The press conference of the 17th Millennium Docs Against Gravity revealed the biggest hits of this year’s festival as well as the first movies qualifying to the Main Competition for the Millennium Bank Prize (Grand Prix) and those competing in the first edition of the Polish Documentary Film Competition. This year’s MDAG will be held in no less than seven cities thanks to our cooperation with the Kino Muza cinema in Poznań!
A hybrid festival
The 17th edition of Millennium Docs Against Gravity will be the first hybrid edition of this festival. The movie theater portion of the festival will begin in early September in seven cities: from September 4 to 13 in Warsaw, Wrocław, Katowice, Poznań, Lublin, and Bydgoszcz, and from September 9 to 18 in Gdynia. A selection of films from this year’s program will then become available online between September 19 and October 4. This year’s festival madness will culminate in a new educational project unveiled in October–“Tune in. Documentary cinema online”, streaming a number of movies free of charge with financing from the Culture on the Web project carried out by the National Centre for Culture. The hybrid formula of this year’s MDAG makes cinematic culture accessible to everyone regardless of their place of residence or disability.
Main Competition for the Millennium Bank Prize (Grand Prix)
This year’s Main Competition will comprise 13 cinematically excellent documentary films from around the world. The lineup includes “For Sama” by Waad al-Kateab and Eward Watts: an Academy Award-nominated look at the situation of people living in Aleppo; “Lessons of Love” by Małgorzata Goliszewska and Katarzyna Mateja–a moving story of Jola, a woman who left a toxic long-term relationship and wants to begin life anew; and a movie composed exclusively of archival footage: “State Funeral” by acclaimed contemporary director Sergei Lozhnitsa, which bares the absurdities of totalitarianism. Agnieszka Zwiefka’s “Scars” follows a former Tamil Tigers fighter making a new life for herself after leaving the terrorist organization. Eminent documentary director Hubert Sauper covers the daily life of Cubans in his latest film “Epicentro”. “The Wall of Shadows” by Eliza Kubarska follows top Himalaya climbers on their expedition to the still-unconquered east face of Kumbhakarna, one of the last remaining sacred mountains of the Sherpas.
The Millennium Bank Prize in the Main Competition is sponsored by Millennium Bank since 2005. Millennium Bank became the patron of the event in 2016.
New events this year: Polish Documentary Film Competition and Best Debut Competition
Each year’s MDAG program features excellent Polish documentaries which frequently qualify for the Main Competition. In order to shine a spotlight on the unique quality and diversity of subjects of Polish documentary filmmaking, this year we’re introducing the first-ever Polish Documentary Competition. 11 movies are in the running for two prizes: Best Polish Film Prize and Best Production in the Polish Competition Prize from the Smakjam post-production agency. This year’s entrants are: “Scandal”, dir. Bartosz Paduch; “Let's try to jump into the well” dir. Dorota Wardęszkiewicz, Piotr Stasik; “Lessons of Love”, dir. Małgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja; “The Wall of Shadows”, dir. Eliza Kubarska; “Scars”, dir. Agnieszka Zwiefka; “Say Yes/No”, dir. Paweł Hejbudzki; “The Time Busters”, dir. Aleksandra Kutz; “Tony Halik”, dir. Marcin Borchardt; “The Whale from Lorino”, dir. Maciej Cuske; „Between Us”, dir. Dorota Proba oraz „From Within”, dir. Cezary Grzesiuk, Tomasz Szwan, Krystian Kamiński.
The other new addition to our festival is the Best Debut Competition, our way of supporting nascent talent. The films selected to the competition are: ”Earth is Blue as an Orange”, dir. Iryna Tsilyk; “Lessons of Love”, dir. Małgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja; “Ringside”, dir. Andre Hormann; “Jawline”, dir. Liza Mandelup.
Eco-friendly and beautiful: the new Millennium Docs Against Gravity statuette
This year we’re proud to introduce the redesigned festival statuette. The author of this unique project is Ola Mirecka, a Polish artist living in Aarhus, Denmark, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw and Royal College of Art in London. Mirecka became a Lego designer over three years ago; her experimental workflow is focused on creative learning through play. Her statuette created for our festival uses 100% recycled plastics. We wanted the design process to reference MDAG’s involvement in environmental issues, as evidenced by one of our long-running prizes –the Green Warsaw Award for the Best Ecology-Themed Film.