Karlovy Vary film festival East of the West competition Time to Die

By Katarzyna Grynienko

    Renowned Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska competes in the Karlovy Vary film festival's East of the West section with Time to die, one of the most awarded Polish films of the past year.

    Kedzierzawska was recently praised for her film I am, the story of a boy who runs away from the orphanage and tries to survive all by himself. The script of Time to die is also devoted to the theme solitude and was written especially for the then-91-year-old actress Danuta Szaflarska. She plays the elderly Aniela, owner of a once beautiful, now run-down wooden villa. All her life she wanted to get rid of the tenants forced on her by the former Communist regime; when she finally succeeds, her own family does not want to live with her. The energetic and witty old lady, faced with living with only a dog for companion for the first time in her life, must draw upon her own strength of spirit.

    Danuta Szalfarska, a star of the Polish cinema who began her career after World War II, gained high praise for this part and won the country's top film award, the Polish Film Academy Golden Eagle, for Actress in a Leading Role. The movie was shot in black and white on 35 mm Fuji Film negative by cinematographer Arthur Reinheart, who co-operates with Kedzierzawska on most of her films. "We chose the black and white to put the focus on the main character, and her every day life." the director said in a press statement.

    The film was shot on location during a five-week period in spring of 2006, on a budget of PLN1,690,980 (€502,780), with €251,110 government financing through the Polish Film Institute (PFI).

    Time to die was produced by Kid Film (www.kidfilm.pl) and Tandem Taren-To (www.tandetarento.pl) with co-producers Polish public television TVP and PFI (www.pisf.pl). Kid Film is a young Polish company which had success with its production of I am., Time to die was the first big feature for production Tandem Taren-To, a production and distribution company which works primarily on television projects. The local distribution is handled by BestFilm (www.bestilm.pl). "Since the movie premiered in October 2007, it gained significant popularity and is still shown in Polish cinemas with success. We can't give a final the number on how much this title has earned because it is still making money," Karolina Rzowut, the PR specialist from PFI, told FNE. She added that the producers are currently choosing a foreign distributor due to the international interest that followed the film's screenings in this year's editions of festivals in Edinburgh, Munich, Trieste, Pusan, and recently in Wisconsin.

    Among the many international awards for the film are the Audience Award - Holter Award at the 51st San Francisco International Film Festival, the Audience Award and Jury Special Mention at Trieste Film Festival, Brew Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at Wisconsin Film Festival, and a Special Award at the Polish Film Festival in New York. In Poland it was recognized at every important film event with a special focus on Szaflarska's role, earning additional awards for Best Actress at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and the Polish TV Prize.