Festival director statement

When I came into Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil and Jonas Mekas diary films I fell in love with them almost immediately.
This is how my brain works – I thought.

Till then, I had been faintly looking at the avant-garde documentaries surface for some time, thinking about diving in myself eventually but had no clue how to do it. Finally, this discovery happened.

Being the documentary filmmaker myself, I was haunted by the idea of portraying the world around me in the way that represents how things relates one to another with all the absurdity and unexpectedness. I was aware that this idea is impossible of course because the world as we see it is like a box filled with everything thus filming everything is not achievable.

Analogically, I know also that the filmmaker shouldn’t try to reproduce reality but should rather create its own. From that perspective, the author of documentary films is constantly searching its own truth by pointing camera at things. So, the art of authorship in documentary film making lays somewhere in between filming and editing what’s been filmed. And that explains a bit of why I have been amazed by diary films and the idea of film diary. For me, no other sub- mgenre deals better with instinctive film-making, natural desire and readiness to record what’s appearing in front of the diarist’s eyes. Since we all see the world through memories — they give us our unique perspective for seeing things — I found the diary film being the right match for my own desire to make a film focused more towards fragments of life, disconnected or connected loosely, than a story about any social topic.

Fast-forward to a few years later — I am writing my Ph.D. dissertation and heading to the final cut of my independent, experimental and deeply personal documentary project. It doesn’t resemble Jonas Mekas’es nor Chris Marker’s films, but it sits on top of the film diaries theme. It’s about memory that had been ruptured by oblivion and time passing but could be regained in some ways yet whatever have been appearing from these tiny bits of life, can it be seen as truth and reality? And I am researching the history of experimental documentaries for my Ph.D. dissertation: are there more films in diary film sub-genre that I could relate to? Are there more authors experimenting with memory and time theme? If so, I’d love to find them and see their work.

Fast-forward another year to 2020. We live in the COVID-19 time and are tied to computer screens more often than ever. We work, learn, go shopping, order food and consume art remotely. The World is changing rapidly so does film production and distribution. These have been changing for a while anyway but COVID-19 forced these changes to be more rapid and decisive. The arena of film festivals is going through the changes also. It is expanding and becoming more accessible for filmmakers — they now can have their work recognized by industry professionals and earn a new audience from different parts of the world. The physical venues have been replaced by virtual formula — and for independent filmmakers this isn’t an entirely bad thing. One can now make connections, access and explore works of others, learn from them and have response — all without a need of physical attendance. This applies also for festival organizers and programmers — the digital formula allows them to increase the number of films selected for screenings and awards or to fit in a specific topic-driven program. That means more valuable works can be picked up and recognized.

Carefully considering all the above we decided to start our Festival. We see it as an opportunity to view and honor films that we could not have access to otherwise. What is equally important, we would love to present them (we will kindly ask for your permission first!) to film students to give them the impression there are more people as passionate and crazy about film as they are. And give you all a chance to meet, to get to know each other since this is super easy thanks to emails and social platforms. In the end we know how important for the author is to have its work projected on the big screen with a live audience. That’s why, despite pandemic circumstances we’ll do our best to have our Four Seasons Timeless Event taking place in a real (physical building, I mean) venue. And do not worry – we won’t do any public screenings nor presentation unless permitted.

Daniel Światły