Gdynia has been the host of the festival since 1987. Before, it was hosted in Gdańsk.

Gdynia has been the host of the festival since 1987. Before, it was hosted in Gdańsk.

Tonight, a ceremony at the Musical Theatre will open the 40th Film Festival in Gdynia, which runs from 14th to 19th September. Winners of the Diamond Lions – the most beloved films of the last 40 years, will be announced. 18 titles will compete in the main Gold Lions competition. Only three of them are known to the audience. The other 15 have not yet been released.

It will be an absolutely unique event – says Anna Wróblewska, the Festival spokeswoman. – Among others, all living winners of the previous festival editions of the most important film event in the country will appear here. From the previous editions the audience has chosen their favourite films of the last 40 years. We will learn their choices during the opening gala event. The second stage of voting ended on September 12, the viewers’ favourite in the first stage was “Nights and Days”, Oscar nominated, by Jerzy Antczak.

Out of the 18 films qualified by the selection committee (out of 53 applications, which is an absolute record), only 3 have appeared on the big screen, the rest are waiting for their premieres. This is another reason why this year’s festival is unique. 6 of the films are debuts. Moreover, the “new look” section, addressed to experimental filmmakers who elude unambiguous classification, this year will be a competition for the Golden Claw award. Young Cinema Competition and a brand new Feature Short Film Competition also await the viewers.

Not only competitions

Among the many attractions accompanying the festival, an exhibition of posters made for the films of Roman Polański is definitely worth mentioning. The National Film Archive has prepared “Treasures of the cinema before the war” and the Polish Filmmakers Association – an extensive publication called “40 years of the Film Festival in Gdynia.”

Traditionally, the Film Festival in Gdynia is also accompanied by film screenings, numerous meetings and industry events. More than a dozen conferences and debates will be an opportunity for the meetings of the environment of Polish filmmakers – among them the oldest industry event, which is the Forum of Polish Filmmakers Association, but also panel discussions devoted to the international promotion of films for children, post-production and public media.

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The Platinum Lions Award will be received this year by a prominent Polish director, Tadeusz Chmielewski, known mostly for his satirical stories about the years of communism. His directorial and screenwriting debut, “Eve Wants to Sleep” (1957) earned him the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian Festival, and the three-part farce “How I Unleashed World War II” (the unforgettable role of Marian Kociniak, 1969) is one of the most watched Polish films. He has a number of cult comedies, including “Where is the General …” (1963), “I do not like Mondays” (1971), “Spring sergeant” (1974).

Yesterday was the grand opening of the Gdynia Film Centre, which in addition to the Musical Theatre, Multi-Cinema, Gdynia Hotel and Helios cinema will be the official venue of the festival screenings and meetings. During the 40th Festival, Jerzy Rados and Sławomir Pultyn will take yet another, third after 2005 and 2010, family photo of all the filmmakers. One of the most important elements of this year’s anniversary edition will be the premiere of the festival’s digitalised archive project called “the Virtual Festival”.

Although all the films are in Polish, many of them will be screened with subtitles. To view the Festival programme go to the Gdynia Film Festival website and click on ‘Program Festiwalu PDF‘ in a yellow box, on the right, to download it, and look for ‘ABC’ next to a title.

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