If you want to experience a vibrant festival buzz, where new talent meets cinematic art, then you need to make sure you’re in Krakow between 27th April and 6th May. The Off Camera Festival is coming to the city once again, and the headlines are already making waves to build excitement. Described as the ‘festival of festivals’, it’s one not to be missed.
What is Off Camera?
Off Camera is an International Festival of Independent Cinema. Yes, there’s some focus on Polish talent and Polish language films – great for displaying and strengthening the country’s heritage. However, non-Polish speakers also flock to the city as it becomes the hub of new English language independent cinematic fare. This is an intensely dynamic festival, with a focus on vibrant competition, therefore delivering cutting edge films and as such is the place to be.
The central thrust of the Off Camera film festival is a spotlight on young and debuting directors who are the talent of tomorrow. This is a rare chance to get a glimpse in to what’s coming in independent cinema over the years to come.
Visiting Krakow during the Off Camera Festival
Whet your appetite with everything Krakow has to offer the curious traveller here, as the city is worth a visit all by itself. Sites include the infamous Wawel Royal Castle, Schindler’s Factory and the breath-taking St Mary’s Basilica. However, come during the Off Camera festival and you’ll see the city come alive with creativity, buzz and cinematic legends of the future.
What’s particularly incredible is that the city truly opens its doors to this festival. Films and events are staged in former palaces. For example, step just away from the Main Square (worth a visit in itself) and through the doors of Pod Baranami, and you’re still in the heart of the city yet at the heart of the festival. There are even rooftop screenings on offer so you can be fully immersed in the history and vibrancy of this city.
What to Expect at the Off Camera Film Festival
The festival is essentially run as a competition between debuting cinematic talent. Typically you can expect to be exposed to a choice of over 100 films across a plethora of screenings. Different categories exist to offer some order, such as Black American Cinema, Polish feature films, and Dark Stars Rising. Within these categories, 12 directors are directly competing for a worthy prize of $100,000, with other much coveted awards up for grabs as well.
Of course, to complete the festival atmosphere you can also expect a raft of parties in the city’s best venues throughout the ten days. Krakow does partying with flair and the Off Camera festival will be no exception.
Why Be Part of the Off Camera Film Festival in Krakow?
Well, if the above isn’t enough, you’ll also be a key part in encouraging and supporting filmmakers just starting out in their careers. Independent films offer something unique to our cultural make-up in a way that Hollywood blockbusters can’t. By supporting the festival you’re boosting global independent cinema and giving the competition real motivation.
You’ll also be an active part of discussion around the current film industry. You’ll see and be at the front of new trends and see how filmmakers are scaling current industry challenges. The rivalry is a backdrop for intense talent development.
It’s also worth getting to the Off Camera Festival if you haven’t succeeded in getting to any other independent film festivals globally. This is where you see a culmination of other global festivals, with representatives from other competitions such as CineVegas and the Sundance Film Festival, as well as global festivals from cities such as Berlin, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rotterdam and Venice. You stand the chance to rub shoulders with, meet and listen to directors, industry experts and actors from around the world.
You can find out more about events during the Krakow Off Camera Festival on their Facebook page, and the main festival website is here. Tickets are on sale now and you can buy cost-effective multi-passes enabling you to see a great mix of screenings and attend various events.
The Off Camera Festival Krakow – Competitions
The main highlight of the Off Camera Festival in Krakow held this spring from 27th April to 6th May is the culmination of several competitions. It’s these competitions which drive creative talent to debut their career at an elevated level. It’s these competitions which make the festival such a broad spectrum of talent, and a huge success. So read on to find out more about the Off Camera Festival competitions and what you can expect.
The Main Competition – Making Way
The central competition of the Off Camera Festival is called ‘Making Way’. This competition sees a culmination of debuting films from around the globe competing head to head for the Krakow Film Award, worth a staggering $100,000.
