‘The Cathedral’ Wins Documentary Prize at Krakow Film Festival

Slovak director Denis Dobrovoda’s feature debut “The Cathedral” took the best film prize in the International Documentary Competition section of the 62nd Krakow Film Festival, which runs May 29-June 12.

The film focuses on Justo Gallego Martínez, who started building a cathedral in Spain’s Mejorada del Campo 60 years ago without any qualifications, architectural plans or official permission. He invested his own funds and built it almost entirely with his own hands, mostly out of waste and recycled materials.

Dobrovoda’s short films include “Savage,” which was broadcast on the BBC, and “Apparition,” which was screened at 40 festivals and received 12 awards. He has directed TV shows for ITV and Channel 4. His documentary “They Never Came Back” was aired on Slovakia’s RTVS last year.

Indian director Shaunak Sen won the award for the best film with high artistic values with “All That Breathes.” In New Delhi, two brothers fall in love with the black kite. From their makeshift bird hospital in their tiny basement, the “kite brothers” care for thousands of these mesmeric creatures that drop daily from the smog-choked skies. As environmental toxicity and civil unrest escalate, the relationship between this family and the neglected kite forms a poetic chronicle of the city’s collapsing ecology and rising social tensions.

Spain’s Laura Sisteró won an award for the director of the best film on social issues with “Tolyatti Adrift.” The film follows Bojewaja Klassika, a group of young people who practice illegal drifting. They drift in old cars, Ladas, which once made their hometown of Tolyatti famous. As there are no prospects for them here now, an alternative for unemployment is either departure for Moscow or a poorly paid job. Some of them have already joined the army, a career option imposed by the state. The protagonists are at the verge of adulthood and they still have some plans and dreams, unlike their parents, who are stuck in the previous era.

Special mentions went Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski for “The Hamlet Syndrome” and Igor Ivanko’s “Fragile Memory.”

The jury consisted of Switzerland’s Till Brockmann, France’s Christine Camdessus, Israel’s Ohad Milstein, North Macedonia’s Petrula Veljanovska and Poland’s Agnieszka Zwiefka.

This article is published in partnership with online news service Film New Europe, which covers film and TV industry news from across Central and Eastern Europe.

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