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Gdynia Film Festival Wraps for Another Year: “Essential Killing” Sweeps Top Prizes

Here in Poland, the 2011 Gdynia Film Festival wrapped up on Saturday. Celebrating its 36th year, the festival showcases the best of Polish and eastern European cinema, featuring work by established and emerging film makers.


“Essential Killing” received the Golden Lions first prize in this year's Main Competition. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, the film tells the story of a young suspected insurgent (played by Vincent Gallo) who is captured in Afghanistan. After being transported to an unnamed European country, he escapes his captors, only to confront a harsh winter environment he has never known, and must rely on his resourcefulness and instincts to survive. The film also captured awards for best directing by Mr. Skolimowski; best cinematography by Adam Sikora; best music, composed by Paweł Mykietyn; Reka Lemehenyi and Maciej Pawliński received the award for best editing.

The Silver Lions prize was awarded to the film “Suicide Room” directed by Jan Komasa.

The Special Jury Prize went to “Mill and The Cross” directed by Lech Majewski.
Director Magnus von Horn took top honors in the Young Cinema Competition for his film "Without Snow" ("Bez śniegu"), which tells the tragic story of a backyard shooting. Von Horn also wrote the script.

This year's list of events also featured three special exhibitions. 

Lovers of set photography and candid behind the scenes moments were treated to “Andrzej Wajda and Friends: Photographs by Piotr Bujnowicz”, an exhibit of special and unusual moments documented by the photographer while working with Wajda on many his films. If you missed the festival, you still have a chance to check out the exhibit, which runs until June 26, 2011.

For fans of Krzysztof Kieślowski and film poster design, to mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Polish director, the Museum of Cinematography in Łódź has prepared a series of events called "The World According to Krzysztof Kieślowski". As part of this programme, the Gdynia Film Festival is presenting the exhibition "Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue" which features unique film programmes, posters, catalogues and publications dedicated to the director's renowned film cycle. The exhibit runs through June 30.

And showing that successful directors can be multi-talented (and think about things other than cinema), “Jerzy Skolimowski: Painting”, as the title suggests, offers festival attendees a look at a selection of the director's canvasses, which have been shown in galleries throughout North America and Europe.

The combination of excellent pre-summer weather on the Baltic Sea and Poles' insatiable love of cinema created an ideal environment for this year's festivities, with impressive attendance at  screenings and other special events.

Located on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, Gdynia is a major Polish port city, near Gdansk and the resort town of Sopot. For more information (available in Polish, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Danish) visit the city's official website: http://gdynia.pl 

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