Transatlantyk Festival Awards 2018

Janina Ochojska won the Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award, Diane Warren received the Golden Ark Independent Spirit Award, Joanna Kulig was awarded with the Golden Ark for Best Actress, Sally Potter was recognized with the FIPRESCI 93 Award, and the film Becoming Astrid was voted the winner of Transatlantyk Distribution Award by the festival audience. Transatlantyk Festival in Łódź presented its prizes for the eighth time in its history.

On July 20, during the festive Closing Gala of the 8th Transatlantyk Festival 2018, the awards were handed out in the New Cinema competition section, Polish Short Film Competition and in the virtual reality competition section. The Young Critics Association Jury also presented their prize. We had a chance to listen to the awardees and finalists of the unique international competition of simultaneous film music composition, i.e. Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest.


The Golden Ark awards were handed out to the outstanding personalities of the world of film and music. The prize for Transatlantyk Best Polish Young Composer 2018 was received by Radzimir Jimek Dębski, and the award for the best film score, the Golden Ark for the Best Music of the Year 2018 went to the author of the music for the film Darkest Hour, Dario Marianelli.


During the Closing Gala of Transatlantyk Festival, Janina Ochojska received the Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award, granted to remarkable individuals whose local and global activities shape the appearance of the modern world. A standing ovation of few minutes accompanied Janina Ochojska, receiving the award.  I didn't expect such ovation. Thank you very much for such a cordial admission and this distinction. I am moved very much. I would like to turn to Diane Warren, since I think that we have something common "Spirit” – Independent Spirit. These words mean a lot. 25 years ago nobody believed that the disabled young female astronomer would be able to bring the convoy to beleaguered Sarajevo. That was time when Polish Humanitarian Action started to work. We developed and now we are acting in many dangerous places in the world bringing help. We are in Iraq, the southern Sudan and Syria. We committed ourselves recently to the assistance of Rohingya families and receiving the Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award I would like to appeal to all Poles for joining our action of the help for Rohingya families heavily experienced by conflict. The way they were helping us, when we needed this help. One more time thank you very much for the award - Janina Ochojska said receiving the award. The president of Polish Humanitarian Acton is the sixth awardee of this exceptional recognition in the history of the festival. So far, the Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award had been received by the artist Yoko Ono, the American actor Edward Norton, the couple Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki, the Danish scientist Bjørn Lomborga and the culture theorist and critic, prof. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.

‘Awarding the title of Transatlantyk Glocal Hero means that we are looking for outstanding thinkers who, against everything and on their own, start a battle important for all of us. The results of their local and individual actions at the start, begin to become global, affecting the context of many people's lives. Through their attitude, they teach us that everyone has the power and the duty to try to change the world around us for the better. The Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award wishes to inspire by demonstrating that each of us has the power to start processes that can go far beyond our original ideas. This recognition honors contemporary heroes who surpass the boundaries of their profession, as well as cultural, environmental and many other stereotypes and sets the direction, offering hope for a better world.’- says Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, the founder and director of Transatlantyk Festival.


Transatlantyk Golden Ark for Best Actress was received by riveting Joanna Kulig. She is one of the most talented Polish actresses, the many-time awardee at film and theater festivals. Her talent was also appreciated by foreign audiences and critics. She acted, among other films, in the German production Remembrance directed by Anne Justice, American fantasy megaproduction Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters by Tommy Wirkola and in the French-Polish thriller by Paweł Pawlikowski The Woman in the Fifth, where she co-played with Ethan Hawke. Her role in the bold and moving Polish-French production Elles by Małgorzata Szumowska, in which she performed together with Juliette Binoche, was awarded, among other festivals, at the 37th Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia and received the Polish Film Academy Award, the Polish Eagles 2013. She appeared in the Korean production Way Back Home along with Do-yeon Jeon, the winner of Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (2007). Joanna Kulig also played in the award-winning Oscar-winning Ida by Paweł Pawlikowski and in his latest picture Cold War, for which he was recognized with the Best Director Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.


