Skolimowski's 'Essential Killing' Wins Five Awards at Polish Film Festival

Jan Komasa's high-tech debut "Suicide Room" won the Silver Lion, as well as awards for sound and costumes.

Jerzy Skolimowski's film Essential Killing won five awards at the 36th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (June 6-11, 2011), including the festival's Golden Lion award for best feature film and nods for best directing, cinematography, editing and music. The film had previously won the Special Jury Prize and the Best Actor Award for Vincent Gallo at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.

The runner up, with a Silver Lion, as well as awards for best sound and costumes, was twentysomething director Jan Komasa's high-tech debut Suicide Room, which blends live action with computer animation – kind of like a Polish “Avatar” – in a story about a disenchanted young man who joins an online suicide club. Suicide Room premiered at the 2011 Berlinale as the Panorama section's opener and has been a relative hit in Poland, with over 500,000 admissions.

The festival's Special Jury Prize went to Lech Majewski's The Mill and the Cross, based on Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel's 1564 painting The Way to Calvary, detailing some of the thought and historical context behind it, with Rutger Hauer as Bruegel.

Polish-born British director Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) headed up the main competition jury. Skolimowski and other heavyweights of Polish cinema – Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda, Krszystof Zanussi and Andrzej Zulawski – were in attendance and participated in master classes and panel discussions.

Roman Polanski, who was also slated to attend and pick up a Golde Lion lifetime achievement award, did not show up despite the fact that Poland is one of  three countries in the world  – the others being France and Switzerland – where he can travel without fear of arrest on a 1977 sexual assualt case.