêra
Produced by: Bando À Parte
Polish distributor: Against Gravity Sp. z o. o.
Portugal, 2016

Before the Flood

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet. The film follows DiCaprio as he travels to five continents and the Arctic, speaking to scientists, world leaders, activists and local residents to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue and investigate concrete solutions to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.
Polish title: Czy czeka nas koniec?
Director: Fisher Stevens
Cinematographer: Antonio Rossi
Produced by: Appian Way, Insurgent Docs, RatPac Documentary Films
Polish distributor: FOX Networks Group Poland
USA, 2016

Blue Velvet Revisited

Blue Velvet Revisited is an 85-minute-long documentary based on hours of footage filmed and photographed in 1985 on the set of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Peter Braatz obtained the exclusive rights to document the entire production of the cult classic film Blue Velvet from David Lynch himself, with most of this footage never previously released to the public. In Blue Velvet Revisited, the images, numerous sound recordings, photographs, paintings, objects, and relics of the film that Braatz collected are selected and composed into an evocative new film based on a story told by the director without the need for narration. These lost and mostly never before seen images are revisited and reinterpreted now, 30 years later. Blue Velvet Revisited is a journey that shares a kind of buried treasure with the viewer.
Original title: Blue Velvet Revisited
Director: Peter Braatz
Cinematographer: Peter Braatz
Produced by: Taris Filmproduktion
Slovenia, Germany, 2016

Bogdan's Journey

The Kielce Pogrom of 1946 became a symbol of Polish post-war anti-Semitism in the Jewish world. Under communism, it was a forbidden subject. In a free Poland, Bogdan Białek, a Catholic Pole, journalist and psychologist, keeps trying to bring the issue back to the collective memory and persuade the people of Kielce to confront this painful period in history. The Polish Catholic and the American Jew have spent nearly ten years working on the film and searching for a shared perspective on the Pogrom. On the 70th anniversary of the events, they present a unique story about how much can be changed between people by telling the harshest truth with love.
Polish title: Przy Planty 7/9
Directors: Michał Jaskulski, Lawrence Loewinger
Cinematographer: Michał Jaskulski
Produced by: Two Point Films, Metro Films Sp. z o.o.
Poland, USA, 2016

Close Encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond

Without Vilmos Zsigmond (who died on 1 January 2016), American cinema of the seventies would not have been the same. Invited to Paris in 2014 to talk about his career, this legendary cinematographer finds himself in front of the camera for an encounter of another kind.
Original title: Close Encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond
Director: Pierre Filmon
Cinematographer: Olivier Chambon
Produced by: LOST FILMS
France, 2016

Diving Into the Unknown

Four Finnish cave divers face their worst nightmare when two of their friends drown deep inside an underwater cave in Norway. When the official recovery operation is called off by authorities being deemed too risky, the friends set out on a secret mission to retrieve the bodies themselves. Diving into the Unknown isn’t just the dramatic story of a life-threatening mission. It’s also a story about unconditional friendship that truly runs deep. With footage from the actual accident and multiple cameras both above water and deep below the surface, this film follows the breathtaking recovery mission from beginning to end.
Original title: Takaisin Pintaan
Polish title: Nurkowanie w nieznane
Director: Juan Reina
Cinematographers: Tuukka Kovasiipi, Jarkko Virtanen
Produced by: Monami Agency
Polish distributor: Against Gravity Sp. z o. o.
Finland, Norway, 2016

Eagle Huntress, The

The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and to rise to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, The Eagle Huntress features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.
Original title: The Eagle Huntress
Director: Otto Bell
Cinematographer: Simon Niblett
Produced by: Warrior Poets
USA, 2016


Four months with flocks on the mountain pastures of the Famouras Pass in Alpes de Haute Provence in the south of France. Altitude: 2,000 metres. A shepherd couple and their one-year-old child. 2,000 sheep, nine sheepdogs, and a cat. In an area home to an estimated 100 wolves. A movie camera and two cell phones, which are also used by the shepherds themselves to film their everyday life.
Original title: Famouras
Director: Amanda Robles
Cinematographer: Amanda Robles
Produced by: Bobi Lux
France, 2015

Fantassút / Rain on the Borders

Fantassút / Rain on the Borders is a short documentary shot in Idomeni, the makeshift refugee camp (Greek/Macedonian border) in April 2016. Over 11,000 refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries lived for months in dismal conditions hoping for the borders to open, and to continue their journey through the Balkan route.
Original title: Fantassút / Rain on the Borders
Polish title: Fantassút / Deszcz na granicach
Director: Federica Foglia
Cinematographer: Federica Foglia
Produced by: David Hamilton, Deepa Mehta
Greece, Canada, 2016