The Transatlantyk Golden Ark was awarded to Diane Warren. Diane Warren is one of the most acclaimed composers and songwriters. Her works were used in more than a hundred films, and nine of them were nominated for the Academy Award®. Among her hits, there are the songs I Was Here by Beyoncé from the album 4, which was on the top of the Billboard charts and reached over one billion people. She also collaborated with Lady Gaga; their song Till It Happens to You for the film The Hunting Ground was acclaimed by critics, received the Oscar nomination and the Emmy Award. The composer and songwriter was also nominated for the Golden Globes five times and received the award for the amazing ballad You Have Not Seen the Last of Me sung by Cher in the movie Burlesque. Diane was nominated for the Grammy Award 15 times and received it for the song Because You Loved Me. In 2001 she was honored with the membership in the Hall of Fame of Songwriters. Other hits nominated for the Oscar are the popular song Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now for the film Mannequin, Because You Loved Me by Céline Dion for the film Up Close and Personal, Music of My Heart by * NSYNC and Gloria Estefan for Music of My Heart, I Do not Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith for Armageddon and There You'll Be by Faith Hill from the soundtrack of Pearl Harbor.

During the Closing Gala, Transatlantyk High Note 2018 was awarded to Annette Insdorf. She is an outstanding film critic, professor and the dean of the Columbia University film department. She is the moderator of the popular series Reel Pieces- 92Y, where artists from over 200 films were interviewed by her. Annette Insdorf is the author of books about the work of Wojciech Jerzy Has and Krzysztof Kieślowski. After the publication of her latest book, Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes, Insdorf won the Mel Novikoff Award at the San Francisco Film Festival in 2018. She sits on the jury of many international film festivals, including Berlinale, Locarno, Jerusalem.



The competition section New Cinema of Transatlantyk premiered over 40 films straight from the international festivals: Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Sundance. All these pictures competed for the Festival's Distribution Award and the winning film was selected by the festival audience. The Transatlantyk Distribution Award and the cash prize of PLN 40,000 was granted to Becoming Astrid, a film directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen. It tells the story of Astrid Lindgren’s youth, in which she recalls how she started working in a local newspaper with the consent of her parents, when she had an affair with her much older superior. Becoming Astrid is not only a biography of the popular writer, it is primarily a story about the fate of an independent woman who wants to live her life on her own terms and find the opportunity to develop her unprecedented literary talent.


During the event, the Transatlantyk VR SpaceTime Award was presented for the first time. The section devoted to VR experiences was again a part of the Transatlantyk program and this year it also had the format of the competition. The jury consisting of Pola Borkiewicz, Maciej Gryzełko, Miłosz Hermanowicz, Marcin Łunkiewicz and Jacek Nagłowski (the chairman), granted the Transatlantyk VR SpaceTime Award and the cash prize of PLN 10,000 to Shehani Fernando for the experience Limbo. The jury's justification reads: ‘The filmmaker uses space, motion, staging and presence in an unprecedented way, using the potential they offer in virtual reality. It creates a coherent, emotionally moving and intellectually engaging work that will be a reference point for other artists in the coming years.’

The jury also awarded two special mentions: for Ricardo Laganaro for Step to the Line for special achievement in the level of emotional impact unprecedented in the virtual reality film experience, and for Jessie van Vreden and Anke Teunissen for The Last Chair experience, for courage and effectiveness in adapting the noble and demanding form of an observational documentary to the language of virtual reality.

Thanks to the cooperation with the Critics Festival of Film Art Kamera Akcja, the jury of young critics screened films for the second time at Transatlantyk Festival. The Young Film Critics Award was presented by the jury consisting of Aniela Janowska, Karolina Przeklasa, Mateusz Demski and Dawid Dróżdż. The four awardees of the Kamera Akcja festival chose the best debut in the New Cinema section. The jury recognized the film Sofia directed by Mery Benm'Barek-Aloïsi. In the verdict justification we read: ‘For a non-obvious story criticizing patriarchal regime and class differences prevailing in the world of radical Islamic paradigms. A perverse, intimate portrait of women faced with the need to make morally questionable choices, against the background of lies and absurdities distributed by the authorities and sanctioned by the state. A universal film, but not universalist, which looks at the whole Islamic society from behind the drama of individuals.’


