Shorts Competition: Block I

dir. Olivia Martin-McGuire ("Freedom Swimmer"); Pavel Mozhar ("Handbook"); Aurora Brachman ("Joychild"); Aleksander Szamałek ("Joanna D'Arc") / 2021 ("Brzeg wolności"; "Podręcznik"); 2020 ("Dziecko szczęścia"); 2022 ("Joanna D'Arc") / Australia, France ("Freedom Swimmer"); Germany, Belarus ("Handbook"); USA ("Joychild"); Poland, France ("Joanna D'Arc") / 92min.
Best Short Film Award for the film "Freedom Swimmer", dir. Olivia Martin-McGuire
For the first time at the festival we present the Shorts Competition - a selection of documentaries from all around the worls, each matter, they constitute an ideal starting point from which to explore the issues addressed in the feature-length films presented on the festival.

"Freedom Swimmer"
dir. Olivia Martin-McGuire/Australia, France/2021/15 min.
cinematography: Agnès Patron
production: Ron Dyens / Sacrebleu Productions
festivals and awards: 2021 - DOC NYC New York

“Freedom Swimmer” documents a mass migration story from the 20th century, which is relatively untold in the Western world – and offers context for a city in turmoil today. A granddaughter asks her grandfather to recount his journey from China, swimming to Hong Kong in the 1970’s.

From the 1950’s to 1980’s Hong Kong was a symbol of freedom to many Chinese, glimpsed across the water. Two million mainland residents tried to swim across the Southern sea border. Many died trying or were captured and sent to labour camps. He was one of the lucky ones. This animated film explores the effect of past cultural trauma, allowing the audience to find a new perspective on the current situation. It reflects the depth of a symbol that is ‘freedom’ – that Hong Kong both represents and holds onto so tightly.

dir. Pavel Mozhar/Germany, Belarus/2021/26 min.
cinematography: Adam Graf, Jonas Römmig
production: Kolja Wolle
festivals and awards: 2021 – IDFA Amsterdam; 2021 – DOK Leipzig

After the presidential election in Belarus in August 2020, numerous protests erupt throughout the country. Special police forces take brutal action against demonstrators. Nearly 7000 people are arrested. Hundreds of victims recount their experiences in interviews, revealing a system of repression, which is reconstructed in the director’s room in Berlin.

dir. Aurora Brachman/USA/2020/6 min.
cinematography: Aurora Brachman
production: Aurora Brachman
festivals and awards: 2021 – HOT DOCS Toronto

A child reveals a secret to their mother: "I'm not a girl." In this breathtakingly honest portrait of growing up gender expansive, filmmaker Aurora Brachman beautifully captures the hesitancy, fear and relief at revealing one's innermost thoughts, as well as the unconditional love of a mother.

"Joanna D'Arc"
dir. Aleksander Szamałek/Poland, France/2022/30 min.
cinematogrphy:  Aleksander Szamałek
production: Krystyna Doktorowicz / Szkoła Filmowa im. Krzysztofa Kieślowskiego Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
festivals and awards: 2022 – Millennium Docs Against Gravity FF – world premiere

Aneta left for France with her partner and two kids when she was still a young girl, in search for a better life. After years of struggles and fighting obstacles, Aneta, now a mature woman, gets an opportunity to take over an unusual business which can change her life completely.

Will she take this chance, find a true love and secure a stable future for her children?

92 min
country / year of production:
Australia, France ("Freedom Swimmer"); Germany, Belarus ("Handbook"); USA ("Joychild"); Poland, France ("Joanna D'Arc") / 2021 ("Brzeg wolności"; "Podręcznik"); 2020 ("Dziecko szczęścia"); 2022 ("Joanna D'Arc")
Olivia Martin-McGuire ("Freedom Swimmer"); Pavel Mozhar ("Handbook"); Aurora Brachman ("Joychild"); Aleksander Szamałek ("Joanna D'Arc")
Agnès Patron ("Freedom Swimmer"); Adam Graf, Jonas Römmig ("Handbook"); Aurora Brachman ("Joychild"); Aleksander Szamałek ("Joanna D'Arc")
Short films
Best Short Film Award
politics love story Polish films psychology human rights feminism relations animation protest LGBTQ+ migrations awarded awarded1 growing up

Other films from this section Short films

Other movies with this tag growing up

Other films in the competition Best Short Film Award