At noon, in the International Cultural Centre at Rynek Główny 25 in Krakow a special press conference officially opening the 15th edition of Mastercard OFF CAMERA was held.
Journalists representing the national and local media gathered in a room of the “Pod Kruki” tenement house. All eyes were on the main actors of the conference – the organizers of the Festival. The gathered guests were welcomed by the press spokeswoman of the OFF CAMERA Foundation – Alicja Myśliwiec. After a short introduction, she invited the Festival Director, Szymon Miszczak, to talk. He briefly presented the history of the Festival’s fifteen editions, stressing the event’s great importance to independent and world cinema. Naming numerous eminent guests who participated in the Festival’s previous editions, the Director talked about the achievements some of them made in the international film industry. Then he concentrated on outstanding Polish directors who were jury members for years, mainly in the International Dramatic Competition.
Next, the floor was taken by Magdalena Sroka, the Creative Director of the Festival. She talked about her past involvement in the festival, and about her new role. She announced the events accompanying this year’s edition, with emphasize being placed on the special screening of Rhino directed by Oleg Sencow. Referring to the story of Sencow – a filmmaker and a social activist – she quoted his letter from 2019: “It’s easy to be a revolutionary when revolution has already won. And much more difficult when the oppressor is still strong and the chances to win are small.”
The organizers made known the names of jurors of the International Dramatic Competition and the Polish Feature Film Competition and shortly after a video presentation, the Programming Director, Grzegorz Stępniak, announced all festival sections and spoke about cooperation with Bergen International Festival. Referring to “Future Starts Now” section, he indicated that this section is: “extremely timely as it concerns something we are all struggling with, namely the climate crisis”.
A representative of the City of Krakow Robert Piaskowski, the Mayor of Krakow’s Plenipotentiary for Culture, talked with great enthusiasm about the city’s cooperation with the Festival. Speaking on behalf of the city’s authorities, he stated that: “Festival policy is very important for us, (…) and what’s most important is the fact that the festival constitutes a place for debate”.
The Director Szymon Miszczak gave a short presentation on the open-air cinemas and other festival locations in which screenings, exhibitions and accompanying events will be held. He also expressed his gratitude to the city of Krakow and sponsors for their support. Inviting a representative of the titular sponsor – Mastercard to talk, he said this is “a company that lets us dream and achieve our dreams”. Anna Marciniak from Mastercard showed enthusiasm about the cooperation.
To conclude, Alicja Myśliwiec officially announced the OFF STAGE and informed about a special surprise and a briefing scheduled for the 2nd of May.