This year at the festival the Polish Short Film Competition was held for the third time, with 31 films qualified for the finals. The contest organizers did not limit the entries to specific film genres:  feature films, documentaries as well as animated and experimental pictures could be submitted in the competition. The short films were assessed by the international jury composed of: Dorota Kędzierzawska (director and screenwriter known for such films as Time to Die, Crows and Nothing), Annette Insdorf (film critic, professor of film department of Columbia University, author of books on the work of Krzysztof Kieślowski and Wojciech Jerzy Has) and Ariel Schweitzer (film critic, editor of Cahiers du cinema).

Transatlantyk Golden Ark for the Best Short Film and the cash prize of PLN 10,000 was awarded to Monika Kotecka and Karolina Poryzała, the directors of the film Volte. It portrays the struggles of young girls preparing for equestrian competitions, and at the same time, is a subtle and perceptive story about initiation and close relationship between people and animals.

The second prize was awarded to the film directed by Piotr Domalewski, 60 kilos Of Nothing which is a thrilling social drama and a parable in the style of Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieślowski. The director explores a corrupt system which forces an individual to go through an extraordinarily difficult ethical test.

The third award went to the film III directed by Marta Pajek. It is a compelling but also disquieting cartoon animation that offers innovative aesthetic solutions. It is also a parable portraying both sexes in moments of their glory and fall.

The jury decided to award the special mention for the innovative animation Squaring the Circle directed by Karolina Specht. It is a poem captured in images depicting loneliness in a big city, full of rich graphic metaphors.


As in the past, the prizes for the best composers of film music were awarded at the Closing Gala of the festival.


During the festival the international composition contest was held: Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest™ (TICC). This is a globally unique competition of immediate composition, requiring from its participants quick decisions and the ability to improvise. Young composers are asked to watch a film fragment selected for them and then compose music in front of the jury and the audience. The winners of the ICC competition were selected by a jury consisting of: Mark Ethan (American actor), Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (Oscar winner for the music for Finding Neverland, founder and director of Transatlantyk Festival and creator of the competition), Łukasz LUC Rostkowski (Polish rapper, beatboxer and music producer), Maria Sadowska (director, composer and singer) and Diane Warren (nine-time Oscar nominee, composer and songwriter). The first place and the title of Transatlantyk Instant Composer 2018 along with the cash prize of PLN 15,000 was awarded to Dominika Czajkowska. The second place and the Transatlantyk Instant Composer prize of PLN 7,500 went to Kamil Zawiślak. The Transatlantyk Instant Composer third prize of PLN 5,000 was received by Adam Lemańczyk.

The jury had also decided to award two Transatlantyk Instant Composer Special Mentions. Leonard Gołąb was recognized for mature musical attitude and the ability to mix many music genres. Furthermore, the award for the individual style of musical interpretation went to Ginte Preisaite.


This year, the film music competition expanded its format as Transatlantyk Festival awarded two prizes to extraordinary film music creators. The Golden Ark Award for the Best Music of the Year was won by Dario Marianelli for his soundtrack for the film Darkest Hour. Dario Marianelli is an outstanding Italian composer, the awardee of the Oscar and the Golden Globe for the music for the film Atonement. The statuette was collected by Maggie Rodford who represented the composer.


The joint prize of Transatlantyk Festival and the Association of Authors ZAiKS, Transatlantyk Best Polish Young Composer 2018 was awarded to Radzimir Jimek Dębski for his music composed for the films The Art of Loving and Panic Attack.


During this year Transatlantyk Festival, the prestigious jubilee FIPRESCI 93 Platinum Award was also presented. The winner is selected by FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. Sally Potter received it from Rita di Santo, a critic from FIPRESCI. This award celebrates over ten decades of the federation's existence, highlighting the role and the importance of film critics. Established in 1925, FIPRESCI is currently the most serious and the most prestigious organization associating film critics from around the world. The FIPRESCI 90+ jubilee award is handed out only at two film festivals around the world, and Transatlantyk Festival is one of them.

The Transatlantyk Festival was held from 13 to 20 July in Łódź. During the eight days of the event, over 200 films from 60 countries were screened, out of which over 50 had their Polish premieres at Transatlantyk.


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