29 April 2014

Winners of the Jewish Motifs Film Festival 2014

Category: XXw, Holocaust, History and film, News

At its conclusion on 27 April, the jury of the 10th edition of the Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw awarded with the Golden Warsaw Phoenix, along with 15,000 PLN funded by the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, to Soldier on the Roof, directed by Esther Hertog. For three years, Hertog has been filming a major holy place for both Jews and Muslims, capturing unique scenes of their real, sometimes even surreal, daily life. An army battalion watches over the Jewish community from city rooftops, guarding some 800 extremist Jewish settlers in a Palestinian population of over 120,000.

The Warsaw Phoenix for best feature film, along with 5,000 PLN funded by the president of Polish Television, Juliusz Braun, was given to Tom Shoval for his movie Youthabout Yaki and Shaul, teenage brothers whose family is suffering in deep economic depression. Yaki, enlisted in the army, is given a rifle, which will allow him to act. The Warsaw Phoenix for best documentary film, along with 5,000 PLN from Polish Television, went to director Yehonatan Indursky for Ponevezh Time, about the largest Ultra-Orthodox seminary, established in Israel in 1943, which opened its doors for the first time. The Warsaw Phoenix for best experimental film, along with 5,000 PLN funded by the head of the Polish Film Institute, Agnieszka Odorowicz, went to Michal Aviad for his movie The Women Pioneerswhich tells a story of early female settlers in Palestine.

The festival viewers gave the Audience Award to the film Dancing in Jaffa by Hilla Medalia. Among the other special awards, the Warsaw Phoenix Antoni Marianowicz Award for best Polish film, along with 10,000 PLN funded by the Association of Authors ZAiKS, was given to Father and Son by Paweł Łoziński. The Warsaw Phoenix and 8,000 PLN funded by the Jewish Community of Warsaw for the best presentation of contemporary Jewish life went to Regina by Diana Groó. The Ger Mandolin Orchestra Award and $1,000 funded by Avner Yonai for a film or a project that excel in cultural preservation through reconstructing music went to Malcolm Clarke for The Lady in Number 6.

The Jewish Motifs Film Festival is among the international festivals focused on the Jewish nation, its traditions, identity and history, both past and present. There are some 30 events known as Jewish Film Festivals in the United States and Canada as well as in Europe - in France, Spain, Holland, Sweden and Great Britain - as well as in Australia, China, New Zealand and Israel. Their aim is to propagate through the medium of film the awareness of centuries-old Jewish traditions. 

All the movies for the Warsaw festival were shown at Cinema Muranów, in the area of the city's old Jewish quarter, in the former neighborhood of the Great Synagogue, which stood at 2 Tłomackie Street until 1943.

The special guest of honour of this year’s festival was Andrzej Wajda, the renowned film and theater director and co-creator of the legendary Polish Film School. The festival screened Wadja's films The Condemnation of Franciszek Kłos (2000), Samson (1961) based on the novel by Kazimierz Brandys, Korczak (1990) and Holy Week (1995) based on the novel by Staisław Rembek.

An exhibition and movie by Natasza Ziółkowska-Kurczuk (2013), Faces of the Non-existent Town, was included in the festival. After many years, from a dark hiding place arranged in the attic of a house in central Lublin, Poland, there emerged the faces of the city’s inhabitants photographed on glass-plate negatives before the outbreak of the war. This collection was delivered to the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theater” Center precisely at the time when the Center conducted a series of activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of the annihilation of Lublin's Jews. The collection found during renovation of the house at Rynek 4 consists of over 2,700 glass-plate negatives of various sizes, from 6x9 cm to 13x18 cm. The photographs had been taken between 1914 and 1939. The collection was found in the attic of the house by workmen.

Most of the photos show portraits of people and scenes from family life and history. A large part of this collection is photos from the opening of the city's Yeshiva, and from the Jewish cemetery.


Source of information:

New publications

Jewish Families in Europe, 1939-Present: History, Representation, and Memory

Historical Movies

Google Cultural Institute helps the Polish History Museum reach a global audience