The President of the City of Krakow presents the prize but the jury is made up of international film industry experts. Various criteria are used to judge the films, but primarily they are looking the artistic quality of the film, what it adds to the independent film industry, how they use both traditional and avant-garde technology and techniques and the directors’ input and development.
Whilst the prize of $100,000 is hugely enticing, this isn’t just about pure financial reward. The purpose of this sum is to enable the debuting film creators and directors to invest in their subsequent film. Therefore it is all about hunting down the talent we want to see in the future, and investing in them.
Fundamentally it is therefore an exciting competition to be witness to.
The Polish Feature Film Competition
Being on Polish home ground, the Off Camera Festival is of course a chance for Polish talent to feature their skills. The Polish Feature Film Competition was added to the festival for the first time in 2011, with the first winner being Marcin Wrona for the movie ‘The Christening’. This year information is under wraps since the competition deadline closed but we can be sure to see some new names on the horizon.
The #63PL Film Contest
The #63PL Film Contest is being organised again for 2018 by the Warsaw Rising Museum together with the Off Camera Foundation and the input of Onet. This is a particularly exciting competition as it focuses on the next generation of talent: 15 to 20 year olds. Particularly it centres on stimulating discussion about who they consider to be their hero but it needs to be displayed in cinematic form, such as an animated film or even just an image, confined to a 63-second piece. It’s about originality, creativity and interest. Cash prizes of PLN 1500 to PLN 5000 are up for grabs.
The Script Pro 2018 Screenwriting Competition
Polish screenwriters aren’t forgotten with the Script Pro 2018 screenwriting competition that has taken the place of its predecessor the Hartley-Merrill competition. This competition is drawn together by the Andrzej Wajda School, as well as the Off Camera Foundation. Partners also contributing to this competition include the Polish Film Institute, the Polish Society of Authors and Composers (ZAiKS) and Canal+.
This is a fantastic competition for screenwriters who are debuting their careers too. In fact, entrants to the competition cannot have more than two feature-length screenplays in production already. It’s an opportunity to spot some great up and coming talent.
The Script Pro competition is really quite interesting as the final scripts are polished and finalised under the influence and advice of Poland’s top mentoring filmmakers, screenwriters and experts at the Andrzej Wajda School in a consultation stage. Prizes range from PLN 10,000 to PLN 20,000 and are much coveted. Alongside this is the knowledge that past winners of these prizes have gone on to see their scripts made in to films.
How to Make the Most of the Off Camera Film Festival in Krakow
Together with the knowledge of the competitions reaching culmination towards the end of the festival, and the myriad of screenings, lectures, workshops and events during the festival, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The good news is that if you just want to pop into one screening, that’s possible. However, for maximum benefit you need to know about the festival’s different passes. For additional savings you want MasterCard MasterPass to really make the most of things.
There are a number of different festival passes available:
- The Festival Pass Open: A general ticket allowing unlimited entry to selected screenings. Price: PLN 375 (20% discount with MasterPass).
- The Festival Pass 15: Choose up to 15 selected screenings, ideal for visitors keen to get immersed in to the festival but also have time to experience the city sites. Price: PLN 250 (20% discount with Master Pass).
- The Festival Pass 10: Choose up to 10 selected screenings, ideal for travellers who want a taste of the festival if they are passing through Krakow or only in the city for a few days. Price: PLN 180 (20% discount with MasterPass).
Tickets are offered on a pool basis meaning once they are sold, they’re sold! You can also buy individual screening tickets for PLN20, including, if there is availability on the day. Tickets can be collected from the Festival Centre from the first day on 27th April.
MasterCard Off Spots
For MasterCard holders it is also worth knowing about the MasterCard Off Spots which will be available during the duration of the festival. These are venues such as restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and the like which are offering a blanket 10% discount during the festival if you hold a festival pass or ticket. They will be marked on a map available from the Festival Centre from the first day on 27th April.
Find out more about the Off Camera Festival on their Facebook page or visit the main festival website here. Don’t forget to find out more about different accommodation options during the Off Camera Film Festival and book in to one of Krakow’s unique spots.