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DOCBOAT Film Festival

DOCBOAT Is Poland's Online Documentaries Film Featival

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DOCBOAT Film Festival

Still from 'Solidarity,' shown at DOCBOAT

BBC
The first DOCBOAT/WARSAW NONFICTION E-FEST, an on-line documentary film festival, was held from September 4 to 30, 2009. There were theatrical screenings in Warsaw, but the majority of viewers were Internet users, who watched films directly in the on-line cinema iplex.pl or through the festival's webster www.docboat.pl. The online broadcast method allowed viewers in small towns without movie theaters, screenings series and their own film festivals to access films they could not otherwise see. Thanks to DOCBOAT they had the opportunity to see world class documentary films. The cost to the festival was covered by the city of Warsaw. There were more than 70 films in the festival's program, and these were watched by more than 40,000 people online, making the first edition of DOCBOAT biggest film festival in Poland to date. Shown for the first time in Poland, almost 20 years since it was produced, the BBC television series In Solidarity, in which filmmaker Boles³aw Sulik chronicles Poland's Solidarity movement, was fully accessible to the Polish people at iplex.pl. Four episodes -- Decision, Striking Out, The Break, and Together are a thorough record of events in the years 1989-91, covering the regime changes in Poland. DOCBOAT is an innovative enterprise that proves the Internet can serve as a viable venue for the showing of feature documentary films, and can create a viable link between movie makers and viewers. DOCBOAT not only explored the Internet as a venue, it also showed documentaries on the big screen in an innovative setting: on a barge next to the Świętokrzyski Bridge (a spectacular setting) in Warsaw, and in a nearby pavilion. The big screen showings, followed by panel discussions, were sponsored by DOCBOAT's partners, including the Polish Humanitarian Organization and Amnesty International Poland. DOCBOAT had 16 films in competition for the Grand Prix Vistula River Prize of 5,000 Euros (sponsored by the city of Warsaw). The winner was Japan: The Story of Love and Hate, directed by British documentarian Sean McAllister. On the international jury were Martichka Bozhilova (producer), Barbara Orlicz-Szczypu³a (head of the program office of the Krakow Film Festival), Igor Blaževiè (the director of One World Film Festival in Prague), Roman Kurkiewicz (journalist) and Andrzej Titkow (film director. The audience also chose its favorite films. The Audience Award was given to The Sidetrack by Anna Kazejak. In second place was Poste Restante by Marcel Łoziński. And, in third place, was Flow: For Love of Water by Irena Salina. Another award, entitled World Acclaimed Polish Documentary Film Director, was presented to Sławomir Grünberg, who divides his time between Warsaw and New York. A retrospective of his films was presented at DOCBOAT. And, his festival masterclass is accessible at www.youtube.com/user/DOCBOATFESTIVAL. DOCBOAT festival is a part of Transformations Art Festival by the Vistula. DOCBOAT has been acknowledged by its honorary patrons -- the Polish Film Institute, The Polish Filmmakers Association, Media Desk Poland and the Office of Electronic Communications -- and plans for the second DOCBOAT in 2010 are already underway.

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