Fire at Sea

Awarded with a Golden Bear at the Berlinale, the latest film made by social documentary master Gianfranco Rosi. Lampedusa is a tiny island located between Africa and Europe. Territorially, it is part of Italy. Throughout the year, over one hundred fifty thousand African refugees travel there, in an attempt to run away from war and hunger. Many of them do not reach their destination. Rosi observes the life on the island. He divides his attention between the Africans and the locals. He examines the problems and life priorities of both groups without judging them. The guide to this world is an Italian doctor who every single day confronts unimaginable suffering about which the rest of the world finds out only from the breaking news in the media. Rosi avoids such news. Focused and alert, he invites us to a valuable, moving encounter.
Original title: Fuocoammare
Polish title: Ogień na morzu
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Cinematographer: Gianfranco Rosi
Produced by: Rai Cinema, arte France Cinéma, Stemal Entertainment, Les Films d'Ici, Cinecittà Luce, 21 Unofilm
Polish distributor: Aurora Films
Italy, France, 2016

In the Name of Honor

In the Name of Honor exposes the frightening cases of honour killings in India, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories. Hindu, Muslim, and Christian families all share the tragic experiences that have wrecked their lives.
Polish title: W imię honoru
Director: Paweł Gula
Cinematographer: Paweł Gula
Produced by: RatPac Documentary Films
USA, Poland, 2015


Intensity of Watching

Intensity of Watching is the story of Kazimierz Karabasz, one of the world’s most renowned award-winning documentarians and an icon of Polish documentary. A contributor to the Polish School of Documentary Filmmaking who made over thirty films, among which we can find some world-famous classics. Karabasz talks about his method of working with characters and his lifelong filming experience.
Polish title: Intensywność patrzenia
Director: Andrzej Sapija
Cinematographer: Andrzej Sapija
Produced by: KAMEROVID Sp. z o. o.
Poland, 2016

Jarocin, Rock for Freedom

There was no place like this on the map of Eastern European, in the Communist Block. Jarocin – a small town in Greater Poland – becomes a symbol of independence, rebellion, and freedom in a system of oppression. And it was all thanks to rock music.
Polish title: Jarocin, po co wolność
Directors: Marek Gajczak, Leszek Gnoiński
Cinematographer: Marek Gajczak
Produced by: Stowarzyszenie Film Kraków
Poland, 2016

Rebel Citizen

Documentary director Pamela Yates met master cinematographer Haskell Wexler in Nicaragua in 1984 on the set of Wexler's film Latino about the US proxy war against the Sandinista revolution. He became Pamela's mentor and lifelong friend and together they have explored what it means to be a committed documentary filmmaker. When Haskell asked Pamela to represent him this year at Cinéma du Réel in Paris, which held a week-long retrospective of his largely unknown political documentaries, she filmed a conversation with him over several days as she prepared to go to Paris. The result unexpectedly became Rebel Citizen, a revelatory tour of Haskell's political documentary work, in which the veteran artist and social justice activist shares his vision of what it truly means to be an engaged citizen.
Original title: Rebel Citizen
Director: Pamela Yates
Cinematographer: Travis Wilkerson
Produced by: Skylight Inc.
USA, 2015


The Refuge Project was born from a desire to learn more. We had watched the news, heard the reports, and seen the photos of despair and loss from the shores of the Aegean, but we were left wanting to know more about the people living these headlines. We wanted to know more about their stories, about what they had lost, what they had left behind, and where they hoped their lives were headed. While news coverage focused on the problem, it often forgot about the human being, so we set out to discover a human story. The world was changing and we found ourselves at a crossroads in history. We wanted to help in the best way we knew, so we began to document what we saw and the stories of the people we met. In January 2016, over several weeks on location in Greece, we created The Refuge Project, a multimedia chronicle of human stories from the European refugee crisis focused on humanity and hope.
Original title: Refuge
Director: Matthew K. Firpo
Cinematographer: Jake Saner
Produced by: Magna Carta
Greece, 2016


Every year thousands of people who suffer persecution flee their home countries to seek refuge in the United States. After surviving untold horrors, these people have no choice but to leave everything behind: their homes, their jobs, their communities, and even their families. Refugee is the remarkable story of a mother’s love, and how the power of hope can propel us through insurmountable obstacles, even after losing everything.
Original title: Refugee
Directors: Joyce Chen, Emily Moore
Cinematographer: Matt Mitchell
Produced by: Joyce Chen, Emily Moore
USA, 2016

