The Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival is the biggest film festival in Poland. 2020 saw its first hybrid edition (September 4-18 in cinemas, September 19—October 30 online), which attracted a total of 170 700 attendees. We screened 160 movies, each one exploring and liberating the thing that matters the most in film as well as in real life: emotions, in accordance with the festival motto— “Out of tenderness for the world”. MDAG is Europe’s only film festival that takes place in seven cities at once.
The 2020 edition was divided into three exceptional sections. The cinema section, starting September 4 and screening a total of 149 films, attracted over 65 000 attendees in seven Polish cities: Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdynia, Katowice, Poznań, Lublin, and Bydgoszcz. 111 films were screened in the online section, which took place on the festival website Mdag.pl from September 19 to October 4. The third and final section of the Festival, Tune In. Documentary cinema online, was co-financed by the National Centre for Culture as part of its Culture on the Web program. This project, running from October 9 to 30, made selected festival films (including movies with audio descriptions and closed captioning for Deaf viewers) available for free along with workshops and discussions with experts.
This year’s Millennium Docs Against Gravity will repeat the hybrid formula. The cinema section will take place from May 21 to 30, 2021, the online section will take place from June 3 to 20, 2021. Our Festival is turning 18! As always, the program will be filled with movies that touch upon the most pressing issues of the contemporary world. As diversity of subjects is one of our goals, we will screen films about politics, society, human rights, women’s issues, ecology, psychology, science, philosophy, engaged journalism, sport, art, pop culture, and architecture.
In January 2021 Artur Liebhart, the founder and director of the Festival, became the first recipient of Polityka magazine’s Paszport Polityki—Special Prize for Remote Culture award. This amazing award perfectly underscores the landmark status of the 2020 edition; the description of the Remote Culture award specifies it had been granted for “speedily adapting the film festival to new conditions in challenging times. For success in not just maintaining, but expanding the reach of the event, for the creation of a digital film distribution platform, and for being a splendid example to others. Despite the potentially gloomy future, the motto of the 2020 Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival was “Out of tenderness for the world” and the opening film of the event was Małgorzata Goliszewska and Kasia Mateja’s “Lessons of Love”, which follows a woman over 70 who decided to leave an abusive marriage and start a new life. We really needed hope and the belief that everything can be changed for the better—and we still do.”
12 years ago our festival was the first in Poland to launch the best feature-length documentary competition (The Millennium Bank Award). In 2009 we received the prestigious Polish Film Institute award for “the most important international film event” in Poland. In 2013 Millennium Docs Against Gravity received its second nomination to this award.
Millennium Docs Against Gravity made watching documentaries fashionable in Poland. The methodically developed, appealing programming of the festival attracts growing numbers of attendees.
Millennium Docs Against Gravity is a co-founder and member of the Doc Alliance network, a partnership of seven major European documentary film festivals: CPH: DOX Copenhagen, DOK Leipzig, IDFF Jihlava, Marseille Festival of Documentary Film, Visions du Réel Nyon, Doclisboa and, last but not least, Millennium Docs Against Gravity.
We have great hopes about the future! In addition to the hybrid formula, retained for the 2021 Festival, in December 2020 we launched a permanent VOD platform: VOD.MDAG.PL, which hosts the best documentaries from the previous editions of Millennium Docs Against Gravity as well as art-house features. Thus, the Festival became a year-round event, constantly carrying out its key goals: popularizing film culture, educating about documentary filmmaking, and—most importantly—reaching the widest possible audience with interesting, moving, and wise stories.
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