Krakow reveals music docs

Rap Is War
A young Rick Hall with soul singer Clarence Carter.

A young Rick Hall with soul singer Clarence Carter in Muscle Shoals.

Ten feature-length music documentary films qualified for the competition DocFilmMusic at the 54th Krakow Film Festival.

DocFilmMusic is in its second year as part of the competitions at Krakow Film Festival. The music documentary films submitted to the selection had to be longer than 30 minutes. The winner of this section will get the Grand Prix award The Golden Heynal and a cash prize amounting to 20,000 zloty (approx £4000).

“Music film does not have to mean trifling,” says Krzysztof Gierat, the director of Krakow Film Festival. Among this year’s offerings are films about cultural phenomena and places, films documenting dreams of freedom, there are also poignant portraits of the loneliness of stars. Expect to hear very diverse sounds, from flamenco, reggae and rap to jazz, rock and punk.

Ten carefully selected films from Poland and abroad will vie for the award. Among them, are world and international premières, with all films being Polish premieres. Bayou Maharaja is about the New Orleans piano virtuoso, nicknamed “the Black Liberace”. My Prairie Home is a Canadian film filled with moody songs bordering on indie rock and folk, and tells the story of transsexual artist Rae Spoon. Muscle Shoals takes the viewers to the legendary recording studio in Alabama that is responsible for much of the characteristic sound of American rock, soul and R&B. The film features stars such as Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and the most unlikely session musicians you will ever meet. The film has already international festival and cinema success.

Filmed with a hidden camera, Rap Is War. Viva Cuba Libre shows the struggle of music underground against the totalitarian system in Cuba, while the moving Songs of Redemption will reveal the sensitivity of Jamaicans sentenced to long prison sentences. Also playing at the festival will be untamed flamenco in (Triana Pure and Pure), strong Polish punk from communist Poland (Za to, że żyjemy, czyli punk z Wrocka), the highest quality Bulgarian jazz (Rainy Day) and Brazilian rhythms in a portrait of a virtuoso accordion player (Dominguinhos).

An important event will certainly be The New Warsaw by Bartosz Konopka, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Rabbit a la Berlin. The film records a project by renowned Polish actress Stanisława Celińska and Royal String Quartet. New arrangements of popular songs about Warsaw are interwoven with a story about the actress, whose fate was tied to the history of the capital city in a special way.

Apart from the DocFilmMusic competition, music documentaries will also be included in the non-competing section Sound of Musicshown in the open air cinema Kino Pod Wawelem. Like last year, music journalist Piotr Metz has programmed this section.

The lists of qualifying films for the documentary, short film and Polish competitions will be announced later this week.