Road to Excellence, The

Deep in a dark forest, Kora meets herself as an 8-year-old girl. Agnieszka Holland watches herself as a young rebel shown in multiplied projections. Rafał Olbiński seeks inspiration for his painting in and under water. Tomasz Stańko explains how errors of evolution can be turned into art. Janusz Gajos tries to find a way out of a dream that has haunted him for years. All these artists meet on the big screen for the first time. What is the essence of their phenomenon? What do they have in common? Does the shared denominator consist in their never-ending desire to develop? The characters’ film stories have been inscribed in Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary concept of the monomyth. The American myth researcher discovered that people all over the world tell stories based on a recurring pattern of a hero’s multi-stage journey, which is in fact the life journey of every one of us. Real stories retold in a fairy tale-like poetic convention filled with intriguing symbols.
Polish title: Droga do mistrzostwa
Director: Bartosz Konopka
Cinematographer: Jacek Podgórski
Produced by: BMW Group Polska
Executive producer: 
Poland, 2016

Story of Irena Sendler, The



















The Story of Irena Sendler is a film directed by Andrzej Wolf. The film is based on unique and exclusive interviews with the heroine that were recorded and shot during the final days of her life. In the film, Ms Sendler tells her story about saving the lives of children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Giving the children new identities, falsifying their documents, smuggling them out of the Ghetto, and ultimately finding these children relatively safe haven in Polish homes has been depicted using film resources from Polish, US, and Russian archives, and supplemented by feature film sequences in which Irena Sendler is played by Sonia Bohosiewicz.

Polish title: Historia Ireny Sendlerowej
Director: Andrzej Wolf
Cinematographer: Andrzej Wolf
Produced by: Wolfilm, Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny (NINA)
Poland, 2015

Under the Sun

This is a film about an ideal life in an ideal country – North Korea. We see a girl in an ideal school, the daughter of ideal parents, working at ideal factories, living in an ideal apartment in the centre of the capital. We can see how much effort the North Korean people have to exert to make this ideal world work. The girl is being prepared to enter the children’s union to be a part of the ideal society, living in the eternal rays of the sun, the symbol of the great leader of the people, Kim Il-sung.
Polish title: Pod opieką wiecznego słońca
Director: Vitaliy Manskiy
Cinematographer: Alexandra Ivanova
Produced by: Hypermarket Film, Vertov Studio, Saxonia Entertainment
Polish distributor: Against Gravity Sp. z o. o. 
Latvia, Russia, Korea, Germany, Czechy Republic, 2015

When the Earth Seems to be Light

A poetic documentary about modern youth... the stories of kids, skaters, artists, and musicians in post-Soviet Georgia – a country in a distracted condition, where one can be crushed by the power of church and politics. A close look at the rich world of teenage dreams and sentiments, losing oneself searching for non-existing spots of freedom, and romantic states of mind.
Original title: Rotsda Dedamitsa Msubukia
Directors: Tamuna Karumidze, Salome Machaidze, David Meskhi
Cinematographers: Tamuna Karumidze, Levan Maisuradze, David Meskhi
Produced by: Goslab
Georgia, Germany, 2015

You Have No Idea How Much I Love You

What is behind the word ‘love’? Often in life we create ties and bonds with our loved ones from which it seems impossible to untangle ourselves. The film’s story is about the drama of two women, a mother and a daughter, and the complicated feelings that tie them together. A meeting with a stranger, an experienced therapist who becomes close to them, is a critical moment for the main characters. His main tools are words and empathy. Paweł Łoziński invites us to take part in their confidential therapeutic sessions. During the intimate conversations between the three people, the old wounds and deeply hidden feelings of our characters slowly come to the surface. Will it be possible for them to escape their old resentments? Cutting the umbilical cord without compromising their relationship? In the safe environment of the therapist’s office, the main characters embark on a difficult journey deep inside themselves and at the same time towards a better relationship. We have the opportunity to closely observe a spiritual process of freeing oneself from accumulated ties. Is there a chance that the ‘maternal scar’ will heal on both sides of the cut umbilical cord?
Polish title: Nawet nie wiesz jak bardzo cię kocham
Director: Paweł Łoziński
Cinematographer: Kacper Lisowski
Produced by: Łoziński Production Sp. z o. o.
Polish distributor: Against Gravity Sp. z o. o.
Poland, 2016